Category Archives: Ramblings

Atlatl theories and discussions.

Happy Thanksgiving! Get ready for the holidays! Thanks22 Coupon!

Happy Thanksgiving! Over the busy holiday weekend through Monday, November 28, take some time and check out some of new items in our online catalog. We will be working on continually updating the catalog over the weekend as we prepare for the holiday season.

If you are ready to order before the holiday rush, we are offering a 10 percent coupon discount for orders of $100 or more through midnight Monday, Nov. 28. Just write in THANKS22 in the coupon section as you check out! The discount only applies to items purchased and does not include shipping.

Arrowhead Earrings, sinew, adhesives, large packs of hafting resin and, of course, our wide, variety of quality atlatls and darts!

Remember to check over the weekend for specials and new additions and save 10% by using the THANKS22 coupon.

New year! Starting off in our new shop!

We made it through the holiday season and even managed to get most of our machinery moved to our new shop! We are excited about the efficiencies and space in the new shop. Plans are now to finish moving a few more machines and then get the old shop ready to be our new packing and fletching area. This has been an ongoing project the last few years but some projects just take time!

The new shop is located only a few hundred feet from the old shop so that has made the moving process not as challenging but still an issues of brute force and clever (!) staging to make production more efficient. We will keep you updated as we go forward.

Construction Photo of the new shop! We will add more updated photos soon!

Meanwhile, we need to update our online catalog and work on a new paper catalog. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done! We appreciate our customers’ support but you do keep us busy! We were able to get out a few more times this past year and hope we can do that again in 2022. We will see how the world moves with the everchanging pandemic. We all take two steps forward and then another one back. The good news is that atlatls are a perfect activity for outside and social distancing so we have kept busy with our mail order business.

To Weight or Not! Should You Use an Atlatl Weight?

We are often asked if someone needs an atlatl weight on their newly purchased atlatl. We usually suggest is that you try the atlatl first without the weight and see how it works for you. Wondering if you need a weight? Try attaching a small stone on the atlatl shaft and see if it makes a difference for you!

Weights add balance and stability to an atlatl system. They improve accuracy for many atlatlists and make it easier to hold the atlatl steady while aiming at the target. One reason it helps is to steady the atlatl is that it balances the weight of the dart. It also adds inertia to the system, which tends to minimize shaking and wiggling caused by the atlatlist’s body functions such as heartbeat and respiration etc. Depending on the placement of the weight on the shaft of the atlatl, there is also more or less of a “pendulum effect” which helps to stabilize the swinging atlatl during the shot. Placing the weight closer to the hook end of the atlatl produces more of the effect at the expense of some of the speed or energy of the shot.

Placing the weight closer to the handle is a good compromise between not having a weight and having it out at the distal end. Besides that, atlatl weights look really great on your atlatl! (not to mention the Oooga Booga affect, which if you belong to the Secret Ear-o-Corn you understand without further explanation.)

We have a nice selection of atlatl weights in stock. If you think you would like to try a weight, we have a variety of weights available ranging from $5 to $20 on up to semi precious polished stones. Others can be custom-made for you. Prices for atlatl weights are made of so many different materials, from common to precious, that prices vary greatly. If you would like more information about atlatl weights, give us a call at 800-836-4520 or 607-743-4379.


Some Thoughts on Hafting Stone and Bone Points

The most effective method of hafting stone and bone points is with cellulose based fiber and glue. The glue can be modern or traditional. I use hide glue, pine or copal resin, or modern glues like Elmer’s, Carpenters Glue or epoxy. Animal fibers tend to fail faster when they get in contact with water. Cellulose fibers like yucca, basswood, hickory, flax, hemp, dog bane, and cotton have proven to be better than sinew each and every time I have used them in real hunting situations. I prefer flax, hemp and dog bane fibers. Rain, dew, blood and wet earth get in contact with sinew and it turns to slime and releases the haft. It also turns a hafted point into a dog bone. Something will eat it sooner or later. Hide glue is also affected by water.
Tree resins are very water resistant and work well if they are not too brittle. Pine resin can be tempered with charcoal, dung, bees wax and fats which make the resin less likely to be brittle. Many different recipies have been used for this purpose.

The combination of hide glue and cellulose fibers shrinks and tightens up the hafting. If you saturate linen cloth with hide glue and stretch it on a frame it is drum tight after it dries. I learned this from making canvases for oil painting. I also read, but have not confirmed this with my own experiment, that linen cloth saturated with hide glue applied to glass will actually break the glass when it dries.

I also have been experimenting with pine and copal resin as a sealant for hafting. After the glue dries I apply several coats of thinned pine resin or copal resin to the hafted area. This makes a very hard, smooth, and water resistant haft. The reason I like this method is that the surface of the fiber, after it is coated this way, offers little resistance to penetration. Copal resin is fossilized pine resin that gets very hard after it is dry. Pine resin remains sticky for a long time. I don’t know whether this method is “traditional”.
I use turpentine or alcohol to thin the resin. You can melt both resins over heat to apply them also but this is more difficult. It is also possible to use runnier fresh pine sap, then heat the finished piece to encourage drying. I also use the copal resin thinned into a “shellac” on the thread whipping that holds the front and back of my fletching down. A thin coating of the thinned resin on the dart shaft itself makes it virtually water proof and will adhere the fletching to the shaft.

To make the thinned resin put a few pieces of pine resin or copal on a square of cloth, tie it closed with string, place it in a glass jar of turpentine or denatured alcohol with the lid tightened. Every now and then shake the jar. After a while the resin will be dissolved. The bark and dirt will remain in the cloth. Copal resin works a lot better than pine because it dries in a half an hour or less.

-Some thoughts about the atlatl Bob Berg-

Posted by Robert Berg

The Atlatl Dart Point That Changed My Life

When I was in 8th grade I found a dart point on the edge of the newly built ball field. I was running laps during track practice and that dark shiny object caused me to stop and investigate. This was an epiphany in my life; a split second chance happening that changed everything that would follow. Its effects didn’t happen right away, but later is when I was much older. The shadow of that event was like a hard shelled seed fallen to the ground waiting to germinate and blossom when the right conditions made it favorable.

I held that point in my sweaty hand for the next few days, even at night when I went to bed. I wanted so much to know about the person who made that object that I dreamed about him. When my son Peter was learning how to read I took him to the local library to peruse the books in the children’s section. Meanwhile I took the opportunity to read everything I could in the section of the shelves dedicated to archaeology and anthropology. It was that point that drew me into reading all those books. I now know that it was a mid archaic point made by a man who lived along the Susquehanna River perhaps a dozen or more centuries ago. Part of the spirit of that man who shot that atlatl dart so many centuries ago was reborn in me and made me into who I am today.