Making a willow dart with stone tools (video)

-Justin Garnett

Click the image to view.  Hosted on Youtube, 18 minutes long.

Here is a video which shows the process of making a Basketmaker atlatldart mainshaft with stone tools.  A stone knife is used to cut the blank to size, although almost anything sharp could be used-I’ve done the task with everything from hafted dart points to debitage flakes.

I went with generalized dimensions, based on memory and “Feel”. The shaft is 1.32 meters in length, 1.3cm diameter distally and .85cm proximally.

The static drill is mounted in an expedient split willow haft, and bound with willow bark stripped off of the dart shafts.

When you peel the bark off the shafts (If the weather is wet, spring or fall) it will strip away without needing a tool.  Since I perform this process in the field when harvesting, that step isn’t represented in the video.

Additionally, willow can be hand straightened.  My protocol is to strip the bark one day, do a hand straightening (Without heat) on the second day, leave the shafts outside in the sun for several days, restraightening daily.  After a few days of that, they’ll hold their true, only needing occasional retouches.

One Response to Making a willow dart with stone tools (video)

  1. Ray Madden says:

    Justin , that is an extraordinarily, good video! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching it. Well done. p.s.( Thanks for not accompanying it with irritating music.)

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