Tom Mills' 3 Minute Elderberry Atlatl - Original Page

by Tom Mills, California. Originally posted on the chat board, reprinted with permission.

The 3 minute Elderberry Atlatl!

All in the shadow of the Elderberry tree. Select branch, de-bark, choose orientation of spur. Whip out the old pocket knife (as it's green wood it's very easy to do with stone tools too).

This 3 minute atlatl features an integral spur (one piece), and a nice loading groove. The "handle" is nothing more than a short wrap of yucca cordage (made on the spot while walking to find an elderberry branch). Elderberry atlatl dart shaft was also selected (not in photo though).

Anyway, I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Elderberry stand

Removing the pith

Spur and groove

Side view

Finished atlatl

As it's green and very wet, I'll dry it slowly, by putting the piece into a cloth bag or a paper bag for a few days. Working the wood green is an excellent way to go - especially when using stone tools. Once a bit dryer, and less likely to split, I will alter the spur a bit by creating a slight bevel to it - about 30 - 40 degrees.

As this dries out, it will loose lots of weight. I'll probably add a stone atlatl weight in the end and make a nicer handle. Seconds after it was done, I used it to toss the green elderberry dart shaft I cut. Works well!

Here's a shot with a dart in the ready position:

Atlatl and dart

Atlatls are simple to's the dart that you have to get right!

Edited by: PaleoAleo at: 4/23/04 6:57 am

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