Plush Cave Atlatl
Found at Plush Cave, S.E. Oregon. Possibly 1500-2000 years old.
Wood, 21" x 3/4" x 1/2"
Leather thong, 24" or so
- On top, starting 10" from the peg end, slant it down towards the peg leaving the last 1" intact. The end should be 1/8" above the sides.
- Starting at the raised area, cut the groove. It should be 3/8" wide, 1/4" deep, and 7 1/2" long.
- Carve the peg on top, undercutting it to extend the groove.
- Round the bottom and the ends.
- From 3 3/4" to 5 1/4" from the base of the handle, cut out the grips. Leave 1/2" between the sides.
- Cut a shallow groove on the sides and under the bottom just above and below the finger grips. Make the top one a little wider.
- Round all edges and sand smooth.
From the shape and the grooves, this is probably very similar to a basketmaker atlatl, which had braided leather fingerloops.
Unfortunately, braiding leather is not my strong point, and I have no idea how it used to be done. I know a way that will work, however.
- Fold the thong in half and twist it a few times to form a loop. Slide the loop into the top groove and twist it tight.
- Continue twisting until you have about 3" done. Be careful not to twist it too tightly, though, or it will kink up.
- Bend the twisted section down to the bottom groove and make one twist around the shaft.
- Continue twisting until you have another 3" done, Bend it up to the top groove, twist it around the shaft, and tie it off. Trim off the excess.
An article about this atlatl can be found at http://www.atlatl.net/lostandfound.asp?found=2.
Atlatl Designs |