How to Make a Simple Atlatl: 13 Steps
An atlatl, also known as a spear-thrower, is an ancient tool used to increase the speed and distance of projectiles, such as darts or spears. With these 13 simple steps, you can learn how to make your own atlatl and try your hand at this age-old hunting technique.
1. Gather materials: You will need a straight wooden stick (approx. 1-2 feet long), a sturdy hook or small wooden peg, some cordage (around 3 feet of string or leather cord), and a dart or spear.
2. Select the right stick: Choose a straight stick with few knots or branches which could be a hindrance. The ideal thickness should be about the diameter of your thumb.
3. Cut the stick: Once you’ve found your ideal piece of wood, trim any remaining branches and cut it down to approximately 1-2 feet in length.
4. Smooth and shape the stick: Using a knife or another tool, remove any remaining bark from the surface of the wood, and smooth out any knots or rough patches.
5. Locate the grip area: Hold the stick as if you were throwing it like a spear – this is where you will place your hook.
6. Carve the hook: Create a groove about an inch from the end of the stick where your thumb will rest. In this groove, carve a small notch to allow room for the hook base.
7. Find or create a hook: Search for a small, sturdy branch with a natural hook shape that fits well into your grip area on your stick. Alternatively, you can craft one from another piece of wood.
8. Secure the hook: Once you’re satisfied with your choice of hook, use cordage to bind it securely in place within the groove you created on the stick.
9. Reinforce with a peg: Use a small wooden peg or stick to further support the hook by wedging it in the groove, ensuring the hook remains tightly fastened.
10. Add a finger loop: Tie your cordage in a loop – large enough for your index and middle fingers. Then, secure this loop on the other end of the atlatl, opposite the hook.
11. Prepare your dart: Obtain or create a dart or spear with a nock at the tail-end to align with your hook on the atlatl.
12. Assemble and practice: Place your dart on the atlatl by aligning its nock with the hook securely. Hold the finger loop with your index and middle fingers while gripping your atlatl and rest the tail of your chosen dart against the hook.
13. Throw: With the atlatl in hand, take a few practice throws to get comfortable with this ancient weapon. A properly made atlatl should greatly increase both range and velocity compared to a traditional spear throw.
There you have it! By following these 13 steps, you now know how to make your own simple atlatl and are ready to experience this time-honored method of hunting and sport. Remember to always practice proper safety precautions when using any kind of weapon, including an atlatl.