Spring Time in the Rockies – Please Release Me, Let Me Go

Personal Reflection: This is a continuation of Gerald’s thoughts on building an improvised weapon. It features a fictionalized letter from Karl to George as well as George’s reply.

Gerald insisted both be included in spite of the length of this piece because he felt time was short, and he wanted to get the message out. That was typical of his sense of urgency about many things.


Dear G,

Bet you don’t remember that old song. Sorry that no one on your end has shown interest in the valve spring shooter idea, except one innovative person. Bless him.

Man I know used a digital micrometer to measure the diameter of my set of springs, they measure 1.40 inches across. Closest I could come for a tube was a length of pipe in 1 and ½ inch outside diameter. The springs are kind of loose inside this pipe–hope it doesn’t hurt–would like something in a closer fit, and smoother too.

I plan to put a floor flange on either end for attaching brackets. Person I showed this too said it was ungainly and way too heavy. I tried to tell him I am no engineer, I am just trying to put together a prototype, see if the idea works at all.

I want to use a two by four for a “stock” and a boat winch to pull the arrow holder back against the train of springs. Sorry I can’t report some progress, but I am feeling my way in the dark here and I do have other things to do. Am still working on converting old cars to little shelters.

Big problem was what to use for a trigger mechanism. I have seen triggers for antique cross bows, but I don’t have the ability to make something like that. I said trigger “was” a problem, because there may be merit in a suggestion by a lady from England who read about our project.

Her name is Stella Nuttall and she grew up near the location of Sherwood Forest, where it once was. She said, yes, children in the area still play at being Robin Hood. She didn’t want to be Maid Marian though, she wanted to be Robin. Said the name is good for girls or boys.

This lady says we have missed a simple solution for the trigger. Use an archery release. I had to admit I didn’t know what an archery release was, or is.

She said it is a mechanism that holds the bow string as you pull it back. To shoot the arrow, you push a button and it releases the string, smooth as silk. Trigger problem solved? What do you think, G?

By the way, this lady asked that her name be mentioned if the archery release is used. I asked her why and she said, “Because I thought of it.”

Wish I had more to report. What should I do about the barrel problem of looseness, and is the archery release a good idea?



P.S. Sheriff of Nottingham, look out, we’re gaining on you!


Dear Karl,

You are making great gains on the valve spring shooter project.

I have an idea for a more appropriate, and lighter, tube or barrel. Some one suggested we check out dimensions of tubing sold by Online Metals dot com. Said they have a wide variety of sizes and metals in aluminum, steel and brass. Now that you have dimensions you can find something that would work. He said Online Metals has plastics like Delrin and Nylon you might find a use for. My source says they cut to length and service is great.

As for Stella Nuttal’s idea of using the archery release, I had misgivings at first. The little trigger button sounds great, but I wondered if the release could handle the poundage or pull that valve springs are capable of generating?

Well, I visited the archery section of Bass Pro and the cheapest release they sell has been tested to 200 pounds! Some releases have handles and some have a removable wrist strap. Hope this helps.

The digital micrometer sounds neat. Please keep me posted on your progress. By the way, what do you intend to shoot with your first model? I mean what projectile–arrows?



An additional note: To show how seriously Gerald pursued this project, he submitted a comment he wanted posted, as if from an anonymous reader.

“Believe I may have found a tube you could use for a barrel on your prototype. It is technically a pipe and the inside diameter is one point five inches. It is aluminum and www.onlinemetals.com Has it for $8.20 a foot, or 4 feet for $26.23. You said you wanted a long barrel to test the use of a number of springs in a long train. Four feet should do that, you can always shorten it later. Seems like a friendly price and should match the dimensions of your springs.”

Gerald’s improvised weapon contraption wasn’t salvaged when his old place was cleaned up.

If you missed the first part of this two part series, Click here. These articles are presented solely for informational purposes.

Author: Gerald Franz

Gerald Franz (1935-2014) was like a second father to me in the 27 years I knew him. Brilliant and eccentric, with a wide array of interests, he fit the definition of being gifted. He strove to shake people loose from their conventional thinking. As a Bible believing Christian, his favorite and most studied Bible subject was prophecy. Writing became a means of teaching in his later years. See more about Gerald here.