Sunday, June 18, 2017

Arms dealers

I continue my description of the moral decay of Denmark with a mixture of child labour and arms dealing.

The local shop in the village once a year hosts a market day where there is a social gathering with coffee and socializing with the other residents of the area.
The important thing for our children though is the market part, which allows you to have a booth at the parking lot and try to sell stuff. This year Gustav didn't feel like participating, he is a teenager now, and won't risk compromising being cool by being seen selling odd stuff in a parking lot (at least that is what I believe is the reason)
Asger likes the idea of selling something that he has made himself, and we have earlier sold stuff like apple crates, a home made soap and old no longer used toys.
This year I returned home from the ship some 2 weeks prior to the arrangement, and Asger wanted us to think of something new to sell this year. He takes pride in that we never sell the same products two years in a row.
I quickly had to think of something that would look the part and not be too overly difficult to build, I would of course help, but I wanted parts of the project to be such that the kids could do it themselves, in order for them to feel more of an ownership of the project.

This year we decided on making a small production of wooden toy guns.
I sawed out the stock on the band saw, and after some initial sanding and planing, I used a router to round over all the edges.
Asger sanded the stocks and then we helped each other applying some walnut stain.

We decided to make a few different models of guns, but all using more or less the same stock:
3 shotguns O/U
3 shotguns S/S
2 small carabines (stock shortened by approx 5" for very small kids)
14 sub machine guns inspired by a Thompson.

I made the barrels ready by gluing up those for the shotguns and flattening those for the sub machine guns and the carabines.
Asger drilled holes in all the barrels for mounting and the he painted them all.

I made some magazines for the "Thompsons" and Asger tried to use the router mounted in a router table to round them over on the edges before he sanded and painted them.

The triggers are a screw that has had the end cut off and filed round, and the trigger guards were made out of some zinc plate that I bent into shape.
Finally the barrels were mounted and the guns were ready to be sold.
Asgers friend Andreas helped in selling the guns.

All photos courtesy of Olav.

Andreas (left) Asger (right).

The sales table is a small Sjöberg workbench.

Me taking a small break and enjoying a cold beer.

Andreas contemplating about why sales are so low.

The shopping cart of Bonnie and Clyde.


  1. Great project!

    Toy guns have kind of fallen out of favor in the child care industry for promoting violence. I think that's too bad, because I remember having lots of fun playing "cops 'n' robbers" in the back yard growing up.

    1. Thanks
      I remember playing "war" in the back yard too. It was great fun, and you got a lot of exercise at the same time.

    2. If I remember your amusing story, you must have also played "war" inside the house. Your mom showed me the designer chair that had a hole in it from a bazooka projectile dating from your childhood.

    3. Oh yes, we did that too.
      I blame the fault on Robert Mitchum and others who were in the movie: The longest day.
      We watched it as kids and were fascinated with the bazookas, so we wanted to make one ourselves.
      We ended up taking a pipe from a vacuum cleaner and something like a children's pool cue.
      My older brother aimed at the chair because we were sure it wouldn't break, and it was supposed to be easy to hit.
      Ready... Fire. And at that code word, I slammed the cue the best I could into the rear end of the vacuum tube. I remember watching in awe as the cue sailed through the room like a spear and pierced the back of the chair.
      I had no idea at that time that the chair was a fancy designer thing.

  2. Good storytelling, thanks. I hope the boys sold enough to reward them for the work. All of your kids sound like they're turning out well. The sign of a man smart enough to marry well. :-D

  3. Hi Jeff

    Thanks for the nice comment. I think you are correct about the marrying part :-D

    Sadly the sales were a bit slow. They sold 6 guns out of the 19 that were made.
    But it is a very small village, so given the number of people I guess it was OK. But it bothers me that people are so cheap. They charged 75 dkk (~12$) for one gun. A comparative kids commodity is loose weight candy which is roughly 1.5$ for 3 oz.
    A problem might be like Brian Eve suggests that playing cops & robbers have fallen out of favor lately. And why even bother playing outside when you can shoot at each other inside the house using a nerf-gun?

    Asger gave Andreas a gun for helping out and we took the rest of them home, so we still have a bunch of guns that can be played with or maybe he will try to sell them at some point.

    A guy asked if the Sjöberg workbench was for sale, but he thought that 200 $ was too much. I should ad that the bench is in pristine condition since it has lived in my older brothers basement and seen close to no use at all.
    He never made a counter offer, so I guess he was in the 80$ range. I'll just keep the bench until some of the children might need it.

  4. I used to play like that (with much less cool arms then that), climb trees, and even carry a very small pocket knife (shocking) and it turn out, surprising, I did not became an outlaw.
    Although sometimes my wife calls me 'psico'....

    Maybe swords next year??
    Good post

    1. Hi Antonio.

      Thanks for the nice comment.
      I remember running around all afternoon and shouting bang bang or ratatatatatatatata (if you had a machine gun).
      You could barely speak when you had to eat supper, but you got a lot of exercise that way.
      I am appalled!!! A pocket knife. If you had lived in Denmark you would be in serious trouble!!! :-)

      We actually discussed swords, but we decided that they would invite to kids fencing with each other, and someone would inevitably get hit and start crying, and I guess that I would be partly blamed for that.


  5. Sadly, you don't see too many kids playing war anymore, or similar games, unless it is on a computer screen.

    1. Hi Bill.

      No it seems to have fallen out of favour.
      A school in Denmark recently employed a physiotherapist as an experiment, because the children starting in kindergarden class and 1st grade were not sufficiently motoric developed comparing to what they used to be.
      They had a far worse balance and physic due to having spent too much time swiping a finger on an ipad.

      I am glad that our kids like to be active, because it is going to be a huge problem in the years to come.

  6. Thank you very much for sharing such a beautiful article.