Almost forgot to post this one. Had a brief window of time last month and a request come in for a snake. Basic 6′ snake, BB and ball chain core, 8 plait belly and 14 plait overlay in black and yellow, if memory serves.

Top Shot, in addition to firing up my son’s interest in shooting things, rekindled my interest in instinctive shooting. I’ve been interested in instinctive shooting for some time now and a few years ago, when my boy was really too young, I went out and bought us a couple of Daisy BB guns ( a Buck for him and a Red Ryder for me).  Looks like now, he’s old enough to use them with me. So today, in addition to the slingshot mod, I made a quick and dirty (as most of my projects are!) plinking target out of a piece of scrap wood, a wire coat hanger and some empty beverage cans.

I cut the twisted ends off the hanger and bent it into the shape of a large staple, adding 3 shallow kinks along the long edge to help keep the cans spaced a bit. My piece of scrap wood was  the ideal length already so I just drilled a couple small holes on each end part way through to accommodate the ends of the wire. Then, to finish, I bent the tabs of the empty cans upward and thread them onto my wire, set the ends in the holes and that was that.

This is really a great little feedback tool. The slow moving zinc plated BBs are mostly visible in the sunlight, like little tracer rounds. Together with these target cans, you really can learn how to shoot without using your sights. It’s a lot of fun.


This week I’ve been working on trying to transition our household towards cutting our tv cable service. So we’ve been investigating Netflix and there we discovered Top Shot, a reality show/contest from the History Channel about extreme marksmanship. My 6 year old got totally hooked and we tore through all the seasons available. While I’ve already given him some basic tutorial in the little I know of basic archery, he has a bit of difficulty handling the bow. So the show got me to thinking about trying to adapt a slingshot to fire arrows. It’s not a new concept as I’ve seen it done in the past. But I hadn’t had a reason to give it much thought until now.

From previous key ring projects I had some solid 1″ rings that I immediately thought would make a great arrow shelf if I could figure out how to set it between the tines of a standard slingshot. And I considered a couple options for adding a string to the pouch area to take the arrow nock. But when I dug a little on the internet, I saw that there were already a number of solutions for firing arrows with a slingshot, including the ones I had.

I went to the store to buy a cheap standard slingshot. I didn’t want to spend a ton of cash on this project, but chose the more expensive wrist supported model as it would just be easier for my kid to use. Turns out I don’t mind it much myself, tho it isn’t as compact as ones without a wrist support. To this, I made two simple additions: I used zip ties to attach my ring between the uprights, and I threaded a piece of nylon utility cord through the holes of the leather pouch for the arrow, and then tied off the ends to make a little pull handle. Simple and effective.

Initially, I wanted to attach the ring using elastic bands to allow for repositioning of the ring to allow the firing of shot. But that would have entailed removing the surgical tubing and that was too much of a pain and I wanted to be shooting arrows within minutes so I didn’t bother. But I think it’s totally doable.

The technique for setting up the arrow was a little awkward at first and I think accuracy may suffer a little, but for our purposes, this conversion is quite effective and I’m very happy with it. We found that my home made dowel arrows with the duct tape fletchings worked well with this set up.

So if you want a cheap and easy way to get into arrow shooting, this is certainly it.

_MG_6717 Today I saw a Kickstarter project for this hand made leather handle attachment for bicycles that make lifting and carrying them much more ergonomic and comfortable. While I think it’s a great idea, ANYBODY can make their own out of synthetic cordage that you can just leave on the bike and it would survive the outdoors. The cost would be some time and a spool of appropriate cordage. Wrap your cord several times around the two pipes on the frame leaving a comfortable space for your hand, then form a grip using something like a Solomon bar knot and that’s it. Comfortable, durable, weather resistant and cheap. Heck, you could even just make the grip out of duct tape if you didn’t want to learn how to tie the Solomon bar, and you’d still get a lot of utility and comfort out of it compared to your investment.


While I don’t currently have a bike to do a tutorial on this, if I get enough requests, I can certainly hunt one down to make one of these to take some pictures.

Still no time to be making things as I would like, but I came across the Berkey water filter last night from a friend’s posting of this youtube video:

I’ve been concerned about fluoride for some time. Last Christmas season I bought an inexpensive counter-top water filter which hooks up to the tap in our kitchen and is able to remove fluoride from the city water. We’ve actually been really happy with it and the water tastes fantastic.

Looking into the Berkey design, it seems that as long as you can get the containers for the water and the ceramic filters, you can easily construct one yourself. Why bother? Well, the lack of pressure requirement is a plus in case of failure of the city’s water supply and you can filter rain water. The ceramic filters come in various grades and last a long time with some occasional maintenance. They do not remove fluoride without a secondary filter, however.

While I have not yet built one of these, I think it is well worth considering. I will likely build one in the future.

Here are some links for reference:

Instructions for a DIY Bucket Filter

Instructable – Cheap and Effective Water Purification System

(neither of the above use the secondary fluoride filter, but they would be attached to the threaded ends of the ceramic filters and hang within the lower chamber)