This project was entirely inspired by Steve Ramsey’s Wood Working for Mere Mortals YouTube channel. I’m really fond of some of the smaller wackier projects which Steve shows on his channel and I often get a lot of ideas from him. This particular project is a crossbow (pretty cool!) which fires small marshmallows (even cooler!). Having seen Steve’s video I decided I had to give this a go.
In an exception to my usual working practices, I actually didn’t need to model this project in 3D on my computer because Steve already provides plans for the project which can be downloaded and printed from his website. Having done that, it was just a case of cutting the pieces out and sticking them to some suitable lumber ready for cutting on the bandsaw.
I decided to use a two-tone effect (like Steve’s) as I thought it looked pretty cool. So I used oak for the handle and a mahogany type wood (Not actually sure what it is, as it came from an old table top I pulled out of a skip).
Once the pieces were cut I just had to clean them all up with the sander. For the most part this was pretty easy, but the more awkward pieces needed a bit of hand sanding to get into the nooks and crannys.
The bow section needed to fit snugly into the handle section. So I cut the waste so that the gap left was a bit too small and then just used a chisel and file to remove a little extra at a time until the sections fitted perfectly.
The design called for a couple of thin wooden strips to act as a guide to channel the marshmallow along the crossbow. I simply used a couple of leftover bits of the darker wood and glued them to the handle. Then it was a case of sanding this to a smooth curve.
Once this was done I could attach the bow to the body using a little bit of glue.
At this stage I spent a bit of time doing some more sanding to smooth everything off and to round over the edges so nothing was too sharp.
I also applied some finish at this stage. I decided to use boiled linseed oil, which with hindsight might not have been the best choice. It just made the oak look a bit too yellow for my liking. That being said it was only a bit of fun so I wasn’t not too bothered but I’ll know for next time not to use it on oak again.
The trigger itself needed a bit of shaping in order for it to be comfortable, and I did this on the bandsaw. Then it was a case of attaching it to the body. The trigger was attached using a little bit of string and dental floss…strange but seems to have worked great!
The final step was to attach the actual bowstring. In Steve’s video he recommends a product called Thera Band which is a physiotherapy tool to help strengthen muscles. Its super strong and comes in a variety of stretchynesses (…is that a real word?) Anyway I went for the strongest one as I wasn’t really sure how strong it would be. Turns out that the one I got is pretty much perfect.
I cut strips of the band and cut a length of string for the bowstring. I’d have rather used a thicker piece of string but I didn’t have anything better at the time.
One final addition was a small holder at the top f the crossbow which holds the marshmallows in place so they don’t fall off.
And that was it!
The crossbow works really well actually. I bought a big bag of marshmallows and spent the evening shooting at pretty much everything and everyone…great fun 🙂 My 2 year old daughter also learned what marshmallows are and that she really likes them…might need to limit the amount of ammunition I use after all 🙂