Projects: Stick Gun

I'm a bloke who likes projects. I'm also bloke with young kids. So here we have a bloke project, for the kids :)

stickgun Find a good stick; a dry Karri branch is perfect.

I'm down south, walking through the bush with my kids, my son is picking up sticks and using them as light sabers/guns. He says to me "make me a light saber" and I say "Well, you've already got one, a light saber is pretty much just a stick. But, I could make you a stick gun..."

What I liked about this project is it appeals to both adults and kids. To the kids, because it is a cool toy gun. To the adults, because it is totally made from a stick that has fallen out of a tree; no glue, no screws, just a stick.

Firstly, find a stick. Karris are everywhere on my block, they are self loppers, so dry karri sticks up to 40-50mm at the fat end are easily found. Perfect.

Main stock+barrel and a handle.

All I used for this project was a jigsaw, a drill with a 10mm bit in it, a knife and a hammer.

First job is to cut a section out of the stick that represents a good size stock+barrel for a gun. Notice with this stick I found a bend what was a good look for the stock. (I played a few WW2 first person shooters many years ago, I had pictured in my mind the stg sturmgewehr 44, but lets not get carried away, it's just a stick gun :))

Make a cut with the jigsaw on the handle, and a matching cut in the stock. Use the cut you made on the handle as a guide where the cut in the stock goes. Notice I angled the handle backwards a bit; take that into account in your cuts.

Joining with a dowel stick.

Hold the two parts together, and drill straight through the guts of it with about a 10mm drillbit. Then cut out a small section of stick that is about 10mm wide, to be used as a dowel, use your knife to whittle it down so it is a tight fit into the hole. Not too tight, but tight enought that you need to use your hammer to bash it through the hole until it pops out the other side. Make the dowel longer than it needs to be - when you have banged it in, use your jigsaw or your knife to cut the ends of the dowel flush with the body.

You could call it a gun and stop there, but don't! You haven't had nearly enough fun yet!

Attaching the forestock.

Find a part of your stick to make a forestock. The kids can pretend it is a pump action reloader, or a grenade launcher, but basically it gives them something cool to hold onto. You can see I've cut the rear end on the same angle as the handle - but don't be too serious about it, the sticks are all crooked anyway, it's part of the charm.

I decided that the forestock needed two dowels into the barrel, don't drill all the way through. Bang the dowels into the bottom.

Again, cut the bits of dowel flush with the forestock.

A dowel through the back for more strength.

The handle on the prototype stick gun started to get a bit loose after seeing some action, after all, it was only held in by the one first dowel. I remedied this by adding a dowel through the back of the handle into the back of the forestock. This made it quite strong and stable.

If you were striving for perfection and ultimate strength, you could put some glue on the dowels before driving them in. I didn't; I just ensured the dowels were a very snug fit. Be careful going too oversize on the fit, especially where the dowel hole is close to the end - she'll crack through.

You can "help" the dowels by cutting groves down the sides - that way the wood has somewhere to flare out into as it goes in.

Making the sight.

Now I think the most important part of the gun is the "telescopic" sight :) This is simply another little bit of stick with a hole drilled through the guts. Try to make sure you get it as straight through as possible, you don't want the opposite end coming through the side!

I cheated a bit - I drilled in from both ends making sure it was centred on the ends, and then ran the drill through when they met up in the middle to straighten out any mismatch.

Drill two dowel holes into the bottom of your sight, yeah, you will drill into the main sight hole. Bang some longer dowels in. Yeah, they will block the main sight hole. Don't worry about it, when it is fitted to the barrel, run the drill through the sight hole to clean it up!

Sight in place, muzzle hole drilled.

Now hold the sight over the barrel, and mark where the two longer dowels will need to go in. Drill in, don't go all the way through. Bang the sight into position, and once secure clean up the sight hole. As a final touch, drill a long hole into the barrel to make a muzzle, "where the bullets come out". Drill in as long as your drill bit. The kids won't even notice it doesn't go all the way through, it's still plenty exciting :)

And there you have it, a stick gun! Of course, once I'd made one the other two kids had to have one as well, even though they are girls :) They ran around looking through the sight "shooting" each other, great fun for them, great fun for me. The final one I made, once I knew what I was doing took about 30 minutes. You don't need to be accurate, look at the first one I made, you definately need to aim high!

Three stick guns for three kids.