Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Setting my sites on a slingshot - Part 1

I had one as a kid, did you?  My first slingshot was homemade from a tree fork, an old piece of leather, and some rubber bands that my Aunt gave me.  She made ceramics and held her molds together with huge rubber bands.  They just screamed slingshot whenever I looked at them.  I can't remember it being very accurate, but I sent more than my fair share of rocks flying out into the woods near my house.  A few weeks later, I upgraded to a Daisy Wrist Rocket and used it until the bands broke.  I didn't have enough money to buy new ones, so my slingshot career was over.  That was probably 25 years ago and I don't think I've even thought about a slingshot in those 25 years, not until a few weeks ago at least. 

There I was, minding my own business, watching a Youtube video about starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together, when over in the right hand column under "suggestions" I saw a video by Joerg Sprave.  A few hours and many many videos later, I was hooked.  I just HAD to make a slingshot.  Joerg has a tutorial video on his channel that includes a PDF template of a generic slingshot called the Phoenix.  It is his own design, but he offers the template to people as long as they are making it for personal use and not to resell.  I printed the template out, traced it on cardboard to make it a bit stronger, and then headed out to my local home improvement store for some 3/4 inch laminated birch plywood.  I traced the design and cut it out using my jigsaw.

At this point, I rounded the edges of the slingshot blank, using a wood rasp and my carving knife.  Laminated plywood isn't really something that you can carve very well, so mainly I used the wood rasp to do the rounding of the blank.  After working for about 30 minutes with the rasp, I ended up with something that looked much more like a slingshot.

I did a bit more rounding, some initial sanding with 100 grit sand paper, and cut two grooves in the end of the forks to hold the bands when they are installed.  It is still pretty rough, but I am ready for band attachment.

I ordered some band material and some upholstery grade leather to make the pouch, they should be here in the next day or so.  I plan on smoothing out some of the rough spots and coating the whole thing with polyurethane to protect it once I am happy with the way the frame looks.  I'll be back in a few days with the finished product and some more ideas about my own design.  Until then, happy carving, and may your bands stay strong and your shots fly straight.