Two Boomerangs

There's something almost magical in the flight of a boomerang. It is merely a piece of wood, but yet, when shaped and thrown properly, the boomerang will take off on a straight line, go into a climbing swing to the left, and then drift back to its point of release. Each boomerang has its own unique flight characteristics, and seemingly identical models will perform in different ways.

Although similar types developed separately in Africa, India, and among the Hopi Indians of Arizona, the familiar boomerang is invariably associated with the Australian aborigines, who used them for hunting. Actually, there arc quite a few wooden devices that will describe a circular flight and return to the thrower. Of these devices, which we shall refer to collectively as "boomerangs," the Australian model is perhaps the least predictable in its behavior. It is also the most difficult to make, and certainly the most dangerous to use, for it is capable of inflicting serious injury.

Simple cross-stick and pinwheel boomerangs can be carved from thin pine in a matter of minutes, and will outperform the Australian types with respect to accuracy and precision return. (Jniike the heavy, fast-moving Australian boomerang, the cross-sticks do not require a vast open space for throwing.

Australian Boomerang

The Australian version must be made of clear, even-grained hardwood, and oak, maple, or ash is suitable. Lay out and cut the shaded portion of the boomerang from or I" stock: then rip the piece lengthwise to get two perfectly identical wings. A band or scroll saw will cut a narrower kerf, leaving two pieces of about thickness. Cut a half-lap joint on each piece, leaving the top lap a little thicker than the bottom to allow for the shaping of the top surface. Glue the two wings together using a form with two blocks to force the wings into a permanent upward deflection of '/*" to Sand or plane a bevel on the bottom of each leading edge as indicated by the dotted lines on the drawing. Remove no more than 'At" of wood for a distance of 5" from the tips.

Now turn the boomerang over, clamp it to the bench, and plane and rasp the top surface from about %" thick at the center to '//' thick at the wing tips. Round the top surface into a smooth curve with a sharp edge as shown in the cross section. Smooth up with sandpaper.

The curved boomerang is thrown in a vertical position. Hold it at the end of one wing tip, with the curved top side facing you and throw it straight forward at shoulder level, giving it wrist action for a fast spin. An average boomerang will

Thickness Boomerang





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Designs For Boomerangs

K<> forward for about 40 yards, then start climbing and swinging to the left before planing back in a wide curve. Failure to return may be caused by too flat a top or not enough bevel on the bot tom. A double flight loop indicates too much bevel, Breezy conditions may also cause erratic flight. Please do not permit unsupervised children to use this type of boomerang.

Cross-Stick Boomerang

Fo make a cross-stick boomerang you will need two pieces of clear white pine V thick x IV*" wide x 18" long. Round off the ends, place each stick on the edge of a knife blade, and mark the balance points. At a point 1" from each side of the balance point, shape the upper surface of each stick into a roughly convex form as shown in the cross section. Leave the bottom side flat.

Make a mark on the flat side 6" in from each end and then hold the stick over a candle flame so that the flame touches the flat undersurface at the 6" mark. When it is heated, take the stick in both hands and bend one end slightly upward at the 6" mark, and hold it in this position for a few seconds. The end of the stick should remain permanently bent in an upward deflection of about y«". Repeat the process at the other end. and then bend the second stick in the same manner. All that remains is to glue and clamp the sticks together, one on top of the other at their balance points.

Throw the boomerang by holding it near the tip of one wing in a vertical position, with the convex side facing you. Throw the boomerang



straight forward with a wrist snap downward to give il plenty of spin as it is released. If the boomerang docs not return properly, try throwing it at an angle, inclined either toward or away from the head. This type of boomerang requires calm air conditions to perform properly.

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