When you rub a stick across the bumps on the main stick, both propellers begins turning in one direction. When you say the special command, “Hooey”, both propellers stop and reverse direction. This happens without any change in your rubbing motion. The video explains how to make it happen.
Although this toy has been around for many years, it continues to amaze people both young and old. Very few people however have seen a twin propeller version. I’d like to offer my version because it is also a fun, simple wood working project.
Step 1: See It in Action
Watch the video to see how to get the propellers to spin and how to to use the magic word to get the propellers to reverse.
Step 2: Materials and Tools
1. 10” piece of high quality solid wood for the serrated main stick. . I used hard Maple.
Note: Since it takes such a small piece of wood for this toy you might want to consider making more than one at the same time….makes a nice gift!
2. 3/16” wood dowel for the propeller shafts.
3. 1/8” wood for the propellers. The propellers actually have a lot of flexibility in design and will be discussed later.
4. 1/2" wood dowel for the propeller caps and spacers.
5. 6” piece of 3/8 wood dowel for the rub stick
6. 15” Paracord for convenience to keep the rub stick and bump stick together.
1. Band saw
2. Table saw
3. Sand paper
Step 3: Prepare the Bump Stick
We'll call the main stick with the notches the "Bump Stick". The bump stick is 5/8” x 5/8”, 10” long.
Draw a line 1" from one end and 4 " from the other end. The 4" end we'll call the "Handle" and the other end is the "Prop" end. The section between the marks is where we will make the bumps.
Step 4: Marking the Bumps
All of the following marks are made in the bump area.
Draw a horizontal line full length 1/4" down from the top edge.
Draw vertical lines 5/8 apart from top to the 1/4" line.
Draw small vertical marks 1/4" in from each side of each 5/8" segment.
Draw diagonal lines form each 1/4" vertical mark to the bottom of each 5/8" segment mark.
Step 5: Cutting the Bumps
Now that we have all the bumps marked we have to set up for the cuts. The cuts will be made on the corner of the stick so we need to make a support to hold it while we cut.
A piece of 2 x 4 works really well for the support. Get a piece about 6” long. Then using a table saw, set the blade for a 45 degree cut and make a “V” by cutting on both sides of the 2 x 4. The depth of the cut is not critical but I would suggest about ¾”.
Lay the bump stick in the groove with the marks on the leading edge.
Now you can cut the bumps. A band saw works best but you can use whatever works for you. That would include hand carving, coping saw, trim saw, etc. Just make sure you cut straight up and down on the beveled edge.
After you finish with the cuts, lightly sand the top of the bumps. The marks allowed for about 1/8” tip surface in one direction but they are a sharp point in the other direction. Constant rubbing on the bumps may break off the sharp tips.
Step 6: Propeller Mount
This mount will support both of the propellers. From now on we'll just call it the "Prop Mount".
The prop mount is made from 1/2" stock, 5" long 7/8" wide.
On one side, make a pair of small marks, top and bottom, in the middle (2 1/2" from either end). These will be used as alignment marks later to attach the bump stick.
On the opposite side of the alignment marks, drill a hole for each prop shaft, 3/8” deep. They should be 1” from each end and in the center.
To improve the looks we need to trim the prop mount. Mark 2” from each end. Mark ¼” in on each side of both ends. Connect the lines as shown.
Cut along the lines. Round each end.
Step 7: Attach the Prop Mount to the Bump Stick
The last thing we have to do with the prop mount is attach it to the bump stick.
Lay the prop mount on a flat surface, hole side down. The top should have two alignment marks made earlier.
Stand the prop end of the bump stick on end on top of the prop mount. Line up the corners as shown with the alignment marks on the prop mount. If everything lines up ok, glue the bump stick in place .
Step 8: Install Propeller Shafts
The propeller shafts (prop shafts) are 3/16" wood dowel, 1" inch long.
Insert the prop shafts into the holes in the prop mount. I would recommend you NOT glue them in place yet. Make sure they are seated full depth.
Measure the length of the external shafts. They should be 5/8".
Step 9: Prop Spacers
We need to add small spacers on each prop shaft to keep the propellers from rubbing on the mount surface. The spacers are cut from ½” dowel. Each spacer is ¼” long. Wood spacers that small are fragile. We need to drill a hole slightly larger than 3/16”, depending on what drill bits you have available, so they easily slide onto the prop shafts. You could also use a round file and take out just enough to allow the spacers to slide over the prop shafts.
Make two ¼” marks on the ½” dowel. Drill the hole deep enough to go through both pieces. Cut the two ¼” pieces. Sand both edges to provide a smooth surface to glue to the prop mount and provide minimum friction for the prop to spin on. Glue the spacers in place.
Step 10: Propellers
The propeller size is really not critical. The propeller is the biggest challenge for this project. For reasons I cannot explain, some propellers require more work than others. You may have to experiment with some or all of the dimensions. This is the propeller I made and it works.
Use a high quality dense wood if possible to minimize the possibility of it breaking.
1. Make cross marks to find the center.
2. Drill a 5/16” hole in the center. Make sure the edges of the hole are completely smooth. Note that this 5/16” hole is much larger than the 3/16” prop shaft. The propeller must be able to flop around to work properly.
3. A balanced propeller makes it easier to spin. Measure the distance from the edge of the hole to each side and each end of the propeller. Cut/sand whatever is necessary to make each side and end equal.
4. Round off and sand the ends of the propeller.
5. Install the propellers on the prop shafts.
Step 11: Propeller Caps
We need to make a cap to put on the prop shafts to keep the propellers from falling off.
The caps will be ½” x ½”, rounded on one end.
Although there is more than one way to do this, this is the way I did it.
1. Using a small piece of ½” wood dowel, drill a 3/16” hole ¼” deep on one end.
2. Cut the ½” piece of dowel.
3. Insert a piece of 3/16 dowel into the hole to use as a handle.
4. Spin the dowel against a belt sander or insert the shaft into a drill press and hold sand paper against it. Try to make a smooth round end on each cap.
5. Repeat the procedure for the second cap.
Test fit the prop caps on the propeller shafts. Do NOT glue them in place yet. Spin both props to make sure they spin easily while holding the bump stick in any direction.
Step 12: Rub Stick
The rub stick is a 6" piece of 3/8" wood dowel.
Step 13: Test Run
Now it's time to give it a test run. Refer to the video for the proper technique.
Troubleshooting...what to do if the propellers don't spin
1. The propeller is a common problem. You will find it easier to test just one propeller at a time.
2. The size of the hole in the propeller is very important. It must be large enough to allow the propeller to actually flop around the prop shaft.
3. The propeller should be balanced as much as possible. Measure the distance from the edge of the hole to the ends and from the edge of the hole to the sides to make sure the hole is in the exact center.
4. You could also change the dimensions of the propellers, longer/shorter, wider/narrower, fatter/thinner, different type of wood, etc. Luckily the propellers are very easy to make so you can experiment with a lot of options.
5. Change the pressure applied with the finger to the side of the bump stick.
6. Change the amount of pressure applied with the rub stick.
Step 14: Final Assembly
If your Hooey stick is working properly, glue the prop shafts in place. Then glue the prop shaft spacers in place. Install the propellers and glue the prop shaft caps in place.
Now we can add some convenience parts. It is very convenient to have a way to keep the bump stick and rub stick together. One easy method is to drill a small hole near the base of the bump stick and the rub stick. Then tie a piece of fishing line about 15" long to each piece.
I have a package of Paracord to use up so that is what I used. It comes in bright colors and is extremely tough. Cut a piece about 15" long. Melt the ends with a match to keep it from unraveling.
We will need to make a connector to use on the rub stick. The connector is made from 3/4" wood dowel. You could probably make it from a standard piece of 3/4" wood also and just sand it down.
Cut a 1" piece of 3/4" dowel. Drill a 3/8" hole 3/8" deep on one end. Drill a 3/16" hole on the other end 1/4" deep.
Insert a piece of 3/8 dowel on one end to use as a handle and round off the other end of the connector. Insert a piece of 3/16" dowel in the opposite end to use as a handle and round off the other end.
Drill a 3/8" hole in the handle end of the bump stick, 1/4" deep.
Try to find a way to stand both the connector and the bump stick so you can attach the Paracord to both pieces at the same time. Fill both holes with clear epoxy or glue and insert the Paracord into both holes.
Your Hooey stick is now complete.