When I was in 8th grade, I had a successful stint as maker of wooden boomerangs. As in, like, I could take a piece of baltic birch plywood and turn it into an apparatus that would fly back to you in a loping elipse when you chucked it into the air.
So I figured we’d go out with a bang here, on Day 30, and shoot for the first new boomerang since the late 90s. Our story today is one of nostalgia, careful work, and some clever handcraft. Alas, it has a bittersweet ending.
Step 1: Outline
One of the most successful designs from my former career was a straightforward L-shape, slightly less than 90 degrees. So that’s what I sketched out on a quarter-inch piece of white pine about 18 inches wide. (I did not find any suitable plywood in my dad’s shop, but as we’ll see, I should have looked harder.)
Step 2: Roughing Out the Blank
Been a while since I handled a bandsaw, but the feel for it came back pretty quickly and we had a nice-looking blank, ready for shaping on the belt sander, then by hand with whatever tools were close by:
Step 3: Prep for Shaping
When I got to this step, I recalled that back in 8th grade, I had a clever jig that sat in a rotating vice so that I could support the thin blades of the boomerangs parallel to the floor for shaping. So replicating something like that took some thinking. I came up with a serviceable jig that used a framing square to brace the blank. Worked pretty well:
Step 4: Shaping, Stumbling Block
I knew that working with a thin board would be risky. Plywood is considerably stronger at these thicknesses on account of the layers of glue, and the alternating grain of the veneers. Unfortunately, shaping the airfoils on each boomerang “wing” requires hacking away at the wood for a while, and given the orientation of the blank, I was pushing with a jagged metal file with the grain. And as I feared, the wing-in-progress snapped cleanly right along the grain:
It’s certainly frustrating when a project goes awry, and I didn’t have the time or additional materials to try again today. But the process was relaxing and surprisingly easy to get back into after more than a decade. So while this is the last of #30daysofcreativity, I’m not a bit sad completing this project will have to wait for another day.