Stuck at Home? Build the Mini Trebuchet!

Marc – "The Wood Whisperer" is sponsored by Powermatic and Titebond. Well, if you're stuck
at home you may as well make something great with the kids, so we came up with this
little trebuchet design. Mateo's gonna help me build it. You like it so far?
– Yeah. – It's pretty fun, right?
– Yeah. – Okay, let it rip! Oh yeah! All right, let's build it.

Cut all of your parts to
the sizes in the cut list. I precut the parts to
width and had Mateo come in and help me cut them to length. All of the parts are a half-inch thick. You can use plywood or solid wood. I'm giving Mateo some
time with both my Western and my Japanese saws just to see if one comes more naturally to him.

Turns out the Japanese pull
saw seems to be more his style, that is, when he's not
looking at his iPad. Yeah, baby! In the end you'll want
one arm and two supports, a base, four sides and two posts. The sides are cut at an
angle mostly for looks. You can keep 'em as
rectangles if you like. These can be cut with
a jigsaw, scroll saw, bandsaw or even a hand saw. After the kid gets bored and leaves, I fire up the bandsaw and finish the cuts. Don't judge. With the big man back in the shop, we can start gluing the parts together. The arm supports are glued
to the back of the arm.

– [Mateo] Five! – [Marc] The side assemblies are pre-glued using the base piece to keep
things straight and square. I'm only using a little bit
of clamping pressure here since I don't want the pieces to buckle. At the top of each post we need to drill a 1/8-inch hole for the brass rod. Try to drill as straight as possible and use a drill press if you have one.

The 1/8-inch brass rod is then cut to about 3 1/2 inches long. You can substitute a wooden
dowel here if you need to. A little sandpaper can be used to get those sharp bits off the ends. Now insert the brass rod into the posts and spread them apart so that
the base can fit in between. Add some glue to the bottom
edges and clamp it in place. Now we need to drill another hole all the way through the arm assembly. Again, try to drill as
straight as possible. Now, this hole actually needs
to be a little bit wider than 1/8 of an inch so
that the arm swings freely.

Either ream the hole
with your 1/8-inch bit or use a slightly larger
bit if you have one. On the underside of the arm, we'll screw in a little baby eye hook. At the front of the arm,
drive in a small headless nail like the one shown here. And at the back of the arm,
screw in a larger eye hook. Now add some superglue to
one of the holes in the posts and insert the brass rod
through the arm assembly and into the other post. Before the rod goes all the way in, get a little bit more
glue on the other side to help secure it in place. Now take a piece of leather or canvas, whatever you have on hand, and drill or poke two holes in the sides so that we can tie some string to it. The string should be long enough so that the projectile reaches the posts. It's probably best to just cut them long and trim 'em up as needed.

Tie one end of the string to the eye hook. Tie the other end to a
small 1/4-inch washer. By the way, if your knot tying
skills are as bad as mine, try a dab of superglue to
make sure things don't slip. Now, the weight system is
something I cobbled together, so feel free to get creative here. But you do need quite a bit
of weight in a small space so I'm using a bolt
and a bunch of washers. A vise helps a lot here. The first washer will prevent the larger washers from falling off. I have about 20 large washers on there. Thread some string through
the hole and tie a knot. Thread the other end through the eye hook on the back of the arm
and tie another knot. If you have some extra string, go ahead and loop it through a few times and this way you'll just
make it that much stronger. And that's really all there is to it. Place a projectile in the strap, I recommend something
that isn't going to hurt, and put the washer over
the nail and let 'er rip.

Now it's time to let
the kid have some fun. – Ready!
– Ready? Three, two, one, let it go! Oh! – Holy mama! – Go.
– It's raining wood, guy! (upbeat music) – So hopefully this
gives you something fun and productive to do with the kiddos while you are stuck in
the house quarantined. Or you know what, if you're
watching this much later, this is just a fun little project to do. And one thing I wanna
say is it's very easy for me to present a
video that makes it seem like we just had the perfect
father-son experience. The reality of it is kids are
a pain in the butt sometimes, especially in the shop, doing
things with their hands. You can kinda keep their attention for a short period of time, but you can't be too hard on them. Often they're gonna wanna
go back in the house and they're gonna lose
interest, and that's okay. That happened many times
during this project, so yeah, I built most of it.

But in the end, Mateo had his hands on multiple parts of this project, and in his mind he feels
like he built this. And that's the pride of craftsmanship that I'm trying to instill in my children. Was he in here the entire time? No, did he have to be? Absolutely not, I don't really care. He had fun, I had fun,
and I didn't push him to do more than he really wanted to do.

And at eight years old I think that that's perfectly fine to do. So don't be too hard on
yourselves, you know? I mean, tensions are high right now, especially in homes, where
we're all kinda stuck together. So just have fun with
it, get the project done, and in the end you got a fun little thing to launch some stuff around
the yard with, all right? So thanks for watching, everybody. Good luck, stay safe, stay healthy. (upbeat music).

As found on YouTube

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