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#187798 - 11/08/09 01:21 AM Signal device: bullroarer
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX
In a previous thread about noisemakers in the woods I suggested a bullroarer based on what I've read about them. I figured I'd better be able to back up my statements about how easy they are to make, so I tried making some.



Executive summery: tiring to use, tricky to make without practice and mine were not overly loud.

These were carved from freshly cut (I was removing the tree from my backyard) maple. I cut the branches with a saw then split out one slab using a cheap tomahawk and the other using a Cold Steel 18" Bowie machete. They were then shaped using the Mora knife (4.5" blade). The tether was a cheap piece of Walmart "paracord".

The hardest part was cutting a good, thin, flat slab. It took me close to a dozen tries before I finally split one properly. Maybe it was the green wood, maybe it was the choice of tools, maybe I just suck at splitting flat 1/2" slabs. If thicker than 1/2" it takes way too long to carve the required airfoil shape.

Once a good slab was cut the rest of the carving took less than an hour, including drilling the hole (SWK awl). These were not sanded smooth though they are supposed to be.

Tested in their rough conditions, they did make a weird buzz/hum sort of noise but it did not seem very loud. Though it did cause my neighbor to peek over the fence. Swinging the bullroarer was surprisingly tiring and the rope created and then tore open a blister on my finger where it rubbed while being swung. Leather gloves would be needed.

So, my opinion? A properly-made one may be able to send messages quite a ways, but a hack job by some guy in the woods just wastes time, burns up precious calories, and damages the hand. I hereby retract my suggestion about making/using a bullroarer as an emergency signal.

-Blast



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#187803 - 11/08/09 01:54 AM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: Blast]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
WAIT A MINUTE!

"...they did make a weird buzz/hum sort of noise but it did not seem very loud."

From what little I know of them, they aren't supposed to be loud, their sound is supposed to carry. Lower pitched sounds (like what elephants make for communication) can carry over long distances.

I would suggest you get some helpers and position them away from you (I would go with upwind and downwind, myself) and see if they can hear it. If they can, move them farther away to see what the limit is, even of your crude one.

My questions: If the sound did carry far enough to be viable, how many people would recognize it? And would they recognize it as a distress signal?

In Australia, maybe. Here?

Sue

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#187810 - 11/08/09 04:31 AM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: Susan]
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1852
Loc: MINNESOTA
test and try is better than just b.s.--you put a lot of work into that,thanks.

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#187821 - 11/08/09 05:46 PM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: Blast]
PSM Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 05/26/06
Posts: 77
Loc: Cochise Co., AZ
There are other drawbacks as well:

Bullroarer!


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#187822 - 11/08/09 05:59 PM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: PSM]
Xterior Offline
Member

Registered: 06/25/05
Posts: 148
On youtube there is a video with a guy who uses a plastic spoon and a rubber band.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9Z-zEXEb6o

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#187827 - 11/08/09 10:46 PM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: PSM]
BigToe Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 81
Originally Posted By: PSM
There are other drawbacks as well:

Bullroarer!



Too funny! Blast, thanks for sharing your experience. After the original post I did some research and hope to get some time to make a few also. I wonder if the denser woods, like ironwood, might be better.

_________________________
Men have become the tools of their tools.
Henry David Thoreau

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#187837 - 11/08/09 11:45 PM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: BigToe]
GarlyDog Offline
τΏτ
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 776
Loc: The People's Republic of IL
Would it be easier to spin if you tie the loose string end to 2 foot stick/handle?
_________________________
Gary








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#187839 - 11/08/09 11:45 PM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: BigToe]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2914
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Good experiment.

I wouldn't be surprised if using wet (uncured) wood was a factor. Dry, dense hardwood resonates quite impressively. Wet wood is more like a bag of sand, absorbing vibration.

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#187849 - 11/09/09 02:50 AM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: Susan]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7344
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Susan

My questions: If the sound did carry far enough to be viable, how many people would recognize it? And would they recognize it as a distress signal?



That is the underlying problem with all of our solutions. We are making noise, but how likely are the recipients to recognize our sounds, flashes, or whatever, as distress signals. People can be very obtuse at times.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#187851 - 11/09/09 03:16 AM Re: Signal device: bullroarer [Re: hikermor]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2914
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Guess you need to mimic sounds people will stampede toward.

Free beer! Free beer!

On sale! 90 percent off! Today only!

grin

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