Tag Archives: bamboo darts

Premium Bamboo Darts Crafted in the Thunderbird Atlatl Shop

Our individually made premium bamboo darts are state of the art and the best you can get, with our money back, no questions asked guarantee, just like all the rest of Thunderbird Atlatl products.

I start with bamboo that I select myself from cultivated stands of Japanese Arrow Cane often called Yadake, grown in Georgia, USA. Each shaft is carefully selected, sun dried, then fire straightened and trimmed. The outer skin is scraped off, the node area is filed smooth, and then the shafts are reheated and straightened once again. After that the shafts are sanded then polished. The finished shaft is a golden brown with a lustrous copal varnish finish that is applied to the finely polished shafts. I make the copal varnish myself using traditional techniques and materials. I use many of the same techniques used in making Kyudo arrows.

The Japanese bamboo used in making these darts is one of the finest natural dart materials that we have worked with. The way I fasten the conical copper points directly onto the ends of the shaft without an intervening fore shaft has proven to be the most effective method, both for accuracy and durability. We have found through experimentation that darts that are designed with a joint, where the fore shaft and main shaft come together, have an inherent weakness. We have experienced that darts with fore shafts generally fail at the joint. We have chosen to avoid fore shafts in favor of accuracy and durability.

At the spur end of the dart shaft is a fiber binding that creates an attractive and durable dimple that is finished in pigmented copal varnish. The fletching is wrapped with fine silk thread and glued. I finish by trimming the feathers with sharp scissors to create a very fine dart. –Bob Berg

Atlatl Bamboo Darts ready for fletching at the Thunderbird Atlatl shop. Check out the finish.

Atlatl Bamboo Darts ready for fletching at the Thunderbird Atlatl shop. Check out the finish.

Harvesting Bamboo for Atlatl Darts in Georgia

Tying the bundles of cane.

Tying the bundles of cane.

Cutting cane on Gardenia Island and Tortuga Island is the high point of the year for me because it is an escape from the torture of Arctic air that we experience this time of the year up here in the snow belt of Upstate New York. It almost seems like spring time when we step onto our favorite island sanctuaries, where bamboo grows like giant stalks of grass waving in the soft warm winds of the Okeefenokee Swamp.

The bamboo grows strong and straight in those parts and makes outstanding dart shafts that fly like the Thunderbird. It takes a lot of hard and careful work to harvest, season, heat treat and straighten these shafts but the effort is worth it. It is always kind of a downer as we travel north through Pennsylvania on our way back and start seeing the snow again. Oh well, it’s back to winter.

bambooo Bob3

bamboo bob2

cane darts after heat straightening