The hunter-gatherer/warrior ethos can be found in most boys, bubbling to the surface whenever a brother or buddy is available, and a good-old "I-got-you-No-you-didn't-Yes-I-did-It-was-just-my-leg" backyard gunfight breaks out. Growing up in the "let them all play with dolls" experimental '70s our home was subjected to an attempted gun ban. But suppressing natural boyhood just leads to rebellious teenagers, and undercuts dangerous manhood.
I'm at a point where I can understand where mom was coming from (sort of), and for her part, she tells stories of us spending entire Summers working the loopholes in the law: using sticks as machine guns (until confiscated), then as a last resort, our fingers as pistols. I can still remember the Christmas that she caved and we got shiny 6-shooter replica cap guns. Of course, we ran out of caps within days and the guns themselves eventually broke from overuse. Our fall back strategy was to tap our primitive woodworking skills to refit. But, unfortunately, the handles of those guns kept falling off. What we really needed was a bandsaw, a 3/4 inch plank of wood, and an encouraging dad.....
Making wooden guns is pretty simple with the right tools. I got online with the boys and let them pick out a type/look of gun. Airsoft retailers are a great source of replicas, just google "Airsoft" and search images. Print the image, and attempt to scale it to "boy-size" by sketching/enlarging on a piece of cardboard. Once they are satisfied with your effort, cut out the stencil, which you can keep and use multiple times. Trace the shape on the wood, and bandsaw it out. Use a drill or drill-press to cut the trigger guard and handles etc. Hand sand, and lacquer, oil, paint, or cammo-duct tape to finish. Hardwood will obviously be more durable in the long run, but nearly any type of wood will do because the guns are cut from a single piece and there are no joints. Your boys will likely outgrow them before they break.
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