Making Wooden Bullets

Making Wooden Bullets

Hunting vampires with a crossbow is such a 90’s thing. If you want to do it the right way, you need wooden bullets.

This project is a collaboration between Peter and Jeff from TAOFLEDERMAUS. It combines Peter’s weird experiments with his lathe with their weird experiments with shotguns in order to create the ultimate fusion of potentially bad ideas.

The secret sauce for this project is Mexican Ironwood, a type of wood that’s so thick it sinks in water and so hard woodworkers avoid it religiously.

Mexican Ironwood

On the lathe, it starts out slow, and Peter ends up swapping over to his carbide tools in order to shape it properly. Precision is the most important factor here, as a misshapen slug can do some pretty bad things to the inside of a shotgun.

The final shape looks good, and the ironwood really benefits from a coating of linseed oil. Savvy readers will notice that the design is based off from air rifle pellets instead of the more ogival profile of most wad slugs. Readers who still play Words with Friends in 2017 will notice that, yes, “ogival” is actually a word.

Per-request, Peter drills a hole in one of the slugs in order to add a screw for balance. The slug ends up breaking, although with the help of some wood glue Peter gets it back together.

But three wooden slugs aren’t enough. Who goes to the range just to shoot three slugs? It’s time for the bonus round.

Resin slugs!

Using silicone putty to make a quick mold (it’s great for small items), Peter casts one of the wooden slugs. It only takes 20 minutes to set, and then it’s time for the resin.

For this project, Peter’s using a fast-setting resin with some yellow dye that a viewer sent in. The resin manages to set so quickly that it makes the cup hot to the touch, and, with a bit of off-camera magic, Peter makes a set of three.

And there’s the full set! Three ironwood slugs (one of which is weighted with a screw) and three bright yellow resin slugs. Perfect for lightly massaging some targets downrange.