Hand Tools & Slingshots
Recently @Clever Moniker invited me to do a tutorial related to hand tools and carving slingshots. There are many different ways that you can make a good slingshot. If you have a properly equipped power tool workshop, the sky is the limit. If you are just beginning however, it may seem as though building your own slingshot is an insurmountable task. It can be overwhelming when you start to purchase expensive tools. It is my purpose in this article to take a minimalist approach.
A great slingshot can be made with nothing more than a pocket knife. This is a Flexcut Whittling Jack and is suitable for just about any kind of carving. I have made plenty of natural fork slingshots with just this knife.
Every project begins by obtaining and cutting to size an appropriate piece of wood. We need a selection of saws. The Fiskars pruning saw has served me well for five years. I keep it in my Jeep in case I see a downed tree on the roadside.
The Japanese Gyukucho Ryoba razor saw is my go to saw providing both crosscut and ripsaw capabilities.
Finally, there must be some type of turning saw for cutting curved shapes. I started out with a standard coping saw, but recently built a Gramercy Bowsaw with a turning blade.
The next necessary piece of equipment is a means to hold your work piece while you cut. I have three primary tools for accomplishing this. First, a standard woodworkers stump. Second, a universal work device such as the Jawhorse. Third, a means to hold and reposition your work while you are shaping. I built a vise horse for this purpose, and mounted a rotating Parrot vise often referred to as a Versa Vise. You can of course get by with nothing but a chair or your knee.
Shaping tools are the next thing on the list. You can start with an inexpensive Mora 106 Sloyd knife. It is less than half the price of the Whittling Jack. You can also get fancy and carve your own handle and order a specialty carving blade from a maker like Cape Forge. It is really not necessary, but it is really cool to have your own custom knife. Sculptors rasps like the Stanley four sided rasp will do the rough shaping work. You can add a sculptors curved rasp for rounded edges later. My most valued rasps are the Iwasaki extra fine F cut rasps. One flat and one half round will do the job. When you have develop your skills you can almost do away with sanding with these specialty planing Rasps. A hand drill for boring holes and a rat tail file for grooves will give you a fine well rounded kit.
For heavy waste removal a Shinto saw rasp and a Sureform round forming tool will complete your kit. A set of good scrapers will help in smoothing the surface of your work piece.
Thanks, and happy building!
Perry W. Phillips