Block Cannon

When I was a kid, we had a Crossbows & Catapults set. You can still get them, and they look pretty cool, but we already had these plain wooden blocks.

I thought it would be fun to make a game kind of like the original Crossbows & Catapults, but shooting little pucks at castles made of those blocks.

Danger and I each made one. I showed him how I was sticking mine together, and he assembled his own. Danger also came up with the name. I was calling them "Wooden block shooters." After he saw how they worked, he dubbed them "Block Cannons."

For each cannon, you'll need:

  • 2 ea. 2.25" x 0.125" x 6" poplar boards
  • 2 ea. 0.75" x 0.75" x 6" poplar sticks
  • 1 ea. 0.75" x 0.75" x 9" poplar stick
  • 2 ea. 0.375" x 1" round wooden dowels
  • 3/8" drill bit
  • sand paper
  • wood glue
  • 1 rubber band

You just glue one 6" stick to each long edge of a 6" board, leaving enough of a gap between them to let the 9" board move freely. Glue the other board on the other side like a sandwich. You need to drill a hole through the 9" board, about an inch from the end. The rubber band in the pictures above is passing through this hole.

Then drill 3/8" pockets about 1/2" deep into each side near the back and glue a dowel in the hole. To assemble, run the rubber band through the 9" plunger and hook each end over one dowel.

I also did some extra sanding: I put a slight groove in the end of the plunger so it's easier to shoot round things straight. Then I rounded over the back corners of the cannon body so it's a little easier on the rubber bands.

A note on the 3/4"x3/4" sticks: mine were not exactly square. Make sure when you're fitting everything together that you don't accidentally end up with a plunger that doesn't fit in your cannon. Once you get it fit, mark which way is "up" and you'll be good.