Hush it several inches down the tube so the breech end is exposed. Then, begin winding the tape around the breech of Lhe tube flush with or near the end.
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For maximum stability, wrap the tape until it is the same size as the inside diameter of your film can. This tape will serve as a stop that will keep the mouthpiece from coming off the end of the tube. Mouthpieces for homemade blowgyns include from left to right neck of plastic soda bottle, hotfowed-out rubber aurch tip, and 35mm film can.
Now slide the mouthpiece back toward the breech end until the inside of its base butts snugly up against the Lape stop. If the lit of the hole in your mouthpiece around the barrel shows any mafor gaps, you might w r ant Lo apply a small amount of silicone bathtub caulking around the tape before you snug up the mouth- piece to ensure an air-tight fit.
Now wrap another band of tape around the barrel so that it fits snugly up against the outside of the base of the mouthpiece. The Breath of Doath mouthpiece will extend slightly from the breech of the Lube to allow clearance for your lips. Another good choice lor a mouthpiece is a rubber crutch tip.
These are available In a variety of sizes at most hardware stores for a small cost. Using an X-acto knife, carefully cut out the cen- ter of the tip and remove it. There is usually a small metal disk inside the tip that also must be removed. Now simply slide the tip over the breech of your gun. You may eventually get more ambitious and try making a take- down blowgun. These guns are much more convenient to carry and are perfect for backpacking.
When assembled, they are just as accurate and powerful as one-piece guns. They also give you the ability to vary the length of your gun to suit the situation by adding or removing sections. Tieiif of takedown blowgun s. As mentioned earlier, takedown guns are most easily fash- ioned from brass tubing sold in hobby stores. As with single piece guns, make sure you rieburr the inside Sips of all your tube sections to keep darts from getting stuck in the bore or thrown off target.
Another simple method of fashioning a takedown gun is to use prethreaded PVC pipe and couplings. This tubing is available in hardware stores in 3-fool lengths threaded at each end. Since this tubing is intended for plumbing applications, it has tapered threads. The two ends of the barrel sections therefore will not meet when screwed into the coupling, and darts will have to iump the gap. This is acceptable as long as you chamfer or countersink the threaded opening of the muzzle tube to keep darts from hanging up on it, A final option for building your own blowgun is to go native and construct one from bamboo or solid wood.
A bamboo or simi- lar natural reed material gun can use a single tube as the barrel material or can consist of an outer supporting barrel tube with a barrel fitted inside it. The former design is practical only when you can find very straight, un tape red bamboo of the proper diam- eter, it is also necessary that the bamboo be free of splits and cracks that would cause air leaks.
To find such a piece, you will have to do a lot of looking. Bamboo can sometimes be found in carpeting stores, where it is used for carrying rolls of carpet- ing, or in import shops specializing in Asian products. B LOW GUNS; The Breath of Death When you do find a suitable piece, you'll have to fashion a lool at least half the length of your barrel to drill out the barriers between each section to create an open tube.
When doing this, keep as much of the Lip end of the bit submerged in a can of water to keep it from over- heating and losing its temper. The steel rod can be chucked up inio a hand drill and used like a regular drill bit. A powerful vari- able-speed drill is recommended for this purpose. Once the barrel tube is drilled open, you 11 have to improvise another tool to sand and polish the bore.
The bore can then be sanded and polished in two halves. When the bore is finished, glue the two halves together again with wood glue or epoxy and wra p with rope or cord until the glue dries. An even easier method — which gives the look of a traditional gun with the improved performance of a gun made from precision tubing — is to split the bamboo, cut out the barriers between the sections, and insert an aluminum, brass, or plastic lube.
This is prob- ably the best method of making very long guns, as the bamboo wii l provide sufficient support and protection fora thin barrel tube without drastically increasing the overall weight of the gun. The ultimate challenge for the do-it-yourself blowgun maker is to make a gun out of solid w r ood. If you should decide to try this, forget about trying to drill a straight hole through a 6- or 8-foot piece of wood: Instead, get two long, narrow strips of light, strong, kiln-dried wood and, using a router table with a biL that cuts a semicircular groove, route matching grooves in each piece.
Once everything is clamped in place, the dowels con be removed and any excess glue swabbed out of tbe bore while it's still wet. With your gun complete, you can now turn your attention to making darts or other projectiles to shooL through it. Puli details on that can be found in the following chapter. Other projec- tiles ranging from clay balls to glass test tubes to paint capsules can and have been launched successfully from a blowgun.
Darts are, of course, the most common type of projectile. The simplicity of their design, Lhough. All that is necessary is a thin shaft of some durable material with a plug or stopper of some sort affixed to the tail to provide a good seal in the bore of ihegun. Native tribes who used this type of dart would commonly notch the shaft of the dart just behind the head to weaken it In this way. This was most com- monly used with poisoned darts to ensure that the toxic head remained in the wound as long as possible to maximize Lhe amount of poison entering the bloodstream.
Commercial blowgun dan kits and completed darts. Bead-type dans are cheaper , but cone dans are foster and more accurate. The s to pjiers for these darts most often took the form of cotton fiber or thistle twisted around the tail end of the shaft to form a small ball of equal or slightly larger size than the diameter of the gun's bore. This made for a good air seal within the bore without adding much to the dart's overall weight. For darts made of very light wood, it w r as also possible for the stopper to be carved out of the shaft of Lhe dart itself. The stoppers for these darts are also made of modern mate- rials.
The music wire and steppers usually come in a kit form with the gun and arc assem- bled into finished darts by simply heating one end of the music wire over a flame and pushing it into the stopper. The hot wire melts the plastic and when it cools, the stopper is permanently fused Lo the wire. The dart can then be trimmed to the desired length and the point sharpened with a file, elccLnc grinder, or whetstone. Some modern darts go a step further and Include metal broad- head or blunt attachments that fit onto the tip of the wire shaft. The broadheads function exactly tike those on wooden darts, w r hile the blunts prevent the dart from penetrating and instead give it a stunning impact.
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This impact is still sufficient to kill small animals if hit accurately and will stun nr w r ard off larger animals wdthout permanently injuring them. They are also quite capable of cracking or breaking windows, should you over have the desire to do so. One traditional nondart projectile employed with the blowgun w r as a solid or hollow clay ball. These balls were shaped lo the proper size and then baked to harden them.
Like blunt-tipped darts, they relied on their impact to stun or kill small game. Mellow elay balls were sometimes filled wiLh Greek fire, a flammable mixture w f bich gave the balls an incendiary effect. For contemporary blowgun applications, clay balls can still be an effective projectile. In addition to their use on small game, they are good for harassing or distracting human targets, hitting quiet- ly from the darkness, breaking windows, and so on. Even if you purchase a commercially produced blowgun, you will find that the darts come in kit form and require some assembly.
Of course, if after reading this book you choose to make your own blowgan, you will have no choice but to fashion your own darts as well In any case, making blowgun darLs is not difficult. The most durable and effective home- made darts are very similar In design to those supplied in commercial blowgun kits. Spring steel music wire is used for the dart shaft and some type of stopper is affixed to the tail end.
The Breath of Death inch thick, or 1 3-gauge music wire, fn most cases, this works acceptably, but 1 have found that heavier gauges of wire provide better penetration and are less prone to bend after repeated shots. Darts made from heavier wire are also Jess likely to be deflected by cross winds or by striking a leaf or twig on the way to their target. Don shahs can be made of nails, bicycle spokes, spring steel, or bamboo chopsticks. My favorite dart material is gauge music wire i. It is also available in or inch lengths in many hobby and model shops. The shorter lengths have the advantage or com- ing perfectly straight but arc a bit more expensive.
The rolled wire is cheaper but requires that you spend several minutes with a pair of pliers to get each dart perfectly straight. Music wire is not like ordinary' steel wire, as It is made of high carbon steel and is heat treated to a springy hardness. This not only makes It more resilient, it also allows it to be sharpened to a nccdlelike point and stay sharp shot alter shot. These" will work just as well. Though a bit more expensive, thin knitting nee- dles make excellent dart shafts.
For short darts, four- or six- penny finishing nails from the local hardware store will work. Once you've obtained the material for your dart shafts, cut it to the desired length. I' ve found that 4- to 6-inch darts work well for most uses. These lengths fly with greater stability than short- er darts and are long enough to penetrate lo the vital organs of most small game.
Music wire can be cut with heavy wire cutters or an abrasive cutting disk on a Dremel tool. Be careful when doing this, as the hardened steel often shears, leaving a sharp, jagged edge. This should be ground off both ends with a bench grinder, Dremel tool, or fine metal file before moving on to the next step. Now you must fit some kind of stopper to the tail end of the dart to provide an air seal in the bore.
This can be simple or com- plicated, depending upon the material chosen for the stopper. This is cheaply obtained in the form of cotton baits or medical cotton rolls. Simply pull the cotton apart until it is stretched out and fluffy, then coat the tail of the dart with a few drops of super glu e, Tbuch the cotton to the glued surface and twirl the shaft in one direction. The cotton will wrap around the shaft until it begins to resemble a large 0-Tip. Make it a little larger than the size of the bore of your gun, then tear off the excess cotton and twirl the dart shaft between your fingers while shaping the stopper to its final size with your other hand.
With practice, you can fashion a cotton stopper for a dart in less than 30 seconds. This fact was not lost on native blowgu fi- ner s who realized that they could carry many more dart sharis without the stoppers affixed than they could prepared darts. When they got ready to shoot, they would pull a dart shaft from their quiver and a piece of cotton from a separate pouch usually made from a gourd and prepare the dart right there in liic field.
The disadvantage of this type of stopper is that it docs not last more than a few shots. You can prolong the life of this type of dart by spraying the stopper with a coat of lacquer, varnish, or even hairspray, but they still won't last as long as darts with more durable stoppers. A betLer stopper for a steel dart can be found in the plastic jewelry beads mentioned earlier.
They can be found in most craft and hobby shops. Just find a size that matches the bore diameter of your blowgun. If the hole in the bead is the right size, you can insert the wire shaft and glue It in place. It's always a good idea to try dropping your beads through your blowgun to make sure they fit before using them to make a finished dart. They aren't always made to exacting tolerances, and oversized beads are not uncommon. Another material that makes an excellent stopper for wire darts is cork.
If you're lucky, you can find a supply of small corks of the right diameter so you can simply stick your dart wire into it. Cork cuts easily with a razor knife and can be sanded to size with medium or fine sandpaper. Attach the fin- ished stoppers to the dart shafts with super glue or epoxy. If you were successful making stoppers out of wooden dowels, you should have no trouble fashioning some from wooden or plas- tic golf tees.
If the head of the tec is the same size as the bore diameter of your gun, cut off the tee head, center-drill it, and glue it on a dart shaft. If the lee head diameter is too large, place the shaft of the tee in the chuck of an electric hand drill or drill press and. Stoppers made from golf tees arc superior to corks or dowel stoppers because their conical shape makes them more aerodynamic. They also have the added bonus of being brightly colored so they are easier to find in the underbrush.
In fact, its not a bad idea to paint all your darts brightly for this same rea- son. Nail polish works very well for this purpose because Ills easy to use T dries quickly, and comes in some of the brightest col- ors you could ever imagine. The Breath rjf Death My favorite style of stopper for wire dans is the so-called air cone design that is popular with commercial blowgun manu- facturers.
This stopper Is molded plastic in the shape of a hol- low cone. It has the advantage of aerodynamic shape like a golf tee, with the added benefit of providing a superior air seal in the bore. When the force of the compressed breath hits the base of the cone, it expands slightly and locks into the bore of the gun. Tb produce a homemade dart of this type, 1 use a cone made of rolled paper in place of the molded plastic. Most types of paper can be used, but l vc found lhaL paper for photocopiers works best because it is suffer and less water absorbent than regular writing or typing paper.
This allows it to hold its shape better without being affected by the moisture from your exhaled breath. To make the cone, start with a strip of paper about 3 inches wide and fi inches long. Imagine that the point of the cone will be at the center point of one of the Jong edges of the paper and start rolling the end of LhaL edge in a semicircle around that point until you reach the opposite side and have a finished cone.
If you have trouble doing this, place the point of a sharpened pencil at the center point of one of the long edges of the paper, with the pencil running parallel to the edge. Then roll the paper around the sharpened part of the pencil to form a cone, it is important that the hole aL the point or the cone be no larger than the diameter of your dart shaft. Once you have it right, use a piece of Scotch tape to tape the loose edge of the paper in place.
Then insert the point of the dart through the open mouth of the cone and push it through. If the hole in the point of the cone is too small, carefully trim it with scissors to get it the right size. Push the shaft all the way in until the masking tape is wedged into the point of the cone. Now, with the point stuck in a piece of styro- foam to keep the dart upright, fill the lower half of the cone cavity with epoxy. If you want a little extra weight to guarantee good penetration, drop in a couple of steel BBs. When Lhe epoxy sets, you are ready to trim the cone to size.
Take a pencil and run the lead around Lhe inside lip of the muzzle of your blowgun. Then drop the dart into the muzzle and turn it a few Limes. When you pull It out. Cut right on the line, then try to fit the dart in the bore. Then carefully trim the mouth of the dart unlit you get a perfect fit. Polyurethane, lacquer, or paint works fine, but, as mentioned before, nail polish is the most convenient. Make sure to use a thin coat and paint the cone both inside and out. Then try the fit of your dart in the bore again when you're done. The thickness of the sealant can sometimes be enough Lo cause a dart to stick in Lhe bore.
The final step in making any type of dart is to sharpen Lhe point, This is saved for last to prevent accidentally sticking yourself dur- ing construction of the dart. Darts are most easily sharpened with a fine grlL wheel on a bench grinder or with a Dremei Look Final sharpening and touch-ups can be done with a whetstone. These tips are an advantage in hunting because they create a larger wound channel, which means more bleeding. These can be improvised by soldering mod- ified X-acto hobby knife blades to the tips of wire darts, but an easier method is to heal the tip of your dart with a propane torch until it is bright red and then hammer it flat on an anvil.
Alter you file it to a broadhead shape, heat it red hot again and quench It in water to harden it. Then sharpen it on a whetstone. Lhey are even preferable, as their lighter weight extends the range of your gun. Additionally, when shooting at targels in trees or other high places, missed shots with wooden darts will usually fall back to earth so Lhe darts can be reused. The Breath of Death that miss their target will normally stick into someth mg else and be much more difficult to retrieve. If you plan to use poison on your darts, wooden darts have an extra advantage in that the porous wood will hold poison much more readily than steel.
An assortment of wooden dans, The top d art come with a traditional Filipino biowgun. Materials can Include basically any type of hardwood, but bamboo, because of Us Fibrous nature and very hard skin, is the preferred choice. Constructing wooden darts can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Anything smaller will be too light to shoot accurately and anything larger will be too heavy. These dowels can be purchased in practically any lumber, hard- ware, or hobby store. Be certain that the dowel is absolutely straight, as a warped or corkscrewed one wilt not shoot accurately.
Then pul a drop of super glue on the tail end and twist a cotton ball around the shaft as described earlier. Alternately, a few small knife nicks in the shaft will snag the cotton sufficiently to allow you to wrap the stopper. The shafts of these darts can be reused and resharpened many times. The stoppers will be good for as many as half a dozen shots before requiring replacement. To save on space when carrying your darts in the field, you can do as described earlier and carry the shafts without the stop- pers and keep a supply of cotton separate.
This allows you to carry many darts without damaging the stoppers. When you are ready to shoot, you can roll your darts on site, fr you want to get more elaborate, a more permanent and durable stopper can be made from cork or wooden dowel as described in the section on wire darts. These stoppers can be held in place with while glue or epoxy and will allow you to reuse the dans many times. If you're really ambitious, you can start with a larger dowel and whittle, file, or turn it down to create a broad head point and a thin, integral shaft.
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With practice, you can learn to make the stopper integral as well. Otherwise, a cotton or glued -on wooden stopper will work fine. As mentioned earlier, bamboo is an ideal material for wooden darts. It is readily available in the form of bamboo chopsticks from any Asian market. These can be carved as described above and work very well.
If you look for the type with square handle sections, you can take advantage of the hard skin of the bamboo to increase the hardness and penetrating power or the point of your dart. Find the hard, shiny side of the handle that was the outer skin of the bamboo. That will be the base for your broad- head design. Done correctly, it will meet the base side so the point is triangular or half-round in cross section. The Breath of Death Shaping a bamboo dan may seem difficult a L first, but it will get earner with practice.
I usually use a sharp pocketkmfe with a relatively thin blade for most of the detail work. A straight- edged hobby razor works well, too. Be careful r though, as it will take off skin even quicker. A compromise between the traditional wooden dart and the modem steel one can be made by Lakinga wooden dowel and fas- tening a sicel point to it. The result looks very much like a minia- ture hunting arrow, ft gives you the advantage ol a light dart which will fly greater distances and a hard point which creates deep wounds that bleed a lot To make these darts, start with your standard, thin wooden dow r el.
Then Lake an X-acto hobby knife blade and clamp it in a pair of vise grips. Using a bench grinder and a fine grinding wheel grind it to a symmetrical arrowhead shape. Dip it frequently in a can of water to keep it cool and preserve its hardness. When it is completely shaped, clean it off with alcohol and use epoxy to glue it in the slot you cut in the dowel. Then sharpen both edges on a whetstone, I Is a good idea to make protective covers for the heads of these darts do pre- vent cuts. This is especially important if you ever plan to use poison on your darts since even a small accidental cuL can pro- vide an entry route fur poison.
An interesting variation of this type of broadhead dart works very much like the notched wooden darts described earlier. As you recall, these were intended to break off. This can be found at a hobby shop or. The idea is to create w r hat looks like a small socketed spearhead Lhat will slip over the Lip of a wooden or steel shaft. It is not glued in place hut held by frfction-fiLanly. These work even better if you use a Dremcl tool and a grinding disk to cut barbs on the blade and add a few notch- es to hold the poison.
Other types of projectiles that can be used in blow guns include various impact projectiles. Traditionally, these have taken the form of hails or bullet-shaped projectiles made of hard- ened clay. Although these can be made if you have access to ceramics equipment, an easier method is to use plaster of pans, plastic, or some oLhcr castable substance. If your hlowgun's bore is the same caliber as that of a pistol or rifle, you can use hand- loader's bullet molds.
The plaster or casting plastic can be inject- ed into the mold with a cake frosting bag or a similar improvised setup made from a paper cone. Make sure you lubricate the inside of the mold with pel role um jelly or some other nonstick substance before you start. If you made your own blowgun and have some tubing left over, coat the Inside of the tubing with a lubricant, cork one end, and inject your casting medium. When it s cured, push it out w ith dowel rod, cut it into sections, and sand the corners round. An easier solution is to use one of the many varieties of glass and plastic jewelry beads available in most craft supply stores.
These are available in many different sizes that are perfectly coin pa li hie with common blow- gun bore diameters. As mentioned earlier, it s a good idea to try all your beads for fit in your gun before you shoot to prevent a jam at an inopportune time. A short section of extra tubing used to make your gun comes in handy for this and is easier to clear of jams. In fact, such a piece is useful to have on hand for try-fitting all the projectiles and darts you make. My favorite method of making impact projectiles is to simply crimp a lead fishing sinker onto a cotton ball.
Blowguns: The Breath of Death by Michael Janich
Load the weight into your gun. These weights hit with surprising force and can do consider- able damage. Thfl Breath of Death gun is LG merely blunt the end of a spring steel dart. If you want to eliminate the possibility of puncturing your target altogether, you can bend the Up of the dart over double or crimp a fishing weight over the Lip. This has the advantage of keeping the weight and size of your impact darts the same as your sharpened ones so there s no need to adjust your aim when you switch from one to the other. Bdow these is a standard dart with its tip hen r over.
CHAPTER 7 W ith a few hours work yon can pre- pare a supply of the darts des- cribed in the previous chapter that will enable you to meet most of the chal- lenges Tor which a blowgun is suited. Perhaps the most useful type of spe- cialty dart is the syringe or hypodermic dart. Standard wooden or spring steel darts can be coated w ith practically any PRO JKCTII ,KS substance and shot into a target, bui a syringe dart makes it possible to put even greater quantities of that substance into your target s bloodstream. With an effec- tive syringe dart and a tranquilizer, the blow'gun can.
If the tran- quilizer is replaced with a more toxic sub- stance, it can transform the blowgun Into a very deadly weapon indeed. The easiest method of making syringe darts for a blowgun is to start with an actu- al plastic medical syringe. Sand off the finger hold at the base of the syringe so only the cylindrical body which is about ,40 inch in diameter, remains.
The body itself can then be sanded to reduce its diameter slightly for use in a ,caliber gun. I've bad better results by wrapping a few turns of narrow adhesive tape around the base of the tube La increase its diameter to half an inch for use in guns of that bore size. Large-gauge needles around 20 gauge are preferred because they give the dart enough strength to penetrate without breaking and they ensure the maximum transfer of the poison or drug.
Syringe darts made from 1 cc medical syringes.
The dart on the left has Q lead fishing sinker crimped onto the plunger to increase rt i forward momea turn. The plunger in the middle dan has a rubber bond asskr. An unaltered syringe is shown on the right far comparison. This inertia i force Is obviously less than that produced by pressurized darts; therefore the amount of the contents expelled is also considerably less.
A tassel or plume of wool yarn at the back of Lhe plunger can be added LG stabilize it so it flies point -forward in flight. Obviously, the harder these darts hit. Lhe more of their conLcnts will be injected into the wound. Therefore, close-range hits on exposed skin arc preferred. Il should be noted that empty syringes make excellent impro- vised darts by themselves. The body can be trimmed in length and the plunger removed completely to lighten it.
Several years back, 1 had an acquaintance who was an army medic, lie had fashioned a very effective blowgun ou t of a 3-foot piece of glass lab tubing and used syringes for darts. The glass tubing provided very little friction but obviously w r as fragile. One additional comment; a syringe dart, by virtue of its hollow shaft, has great effect when shot through the sidewall of a car tire, should you ever be inclined to do such a thing.
Jfit is necessary to get more of Lhe substance into your target's bloodstream, you can modify the syringe darL by adding a rubber band assist to the plunger. Using an X-acio knife, star! Don't cut straight down Into the hole or the rubber band will pull out w f hen stretched. Now lake a small rubber band and slip it through both holes so one end loops around Lhe outside of the syringe body and the other slicks out the back of the lube. Now, very carefully heat r ' I ': Hold it over Lhe name for only a sec- ond or two, then, with the point of a paper clip, press into the syringe body to create a dimple on the inside.
Insert the plunger ail the way into the syringe and carefully tie a knot in the loop of the rubber band so it lies directly over the back of the plunger. Tb cock the dart, pull the plunger back until its rubber stopper is held by the row of dimples. Return to Book Page. Preview — Blowguns by Michael Janich. The Breath of Death by Michael Janich. The Breath of Death 2. The blowgun is a mysterious tool of silent death.