Buzzsaws – or whirligigs – is a broad term that encompasses an assortment of things that spin in order to make a noise. There are examples in the archaeological record going back to at least 2500 years ago in North America. The one we’ll make is similar to the button whirligigs you can buy down in the Appalachians (these are made out of thread or a strip of leather slipped through an old button). We’ll keep it wild and use materials you can find out in the woods to make ours.
Two sticks >3″ long for the handles
Wood disk for the saw, experiment with different sizes and species (really any size will work)
~2′ of cordage (or rope)
The finished buzzsaws (or whirligigs), all made from materials found in a beaver pond
Drill two holes in the middle of the disk, about 1/2″ apart, but the closer the better
Drill two holes through each of the handles, about the same distance apart you drilled the holes in step #1
Slide the cordage through the holes making a big loop, and tie off in a square knot.
Operating the saw
Hold the handles with the saw in the middle and spin the saw around so the cordage gets twisted up
Pull the handles outward making the cordage taut; the saw will spin the opposite direction you wound it up in
Loosen the grip and then pull taut again and the saw will reverse directions. The action is similar to a yo-yo and requires the right tension and timing. Good luck!
It takes a couple minutes to get the hang of it, but once you do it’s rather simple.