Have you ever shot an atlatl in the winter when it’s so cold that your fingers feel like they’re about to fall off? We have. That’s why we recommend a fingerless “Y” style atlatl like the Kanakadea for cold weather atlatling. Check out this video of Bob showing off his winter atlatl technique!
Making your own atlatl or spear thrower and darts is a satisfying experience plus it saves you money! We make great atlatl and dart kits here at Thunderbird Atlatl. Our kits have been featured in Make Magazine.
Now, thanks to the efforts of our webmaster and videographer Peter Berg, we have posted our atlatl kit instructions to our website. We are also uploading instructional videos on each of the kits to You Tube and posting them on our website. The first video on making your own dart kit is now available.
Below is an example of a dart and a Wyalusing atlatl made by one of our customers. The second picture shows participants in one of our workshops making their own darts. This workshop takes place every year at the Chimney Point Historic Site in Vergennes, VT.
Back in the early ’90s when I first started designing atlatls, I was working a carpentry job in Wyalusing, PA. At the time, I was experimenting with atlatls with rests, and ended up creating one of the first original Atlatl designs in a thousand years, and the first official Thunderbird atlatl. I decided to name it the “Wyalusing” after the town I was working in — it was a word of Indian origin, and it had a nice ring to it.
“Wyalusing” comes from Native American words: “Wigalusing” meaning, “the good hunting ground” and “M’chwihilusing” meaning “the place of the hoary veteran.” M’chwihilusing which was the original name of Wyalusing, prior to European settlement.
Over the next year, I designed several other Atlatls and decided to keep with the theme of naming them after local Indian names — towns, rivers, lakes and such. Soon, the Wappasening, the Tioga, the Hiawatha, the Catatonk, and several other designs were born.
We’ve kept up with this trend for the past twenty years, and several other atlatl manufacturers that came after Thunderbird Atlatl seem to have liked this idea as well, and followed suit.
Here’s a map with all of these places plotted out on a map. The red dot in the middle is our shop, and you can see that all of the Indian-named places nearby were our inspiration. Most of them come from Iroquois names – the 6 tribes that made up the Iroquois Confederation were centered around modern day New York State.
Every Winter Solstice, we have a tradition of throwing a flaming atlatl dart to start our campfire at our Winter Solstice Party. It’s a great way to ring in the Christmas season and the new year on the shortest day of the year.
Here’s a video this year’s flaming dart throw(s). Bob Berg of Thunderbird Atlatl does the honors:
From all of us at Thunderbird Atlatl, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!