Having been given a piece of industrial rubbber by a good friend of mine a few years back I made a rough impact toy that became known as The Howler. The handle was made from an old oak chair leg, a hand saw and a lot of sanding. My tools for making such an item were limited, however, despite that, the final item became a favourite of ours and has given us many hours of fun.
After the first one was made, I immediately wanted to improve on it. The issue I had was that I was still devoid of the correct tools. Wind the clock forward 3 years and I now have a some great power tools for making a lump of wood into something both practical and dare I say it, quite beautiful at times.
Having purchased a roll of industrial rubber belt from an on-line supplier that met my needs, I then needed to find the correct wood. For those of you not familar with turning wood on a Lathe, you can buy seasoned wood of different species from all over the world and in different widths and lengths. It makes life much easier if you don’t have seasoned wood in storage.
Now that I had my rubber, I had to work out the length to be installed. The original Howler had a 50/50 set up which seemed to work well and had a good balance, so I stuck with that.
I decided to with Sycamore wood for the handle. I was easy to work with and had a good strength to it which was important as I would need to cut a chanel in the end of the handle to accomondate the rubber which would be doubled over.
It is probably a good time to mention why the rubber is doubled and not just a single strop. The one thing about the Howler design is that there is weight in the end of the bent over rubber. It can be thuddy and pack a punch or it can be used by laying down the entire lenghth of the rubber and getting both a resound crack and a mighty slap on skin.
As I said, the handle would be Sycamore and after some hours work with various tools I had the handle looking very much as I wanted. It still needed to be separated from the ends to support it on the spinning lathe, a section to be cut for the rubber and of course lots of polishing.
The cutting to mount the rubber was a real pain due to a slightly worn band saw belt that did not want to travel in a straight line. After a fair amount of swearing I managed to get the job done. A couple of holes were needed for pegs to be hammered in to place to hold the rubber and all was left was the polishing and assembly.
I thought the finshed item came out well and it also gave me a some confidence both in terms of using sharp tools and fast spinning wood to produce an item from a mental plan.
As we already had The Howler Mk1 I thought it would make a nice gift for our friends PS & Gem who did say they would do a review! How cool is that? They were both very kind to try it out within hours of it arriving by post and give me a picture to show how effective it was. You can’s ask for more than that can you!