Trebuchet Project

War Weasel Trebuchet Trigger Throwing Arm Sling Double Overhand Double Overhand Overhand Loop Storing Excess Cord Launch Trough, Bottom Axle Support

This trebuchet is based on the floating carriage design that Wayne Neel rediscovered and used to good effect in a full-scale trebuchet built on the shores of Loch Ness, near Inverness, Scotland (this is discussed elsewhere on this site).

After seeing the NOVA production describing this effort, I knew I had to have one. One of the trebuchets mentioned in the show was Edward I's 'War Wolf' siege weapon; I figured a smaller one should have a more modest name, and settled on 'War Weasel'.

In order to get the basic dimensions, I recorded the show and stop-framed at certain points where the trebuchet was shown, laid a thin piece of paper on the TV screen, and traced out the trebuchet image. After that came the head-scratching, wandering the aisles of the local hardware store for inspiration, and plenty of experimentation.

Someone with minimal carpentry skills can construct a trebuchet out of 2x4 and 4x4 pieces of wood and an assortment of hardware from the local hardware store that is capable of throwing grapefruit-sized water balloons in excess of one hundred fifty feet, and can fit in the back of a small truck or van for transport. Standard power tools such as drills and saws make such a project move along a little more quickly, but the majority of the time it takes to build a trebuchet is working out the details to make the machine work the way it should.

The small trebuchet shown here has the following critical dimensions:

To reduce friction the main axle is supported with ball-bearings (3/4" inner diameter) where the axle pierces the carriage sides; these are held in place by 3/4" inner diameter collars.