Friday, March 09, 2007

I've been collecting odd implements of destruction for a while. One that you hear about but don't often see is the old sailor's weapon known as a slungshot or slung shot. It consists of a length of rope about as long as the user's forearm with a loop at one end and a monkey's fist knot at the other with a small lead cannonball inside the knot. Slungshots were never part of a ship's official armament. They were improvised for defense while ashore or made by criminals as "life preservers".

Since I was at the hardware store anyway I picked up a little of this and that and put one together this evening.

  1. 3/8" three strand Sisal rope
  2. Jute twine
  3. 16 oz. "cannonball" lead sinker
  4. Paraffin wax

  1. Made a three-strand eye splice in one end of the rope.
  2. Made a monkey fist knot at the other end.
  3. Before tightening up the monkey fist, put the lead ball inside.
  4. Tightened the monkey fist knot.
  5. Whipped the rope around the splice to protect splice and to hide messy job
  6. Continued whipping (West Country Whip) around the loop with waxed jute twine
  7. Gave the who thing another waxing.

Time elapsed for everything but the whipping: about ten minutes
Whipping: about twenty minutes.
Time to learn the knotwork: about fifteen minutes.

It's ugly, improvised and will bring the ones that don't usually come. Next time I'll use hemp rope and twine and add a couple extra loops in strategic places on the monkey's fist so the ball is completely concealed.

Note to self: It might be legal to carry this openly in Oregon. Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's a good idea. It will certainly make you fail the Police Attitude Test.
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