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Bull Roarer

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by ghrit, Oct 9, 2015.

  1. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    A long time ago when I was young (and for me that is a LONG time ago) I was exposed to a noise making toy. Wasn't able to make it work, so lost interest rather quickly. Then, there came along a Crocodile Dundee movie where he took this "thing" and went up a hill to make a "telephone call" for reinforcements, waved it around in the air making a roaring sound. Thought nothing more of it than to notice he put a LOT of effort into spinning this thing around over his head to make a low frequency buzzing. Even more recently, Keith Gilbert's characters made a bull roarer that was used to good effect, or so we are lead to believe, in making certain elements of his population nervous. He did, at least, put a name to it, so I looked it up. I confess that I had some doubts about how effective a noise maker these things might be, but I have a bit of time on my hands, so curiosity won the day.

    Rather than a full scale prototype with extra time and effort that might be totally wasted, there came upon my work bench a proof of concept model, simply to convince me that the thing actually works.


    It does, but the proof of concept noise would be lost next to a quietly running chest freezer.

    A couple notes, then:
    -It takes only a modest amount of pretwisting the cord to get started, once running the twist will increase with time in use.
    -It takes muscle to get it to buzzing, even at this size and light weight. My shoulder was displeased, and the buzz wasn't very loud..
    -If/when I make a full scale model, the twisted string will be replaced with something not twisted, like maybe braided twine or monofilament fishing line. Otherwise, the twist will be untwisted in one direction, then over twisted in the reversal.
    -Along with heavier wood (this one was carved out of the cheapest pine I had in the scrap pile) I might add some weight. First thinking would be a fishing sinker attached to the tip by a snap swivel. That way, getting the sinker spinning would not be needed.
    -I think, but do not know, that dramatically heavier will be better, both for the effort in spinning it up, and for additional noise.

    If you do a google search, you'll see more shapes and decorations than I would have ever imagined. Seems like these things have popped up over the millennia for more purposes than "long distance phone calls."
    Bear, HK_User, Aeason and 6 others like this.
  2. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    srchdawg, Hanzo and Rocky Road Lerp like this.
  3. Aeason

    Aeason Monkey

    When I was little these old men would sit on an old wooden bench in front of my grandfather's store dipping their Garret snuff, I would sit and listen. One thing I remember was them talking about a dumb bull and how they would scare people fishing down at the creek it was a piece of hollow tree with a peice of cow hide stretched over one end with a leather string in the center waxed with bees wax, when you pulled down on the string and let it slide through your fingers while holding resistance it would make an evil sound said to stampede cattle and scare the chit out of everyone. They told me it was outlawed to own one. Never heard a real one but did make one from a gallon paint can and trot line, scared some campers off. The eirrie sounds carry good at night. Might need to make one to scare the ZOMBIES off.
    Motomom34, Hanzo and chelloveck like this.
  4. Hanzo

    Hanzo Monkey+++

    Would like to see yours. Even better, see a video and hear it!
  5. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey++

    Dah. Gonna get off my butt, and make one of these in the next few. Thanks for a cool idea.
  6. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    we use an empty #10 can punch a hole in the center of the solid end of the can... take a piece of rawhide lacing and some rosin... tie a knot in one end of the lace and insert the hole and apply rosin... place the can under your arm and stroke (pull) the rawhide lace between dry fingers toward the end and listen to the low growls...
  7. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Think I will make 3 or these, Hook them to a 12v motor and control them remotely.
  8. srchdawg

    srchdawg Monkey+++

    TIC-TACs is what we grew up knowing them as but we used an old hacksaw blade and mono fishing line. Stick the hacksaw blade in the old single pane windows get out about 100' thumb the rosin and let'r rip every light in the house would come on. We did this every Halloween sounded like the house was haunted. Good thing was you couldn't tell where the noise was coming from :)
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