My mate Matt a bowyer from Cambridge way dropped in on his way down to a wood yard, he gave me some lovely Hickory laminations/backing strips and a big piece that had heart/sapwood colouration in it which could make a couple of pretty bows. We had a bit of a chat and swapped tales of injured fingers. He showed me some pictures of his work, some stunning laminated tips and grips and cool walking ticks. He didn't stay too long as we both had places to be.
I'd already got the car loaded with my shave horse tiller tree and bowyers tools to go the the Walkern Magna Carta Fair.
The weather was glorious and I was set up under a big tent along with "the medievals" who had a fine display of arms, bows etc. (See pic of my mate JT) There was falconry, armed combat, the archers and a trebuchet. I didn't really get a chance to walk round and have a look to see what else was there as there was a steady stream of people asking about making bows and trying the feel of a spokeshave on Yew heart and sap wood, it's great when they can actually feel it and lots of kids seemed enthralled with making curly shavings.
There was a French contingent dressed in medieval costume, it's odd but they don't recognise the name "Yew" and "Taxus" didn't help much either.
Rather than trying to explain the difference in heart and sap, I got the French lady to have a go, I accentuated that it was about the senses, feeling, and being sympathetic to the wood. I flirted and teased with our national stereotypes a little and said that people think us English men aren't passionate and sensual, but working with wood is is all about that. I added that the sap and heart woods are a perfect marriage. The French lady joined in the joke and translated to her colleagues with a broad grin.
I roughed down a stave of Hazel and got it flexing on the tiller which was a good demonstration. Mind, I left it up on the tiller and someone managed to knock it off which jarred the big scales and made it read 20 pounds over weight. It's a minor irritation to strip it down and re position the cogs.
I shot a few arrows, Monkey bow shot the whistling arrows and I had a few through the 70# Yew bow. One of my lighter arrows flew out with a bang, whacked my left forearm and sailed wide of the boss. It must have had a crack in the shaft as I later found half of it beyond the target boss. lucky it didn't rip into my arm, as I hadn't bothered with the bracer.
I got a picture of "Second Chance" the 50# Yew longbow in use. I was impressed that it's lady owner (in medieval garb) was getting a really good full draw on it. The lower limb looks a bit whip tillered , but I checked back to pictures of the unbraced stave and there it has a bit of a deflex near the end which makes it look like that.
The day was surprisingly tiring, but I s'pose I was up and down on the shave horse all day, bending down shifting staves and drawing bows. Just heaving my kit to and from the car which was 100 yards away was a chore by the end of the day.
I got home and made a big saucepan of chilli, had a good cat nap then stayed up to watch our Women in the World cup (they beat Canada 2-1) mostly due to Canada's inability to stick the ball in the back of the net and a defensive mistake. Still it was slightly less nerve wracking than watching our men.