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Metro Made | The Back Bender

Having been an avid collector of mid-century modern furniture and a huge admirer of the Eame’s design manufacturing sensibility, I wanted to see if I could take the lessons I’ve learned from one of Industrial Design’s masters and apply it to something else besides famous chairs.

I am never one to compare myself direclty to the Eames’, but I do like to think I am a constant experimenter like they are. This time around, I wanted to take a slight three-dimensional approach to slingshot design, I speak, of course, the recurve slingshot. The recurve slingshot is a slightly more ergonomically design, made to fit the more canted, naturally forefinger/thumb forward position. ┬áThe frame is usually bent into a curve, where the middle, ring and pink fingers can more easily grip on to them.

In this instalment of Metro Made, I attempt to make a recurve slingshot. Many successful recurve slingshot designs involve carving and removing material to create the curved portion, but very few, if not at all, use a bent plywood frame.

I start with 5 layers of 1/8″ Baltic birch plywood. On the top layer of this soon-to-be sandwich I laser etch a pattern of the handle in which I wanted to be bent. These layers where, one by one, laminated together and then compressed onto a pine form. In hindsight, I should of cut the layers longer so that they would have more room to bend, I don’t like wasting material so I did what I could. This was clamped down for 45 minutes while the glue set up.

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After removing the now curved formed from the buck, I used the band saw to cut off the excess material, and use a medium size drum with 80 grit on the spindle sander to refine the shape.

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After achieving the desired shape, I turned my attention to the pinky hole. The majority of the material was removed with a 7/8″ spade bit. The final shaping was done with the spindle sander.

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You can see the handle take shape.

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Before gluing the two hemi-spheres together, the edges were knocked down with a 1/8″ round over bit on the router.

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Since it would be impossible to blend the Baltic birch together to hide the seam, it would a great chance to make a feature out of it. 4 stacked veneers made for a nice detail.

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After clamping to ensure the joint is as strong as possible, the excess veneer was sanded off and the mismatched routered edges were bended together with some heavy grit sandpaper.

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To further strengthen the joint, 3 nails were driven into the yoke.

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When placed on a flat surface, the full effect of the bent plywood combined with the vectored glue joint can be seen.

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Applying 3 coats of polyurethane, after each coat a rub down with some steel wool, the final result is a smooth slingshot with great grip. Since there is a potential danger of the forks separating, the heaviest band set I would place on this slingshot is Theraband Black.

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Thanks for reading yet another build post,

The next time I decide to make this again, I am going to do things a bit differently, but for a proof of concept, this recurve slingshot is some thing I can have a lot fun explaining how I made it.

-Stay True-

-Eric