Picture of The Pathfinder Dart- Atlatl Using String(With Duct Tape Fletching)
Most people have heard of the atlatl (AT-latl). For those of you who haven't, it was the method of hunting in between the spear and the bow & arrow. It was simply an extension of the arm to help throw the spear, increasing range, speed, and accuracy. In this case, however, we are replacing the atlatl with a string. You just throw, following through, and the knot lets go of the spear.
Here is a good ebook on archery. It includes arrowheads, fletching, and making arrows. If you view one on making arrows, simply make the arrow longer than the Instructable says.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
The materials for a pathfinder dart are the following:

  • A straight stick, anywhere from three to five feet

  • Duct tape or arrows for fletching

  • (Optional) An arrowhead

  • Any cord or string, paracord being ideal

DaveV322 days ago

using thin string and a knot tied in it to fit in a cross cut at the end of the arrow ensures it flies straighter and doesn't rely on a knot failing to release.

BernardM9 months ago

When I was (much) younger , we used to make a sort of long spiral with the string around the shaft , so that on release the shaft went spinning as if going out of a rifled gun !! That way it goes much straighter !! Give it a try! You just need to give some 5 or 6 turns to get a good result !!

Slim499 months ago

That is ingenious!

the Knot release trick is priceless.

well thought out!


Love it !! You'll be a surviver when it all ends .... Cheers!
Mr_Altitude (author)  Lectric Wizard1 year ago

You know it!

I am curious why the notch is placed below the fletching instead of above it.
Duct Tape fletching - brilliant! Solves my snow and rain fletching problems!
Mr_Altitude (author)  haggismydear1 year ago
Placing the notch above it is just the way I learned it. You could put it below the fletching if that's your preference. I've even seen it without the notch, just wrapping the string around the back end. And I'm glad I could help.
TP_inc1 year ago
A spear-thrower or atlatl (/ˈɑːt.lɑːtəl/[1] /ˈæt.lætəl/; Nahuatl: ahtlatl Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈaʔt͡ɬat͡ɬ]) is a tool that uses leverage to achieve greater velocity in dart-throwing, and includes a bearing surface which allows the user to temporarily store energy during the throw.
It may consist of a shaft with a cup or a spur at the end that supports and propels the butt of the dart. The spear-thrower is held in one hand, gripped near the end farthest from the cup. The dart is thrown by the action of the upper arm and wrist. The throwing arm together with the atlatl acts as a lever. The spear-thrower is a low-mass, fast-moving extension of the throwing arm, increasing the length of the lever. This extra length allows the thrower to impart force to the dart over a longer distance, thus imparting more energy and ultimately higher speeds.[2]
Common modern ball throwers (molded plastic shafts used for throwing tennis balls for dogs to fetch) use the same principle.
A spear-thrower is a long-range weapon and can readily impart to a projectile speeds of over 150 km/h (93 mph).[3]
Spear-throwers appear very early in human history in several parts of the world, and have survived in use in traditional societies until the present day, as well as being revived in recent years for sporting purposes. In the United States the Aztec word atlatl is often used for revived uses of spear-throwers, and in Australia the Aboriginal word woomera. It was this that led to the British/Australian Missile Test Site (Home of Blue Streak) to be known as Woomera. (See Woomera)
Mr_Altitude (author)  TP_inc1 year ago
Thanks for clearing that up.
Well done: you solved a problem for me. I am from the UK and up in Yorshire they used this technique with arrows, but I had no guidance on the knot. It is really simple and obvious when you think about it, but glad you solved the mystery for me :-) i shall try it out when I get back from this business trip
Mr_Altitude (author)  steve_tupper20101 year ago
Glad I could help.