Scarfing Applications & Other Tips

by Mike Richardson



The jig I used to cut the scarfs.


Here are photos of an atlatl dart with a scarf joint in the middle of its 7.5 ft. length. I used two 4 ft. x 7/16 in. birch dowels. The joint is not glued, just wrapped. I've thrown it several dozen times. It flies great. The dart comes apart easily when you want to break it down.


Notice that my atlatl is just a 30 inch piece of bamboo with a loop on the end. It seems to work great.


I also put a foreshaft on an arrow using the cord method. I shot it with my 74 lb. bow into a deer target.

As an alternative to wrapping the joint with cord, one could use raw fish skin, cut into strips and wrapped around the joint. The fish skin seems to stick to itself, and when dry, is quite strong. You can dry the strips and just soak it at a later date when doing a project like above.


Below is a photo of my bow drill with an extemely easy way to adjust cord tension. The cord can slide up or down the handle for quick adjustments. The knot is a bowline, with some extra wraps around the handle. There's also a groove at the bottom of the handle for the cord. A midshipmans knot ("Ashleys Book of Knots"), would work well with weaker cords.


I also came up with another way to make thumb loops with a bandana. Tie a timber hitch into the ends, twist up, stick in your thumbs, place the bandana across top of the spindle and spin up an ember. A sock works too, but I had to wrap the sock around my thumbs (too thick for a timber hitch). It's difficult to take a picture of myself with both thumbs in use, hence the strange set up.


Anyway, just a few ideas for the primitive technos out there.


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Mike Richardson resides in Anchorage, Alaska.

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