Kotzebue Sound Throwing Board
This ia a throwing board from the Kotzebue Sound, an Inupiat Eskimo area in Alaska. The original, on display at the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka, Alaska, is 15 1/2" long. It was possibly collected by Sheldon Jackson in the 1890s.
Wood, 16" x 2 1/2" x 3/4"
- Cut the top side of the board (this is easier than cutting in from both sides). Starting 11 1/4" from the end, cut down at a slant to 7/8" from the bottom.
- Cut out the grip. The inset for the middle finger (the 1 1/4" wide space) is about 3/4" deep.
- Thin out the grip area for the other fingers. It is about 3/8" high at the edge, curving up to the line visible in the actual photo below. I used a chisel and a utility knife, and they work well for this thinning. Cut along the ridge where the depression ends with the knife, then chisel down to the proper level.
- Cut out the groove. Make it 3/8" wide where the peg goes if you can (I had to use a 1/2" chisel, so my groove is wider and farther from the tip). Follow the sides of the board, flaring it out. It should be 1/4" deep where the peg goes, rising up to flush with the top of the board about 7" from the handle end.
- Round off all the edges and sand smooth.
- Drill the hole for the index finger in the back. Only the tip of your finger goes in, so a 5/8" bit should work. The center is 5" from the handle end and just a little to the finger-grip side of center. Drill slanting back to the handle end. I prefer not to go all the way through, but several finger holes do run through the board (including on the original).
- Round off the edges of the finger hole and sand it down.
- If you want to stain or paint it, do it now, before you attach the peg. On my first one, I stained it with shoe paste wax.
- Make the peg. The original is a carved piece of bone or ivory, but those are hard to come by around here, so I just carved a block of wood into a peg shape and glued and clamped it in place. For my first board, I painted it white (to simulate the original) before attaching it.
These are actually larger than the original, the photos are just a different size (and altering them makes them blurry).
My first copy
My second copy. This has been donated to the Sheldon Jackson Museum for their hands-on display.
This may be too short for many of you if you want one that you can actually throw with. It is far too small for me, but keep in mind that throwing boards were made by the owner for their own use, and were custom-fitted to their own hand
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