Spliced Dowel Shafts
This information came from Terry Behm on the Atlatl message board. This is pretty much verbatim from his posts. Posted here with his permission.
Making my dowel darts is pretty basic, I attach a 3' 1/2" diameter oak dowel to a 4' 3/8" diameter birch dowel. The key is using a scarf joint to put them together. If a scarf joint is done correctly it will not alter the properities of the wood, the dart will act like it's one long piece of wood. The scarf joint is a looong joint, at least 8 to 1 ratio. Therefore a 1/2" diameter dowel will have a 4" long diagonal glueing surface and the 3/8" dowel will have a 3 1/2" glueing surface. The 3/8" dowel is centered on the 1/2" dowel and they are glued with a good wood epoxy and clamps. The joint is then cleaned up and tapered for a gradual transition from 3/8 to 1/2. They end up a bit over 6 1/2', I usually shorten the front end a few inches otherwise they feel point heavy. I sharpen the point and fletch them. The darts balance at about 40% forward. The tricky part is cutting the scarf joint, I made a little miter box and now it's a piece of cake.
Top is the 3/8" birch dowel and then the 1/2" oak dowel, both having the 8 to 1 scarf cut. Third down is the finished
scarf joint and next is the simple point. This point is very easy to remove from targets (when I hit them!). Terry
These are the tools I use to make atlatl darts from dowels. I made the little miter box from scrap wood, it will accept
a 1/2" diameter dowel and will cut the 8 to 1 scarf joint. for 3/8" diameter dowels I use a 1/8" spacer to keep the
dowel tight in the miter box. I did not show the epoxy and a small piece of waxed paper used to keep the epoxy
from sticking to the clamps (usually use 3). I normally mount the miter box in a vise. Terry
Dowel Splicing Tools
Dart Construction |