Monday, April 1, 2013

Getting ready for hafting

Restocking spruce resin
After several late winter storms at the end of last week, we finally had a sunny break in the weather today.  I used the sunshine as an excuse to get outdoors and collect some branches and spruce resin for this week's hafting workshops.  It was a nice excuse to drive around and check out a few paths and trails around the city.

We need some green sticks
This is the third week for the MUNArch flintknapping workshops and we'll be focusing on hafting the stone tools produced in the previous weeks.  Its up to the students to decide what sorts of tools they want to make, but I suspect most will make arrow or dart foreshafts or knives.  I'll bring a mix of green and seasoned wood to the workshop because some wood is better suited to some jobs than others.  At the very least, I'm confident that everyone will be able to use the green boughs to make some Hoko knives.

Bamboo makes a good, quick mainshaft for dart and
arrowheads hafted onto a foreshaft.
I don't expect there will be enough time to make arrows or darts complete with mainshafts and fletching, but I think everyone who chooses to make a foreshaft can get one done.  Even in an urban environment, with very few woodworking tools, a foreshaft can be turned into a pretty convincing dart or spear by inserting it into a simple bamboo stake from a garden centre.  These stakes come in a variety of lengths and diameters, and I use them frequently for the atlatl darts that I play around with.  The stakes are hollow and can be trimmed to any length you like using a small handsaw or hacksaw.  If you need to expand the hole in the centre of the stake you can whittle it out with a small knife or awl.  I usually reinforce the ends with artificial sinew and epoxy, but any sort of string or cord will work.  Hemp gives a nice rustic look.  If you want to try adding flights to your dart, you can fletch a short length of doweling or a narrow bamboo stake and insert it in the opposite end.

The bamboo can split, so its a good idea to reinforce the end with some sort of wrapping.  In this case, I've use artificial sinew, held in place with epoxy.
To finish the dart, a short feathered section can be inserted in the opposite end.  If you are in a real hurry,  you can make the feathers out of duct tape on a piece of doweling.

 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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