About 6 years ago, my wife and I flew to El Paso, TX, to visit her Grandfather. He loved tinkering in his shop, making copper wire art and other small wood mind puzzlers. When we arrived at this house he pulled out a small rectangular piece of wood and asked me if I had ever seen an “Idiot Stick.” Immediately, I thought of a way not to look too stupid in front of my new Grandpa, whom I had just met, but to no avail, no thoughts came to mind. He began demonstrating how to play with the wood puzzle and he showed me the parts; the cap and rod, the hook at the end of the rod, the block with the hole, and the rubber band that was plugged into the bottom. He then gave the toy to me and I began looking like, well, an idiot, as the toy suggests.
After several minutes of attempts failed, Grandpa showed the trick to make the toy work. How remarkably simple a toy this was. So after many years, I finally made one for my shelf at home.
Here’s a video on how I made it. You will need the following things: a small piece of wood (3/4″ square x 5″ or so), a small dowel (I used a bamboo skewer though I suggest using something else), a drill bit to match the dowel, a saw to cut the wood, a sander to shape the cap, glue, a rubber band, and some sort of finish (though it isn’t necessary).