If you sculpt wood for whatever reason, you’ll tend to need a tool that takes off a good amount of matter and can also navigate slight angles. When I make an atlatl, I start with cut blanks that I glue together and end up with zero right angles. I swear by the shinto rasp, horseshoe file, and a heck of a lot of sanding to get these forms.
The Shinto Rasp
This wood carving tool, named after the indigenous spirituality of the Japanese people, is perfect for making/shaping atlatls. (I’ve had a few spiritual moments with it, myself.) It consist of many hack saw blades welded together in a network. It has a coarse side and a fine side. A Google Images search for “shinto rasp” will reveal many pictures of it in various forms and two sizes — big and small. This is a good way to find one to buy, as well…
Note: I buy only the replacement blade and not the whole rasp/handle combination. I find the handle to be clumsy and something of an overkill. If you have tender fingers, wear a glove.
The replacement rasp should be available for around $20.00, they last for a long time. The only thing better than a shinto rasp for taking off wood in a hurry is a horseshoe file. However, I find that the shinto rasp is more maneuverable on round or small projects.
The Horseshoe File
I use the horseshoe file (or “horseshoe rasp”) to file down atlatl shafts to make them flexible. You can find them for sale on Amazon.com or Google Shopping.
They last a long time even if you are thinning harder woods like Purple Heart, Rosewood, Osage, Hickory, or any other “dense, heavy, fine-grain, needs-sharp-tools” kind of wood.
You can get a handle for these things, but why bother? Got tender fingers? Awww… Wear a glove. After you have worn this thing out, get a charcoal grill, an anvil, and a heavy hammer and make a sword out of it.