Recently I bought some horn for nocks from Highland Horn and a couple of small buffing wheels and some polishing compound. I've had a chance to try it out on the horn nocks I've just finished, excellent! Using the coarser polishing compound, a big bar (actually they sell it by the half bar) of reddish brown stuff a bit like grainy soap reminded me of when I was a lad. I was probably 11 or 12 and rummaging in my Dad's work shop when I came across the same reddish brown stuff, what on earth was it? I asked Dad who replied 'polishing compound' leaving me none the wiser of course!
It's little things like this that make me appreciate and marvel at being a 'grown up'. Blimey you can just get on the internet and order all sorts of marvellous stuff, whereas when I was a kid I could barely afford a couple of arrows or crossbow bolts from DG Quicks.
Talking of buying stuff, I've ordered 2 small sides of leather, one about 1.6mm thick and the other about 2.6mm. I'll have plenty to make a new quiver and bracer and some of the guys at the club have chipped in with other stuff on the order to save p&p.
The longbow now has its final string and I've shot about 70 arrows with it, I'll take it up the club and give it a work out. It feels great, but I couldn't for the life of me string it without a stringer. Now this irritated me as it's only 50 pounds. I realised there were two factors, it's slightly longer than my own bow and the top nock was just slightly bulky. Being a bit of obsessive about these things I took a file to the nice polished nock and worked it down some more. I put an old string on it so that I could take the nock right down until it was flush with the string, that's to say the string groove is now exactly as deep as the diameter of the string. Now I can string it by hand (the push pull method) with relative ease and the string slides up over the nock and clicks down snugly into it's groove.
I'd also done some minor adjustments to the grooves in the nock to help the string sit square down the centre line, there is still a hint of meander in the back of the stave, but some of this is to avoid cutting into knots.
I found a good trick for polishing the string grooves. A length of hemp string was loaded with polishing compound by sawing it back and forth aross the block of compound, this string is then worked back and forth in the string groove Diabolo fashion and soon has the groove polished to a sparkling finish.