Australia Class Week 6

This week we planned to make plywood boomerangs I searched for a suitable boomerang to make. It had to work well, look like a traditional boomerang shape, and had to be easy enough to throw by 7th and 8th graders. I finally decided on the Mini Rippah by Bob Burwell. His Rippah has been a favorite traditional shape for me and the Mini could be made from 4 mm thick 8 ply Finland birch plywood, which would be strong and tight, a good combination. I cut out enough blanks for the class and even shaped one so they had an example to follow.

I wasn’t sure how to have the students shape the airfoils so finally decided to make up some sanding blocks. I cut some pieces of 1 x 3 and wrapped them with some 60 grit cloth back sandpaper. The 60 grit would shape the airfoils quickly. I made a few more blocks with 120 grit to smooth out the first sanding and brought some 220 grit to final sand the blanks.

The students arrived and we started by covering the conference room table. They asked what we were doing today and I told them, “Making a mess”. Then they found out we were making boomerangs. I didn’t realize how hard it was to explain how to make the airfoils. I also didn’t account for how hard I press the sandpaper as compared to how hard they do. After 30 minutes they were finally getting some decent airfoils shaped. I am going to smooth ot the rangs and stain them dark so they can begin to paint them next class.

We watch quite a few videos this class. Two were on playing the didgeridoo. One was how to make the basic drone and one was how to learn circular breathing. From there we went to a basic “how to throw a boomerang” video by David Fantone. We also viewed videos of various people throwing including Gary Broadbent, Former SHS student Ian Guldner, and of couse, your’s truely. The final video was abput the huge boomerangs by Gerhard Walter from Austria. The students were amazed by his throws and catches of the big boomerangs.

We ahd the students clean up before sending them back to school. After today we only have two more classes. I am rather sad to see it end so soon. Each week the students seem to get more into the activities.


Please note: there are no photos from the class this week. I know everyone wants to see what is happening but our  first responsibility is to teach and help the students. This week it was very important to work with them to show them how to shape the airfoils and this took a lot of our time as instructors.  We were getting ready to clean up when I finally though to take photos. Too late……

By boomerangdave

2 comments on “Australia Class Week 6

  1. very nice Dave, I’m sure the kids in the class are looking forward to finishing their boomerangs and getting to throw them. I hope you have photos from your next class.
    Thank you.

  2. Art, I’ll try. Next time they will be painting and they already have experience doing dot art so that means I have less to do. I expect that I’ll have photos. Today was just too involved. The class is the most important thing. Any photos I get in the process are a bonus.

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