Start at the beginning


From: Roy O.
Date: Fri, 7 May 2010

Hi Doc, We made those match guns in 1943 when I was ten years old growing up in Montreal but I don't think we ever used a rubber band in it's assembly. I'm still trying to figure out how we used the part left over from the first clothespin. Another fun toy we made to use matches with was: Two 1/2" bolts screwed halfway into a 1/2" nut. Inside we carefully took off the white part of four or five matches then screwed the bolts tightly together. Then we threw the thing high above the asphalt. When it landed on the road, there was a heck of a BANG and sometimes the bolts few apart. Dangerous? Probably. Another great toy was to find a branch of a tree in the shape of a bow. Instead of string, we used to find old inner tubes in the garbage can at the tire store which we cut into 3/4" strips and attached the rubber to the ends of the bow with string after pulling the rubber tight. We then found straight sticks about 5/16" to 3/8" thick about three feet long. We wrapped electrician's tape around the end to make one end heavier. In a vacant lot we had contests to see how far we could shoot our arrow. Parents objected to this game using that old excuse to spoil our fun, "You'll shoot your eye out!" I heard that one many times but it didn't stop our bow and arrow game. The arrows could be shot very high into the air. It was exciting to watch them land after temporarily losing sight of them up in the air.


From: Kelly A.
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 2009
Subject: Match gun twist

Doc,

Thanks for the detailed instructions … I couldn’t remember how we did it. As a twist on launching flaming matches, we found if we wet the red end of the match in our mouths for about 10 seconds before we loaded it, the match wouldn’t light into flame, but smoke instead. This resulted in a magnificent (for us 10-year-olds) arc of smoke, reminiscent of Buck Rogers space ships.


From: Joe B.
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009

WHen we made match guns we simply slid the spring into the notched hole from the side and then pushed on the rolled spring part until the other straight part of the spring clicked into the other notch. Have no idea why you would put a prissy cocking clothespin into the mix.


From: Gordon
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008

Whoever Doc is, just wanted to send thanks for instructions for making a match gun similar to what I made as a boy 50 years ago. Now, I'm ready to make one for my grandson who, I hope, will have as much fun as I did with it. By the way, I'll bet you know what the potato blaster is - if not, it's literally a "blast" and instructions are on line. Thanks.

de nada, gordon. i'm (probably overly) familiar with both the potato gun and the potato cannon, if either of those = a potato blaster.
greetings to your grandson—glad to hear you're helping to keep the good stuff alive,

From: Dudley P.
Subject: Pemission to use excerpts from Clothespin Match Gun instructions
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2008

Hi, DOC

I am writing a book Suicide Bombers of the Cold War about the Davy Crockett field level nuclear weapon. This little weapon created a "circle of death" that was greater the the meager 2.49 mile range it would fire.

The book includes not only my time in the US Army but also some of the exploits of my youth which included the a chapter:

THE “FLAME” THROWER
How to Shoot a Flaming Kitchen Match

One of my earliest experiments with pyromania was learning how to make a hand held device that would strike/light and shoot an ordinary kitchen match about thirty feet (with the wind).

Your description, photos, etc. far exceed anything I could produce. May I include the photo of the completed Match Gun and a little bit of the dialog??

Sounds like a cool book. Permission is hereby granted, provided that the photo is credited to DeuceOfClubs.com (please make sure it's spelled Deuce, rather than Duece, which is a common error). I hope you'll consider sending a copy for our archives.
Good luck & happy writing,
Doc

From: Andy S.
Subject: Clothespin match launcher.
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2008

In all of my mis-spent youth, I never came across a clothespin (we call them clothes pegs in England) match launcher, but now I have, thanks to you, and my two boys are at an age where this will be of interest, so I shall pass on The Knowledge.

Instead of rubber bands, I used self-amalgamating tape. This is a rubber insulating tape used for waterproofing electrical joints, and doesn't stick to anything! That is, until you stretch it and wrap it and then it bonds tightly to itself. A few turns of this keeps the two halves of the peg aligned, and gives just the right amount of grab between them.

Whole black peppercorns make excellent small-calibre ammunition, and if you cut a notch at the end of the priming rod you can load and position this accurately in the jaws. A quick tweak in a vice (UK again) will improve things if your spring is too weak.

I've yet to try the 'flaming vestas' but strike anywhere matches are definitely on my shopping list for tomorrow.

Andy. (Old enough to know better; Young enough not to want to.)


From: Larry
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007

Hey Doc,

This thread is too funny and too good to be true. Just today I was cleaning out the garage and I found a box of Ohio Blue Tips. As cozmik karma will have it, just the other day I was telling my neighbor about the cool and dangerous toys we made ourselves when we were his son's age (5th grade, so age 10?). One of the things I told him about was the very clothes pin match shooter (that's what we called them) that you show how to make and which your guests discuss at great length. It just so happens that I have a bunch of wooden spring-type clothes pins in the garage from our move last year. So as a diversion, I made myself the shooter that I remember from grade school in the early '60s. I used electrical tape for the handle but we used to use hockey tape. The clothes pins were of the modern Chinese crap variety from an unnamed home store (Home Depot) so very wimpy. The thing shoots far but the matches didn't light. They're quite old and light feebly but first time on concrete garage floor striker. Still I think they need to be fresh. Oh well. I was happy just to get it to work so well after forty-something years. I found your site when googling for "match shooter clothes pin" just to see if anyone had published anything on the web about this. I was surprised and delighted to see the lengthy article and all the comments.

One type of match shooter that no one mentions is the old wooden thread spool type. We made it from a large wooden thread spool, discarding mother's thread of course. You simply tape a cut piece of 1/4" wide elastic band over the hole in one end and a loose flap of sandpaper over the hole at the other end. You shoot the matches like a slingshot and the sandpaper ignites them every time. It shoots much farther and much more accurately than the clothes pin type. You can even use wooden safety matches by substituting a piece of the phosphor strike for the sandpaper.

Another thing I saw on your thread was an attempt to make a bobby pin snapper. I also told my neighbor about those. I used to snap my schoolmates' thighs in class with them and drop them on the floor when teach wasn't looking so they'd rebound above the seated students' heads. After school, I'd find 10"-12" long, 1/8" wide spring steel tines from the street sweeper on the street and I'd make snappers out of those. I didn't use these on people -- they were too powerful. I would simply arm them and drop them on the street to see how high they'd go. They went several body lengths to be sure, and made a nice loud sproingk! I'd explain how to make them but I'm afraid some kid might knock someone's eye out.

Another thing I did in eigth grade was to use those nice wide rubber book straps we had as a makeshift sling shot. I sat at the back of the class and so had full range of the class behind sister "Huey"'s back when she was writing on the board. I brought a bag of white beans to school one day and had a field day. The straps were about two feet long by 5/8" wide and around 1/8" thick so the acceleration of a light bean was impressive. I beaned my fiends' backs, the metal waste basket, the teacher's desk, and the blackboard when the old bitty was writing. The next day my colleagues came armed with beans and we had a friendly war for the rest of the week before someone ratted me out and my parents had to come in for a little chat. The old bitch told them that her father would have "wailed the tar out of him" for a similar crime. Fortunately my parents were offended enough by her behavior not to be too hard on me. I got punished of course but I don't remember how so it must have been fairly mild.

I could go on but you get the picture. Kids today are deprived of the simple dangerous pleasures that we took for granted. We made cool stuff from nothing and that was far more pleasurable than any store bought item. A recent Wired Science show lamented the passing of the chemistry set because of liability issues. They actually showed briefly a shot of the Golden Book of Chemsitry Experiments that I had as a kid. I had a chemistry set but I learned much more from the book using household chemicals and homemade apparatus than I did from the set. It was more fun too. It gave you a real sense of accomplishment that the store-bought set just didn't. And there was a sense of danger that the kit didn't have. According to some urban legend circulating on the net, the book was deemed dangerous by the government and was pulled from bookstores and library shelves. I do remember not being able to find the book all of a sudden so it may be true. My parents would have ditched it under such circumstances. A move in the right direction is the Dangerous Book for Boys that is popular right now but I doubt it has anything really dangerous or as cool as a match shooter.

i'd never heard of the spool shooter, but now i'm going to have to try it out. it seems to be some sort of fire season, so for safety's sake, i'll have to do it indoors. maybe near some floor-to-ceiling drapery. wait, that would be dumb. i'll keep thinking.
a friend of mine bought the dangerous book for boys the other day, which i plan to peruse thoroughly for genuine danger.

From: Jammer
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2007

Doc, You're the best! I loved match guns 60 years ago, and still do. In the late forties, we would steal boxes of "penny" matches, and sit up on my neighbors garage roof, firing at "ships" made from the empty boxes.

It has been my experience that the matches (Ohio Blue Tips) are most generally available today, and the quality is somewhat questionable. It has been an off and on quest of mine over my 67 summers, to devise a match firing gun from a car antenna. I have yet to succeed. Firing mechanism is the hang up. Also, car antennas aren't what they used to be. You deserve a seat in heaven for you service to mankind.


Date: Sat, 26 May 2007
From: Chris

Thanks for this website, your reference to nostalgia was very correct for me.... My idiot father gave me one of those matchguns when I was about 6 years old, that wouild have been in about 1960. Somehow I figured out how to load it and managed to start a vacant field next door to our house on fire... I was saved by my mother and her garden hose.. But, at least I did not rat out my father.. )


Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007
From: Pat
Subject: Clothespin gun vs machine gun

I hope you can open this URL, it is what got me to thinking about the clothespin gun we used to make when I was a kid. I am 80 years old right now.

I found your web page on Google.

Just thought you would like to compare the machine gun and the clothespin gun.

A friend in New Zealand sent me the info about the machine gun today.

with a clothespin match gun in my hand, i'd be willing to take my chances against the rubberband machine gun. because: fire.

Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007
From: DavidH9930@aol.com
Subject: Repressed memories

I was just surfing the web and your subject somehow came to my mind, thank god. What a revelation! Thanks for bringing back that memory and providing the way to reconstruct it. I am 64, was bought up in Chicago and remember not only the clothespin gun, but the rubber band gun. We used to make rubber bands from old inner tubes. Remember that? And also we used to collect fireflies in a big glass jar in the evening for fun.

we didn't have fireflies in the arizona desert, and if i'd had to make my own rubber bands, i'd have quit all three of my paper routes.

We would take an old inner tube and slice it crosswise's to make a really substantial rubber band that would travel pretty far. It was really great fun.


Date: Thu, 30 Nov 2006
From: Robert P.

Your instructions on building a match gun brought back fond memories of Fresno in the early 50's. We used to tape the two pieces together, and we used a file to enlarge and shape the spring-hole. We routinely tested different springs, before selecting the best one. Here's the hot tip: cut the wooden matches in half. By reducing the projectile's weight, you get higher "muzzle velocity," a flatter trajectory and more distance. I feel sorry for today's kids who may be deprived of such joy, because of their electronic games and other passive endeavors.

thanks for the muzzle velocity tip. never enough muzzle velocity. i probably say that fifty times a day, at least. more, if it's an election year.

From: James G.
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006

Like others have said, thanks man. I am 60 and been trying to remember this for years. It was the coolest thing in 5th grade. Actually drove one of the nuns to the loony bin.

i'll have to add that as a bullet point to the gun's list of benefits.

Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2006
From: Ron W.
Subject: I'm63 and just found a toy!

Hi Doc,

I had forgotten all about clothespin guns until yesterday when I ran into one while going through some old memorabilia stored from my parents' home. I recognized it instantly. Excellent condition. Even the half pin was there for cocking and it still shoots perfectly.

I recall shooting the half pin, not matches.

we did that, too. but we soon discovered a crucial difference between half pins and matches—namely, that the half pins weren't on fire.

Its structure is optimized for such a load as it's slightly different from yours. One of your writers mentioned holding the pins together with tape, which is how mine is held. Additionally, I had placed two staples straight into the sides of the pin half's to hold them stiffly in one position relative to each other - i.e.: No springy mouth to push the fat end of the half pin into it, nor to fit a match head. I think we just cocked and fired the cocking half... then grabbed another (two loads per pin). After all, as someone mentioned, 'lots of clothespins around....

true enough (though some complain of a recent lack in clothespin craftsmanship).

Speaking of match heads and the 40% ignition success. Try flattening, or even dishing the leading edge of the spring driver (the part that whacks the match) to increase the compression force. I suspect the 60% of misses simply disintegrated the match due to the spreading tendency the external radius of the standard spring driver would apply.

i like the way you think. and that you thought about this.

I guess there's still a kid in here someplace... We got our kicks from gadgets that burned much faster than a match - and yup, we upset our parents. Unfortunately no grand kids to pass on to ....heh, heh, my kids are still teenagers, and they do not understand me.... but I show 'em this stuff anyway.

may their eyes be opened to see the greatness and grandness and glory of playing with fire, even if it takes until they are senior citizens.

From: Tom K.
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2006

Hello Doc,

I'm 72, so I lived with the match gun while in late grade school and Jr. High. You might want to mention that these cheap, wimpy Chinese clothspins they peddle on the unsuspecting housewife aren't very powerful and they should look for a good old American-made clothespin.

My mother's clothespins had 7 turns on the spring while these wimpy Chinese clothespins only have 4. Yes, that's right, FOUR.

Although I've never done it myself, I've seen several girls hair caught on fire from the kitchen match when the girl has indiscriminately sprayed the hell out of her hair before school. It's like a match in a barrel of gasoline.

Kudos for your web page, I was killing some time and just wondered if the skill of making the guns was still around.

indeed, the skill lives on, despite inferior raw materials.

From: Wes K.
Subject: Matchstick darts
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006

Doc:

When we made clothespin guns we fired matches at first but shortly thereafter discovered you could make dandy darts with a wooden matchstick, minus the match head, and a needle and masking tape fins. We would groove out the matchstick with an exacto knife and lay the butt end of a needle into the groove and epoxy it in place. Masking tape was then used to fashion two fins to the butt end of the matchstick so that it would still slide easily into the gun. They flew remarkably true and a pretty good distance.

Enjoy

you people are sick! that's a good one; haven't heard of it before. then again, i picked up my improvised weaponry fu in school; i haven't been to prison (yet).

Date: Sat, 27 May 2006
From: Doubting Thomas
Subject: ClothesPin Match Gun -MODIFICATION

Hey there and goo-daie

I have ADDED a Striker Strip from a Match Book to each side where the Cloths Pin is Held in front of the "Firing Pin" assembly

Increases Lighting from 40% to about 95% ignites per fire

Just a thought you may want to incorporate

that, sir is simple GENIUS. you have revolutionized the art and science of clothes pin match gun construction forever. unless some kids out there are rolling their eyes because this is they way they already do it. well, anonymous kids, you should have written in, because doubting thomas gets the credit.

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006
From: Nile
Subject: thanks for the clothes pin directions

How about directions for making a hairpin snapper?

sounds interesting, and almost familiar. anyone else out there know?

Sorry for the crappy picture:

In grade school we were able to bend a hairpin so that when you tapped someone with it it would unleash the spring like bend and deliver them a nasty wack. It was known to draw blood on occasion. I just can't remember the correct bend. Thought someone with the directions for the clothespin gun might remember this one also. They're from the same era.


Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2005
From: F.F.R.
Subject: How can I print out instructions on match shooter?

I'd like to print out your great instrucitions on making a clothes pin shooter. However, becuase of the black background, all I get is black from my laser printer. How can I print out a regular black on white version? Thanks very much. Great article. I want to pass it on to my kids and used to make these things when I was a kit many many many yars ago. On a whom, I looked for it and there you were. Fantastic!

I don't know about Macs, but if you're using Windows:
1. From Control Panel, double-click Internet Options.
2. Click the Advanced tab
3. Scroll down to the Printing section
4. Uncheck the "Print background colors and images" option
5. Click the Apply button
6. Click the OK button
7. Print away (wear protective goggles to prevent eye injury)

Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005
From: spudnuty

Thanks for that info.
We used to make them with that old fasioned electrical tape wound around the butt end, enought to make a small ball that was used as a handle. We also used the opposite end of the half clothespin that we cut back a bit to cock the gun. We would also NEVER use the gun to shoot matches. Only pebbles and dried peas.
Shooting matches we did with an air gun, .177 cal Benjamin as I recall. Beautiful arcing tracer bounced off a sidewalk.

ahhhhh. pure pyratic satisfaction.

I also remember some of these clothespin guns that were made with 2 complete clothespins making them twice as big. I remember them as a lot more powerful. Ever see those?

no, but it sounds interesting. do you remember how to make them?

The current problem is the wimpy clothspins now available; weak springs and crappy wood.

yeah. they work, but not as well. what this country needs is a good five-cent clothespin.

From: Ken F.
Subject: thanks
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005

Hi
Thank you tremendously for your illustrated guide to creating a clothespin shooter. I can’t, however, condone your irresponsible, unlawful and probably immoral use of these safe reminders of bygone, carefree days of youth. Using them to shoot matches!? Simply a stunning abdication of the real responsibility as a disseminator of information to the unwashed. We always shot corn. Never in the eye. Maybe matches would be more fun…hmmm….

hrmm . . . yes! that's it: burning corn!

From: Ken F.
Subject: thanks
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005

Because you're dying to know...

excellent. next you'll be shooting flaming corn kernels. i know it.

Today we had a qualified success! Made a gun, shot a match! Don't you just love the internets?

a goodly percentage of them, i do.

From: dancerjay@cox.net
Date: Mon, 4 Apr 2005

The article was probably a very good one, but it is my policy not to read anything written by people who do not have enough education to write without using vulgar language. Perhaps some day [sic] you will crawl out of your sewer and become a very good writer, until them [sic] may a lit match from one of your guns fly down your vulgar mouth and distroy [sic] your vocal cords. This would be a great service to the entire world.

Please have a bad day
Not your friend Jay

so this is the moral high ground, is it -- wishing for someone's vocal cords to be destroyed by fire? wull golly gosh durn I never knowed education could be so excitin'! please, please, tell me more! fill my mind with more of your graphic curses! tell me more of the horrible things a moralist would like to see happen to someone with whom he disagrees.

From: "Jay" <dancerjay@cox.net>
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005

I can not [sic] do as you ask, for you do not have a mind. Please grow up. You are also a very stupid person. This childish behavior is over.

I'll see you sometime


From: "Jay" <dancerjay@cox.net>
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2005

I will be seeing you


Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005
From: Jane Smith <ladyjaneisback@yahoo.com>
Subject: Hi

Hi I have found you. You worthless piece of shit born from your mothers ass.

PO Box 250
Tempe Az
85280

I will be seeing you

wait a minute -- are you the guy who was pissed off at my cussing on the site? because, if so, there's some incongruity going on here, mister.

Date: Fri, 27 May 2005
From: Jane Smith <ladyjaneisback@yahoo.com>
Subject: I will be seeing you

In this grave lies William Day
Who died maintaining his right of way
His way was right, his will was strong
But he's just as dead, as if he had been wrong

that is your final threat, "jay." expect a visit from the fbi.

From: dave
Subject: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005

Thanks so very much for your flawless instructions for a match gun. I found your site w/ a Google search, and yours is absolutely the best. I've been wracking my (60 yr-old) brain trying to remember how to make one of these darn things. Now, along with my previously constructed spud cannons, I can have even more fun with my grandsons. Plus, I can drive their folks nuts the way they used to drive me nuts! Thanks guys, you're the best.
Old Grandpa Dave,
Tucson, AZ

de nada, dave. glad to help, as long as no one burns down the desert.

From: William W.
Subject: Clothes peg shooter
Date: Sun, 6 Mar 2005

Hi

Thanks for the memories, @ 61 I have been wanting to make the shooter for a while now.

Only we never used it for matches, only small pebbles.


From: Joe Mc
Subject: match shooter comment
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2005

thank you so much for being the repositorie of this arcania. i dont know how many times in the last 45 years i thought of the clothespin shooter which, like fishing gear, worked best if the pins were stolen. i even tried to make it once but the knowledge was gone ( unlike the latin prayers i learned as an alter boy). as i recall, on the school grounds of our lady of peace in edmonton alberta canada, we used the second spring instaed of a rubber band which i dont think had been invented in 1960. Thanks again i am off to the store to get the pins if they are still available. you know, i remembered the third piece but did not remember that is was the powder rod, i thought it was worked into the actual instument jeers joe canada

always glad to be a repository.
(btw, rubber bands were invented in 1845, and perfected in 1923.)

re the rubber bands/ i was being facetious/ which is an ineresting word in that facetiously has all the vowels in order. I feel compelled to teach my grade nines how to make the match shooter but other staffers say it will not go at all well with the administration.

if you did it here in the u.s., you'd probably find yourself charged as a terrorist.

From: Chuck
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005
Subject: Match Gun

Dear Doc

You have made my day. When I was around 11 years old a kid (55 years ago) in our gang of 5 was able to make match guns. He was the only one who knew how.

For over 50 years I have searched for the plans.

Now my life is complete, thanks Chuck


From: Greg A.
Subject: clothespin match guns
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004

Thanks for refreshing my memory about those wonderous clothespin devices we'd make as kids. It was quite a travel back into nostalgia for me. I wonder how many T-shirts we ruined with multiple burn marks? Anyway, the sort of clothespin match guns we made were slightly different. We attached a "modified" clothespin onto a piece of 1" X 1" board. A large rubber band was attached and was used as the propelling mechanism. The wooden match would graze a piece of sandpaper glued on the top of the 1" X 1" "rifle stock" and send the lighted match soaring! But for the love of me I CAN'T REMEMBER how we made these little "rifles". Can you refresh my worn-out memory if you have any recollections of these?

i've heard about those, but i don't know that i ever made one. little help out there?

Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004
From: Alan M.
Subject: clothespin gun

Thank you thank you thank you (etc.).

I've been searching for this clothespin gun for 40 years!

When I was 8, I made such a gun, but subsequently lost the technology after an encounter with the enemy and couldn't recall it. All I remember is the three pieces of a wooden clothespin, using the spring as a trigger and having to carve one piece. But which one, and what carving? Now, thanks to you, I can rest easily and die in peace, my quest complete, my job done.

So what happened? Well, 42 years ago, my friend Jeff showed me how to make the cool gun. We stole some pegs, some matches and used our handy pocket knives. On that same day, long before detente amd just as I was about to test the weapon of massive fun, the local kid-hating crone, ol' Mrs Beevers, came walking along my street, carrying -- I dunno--a bag of groceries, or rat traps, or something to devour little kids. As she approached, I loaded and surreptitiously cocked my gun for a test firing. And as she passed by, I swung around and let fly. My little match lit perfectly; my aim was true, and ol' Mrs Beevers was obvilious to the fact that my missle, still blazing, had lodged strategically in her bouffant, chemical-saturated hair. Wide eyed in astonishment, disbelief and not a little pride, we watched her march up the stairs to her house, her head still smoldering. Jeff and I ran like hell until we reached sanctuary in an old empty lot with an abandoned foundation of a house long time gone, where we decided to erase the evidence in case she actually combusted or, at least, found the cremated remains of the match among the cremated remains of her hideous scalp, and put two and two together (and Jeff and I were always the two that came to her evil mind).

Well, we dismantled and scrubbed our fingerprints off the weapons (we weren't taking any chances!), buried the pieces in separate graves, then took off home, the secret technology buried as well, as for weeks we expected the cops to burst into our homes at midnight to drag us off in handcuffs to face our accuser in some capital punishment kiddy kangaroo court run by, of course, Mrs Beevers.

Now that the statute of limitations has (I hope) expired, and even if it hasn't, ol' Mrs Beevers almost certainly has, as she was an old bag even in the early 1960s. Now, I can re-create the weapon I used to the save the world from a kid-torturing and -eating old witch.

Again, and from my heart, Thank you, thank you thank you.

Alan
(Apprentice Gunner (ret'd), Halifax, Nova Scotia; 1963)

you are more than welcome. that information has been well received. gotta keep the kidlore alive.

Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004
From: Daniel F.
Subject: Clothespin Matchstick Shooter

Today in Wally-World I found wooden clothespins @ $2.96 for 100 and just couldn't resist them. I love rubber-band guns and also remembered a mathstick shooter my friend's uncle made when I was a child. Having Googled myself silly looking for instructions on how to build this fun toy, I was happy to find your site and your well documented & photo accented instructions. I was also cracked up over your humorous asides which remind me once again of the terrible loss the world of grown-ups who won't grow up suffered when Douglas Adams died. Thanks for the bright spot in my night and all the little bright spots I'll be able to launch soon.

Daniel

PS: For further insight into wild imagination, try out the books by Christopher Moore. You can tell by the style he's read Adams (not Adams of course) although his humor is close to Adams (not Adams.)


Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004
From: don t.
Subject: clothespinia

Hi Deuce, cool site. In the early 60's my friends and I used to make clothespin guns, but we didn't use the extra half clothespin to cock the trigger, instead we would engage one of the arms of the spring trigger behind the shelf and then pull/slide the coil down and forward until the other arm of the spring locked into it's niche, this made for a quicker load and cock time, though it may have weakened the spring strength over time, but the guns were always confiscated by the teachers before this stress would have had a chance to show anyway. Later we graduated to flaming tennisball beancan bazookas. Best wishes, DT.

ah, tennis ball bazookas. well do i remember firing reading about firing those...

Subject: Can't thank you folks enough!!!!
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004
From: Brian M.

If you get this email and open it, I want to thank you for the instructions (especially the pictures) on how to build a clothespin match gun. Nice to see someone offering information for free with out having to buy some damn book. Again, you folks are great! The Power Puff Girls ring is a nice touch too. Take care and I wish you all the best.


Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2004
From: gc
Subject: that clothespin thing of wonder

Thank you thank you thank you!
for showing me how to recreate the clothespin gun!
I remember playing with those things when I was in grade school and had been wondering about how to make one again for months now.
I love it! Thanks for the great info & instructions!!

de nada. i consider it more or less a public. Service. Announcement.

WITH GUITARS!!!

except without the guitars.

From: Bronco
Subject: clothes pins and books
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2004

Hey

Thanks for the match gun I could have sworn that we made them with One clothespin, somehow inverting the wood bits and making the trigger like you have it - but then memory is tricky (see essays on same by Stephen Jay Gould and Paul Theroux) and some 45 years have passed.....

well, the gun itself is made from one clothespin. but one still needs something to help cock it. you could certainly use something other than a part from a second clothespin. but you know the old saying "where there's one clothespin, maybe there will be two."

funny how they sometimes went off by themselves from a speeding bike in a dry grass field........

funny ... there's a field in a small desert town i know that could give testimony to that.

wait ... that field knows nothing about that. and neither do i.

Date: Sat, 24 Jan 2004
Subject: Clothespin Gun
From: B. L.

Great stuff, Doc!

I made a few clothespin guns 40+ years ago and had forgotten how.

Thanks for the online instructions... it's nearly time to indoctrinate the grandkids.

the clothespin gun: no grandchild indoctrination should be without it.

Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003
From: tlavin
Subject: thanks

I have been looking for the matchgun memory for some time thanks


From: Donald R.
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003
Subject: Clothespin Match Gun

Thanx for the memories------Been ages since I shot my 2nd grade teacher in the hair-------Got my butt kicked too you betcha but SHE wore a bandana till some of her hair came back.
You don't really need the rubber band though. Depends on just how short you cut the piece with the trigger.
That was a town of about 400 population in southern Texas. Portland, very early 40's. Town has grown to more then a gazillion by now I understand and I'll just bet the making of match guns would be on their No No list.
Aw well---Twas fun


From: Male50 Denver
Subject: Clothespin Match Gun
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2003

been looking for the plans for one of these for years. remember them as a kid, but couldn't re-create from memory do you sell them pre-made?

sorry, all the clothespin match gun workers have gone home for the night.
(or should i say, which law enforcement organization do you represent?)

From: Pearson H.
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2003

I see where you asked about the clothespin match buns we all made as kids, you indicated that someone had given you an answer, or plans, or something, but there is no link. I'm going out of my mind trying to find the plans somewhere. Please put my mind at ease and tell me what you know. Thanks.

"match buns?"


How to construct a clothespin match gun