Firewood Boomerang




after reading this you should be able to take firewood or other discarded tree cuttings and turn them into boards to make an awesome project (wink wink) .in this case i've made a showcase quality boomerang


Step 1: Tools and Materials


-safety glasses
-ear protection
-leather work gloves
-knife or machete
-ball pean hammer
-roofing hammer or hatchet
-wood planner
-table saw
-compound miter saw
-micro plane
-spoke/spindle shaver
-sand paper (80 and 250 grit)
-palm sander
-drill press
-1/2" and 1/4" drill bits
-coping saw


-firewood (oak in this case)
-dowels (1/2" and 1/4" )
-minwax polyurethane clear gloss spray
-wood glue

Step 2: From Firewood to Boards


now that you have all of your tools gathered .you need to select the right piece of firewood to make into boards .the piece you want needs to be square and as straight as you can find .selecting a round piece isn't wise since the circular grain is more evident .you want a square or rectangular ended piece that has a length of a foot or more depending on your design


i currently don't own a froe (a tool use to split wood into planks for use as shingles or clap boards) .so i improvised and used a knife that was of medium size .and i must say i'm glad i was wearing my safety glasses because the tip to the knife broke off and flew across the porch .luckily it wasn't worse then that ,though it easily could have been .after that is when i decided to use a machete (and yes its painted gold) .leather gloves made it much easier on my hands from the jolting of the hammer blows .in the drawing below it shows splitting from the ends but i had better luck splitting the piece in half and then splitting each piece after that in half until i had pieces roughly 1/2" thick


oak is a hard wood .and the grain does not want to separate easily .so there are peaks and valleys that need to be planned down to make nice and smooth .this is where the planner comes in .slowly bring the thickness of the boards down till you have a nice smooth even surface .when starting ,each board was about half an inch thick and when finished the boards were about a fourth of an inch thick .of the 15 total boards i made .i ended up only used 2 for the boomerang .the others being used to make a jewelry box for my girlfriend (instructable)

Step 3: Making the Joint


i started by selecting the two planks that had come from the log with the slight curve in it .the pattern i used i based off of the classic boomerang shape .place the two boards on top of one another and position them so the pattern fits allowing for some "fudge" room .one you have them how they need to go clamp them tight so they don't move .then draw a line on each side of the two boards so you will know where the excess that needs to be cut off is ,and where make the lap joint


i wanted the lap joint to go half way threw the board .rather then messing with a tape measure and figuring out what the half way measurement would be .i took a piece of paper and held it to the side of the board .marked a line where the top and bottom of the board meet .folded the paper in half so the two lines met and i then had a perfect reference guide for setting the height of the table saw blade .i used a test piece and the resulting joint was not flush .i later found out it was due to the saw blade .the profile of the blade wouldn't allow it to cut a square cut .though it wasn't evident just from looking at the blade .so the resulting joint had to be smoothed using my micro plane before gluing

Step 4: Bring in the Reinforcements


glue your joints together and clamp them tightly .once the glue is dry scrap or sand any excess glue from the joint .then place the pattern on the blank and trace around it .now its time to scroll .after cutting out the boomerang i found a small crack in one of the ends .to reinforce the ends i decided to cut a groove and place another piece of wood in it with the grain running perpendicular for strength


the boomerang was only about a forth of an inch in width i had to stabilize it by clamping a guide to it to rest on the top of the rip fence .set the saw height and then run it over the saw to make the groove .the tongue which will go into the groove (insert dirty joke here) will need to be the saw width as the saw blade .glue them and clamp .then you will need to cut the excess of the tongue off with a coping saw .follow the shape of the boomerang closely .a little sanding after will be easier then trying to fix it if you cut into the boomerang


unfortunately i didn't hit any oil or natural gas ,but i did make the holes i needed to put some pegs into the lap joint to further reinforce the joint .since it will endure the most stress if it crashes into the ground

i made three 1/4" holes and one 1/2" hole do to a flubup on my part .but i think it turned out adding more visually appealing cut little pegs from your dowel rods and glue and place them in the holes .after they dry cut them off and sand down smooth

Step 5: Shaping and Varnishing


the shaping is probably one of the easiest steps in building the boomerang .you need to make it look like an airplane wing .a tear drop on its side with a flat edge is a simple way to explain it without seeing a picture .use the spoke shaver to rough out your shape and further refine it using the micro plane and then the palm sander working down from 80 grit to 250


this to is an easy step .once you have finished your shaping and done your final sanding with the 250 grit paper .you need to seal it so the wood doesn't discolor or warp from absorbing moisture in the air .what finish you decide to put on the boomerang .you should read the instructions and follow them .one trick i've learned about varnishing is that you want to put on a first coat .lightly sand and then do your final varnishing and you will have a perfect finish



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    25 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 3

    Radial arm saws are nice for lap joints. A bit overkill, but nice. That way, you are not working blind.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    You've done a super job with the lapjoint boom. Looks like a winner. I have made and thrown hundreds of boomerangs and your looks as good as any I've seen. Nice instructable. keep up the good work. If your ever intersted in trading booms let me know.

    my collection lo res.jpg

    sure you could you a router to make the lap joint .ideally using it on a router table for precision .and the tongue groove was cut for the purpose of reinforcing the crack .but it does provide extra strength for the tips which is where the majority of impacts occur have i inspired you to make a boomerang of your own?


    Excellent! I have a router table! Yes, you have inspired me! I'm working on making a kalimba right now, which should be done soon. And right after that I'm going to attempt to make this boomerang! Thanks for the Instructable! :)


    unfortunately i still have not had a chance and a good day to test it .the days good to test i always seem to be busy .and when i'm not busy and want to test it we have winds blowing at 15mph


    9 years ago on Step 4

    is cutting a groove for the tongue necessary? or did you do that just because it had a crack in it that needed reinforcement?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    unfortunately i've not been able to test it out .i live in south east texas and the weather here is always changing so a nice boomerang day is hard to come by .though i'm confident it will return to me as it is the 5th boomerang i've made and the previous four do return


    10 years ago on Introduction

    High quality!
    What angle are your pieces of wood meeting at ~105o? And how important is this angle?


    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    its actually around 120 .and the angle isn't nearly as important as the shape of the blades .i have other boomerangs i've made with angles of 90 and even one thats only about 65 degrees


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Another good wood source would be old pallets. Some stores reuse them, but others simply discard them and would have no problem with you taking them off their hands. Check with the store manager first, to be sure. These are usually some kind of hardwood and may be old and dirty, but a quick pass through the planer will reveal the woodgrain underneath. Just be sure to remove any nails or staples first. I have heard that sometimes the wood used in pallets may have been treated with a preservative to prevent rot, so you may want to wear gloves and dust masks to be safe.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Actually in the U.S. by Law All Pallets shipped from abroad must be fumigated to prevent pests from entering the country i don't know about pallets shipped domestically, but since it's really hard to tell where your pallet came from dust masks are a must. you are right, pallets make a great source of wood for many projects, but never use them for firewood unless you want to breath toxic fumes.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very good work. But warning: boomerangs are amazing but dangerous. I made many of them, and I was pretty lucky not to have hurt an eye at anyone.