I've heard assorted daft opinions and generalisations about English yew and Churchyard Yew.
The cutting of the Yew is blogged here:-
Any wood needs to be viewed on it's own merits.
One piece of the Churchyard yew would probably be dismissed by most people (and was almost ignored by me), yet look at this picture of the narrow end which has been trimmed off as I've started to rough out a bow. You'd have to look at a lot of Yew to find a bit as good as that!
You can see the lower edge has been chaffing against another branch and the bark has worn through. The diameter is so small that the grip of the bow will need to be the full size of the brach and the central pith will be incorporated into the limbs for some length.
Now it may not make a bow, but it certainly has the potential to become a glorious character 'stick' Warbow. Certainly a worthy challenge to a bowyer.
The 130# warbow was collected yesterday, we went out to do some shooting to see it perform. It's difficult to find somewhere to shoot, even our club is a bit short of room for long shots.
We went out to a location where there is a huge expanse of open field with a footpath right across it.
Now, some would throw their hands up in horror at shooting along a public footpath, but before you call the armed response unit, allow me to paint a picture.
We drove about a mile up a dead end road to a farm, then walked half a mile up an ancient cart track with trees along each side, and fields of brassicas (kale?) sprouting on either side. It then opened out onto a vast open plain which was once a WWII airstrip.
Stretching out over the farmland, every 1/4mile or so, posts marked the footpath across the open fields of winter wheat which was just showing a few inches of growth. We walk out about 200 yards where the grass of the path way stopped at the edge of the field where kale gave way to the winter wheat.
Shooting along the path we had a clear view at least a mile and a half in front and a good half mile either side. No hedges, nothing. The only thing that concerned us was walking over the crop, so we kept single file and walked along the marked path. We had to divert a little to collect the arrows, but tried to tread carefully.
Obviously this isn't an ideal shooting ground and if we saw anyone we would have immediately packed up.
Anyhow it's only the second time I've shot there in about 3 years, and it's one of the few places safe to test shoot Warbows or flight bows.
I'm posting this really as a counterpoint to the endless 'health and safety' style post that I've seen on some forums, with knee jerk reaction to questions about shooting on public land or in the garden.
Anyhow the shooting was fun and I shot about 9 from the 100# Elm warbow. John warmed up with a variety of bows before trying the 130#, he was close to managing it and got off a couple of shots which went as far as the other arrows (which were all going a similar distance). He wasn't quite getting 'over the hill' with his right elbow to get those last couple of inches, but he was confident that he'd master it in a few weeks and was looking forward to enjoying it over the next year when the weather was warmer and the shooting easier.