Throwing The Boomerang

Your boomerang will return! I guarantee it, providing you learn to throw it correctly. But don't worry, it's easy.

Pick a big, open field and a day with a mild breeze-about 5 MPH or less. At higher wind speeds throwing gets tricky, and 10 MPH to 15 MPH is too much. Throw from the center of the field so there are no obstructions. Trees have a habit of snagging boomerangs as if trying to reclaim their wooden origins.

With the boomerang held vertically, toss it with an overhand motion (Ike throwing a has.

Check the wind direction, then throw the boomerang at 2 o'clock to the right of the wind.

WIND

THROW

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Grip the boomerang by wrapping one finger around the tip of the throwing arm, with the flat side away from you.

Check the wind direction, then throw the boomerang at 2 o'clock to the right of the wind.

Grip the boomerang by wrapping one finger around the tip of the throwing arm, with the flat side away from you.

WIND

THROW

Boomerang Seabreeze

Run grain direction of top ply this way.

Add 2 in. to the length of the throwing arm to change thefKght

You a leftie? Reverse the positions of the leading and

Leave bottom side flat

FIG. 1: PLYWOOD BOOMERANG

MOOCFY CROSS SECTION FOR DIFFERENT EFFECTS

Plywood glue lines help to visuafize airfoil shape.

TRAILING EDGE

Excessive bevel croates drag. Boomerang fies out and back fast wtthout galnlng altitude.

LEADMG EDGE

Shape top side.

Bevel underside of leading edge for more Sft Boomerang

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Snare the boomerang with a "dap catch," trapping it between your hands as you bring them together. Keep fingers away from the sptvwwtg wings*

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all. Aim for the horizon and give It a spin with a snap of your wrist as it leaves your hand.

back toward you. sometimes doing an extra loop until it settles back to earth. You throw the boomerang vertically, and it comes back horizontally. The effect is amazing.

If the boomerang lands to your right, aim a little bit more to the left. If it lands in front of you, throw a bit lower. Behind you, throw a bit higher. You can increase the range of your boomerang by taping a penny to the tip of the leading arm or both arms. Moving the penny along the arms makes for drastically different flight patterns. If you especially enjoy one placement, you might drill a hole at the spot and inlay a small weight made of lead or brass. Try to catch the boomerang with a clap catch, trapping it between your hands as you bring them together, palms horizontal, keeping your fingers away from the spinning blades.

Grasp one arm of the boomerang so the flat side is against your palm, facing away from you. A single finger wrapped around the tip of the boomerang's throwing arm is all you need.

Face the wind and imagine it's coming at you from the 12 o'clock noon position, then turn slightly to the right, and loss the boomerang at the 2 o'clock position. (For lefties, turn to the left and toss at 10 o'clock.) Toss with an overhand motion, like a baseball, with the boomerang nearly vertical, straight up and down (never side-arm). Give the boomerang an extra spin with a snap of your wrist just as it leaves your hand. Aim for the horizon. The boomerang will flv straight out for some distance, suddenly veer skyward, and then begin to curve all. Aim for the horizon and give It a spin with a snap of your wrist as it leaves your hand.

Snare the boomerang with a "dap catch," trapping it between your hands as you bring them together. Keep fingers away from the sptvwwtg wings*

MÀRCHMPRI 1991 k 59

Boomerang Lambada
Draw the pittern of a boomerang on a sheet of thin plywood and cut out the blank with a saber saw.
Sanding Disc Attachment For Drill
A disc-sanding attachment on your drill is good to rough out the airfoH shape on the wings of the boomerang.

Take the boomerang out to an open field to fine tune the shape with a four-in-hand rasp—tossing and fKng as you go.

Take the boomerang out to an open field to fine tune the shape with a four-in-hand rasp—tossing and fKng as you go.

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with your emerging boomerang, and to me this part of the work is more of a meditation than a labor.

Beveling the underside of the leading edge produces more lift, while excessive beveling (past 15° of slant) creates drag. (See Fig. 1.) A crude airfoil-shaped cross section on the arms might be sufficient to make a boomerang fly in a strong sea breeze, whereas a perfectly curved cross section might generate too much lift and the boomerang would get blown downwind. Every subtle change in shape and wing contour gives a boomerang a different personality in flight.

Remember, don't lay these fledgeling boomerangs on the grass, or they'll warp. Stacking your raw boomerangs together with rubber bands ensures they remain flat.

It's marvlous how just a few strokes of tfic rasp (don't overdo it) on the tip of a wing can achieve more spin or lift or drag or drop. Part of the fun is finding out for yourself just what a little shape-shifting can do to the flight. For example, suppose I want to make a "fast catch" boomerang—one that goes out and back in a quick, tight, horizontal circle without gaining any altitude. To do this, I need a wing that doesn't generate much lift, so I shape excessive bevels to the underside of each leading edge. (See Fig. 1.) This "bad wing theory" creates a boomerang that screams around a tight circle and comes back at you fast, without loitering skyward. On the other hand, a wing profile with an nice curve on top and a flat bottom will more likely have your boomerang hovering brcathtakingly over your head.

Once you've made your peace with the tuning and retuning of your new boomerang through flight testing, you can apply a finish. A few coats of enamel paint (sanding between applications) with a final clear poly-urethane coat will produce a durable finish. Purists simply finish their boomerangs with linseed oil, to contemplate the grain of the wood. I use day-glo paints to make my boomerangs more visible for competition throwing, and I apply the paint with a brush instead of an aerosol can (aerosols help widen the "ozone hole"). But really, anything goes when it comes to decorating your boomerang. You can make stripes, dots, inlays, drawings—anything to get you in the mood and celebrate the magic of flight.

The same goes for throwing the boomerang. (See sidebar.) I urge you to indulge in the Aborigine legacy of communion with nature: smell out the wind currents and thermals of the day. toss like some savvy sailor, and dance a Lambada with the capricious wind as your partner. Your boomerang circles about the border of a field, soaring above trees and streams, past delighted spectators, and back to you to complete the circle. The boomerang personifies just being there in the immediacy of your toss and flight. To throw one is to have a ritual with your local surroundings. The boomerang effect is a great lesson in karma: you get back as much or more than you throw out. A

Burnaby Ruhe is captain of the U.S. Boomerang Team, which won the World Team Cup in 1989. He'll be trawling to Perth, Australia in April to defend the title. He has been making his own boomerangs for competition since 1976. Ruhe works as an artist in New York City.

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by nick engler

A Decorative Shelf in the Southwestern Tradition

This bright and playful wall shelf wfl serve as an attractive setting for everal distinct forms of furniture have evolved out of the Southwest furniture tradition. Among them were decorated hanging shelves called repisas in New Mexico, or zarzos in the rest of Hispanic America. In the old days, it was common for each room in a Southwestern home to have a repisa on its wall. These shelving units were usually of modest size, having only one or two shelves each. They were used to hold candles, pottery, personal articles and other small items. If a repisa hung in a kitchen or near an entrance, the aprons or the front edges of the shelves were often fitted with pegs to hold dried chilics, cooking utensils, hats, wraps, or lariats. Some repisas were tiny shrines displaying satitos, painted or carved images of saints.

The repisa shown here is built in the traditional Southwest style, copied from historical mestizo (Hispanic/Indian) forms. The arched backboard shows Spanish influence, while the rectangular shapes arc stylized Pueblo "cloud steps"—a common Southwest Indian motif. Like most folk furniture, the construction is simple. The shelves rest in dadoes in the up-

FIG. 1: REPISA

APRON PROFILE

Wood Working 101

Wood Working 101

Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.

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