Monthly Archives: May 2013

Catapults

Recently i’ve been busy making catapults. I now have 3 or 4 for sale for £15, contact me if you’re interested, on here or facebook.IMG_0256

They’re all natural forked branches with single, gold Theraband for the sling.

These are not toys, and are potentially deadly weapons in the wrong hands. I will not sell these to anyone under the age of 18, and please do not buy them for anyone under the age of 18. Having said that, in responsible hands they are a wonderful tool for building strength, for developing your hand-eye coordination and for having fun. If you have the permission of the land owner they are also a hunting tool.

So, what follows is a little piece about my experience getting into catapults, some videos I found useful, which you could use to help carve your own catapult and attach the rubber bands.
Equipment needed:
  • Saw to cut the branch.
  • Carving or bushcraft knife.
  • Self heal mat to slice the rubber. (Mine cost £6)
  • Rotary cutter to do the slicing. (Again £6)
  • Leather pouches to hold the ball bearing or stone. (10 for £5, could be better value to get leather and cut pouches yourself, depends how many you want to do)
  • Sandpaper/Wet n Dry/Emery paper – I use 240, 400, 800 and 1200 grit. (60p a sheet roughly I think)
  • Oil to protect the wood. (I used Ballistol http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballistol)
It took some time to work out the best forked branch for the frame, and that’s something to experiment with. Sometimes I found they split, very frustrating after all the effort of carving and sanding by hand.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J6qHdhp-YI A video showing how to cut the Theraband and attach it to the pouch.
I found that it takes a bit more pressure than you might think to cut cleanly through the rubber, and that if you clink the metal ruler while you’re slicing you’ll leave a little cling-on. This could leave a weak area in the rubber when you come to fire it, shortening the life-span. So be firm, and keep straight. I bought a 1 metre x 12.5cm section and sliced it into the tapered form. I found here that marking the rubber was important. I used a black Sharpie pen which left quite a wide line and allowed some inaccuracy to creep in. Next time i’d be much more careful with drawing the lines. For now i’m using a 25mm down to 20mm taper.
After sanding I oiled the frame a few times, then left it to dry before attaching the band-set. I found that there is much more accuracy when the tops of the 2 forks are nice and parallel. Might be an obvious point but one I overlooked initially.
When firing it I’ve found that i’m most accurate when I hold the catapult in my left hand, sight down the bands ie, they should lie parallel to each other, give a slight twist, not too much and ping! Very satisfying, especially when you get your eye in and hit 4 or 5 in a row. You know you’re doing something right then.

Give what you can, receive what you need.

This has been a momentous week for me. I decided to stop claiming benefits in order to give myself a push towards setting up a business. Over the last few years i’ve invested heavily in picking up as much knowledge as I can about botany/wild food, and in cooking/fermentation traditions, and now i’m ready to share those things.

Today was the first Plant Walk i’ve done that i’ve received donations for personally. The week before that I raised £48 for the homeless charity Shelter. The business model i’m using is that people can donate whatever they think my time and knowledge are worth. I’m not going to put a figure on that, and there’s no pressure on my part as to what that value is. “Give what you can, receive what you need.” is the way that I look at things. I’d also be interested in doing work swaps, particularly with anyone who could help me out with bike mechanic skills.

I’ve several ideas so far. A snail collection service, the Plant Walks obviously, fermentation workshops, a business supplying wild plants, a pop up wild food restaurant. I’m very keen to get feedback from people, anything constructive that could help me towards making a living from the things i’m passionate about. That should allow me to continue to invest in myself, and the plans that I have to travel further afield and study in greater depth.

I’ve thought long and hard about what role money has to play for me, and i’ve consciously made choices that mean I can use less of it, but in order to continue growing in what I do I believe that money has some part to play. So if there’s any way in which I can be of service, let me know. See you soon.