Make Yourself a Set of Real Hopi Indian Puff-Guns (Sep, 1930)
Make Yourself a Set of Real Hopi Indian Puff-Guns
With a little practice you can blow arrows through this gun into a five-inch circle at 10 paces. Wholly aside from the amusement and skill, it strengthens lungs and chest muscles. The arrow flies swiftly and has a surprisingly flat trajectory. Drop in 50 feet is usually less than 6 inches.
GET a straight piece of bamboo about 1-1/4 inches in diameter and 4 feet long. Each end should be cut through a joint and the ends filed smooth and square. An old brass bedstead will furnish a piece of tubing 50 inches long. If a seam runs down the side so that air escapes, solder it up. If you run into difficulties, you can get a piece of seamless tubing from a light fixture house for a few cents.
Heat one end of the tube and burn a hole through the joints and run the tube through the bamboo so that each end protrudes a little. Next pack paper about the tube from the second joint half way to the muzzle end. This can be done with a wire. While in an upright position pour melted sealing wax (not paraffin) about the pipe on top of the paper until the space has been filled. This is shown in the muzzle detail. The wax holds the tube securely in place and will not soften under ordinary temperatures.
Carefully make a hole through the exact center of the solid end of a crutch rubber just a little smaller than the tube.
Put the rubbers in position as shown in the mouth piece detail. Place your hand over the muzzle end and blow. If there is no leakage, your gun is ready. As a last precaution, squint through the barrel and see if it is straight. A gradual curve can be remedied by removing the wax, sliding the tube out and bending it until the center is about 1-inch off center. Care should be taken not to kink the tube. With the bend of the tube reversed to the bend in the bamboo one should neutralize the other.
For arrows, use thin round hardwood sticks not over 1/8-inch in diameter, 14 inches long. In some cases, dried cat tail stems will do though they will usually have a bend in them.
Thick, short needles are used for points. Heat them hot and let them cool slowly to remove the temper and prevent breakage. Later heat the eye end and push it into one end of a shaft. This should set in about 94-inch. When the hole has been burned deep enough, remove the needle, let it cool, then smear it with good liquid glue and tap back in place. Wrap with a number of turns of thread after the front end of the stick has been dressed down with sandpaper to the shape shown. If the thread is rubbed with glue, the ends will not come loose. Thread prevents the end from splitting. The other end of the arrow is provided with a small piece of cork. These corks must be shaped by hand. They should be not over 1/4-inch thick with the front end about 1/4-inch in diameter and the rear end a little larger— in fact just small enough to pass into the brass tube without rubbing so that a light puff of air will send it through the barrel quickly