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The Box Dead-fall


This trap is an old invention, simplified by the author, and for

the capture of rats and mice will prove very effectual. It consists

of a box, constructed of four slabs of 3-4 inch boarding, and open

at both ends. The two side boards should be 10 x 18 inches; top

and bottom boards, 6 x 18 inches. For the centre of the latter,

a square piece should be removed by the aid of the saw. The width

of this piece should be four
inches, and the length eight inches.

Before nailing the boards together, the holes thus left in the

bottom board should be supplied with a treadle platform, working

on central side pivots. The board for this treadle should be much

thinner and lighter than the rest of the trap, and should fit loosely

in place, its surface being slightly below the level of the bottom

board. This is shown in the interior of the trap. The pivots should

be inserted in the exact centre of the sides, through holes made

in the edge of the bottom board. These holes may be bored with

a gimlet or burned with a red-hot wire. The pivots may

consist of stout brass or iron wire; and the end of one should

be flattened with the hammer, as seen in (a). This pivot should

project an inch from the wood, and should be firmly inserted

in the treadle-piece. The platform being thus arranged, proceed

to fasten the boards together, as shown in the illustration, the

top and bottom boards overlapping the others. We will now give

our attention to the stick shown at (b). This should be whittled

from a piece of hard wood, its length being three inches, and its

upper end pointed as seen. The lower end should be pierced with a

crevice, which should then be forced over the flattened extremity

of the point (a) as shown at (c), pointed end uppermost. The

weight (d) is next in order. This should consist of a heavy oak

plank two inches in thickness, and of such other dimensions as will

allow it to fit loosely in the box, and fall from top to bottom

therein without catching between two sides. A stout staple should

be driven in the centre of its upper face, and from this a stout

string should be passed upward through a hole in the centre of

the box. We are now ready for the spindle (e). This should be

about three inches in length, and bluntly pointed

at each end, a notch being made to secure it at a point five inches

above the pivot (c). To set the trap, raise the weight, as seen

in the illustration; draw down the string to the point (e), and

attach it to the spindle one-half an inch from its upper end, which

should then be inserted in the notch, the lower end being caught

against the extremity of the pivot stick. The parts are now adjusted,

and even in the present state the trap is almost sure to spring at

the slightest touch on the treadle-piece. An additional precaution

is advisable, however. Two small wooden pegs (f) should be driven,

one on each side of the spindle, thus preventing any side-movement

of the latter. It will now be readily seen that the slightest weight

on either end of the treadle-piece within the trap must tilt it

to one side, thus throwing the pivot-piece from its bearing on

the spindle; and the latter being released, lets fall the weight

with crushing effect upon the back of its hapless victim.

The trap is very effective, and is easily constructed. The bait

should be rested in the centre of the treadle platform. Built on

a larger scale, this device may be successfully adapted to the

capture of the mink, martien, and many other varieties of game.