Parallax, Judging Distances and Blowpipes

An email just in:

Hi there Tristan,

Just finished the book…..Excellent.

In it you mention parallax [in a section about how you judge distances by watching how your finger moves, as you open and close your left and right eyes]; this was very interesting, as it forms one one of the main factors in aiming the blowgun.

A friend of mine who travels to Borneo quite a bit, brought one back. He watched it being made. It is about 6 feet long, in a fine grain black wood (I forget the name now). He showed me how it was held and aimed, parallax probably being the main factor when you aim it.

Basically, closing one eye, you aim at the target, then you close the other eye and note the point, at which the point of the blow gun is now pointing. Open both eyes, and aim at the mean between these two points. Of course you have to calculate for distance and have to adjust vertically as well, for this.

I made a 6ft blowgun (but out of copper pipe), and had the mouth piece turned out of African Black wood, and have had a lot of fun with it. My effective range is about 20 to 30Ft. I am trying to grow bigger lungs!

Best wishes. Joe Pratt.

Thanks Joe, for an interesting and unusual email. You may recall that I also reflected upon the Dayak’s feelings about blow darts versus modern hunting equipment:

“At the second night’s camp, Titus assembled his very basic single-barrelled shotgun. Both Titus and Nus had experience of using blowpipes for hunting and Nus had had some success hunting birds with a blowpipe, but when asked which was better, a shotgun or blowpipe, they made a face at each other, then at Shady, then at me. It was the sort of face that you might make if someone asked you which you preferred: washing dishes by hand or using a dishwasher.”