About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee musician ... mostly

Basketmaker-Anasazi sandals

These are sandals constructed from the narrow-leaf yucca.  These designs are based on specimens preserved in caves.  These might not be much to look at but they are remarkably impervious to the many sines, spikes, and other poky things found in the deserts of the west.  These are two and four warp designs and the yucca is only slightly processed.  The leaves should be dried prior to use and then re-wetted just before weaving.  This prevents the normal loosening associated with shrinkage during drying.


These are being diplayed at the Blackwater Draw atlatl and Primitive Technology day 2008.


I intend to continue to research these and will try to compare types through use.


I took this photo about two years ago. It is an amazing and enormous caterpillar on a willow shoot. It was longer than my finger and I think it is a Luna Moth.


More Work Horses

Here are more shaving (work) horses. I wish I had photos of my first horse. I liked it well enough but I made it short to fit cross-ways in a narrow truck. These are some better and later models…


A shiny new horse. Hickory arm and head, poplar cross-stretchers. Adjustable tilt table.


Another new horse. Square head and wider treadle to use easily with either or both feet.


Stopped tillering to take an “action” photo in the old shop.


Another action shot fixing the tiller on someone else’s bow at Winter Count. I wouldn’t normally have a stave leaning on the horse but the photographer insisted. I was just hoping it wouldn’t bean me with a very sharp draw-knife in my hand (hence the rasp).


Not my herd. I liked the simplicity of these made for a class at the Bois d’Arc Rendezvous. You could probably make one of these with nothing but well chosen scraps.

Finished Atlatl (a.k.a. spearthrower)

My new Basketmaker-style atlatl.  I used it without a weight for a few weeks and it was adequate but the addition of this small weight seems to make a real difference in power, especially with a larger dart.

The weight is a hard argilite from Arizona.  Attached with pine-pitch glue and lashed with sinew coated in hide glue.  The wood is Osage orange and finger loops are brain-tanned leather over rawhide.

The photos aren’t the greatest in the dawn light.

Shaving Horse Plan

Here is an old set of plans I made for myself a long time ago. These are meant for dimensional lumber. This plan is for a short horse. If you are tall or don’t mind the extra length to transport, an extra 6 inches is a good idea. You can see from the other horses that this more of a guideline than an actual recipe.
The hard to figure part is the length of the arm, the head, leg height, and other parts specific to your body and what you generally make. I’ll measure more and put up something better when I can.

Shaving Horse

One of my favorite old shave horses. It is made from a plank chainsawed from an enormous pin-oak limb that came down during a storm years ago.

It weighs quite a bit but the weight means more stability when using it as a work bench. All my other horses have had an adjustable table but this one is set to a good angle strictly for working bows.

There are plenty of depictions in old art and many made specifically for every occupation in Diderot’s Encyclopedia from the 18th century.  I made my plans for this one based on several I measured over the years and made lots of adjustments to my first one to get the right “fit”.  My second and third attempts got better and better.

Dart and atlatl flex

These pictures capture the enormous flex that a dart undergoes during the throw. Not quite as evident is the flex in the atlatl itself. This one takes on a shallow “S” curve. This was an unfinished river cane shaft. It had been somewhat straightened but no forshaft or point were attached. If they were, there would probably be even greater flex due to the higher mass slowing the acceleration of the front end of the dart. I would call this shaft moderately stiff-spined and it flexed far more than could be seen with the naked eye.

This student was kind enough to allow me to photograph several throws to capture the right moment. This is about maximum flex.

This flex is vital to a powerful and accurate throw.

Below are a couple of darts with the new thrower.

Basketmaker Style Spearthrower

Finished a new atlatl this morning. Created from a scrap of Osage Orange wood. The style is a generalized Basketmaker but a bit heavier than some. It has no weight attached yet but I will probably make one just for the “tradition”. It throws well; even with my heavy Clovis-style darts.