Introduction: Build Your Own Atlatl

Picture of Build Your Own Atlatl

The Hunter, stalks his prey to an open field with the perfect opportunity to strike. Eyes narrowed with full intent on a clean kill. Slowly but surely the Hunter draws an arrow from his quiver and prepares for the attack. In one swift motion he takes three quick steps and swings his arm flinging the arrow into the air. Traveling at a speed of 80 Mph the arrow flies silently through the air until it reaches its target, plunging through the beasts spine paralyzing it creating an instant kill, No blood trail and no danger for the Hunter. He collects his prize and moves onto the next day of just trying to stay alive.

Anders625 here with another fun and exciting ible. that you can make yourself. On this instructable I will be showing you guys how to build your own Atlatl (At-latl). If you have ever whittled a stick before then you're fully qualified for this project, but first be for we get into that I think it is important that I explain to everyone what an Atlatl is.

The Atlatl more commonly known as a spear thrower is essentially a stick with a knock on one end that allows a five foot long arrow to rest until thrown. This special stick gives leverage to the user allowing them to throw the dart further then if they were just using there hand to throw it. The knock acts as a temporary energy storage area while the dart is being used, when the user shoots the stored energy and the energy being created at that time by the user are combined to increase the distance the user can fling the dart. This weapon was used by our ancestors about 21,000-17,000 years ago and is still used today by many hobbyists.

I hope you like this one, be sure to subscribe to me for many more instructables like this one coming soon, also if you like this then be sure to favorite it. If you have any questions or comments then be sure to leave them below, I'm very good at responding and if I don't right away then just be patient and I will respond to you soon. Please be sure to vote for me in the Hunter Gather contest, thank you.

Step 1:

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Here is a list of all the tools and materials necessary to complete this project.

  1. Some saplings that are between 4 and 5 feet long(these are used because of there natural ability to bend without breaking, any type of wood will work as long as it's not thicker then your thumb)
  2. A Swiss Army Knife along with a large wood carving knife ( I used my buck knife)
  3. A 1.5 foot long stick that is thicker then your thumb but thinner then your wrist.
  4. A metal wire hanger for the arrow shelf (optional, but I strongly recommend for beginners)
  5. Leather, your choice of color and type (EX. Kangaroo skin with purple and pink poka dots)
  6. Last but not least, a hot glue gun

Step 2:

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First you will need to find your wood before you can do anything. I found a nice bush in a forest by my house, so I cut the three straightest saplings I could find and cut them to be about 5 feet long.

Step 3:

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next you will need to debark those stick from the previous step, this can be done using one of your knives.

Step 4:

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Take multiple sticks (this is why I made three) and tie them together then set them into a water source to let them set overnight, This helps to straighten them out. The next day you will need to let them sit in the sun and dry, this will strengthen the wood and complete the process.

Step 5:

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This is what it will look like when you are done.

Step 6:

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Now find a log that is thinner then your wrist, but thicker then your thumb, This will be the throwing part of the Atlatl. Make sure both sides are smooth and debark it be for the next step.

Step 7:

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Next using the saw on your Swiss knife cut two notches on both sides of your stick and cut about half way through, these will be the handle and the nock so be generous when deciding where to put the cuts.

TIP: measure the with of your hand and add an inch to that to determine where to put the cuts.

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Now for the "fun part" carving out the center part so that it goes from cut to cut and makes a smooth and flat finish.

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The is is what We should have now.

Step 10:

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Take the arrows and using your knife carve out shallow holes in one side of them.

Step 11:

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This part is easy it just takes a while. Start by tying a piece of sinu six inches from the end of the stick with the hole carved into it then take one of your fletchings and wrap the sinu around it then do the same for the other two. Now you can just start rolling the sinu around the feathers until you get to the top end where you will tie it off to finish it.

Step 12:

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Take you knife and carve a point to the tip.

Step 13:

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Take the hangar and cut two equally sized pieces out that are about six inches long.

Step 14:

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use the leather punch to make two small holes in the bottom of the log.

Step 15:

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Now in this you will attach the two pieces of wire to Atlatl. Start by placing them vertically then apply a generous amount of hot glue to the area.

Step 16:

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bend the wires you just glued in so that they look like so, then add more hot glue to the wires to keep them together while in use.

Step 17:

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now at the other end take your knife and carve out a two centimeters deep hole for your nock. If the knife doesn't work then you can use a drill it would probably work better then the way I did it.

Step 18:

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Now take a piece of scrap from making the arrows and carve it down so that it will fit in the hole to secure it add hot glue to make it stay.

Step 19:

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cut it so that it sticks out about half an inch. Then smooth the edges.

Step 20:

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to finish it off cut your leather into thin strips and wrap them Around the handle.

Step 21:

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now your ready to fire set an arrow on the rest put the knocking the hole in the end, wind up and launch. It's hard to explain exactly how to use it but in sure you can get a general idea by looking at pictures above. I even added a gif so you can so it fire.

I hope you like this little project I've been working on, be sure to subscribe to me for many more instructables like this one coming soon, also if you like this then be sure to favorite it. If you have any questions or comments then be sure to leave them below, I'm very good at responding and if I don't right away then just be patient and I will respond to you soon. Please be sure to vote for me, thank you.


pieterg (author)2014-10-05

finally we got to making our own atlatl. we are still missing feathers for the spears, those birds are notoriously hard to impale. We had lots of fun building it! thanks for theinspiration!

Pure Carbon (author)pieterg2014-10-05

I'm glad it turned out ok, you can purchase feathers at any craft store for a decent price. It's not as cheap as finding one in the woods, but it will work in a pinch. Thank you for building my instructable.

DaveV3 (author)2015-08-12

Or, you can avoid making the handle thing completely, cut about 4 feet of string ( the smooth stuff, not bailing twine) and tie a knot at one end and have a loop at the other. The knot can wedge in the tail of the arrow/spear, the loop is for your index finger.

To throw, hold as you would a dart ( as in darts ) about 2 thirds from the tail of the projectile which should be where the string is taut between your finger and the tail. Then throw as you would a dart, except to finish the throw flick your hand forward also, using the string as the lever.

No gluegun, no drilling and no coathanger.

Pure Carbon (author)DaveV32015-08-31

That's a fantastic idea, if its okay with you I would like to either update this Instructable, or create a new one featuring your Idea. I'll give you a 3 month pro membership in exchange, but this is of course your Idea and I will not make it if your not ok with that. If you choose to accept my request I will send you a private message with your pro membership and information about the Instructable.

-Thank you

Jeff Repair It (author)2014-10-31

I too could point out ways your instructible could be improved but instead I need to give you respect: YOU DID it and just WISH I HAD.

I've always wondered how those would be made. Now I know I could make one.

Exceptional project. Thank you for doing & sharing!

JM1999 (author)2014-10-11

Victorinox handyman?

Very nice job, the Aussies call this a Woomera.

To throw you have to use the Woomera like a tennis raquet, you have to follow through a long way for it to launch straight.

Good job on the win!

Pure Carbon (author)JM19992014-10-11

interesting, I don't know what a victorinox handyman is but I do appreciate the comment. Thank you.

JM1999 (author)Pure Carbon2014-10-11

It is the type of knife you have in the photos, it is otherwise knows as a 'swiss army knife' I hope you enjoy your prize/s!

Pure Carbon (author)JM19992014-10-12

oh, and it all makes perfect sense. Thank you for clearing that up. I feel dumb now ; | ,I appreciate the comment.

JM1999 (author)Pure Carbon2014-10-13

That is alright ;) I was just wondering if you had the same tool as me.

Pure Carbon (author)JM19992014-10-14

Which tool do you have? I would tell you mine, but I can't remember what it is. It's exactly like the huntsman but instead of a cork screw it has a philips screw driver.

JM1999 (author)Pure Carbon2014-10-14

I have the handyman, I don't have it now because it is bring replaced, it broke...

Pure Carbon (author)JM19992014-10-14

I think that might be the one that I have.

WolfgangCanoGuitars (author)2014-09-28

great project! Atlatl though, the word itself has Mayan/Aztec roots.

Thank you, I never knew the origin of the word.

apburner (author)Pure Carbon2014-09-28

I looked in Wikipedia and is says the earliest example of an Atlatl was found in France and dates back about 17500 years ago.

Pure Carbon (author)apburner2014-09-29


tbates7 (author)2014-09-26

So, I have a bit of constructive criticism to give: all of your instructables as a whole would benefit from proper use of grammar and punctuation. I know that it's probably really hard to spell check when you're typing on your device, but it just adds a more professional and thought-out feel to instructions if they're grammatically correct. Good job on the project, though!

Pure Carbon (author)tbates72014-09-27

well thanks for your constructive criticism, you are right about it being hard to type on a device with no spell check. Is there anything specific I should fix?

tbates7 (author)Pure Carbon2014-09-28

Oh, you know, only putting capital letters in proper nouns and at the beginnings of sentences, avoiding run-on sentences, grouping similar sentences to make paragraphs, that sort of thing. If you want, you could look me up on Facebook (Tom Bates) and I'll help you edit your stuff.

Pure Carbon (author)tbates72014-09-28

Ok great, thanks for the advice.

JoMoFroBro (author)2014-09-28

Brilliant 'ible! I'm fairly certain the the atlatl was invented by the Aboriginal Australians. Have you gone hunting with it yet? If you do, I'd love to hear how it went. You have my vote for the hunter gatherer competition!

Pure Carbon (author)JoMoFroBro2014-09-28

Thanks for voting, I haven't gone hunting with it yet, but when I do I will tell you all about it.

shizumadrive (author)2014-09-27

how did you decide on the length of the atlatl. Seems short but I've seen them more in museums and havent used them. So I'm more curious. Try out some atlatl weights and see if you have a noticeable increase in distance ect.

Pure Carbon (author)shizumadrive2014-09-28

I had shot one before making mine and the one that I had shot was the about the same length as the one I had made, so that is why I made mine so short. A short one is more accurate then a long one in my experience and is a bit easier to use, especially if you're a beginner like me. I hope I was able to answer you're question please be sure to vote for me In the Hunter Gather contest, thank you.

shizumadrive (author)Pure Carbon2014-09-28

that makes sense. Im guessing It wouldn't be as effective against a mammoth (which is why they used the longer ones) but maybe it would work on deer.

lkrewson (author)2014-09-26

this is awesome I love hunting and being outdoors.

Pure Carbon (author)lkrewson2014-09-26

no way, same. I'm glad you liked my instructable. There will be a lot more coming up soon, so be sure to stay tuned for that, also be sure to vote for me. Thank you so much

pieterg (author)2014-09-26

will build it. definitely. great project!!

Pure Carbon (author)pieterg2014-09-26

sweet, I can't wait to see it. Please be sure to leave pics. when you're done, also can you vote for me please. Thanks for your comment.

Lord Of Flames (author)2014-09-26

amazing, can this be built with bamboo?

I would imagine so, However bamboo is hollow and would need to be made differently then the one I made. It does sound like a good idea to try. I don't have any bamboo to try it with, but if you do you should defiantly try it. If like this then please be sure to vote for it, that would be greatly appreciated.

seamster (author)2014-09-26

Very nicely done!

Pure Carbon (author)seamster2014-09-26

thank you very much. Hope you don't mind voting for me.

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Bio: My whole life I have thought of ways to make things that you can only go out and buy, follow me and I will teach ... More »
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