Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Nocks on and Full Brace

The bow is looking more like a bow now, the horn nocks are on, but not polished and the tips are much slimmer.
I've got it up to full brace and the tiller is coming along, the lower limb is still a tad stiff.

You can see from the unbraced pic the bow still has some reflex, it needs a stringer to get it braced and even then it's a bit of a heave!

One pic shows a nice blush of colour round a filled knot.

I've done some more work on it and it's looking good and pulling 60# at 27". By the time I've scraped and sanded out the tool marks it will be 60# at 28" It's then down to shooting it in and testing it at 30" draw.

Monday, 20 March 2017

60# Yew at Low Brace

I've had some problems with the bow trying to bend sideways, mostly on one limb that also has ome twist near the tip. Some steaming shifted the limb sideways by 0.4"and removed the twist. I've now got it to a compfortable low brace without it rying to turn inside out! I've had it on the tiller and it;s begining to shape up.
Short video here:-

To really appreciate the bend one also needs to see the unstung shape, but it's pouring with rain and I can't be bothered to go out and take that pic'!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

60# Rustic Yew

I've been working a stave of spliced billets, it had rather a lot of reflex and a bit of a harsh kink in one limb. I've eased out the kink and little of the reflex with steam and got it a bit more even. It still has plenty of character. I think there is enough meat to get back to 60#, but it was roughed out fairly tight.
A bit more work to even out the limbs and I'll get it up on the tiller again. It's been up a couple of times just to find the stronger limb and to check that I'm in the right ballpark.
Here are a few pics to be getting on with!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Bits and Pieces

I've been pondering the disappointing performance of the flight bow on Sunday so I put it back on the tiller and took force draw measurements... they were very much as before plus or minus the odd decimal of a pound.
I actually took a reading at 27" which was 71.1#
So why the disappointing performance? Presumably the arrows... they didn't seem to go away very cleanly, the fact that I could see them go implies they were slow, but why? They were longer heavier and larger diameter than the previous arrow I'd tried, all of which would slow 'em down also they were possibly weaker spine (I could only use the shafts that I had available).
All in all too many variables to draw firm conclusions other than the bow is still ok (whew!)

I had a comment on the wonky warbow on Facebook from a chap who said he'd like a bow like that, something rustic. I decided to see what staves I have available. I sometimes feel a bit guiltly because I have people sort of waiting for bows, but it's a matter of matching staves to requirement. I have a couple of people after bamboo backed Yew bows and I need heartwood for those rather than staves with good sapwood, I also have a couple of people wanting primitives, not to mention warbows. Hopefully by later in the year I'll have a good bit of seasoned timber, but at the moment I only really have a couple of staves which happen to maybe suit this rustic requirement (60# @28" but going out to 29 1/2". So we'll call that 30" then!).
These staves may or may not be suitable, but I'll get 'em roughed out and see where they go. The reflexed spliced billets, may have too much reflex to go out to 30" draw as the stave isn't particularly long. The other stave may not have enough heartwood, but roughing them down will show what's there. This shows the difference between using odd limbs and billets that have come my way and buying premium staves from Oregon or Canada.
I do like to have the history of a stave, the spliced billets with the reflex are from the same batch of Yew as Wonky Warbow harvested from Newmarket in 2013.

I've also been tarting up the Frankenbow, putting a horn tip overlay onto the tip of the primitive limb. It just needs a new string and I'll shoot it. Can't wait to turn up to an NFAS field shoot and when asked what class I'm shooting, I'll say " Top limb Primitive, bottom limb Longbow!".

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Frankenbow

As Kipling would say we should face triumph and disaster and treat them both the same!

With bow making disaster is inevitable, but it provides opportunity for experiment so I determined to utilise the socket portion of the takedown bow that broke on Sunday (previous post) to produce a novelty bow with an upper limb from a primitive that broke a while back.

First a few words about the takedown, both limbs had survived, it was the male part, the plug that fits into the socket, that had failed. The bamboo on the back had given way at the glue line and broken. This joint had been re-made once before and maybe this weak point was left over from then. The original failure was due to my cutting into the bamboo back where it enters the socket.
The Yew primitive upper limb has been whittled down to form a plug to fit the socket, taking great care to leave the back continuous, this seems to be surving.
I've taken some pics and video showing the work, which are dobtless more interesting than a lengthy explanation.

 I did a video, before the final tiller was finished, I needed to do that to see how it was flexing because the boo backed Yew was a 40# bow but the primitive was a 50#

My target weight for the Frankenbow is 40# at 28 and that's pretty much where it is in the pic on the left. I may do a horn tip overlay on the right limb, and by the time I've scraped and sanded out the tool marks it will be pretty much spot on 40#
Here's the link to the video:-

Monday, 13 March 2017

ILAA Roving Marks Yattendon

Ah, well, a bit of a curate's egg of a day, but most enjoyable.
It was raining hard on the drive down, but we mostly go away with drizzle in the morning which held off in the afternoon. The shoot was over undulating parkland with a good deal of shooting over huge Oaks and Chestnuts in the afternoon.
My day went well for the first two shots, but the bow exploded on the third! I'd taken my light weight takedown bow, which had already had a chequered career, having failed at the joint previously.
Before the shoot I'd shown how it pulled apart and JT was sceptical that it could hold up... "Of course it will, solid as a rock!" I assured him... whoops. Ironically, one of the arrows was a scoring shot.
The limbs have survived, so maybe I can make it into a kids bow or use a limb from a primitive to make a "Frankenstein's Bow". (I've already started on it!)
The only injury was to my pride, which rather lasted through the shoot as I was somewhat anxious about the flight bow and it's untested arrows.
Brian Mooyaart (the organiser and driving force of the ILAA ) most generously lent me his Osage bellied Bickerstaffe bow (60# @28") which served me well through the day.
I tired a bit through the afternoon and my left elbow was giving me a bit of gyp so I sat out a few shots and saved myself for the flight shoot. Again a bit of a curate's egg, the good thing was that neither bow nor arrows exploded, although one arrow broke at the tip having found a stone.
Whilst waiting on the shoot line I was being wound up by one chap, suggesting the bow was too short to meet the criteria for a longbow. I wasn't much amused having had a bow explode on me earlier, but once we'd finished I was chatting to him about flight shooting most amicably. He'd won the flight, but I think I was second, although neither of us made 300 yards (I stand to be corrected on all this if anyone has better info). The flight bow seemed easier to pull than expected, now this could be because I'd been pulling 60# all day and was nicely warmed up, it could be the damp weather or maybe the bow was starting to give up. Only cold hard figures from the tiller will tell the full story.
The good news is that the arrows showed up really well!
So you see it was all a bit up and down, but a roast chicken dinner and a good night's kip has left me nicely loose and refreshed and full of enthusiasm.

I don't do many roving marks shoot, but what I do enjoy is that it's more sociable than field shooting, you are wanding round en masse rather than just a group of 3 or 4.
Many thanks to Brian and Catherine Mooyaart (and their marshalls) for a most enjoyable day out. I don't hold them accountable for the rain!

Here's a link to a short video clip:-

Saturday, 11 March 2017

More Flight Arrows

I've been making some flight arrows for the spliced Yew flight bow.
I've made 'em 27" to allow an inch extra draw from the 26" I've tested it at. Maybe they will be fright arrows rather than flight arrows.
I turned some brass points same as usual, but with a shorter tang, I'm using my "standard" 5/16 arrow shafts that are 35-40 spine, this will maybe horrify some people, but with a shorter arrow and a light point, the dynamic spine should be ok, also bear in mind they will have to flex round the grip of the bow as it has no cut out for the arrow being an English Longbow.
I'm getting fed up with losing flight arrows, so I've bought some Neon Yellow paint which seems pretty bright (Rustoleum Neon Yellow) It seems to cover well and goes nicely onto the wood, it's not a gloss finish and I'll probably put some clear acrylic over it. I rubbed it down lightly with wire wool to get it smoother.
I've only weighed one arrow and it's 281 grain which is about 4 grains per pound of draw weight, I could go a bit lighter, but one of the arrows I've already shot from it was anout 220 grain, so I'm not too much heavier considering the arrow is 3" longer.
the balance point is nicely forward of centre being about 40% of the way along the shaft from the front (or 10% forward of centre if you want to look at it that way)