When a chap has been set a challenge, what's to do but step up and meet it?
So, here I am proud to present the world's first Moustache-a-rang.
It flies just like any other boomerang, but not so efficiently, since there is a relatively large amount of weight close to the centre of rotation.
Step 1: Cutting.
The boomerang is cut from cheap 6mm plywood, using a scrollsaw.
I drew up a template in Inkscape, drawing on a randomly-googled moustache image as a rough inspiration, but adding extra "droop" to get it closer to a traditional boomerang shape.
You'll notice that the template has holes in it, where the ends of the moustache curl over. Do not cut these holes out of the plywood, though, or there will not be enough weight near the ends of the arms for the full, vital gyroscopic effect to occur.
Specific risks and hazards will vary from machine to machine, but there are some general guidelines:
- Fingers. Hold the wood behind the blade as much as you can (although some modern blades have teeth on all sides!), and if you can't avoid getting close to the blade, use a piece of scrap timber as a pusher.
- Eyes. I would say "use the guard", but I found the view through the guard to be far too distorted.Wear safety goggles instead.
- Dust. It turns out that scroll saw dust is finer than hand saw dust, and spends a lot of time air-borne. Wear a mask.
Step 2: Shaping
Boomerangs need a "wing" profile. Have a fiddle with your boomerang, decide which way up you are going to throw it, and work out which is the leading edge.
The leading edges need to be more steeply curved (at an angle of roughly 45o), and the trailing edges do just that - trail off and between 20-30o.
If you're not using a dremel, the best tools for shaping the boomerang are rasps, files and sandpaper or glass-paper. A cheap set can be had from a DIY store for a couple of pounds (few dollars). If you can only afford one file, make sure it is curved on one side and flat on the other.
You could use rasps and files to shape the wing, but I used my rotary tool, starting with a really course sanding-cylinder to quickly chew the profile into the wood, then smoothed it off with a finer cylinder.
This makes an awful lot of dust - even if you've cut very close to the outline, you're going to be turning roughly 20% of the wood into a cloud of dust, so wear goggles and a dust-mask.
Step 3: Finishing
A good moustache is a black moustache, so I finished the boomerang with a coat of black spray-paint, which has the added advantage of making the surface water and mud-proof.
Do this in a well-ventilated area, on a surface protected by old newspaper or some other covering you don't mind getting messy.
Step 4: Throwing the Moustache-A-Rang
The best weather for boomerangs is still air, or a light wind. Stand facing into the breeze.
Hold the boomerang vertically in your right hand, between finger and thumb, with the curved surface towards you (your thumb will be on the curved surface, and your forefinger will be on the smooth surface).
Lean the top of the boomerang slightly outwards, swing your hand back over your shoulder, and then flick it forwards rapidly.
It is vital that the boomerang is released with a powerful flick - if it doesn't spin fast enough, it will not return.
It may sound silly to say, but boomerangs don't fly in straight lines. When they fly properly, they fly in loops.
As you are facing into the wind, you are facing the furthest point your boomerang will fly. Throw your boomerang out to the right, about 20-40o from the way you are facing (if you are facing "12" on a clock-face, aim between one and two).
Hopefully, the boomerang will come back. As it flies, it will tilt, and be almost horizontal be the time it gets back to you. It will still be spinning quickly, though, so the safest way to catch the boomerang will be the clap it - smack two flat hands together to trap the boomerang as it passes.
Boomerangs are fun. They are cool. They let you show off when there's not enough wind for kiting. They can, though, be dangerous - spinning rapidly, moving quickly, they can cause potentially-serious wounds to the unsuspecting passer-by. Make sure your flying area is clear, or at least that everybody in it knows you are hurling unpredictable missiles around the place.
I have posted these flying instructions before. Just like last time, pay more attention to experienced boomerangerists than me, because I am still bad at throwing them.