Sunday, 14 January 2018

Shooting Machine

I've modified the shooting machine to be the mk 1.5 . It can now be shot in a more stable manner with a foot on the back end holding down and drawing the bow by pulling on  rope which runs through a pulley.
I took some video, using my new camera with slo-mo capability, of it shooting twister using a regular field shooting arrow and then a flight arrow.
JT took some video of me susing the shooting machine, from which I took a screen grab to show how it works.
I also took some video of my mate JT shooting a warbow at 300, 600 and 1200 frames per second.
Video of the arrows leaving the shooting machine.
Video of Warbow shots

The camera and the shooting machine were a great success. The machine needs some improvement but it certainly proved the concept.
I'll produce a mk 2

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Bow Collected

Martin came to collect the Yew bow and brought Ridgeback, the one I'd made him back in 2012 to check the draw weight.
It was great to see how Ridgeback had matured to a lovely colour, it was interesting to see the bow as I'd made the grip deeper than I'd remembered with quite a high arched D section giving it a slightly Victorian look, but only over about the central 10" or so. It also felt remarkably light in the hand.
Seeing the two bows side by side showed the contrasts and similarities (Ridgeback is the left one in the pic). The top nocks are different but overall they look very much to have the same feel.
He shot a few arrows from the new bow, it looked nicely manageable and was noticably heavier than Ridgeback, which I checked as 55# at 28"
It was good to have a chat and to find that he's hoping to join Cloth of Gold field archery club (which I heartily recommended), so maybe we'll bump into each other up there some time.
He also gave me some beers as an thank you which was much appreciated, especially as I've just finished the Christmas supply!

I'd have taken more pics but the camera (the little Canon SX220) seemed to be playing up... looking through the settings I found the lens retract set to 0 secs, which seems a pretty bonkers concept and is quite likely the problem.
I set it to 1 min and it seems ok now, (hopefully).
Just had an E-mail from Martinn to say he weighed the two bows, Ridgeback weighed 580g and Wonky weighed 800g
That's quite a difference so it will be interesting to re-weigh 'em in the summer or in a year.
There is the "Mass Principle" which some people use with bows, which basically says for any particular bow, length,poundage etc there is an optimum weight. I don't use it myself, but the heavier draw weight bow does weigh more, other than that I can't really muster the enthusiasm to delve further into it. I can't really imagine that about five or six pounds of draw weight and half an inch weight should add that much mass. My guess is it's more about the state of the wood.
If you all sit patiently for six months I'll report back. (Sit still hands on laps, no fidgeting!)

Monday, 8 January 2018

Yew Bow Finished

By putting the bow against the other half of the log from which it came, you can see how much bending work I've had to do to get a reasonable shape. The bow still has a lot of character and it's difficult to really see how its flexing. I'll shoot 100 arrows through it and see how it settles. Maybe I'll stiffen the centre with a little heat treating, but that deflex area just above the centre is weird an make it look weak there.
I haven't done the arrow plate yet, but it's a bit chilly for shooting it in or doing the arrow plate at the mo'
It's a tad under weight, 60# at 28" but a little heating after it's shot in might improve that, mind I'm reluctant to risk inducing any sideways bend as I've had to fiddle about with it more than enough.
I'm pleased to say that although it started off looking a bit ugly, it now looks graceful and elegant.
If we get a mild spell I'll get some video of it being shot.
I've had 5 test shots from a decent full draw, it's a tad heavy for me, but it bangs 'em in. Last shot was plumb centre... nice!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Yew Longbow Nearly Finished

I've had to do some more heat tweaking and also had to fill a knot that goes right through the upper limb.
I've done the horn nocks and at last the bow is beginning to look good.
Here's a video of it on the tiller, it still needs a little work, but as it's only at a low brace, hopefully it will make the required draw weight (63# @ 27").
Meanwhile I've been tinkering on the lathe and I ground up a tool to put a 2mm radius onto brass arrow heads. I'd read somewhere that a 2mm radius is supposed to be optimal, but it could be nonsense. Having a shooting machine to do tests may prove it one way or another.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Little bit of Slo-Mo

I need to get more lighting and careful set up to improve the quality of the slo-mo. It will be interesting to see how it is in natural light filming a real archer.
The shooting machine works, but think the loose is too perfect and virtually instant.
More next year ;-)

Friday, 29 December 2017

Looking Over the Year

It's been my first full year of retirement and  I've had fun with warbows, the cross bow, primitives, flight bows,  building the shooting machine and re-working some bows including Twister.
My stand out warbows have been Wonky which was a tad extreme, and the 3 RPI (ring per inch) fast grown English Yew which disproved some of the myths and prejudices about yew.

February and the spring was somewhat tied up with looking after Emily Cat who went missing for 3 days and came back injured, fortunately she recovered and is back to her bonkers best but without her tail now..
The ILAA Popinjay shoot was great fun and I consider it a "must do" for this year.
My two fave' bows were the 3 RPI warbow and the pretty Boo, Purpleheart and Yew trilam...
Over the year I've improved my tools collection with a load of G clamps and improvements to the arrow tapering jig and the thicknesser.

In the spring I made up a spliced yew flight bow from some dodgy random billets which performed quite well and has given me food for thought for 2018's flight bow, and of course the arrows, because self evidently, one the arrow has left the string... it's all about the arrow. Hopefully the shooting machine and my new camera should help in achieving a little more distance this year. I'll be making a flight longbow/warbow to be used by my trusty test pilot and chum JT in the summer.

Failures included the exploding take-down ELB, a big Yew log with no decent wood in it and a Laburnum heartwood primitive which eventually was destruction tested.
The ongoing crossbow project was a bit like the curate's egg, good in parts, the trigger mechanism was good, but the prods varied from just about acceptable to failures, mind I am trying for an impressive performance with a lot of self imposed constraints. Maybe I'll persevere with the natural materials or maybe I'll make up a prod with fibre glass or carbon laminations over a wooden core.

Bliss, just got out of the house for a couple of hours harvesting some Hazel with a couple of mates. We cut a few poles and split two of 'em. I'll quick season one of the poorer staves... so we can start some bow making at the start of February. I'll be helping JT through the process and hopefully he'll end up having made a shootable ELB.
Here's an early try out with the camera, using my crossbow pistol.

All the best to friends old and new for 2018

Saturday, 23 December 2017

First Test Shots!

I've tried the shooting machine with a 30# bow from a fixed 27" draw.
I've lightened the back of the stock a bit so it balances better and screwed a chunk of aluminium in front of the trigger mechanism as a fixed stop to hold it at 27" draw.
It shoots nicely, but with a weak bow slightly under drawn, the arrows are a bit stiff and kicking left. The basic design has certainly been proved, but I don't trust the trigger mechanism for anything much heavier.
Over the holiday period I should get some interesting video and work on a more robust version of the trigger and the sliding release.
Lovely tiller on that little 30# Hazel, it's one of my best bows, it was the one that Ruth Goodman shot on the TV program.
Update:- I've tried with the sliding release, cocked and loaded the bow at about 20" and then pulled the trigger mechanism back using a makeshift handle made from a wire coat hanger. As it gets back to 27" the trigger gets lifted by a block that I'd screwed in place.
It was rather awkward to operate but released ok. I was V close to the target and the arrow struck home whilst it was still flexing and flying at an angle, so it embedded 2" into the target and snapped off the shaft. It will be interesting to see it in slo-mo once I have the fancy camera.
Updated update:-
I've just shot "twister" from outside the garage, so that's 10 yards. Perfect shot, lined up pretty true and struck the target square, just shows that with the right arrow and bow it shoot correctly :)
Cant wait to get some video but I'm not allowed to open the camera until Christmas!