How I built the wooden catapult that I call Ludgar the Warwolf
Click on the navigation pane on the left to see the building phases.
Ludgar at Night (Firing a flaming projectile, time exposure)
The Trebuchet on its Trailer
My catapult is a scale model of a 14th-century English trebuchet built by Reginald, chief engineer to Edward I. It was used at the battle of Stirling Castle in 1304 to besiege the Scottish garrison inside.
This model catapult was built over a period of a week by two men working 14-hour days using a method of building called timber framing. In this method of building, no metal fasteners such as nails or bolts are used. Instead, wooden joints called mortises and tenons are made. The resulting structure is extremely strong.
The following pages document the building of the trebuchet, which was a complicated, interesting, and very physical endeavor. Many thanks to "Grigg" who supplied the expertise and facilities for the project.
You can learn more about catapult history and science, as well as how to make really, really cool model catapults, by reading my new book, The Art of the Catapult.
I discussed this book on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition with Scott Simon in August 2004. The sound clip is on NPR's site, if you're interested. Art of the Catapult was featured on G4/TechTV Screensavers on Nov 11 04
This book won't show you how to build something as complicated as my big catapult, Ludgar, but there are many fun projects, good for all ages. You'll find much history and many pretty good stories to enjoy. Read about the original Ludgar, the "great horse" trebuchet called Cabulus, the seaborne catapults of Alexander the Great, and the big catapults of the Crusades. It is available at most any bookstore, or buy it online by clicking Amazon.com. (In fact, I'd appreciate it, if you like this site, that you would buy it by clicking on the Amazon link; it would help with expenses. )
My first book, Backyard Ballistics, has a bunch of good projects: potato cannons, air guns, water rockets, catapults. Very popular with the guys. I tell people that this is a book full of PG-13 rated science experiments. Hours of fun. Safe if used as directed. Buy it online or visit any bookstore.
CATAPULT KITS FOR SALE You can buy this and many other really interesting catapult kits - precut and drilled pieces and all the parts you need. This one fires a ball over 100 feet! CLICK for more info
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