Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I'm Back

Before I went away for a few days I managed to get some gluing done on the Molle' so it would be ready to work on when I returned.
The big problem was one weak limb, the wood was full of splits, cracks and shakes. When I tried to work on the lever it virtually fell apart under the rasp.
I formulated a plan to stiffen the weaker limb by bringing the whole limb down towards the grip about 2".
If to have a tapered limb and you cut some length off the tip end, that end will now be a little thicker due to you being further up the taper. To maintain the length you extend the root of the limb back in towards the grip.
Say the limb is 1/4" thick by the grip and 1/8" at the tip, you are effectively removing wood from the 1/8" and adding wood at the 1/4" so you are thickening the entire limb slightly, sort of moving it along towards the thick end!
I hope that makes sense, but like much of bow making, you can't gain a huge amount, but in this case the limb was rather thin just inboard of the lever so the fix has some extra benefit in removing a weak spot.
I glued new Yew heartwood on to form the belly side of the lever extending it about 2" to overlap the weak point. I'll re-shape the new lever, shorten it to match the other, rasp into the handle to give a new fade area and hopefully have that limb stiffened up.
Simple then!

What I'm hoping is that the weaker limb is transformed into the stronger limb which will mean I can reverse the bow on the tiller and the slight offset in the grip will then favour a left hander. At the moment the grip hasn't been cut out at all, this gives me some room for manoeuvre. Worst case I can put some heat correction in at the grip if necessary, but hopefully I won't need to.
It's looking hopeful for 35-40# at 28, but of course it could all explode into a pile of matchwood.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Molle Update

Having deliberately left the levers long I've got some leeway to cut 'em down and hopefully still make a useful bow.
I've sawn 2.5" off each lever, it's now 64" long. The Yew backed cherry Molle was 56" for a 24" draw, so 64" scales up to about 27.5" just going by bow length to draw length ratio, which seems ok, especially as the Yew should be better in compression than the cherry.
The buckled wood seems fairly stable and it's looking a bit more optimistic.
I've flexed it and the bark is popping off evenly along both limbs which is a good sign, although it did expose a short length of bug damage, but that was fortunately near the grip.
With luck it will end up as useful and handsome bow.
It will have to wait until next week tho' as I'm busy with family business and will be off line... you'll have to talk amongst yourselves! ;-)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Yew Molle & Iffy Wood

I've heat straightened the levers relative to the limbs and pressed on with it quickly to get a feel for how the wood would stand the stress.

I roughed the limbs to a reasonable taper and pulled it to round about 40# at about 24" or so keeping a careful eye on it.
The upper limb looked weak as the longitudinal cracks on that limb buckled.

It's not entirely fatal and it could probably be finished to make say a 35# bow, or maybe I could do huge patch along the belly of the dodgy limb, using some billets that aren't quite right for longbows.
That's a lot of work for a bow with marginal wood. so in the mean time I've flooded the cracks with low viscosity cyanoacrylate glue and strapped it up tight.
I won't rush at it and I'll see what the guy who brought the wood wants me to do.

I've not spent too much time on it, and it could always be finished as a fun bow just for the hell of it, you just don't know, sometimes such bows end up being great performers, after all, in terms of speed per pound of draw weight a 35# bow will out perform a 70# every time!

Monday, 21 September 2015

Roughed out Yew Molle and Heat Bend Result

I had a great day yesterday, drove down to a field shoot in Kent. It was a private shoot on an estate, The nice lady in my sat nav got a bit confused but I was rescued by a horse woman who pointed me in the right direction. It was a very friendly affair with loads of people I recognised but my memory for names let me down.
I had a look over one of the Yew longbows I'd made back in about 2011, it was in great shape, but had taken a little set, I said it was fine, but if it got a bit puddingy and tired I'd heat treat and re-tiller it.
The was a wooden club house, great catering and a fire going which is always a cheery thing. The weather was fine and I was shooting well although I flagged in the afternoon.(My neck was rather sore too... must drop a few pounds off Twister).
It was a nice change to shoot with a group of people I hadn't met before, all good company. One chap was shooting a bow he'd made himself and it was fast with a very nice tiller. We had some interesting chat about the power of positive thinking... I'd been missing a string of shots and was confronted with a down hill one between the trees. I stepped up to shoot first so I wouldn't be influenced by any one else's shots.
"I haven't got a cat in hells chance of hitting that" I said trying to find a clear shot... then I switched to a more positive thought process...
"Yes I have got a cat in hells chance!..." Focussed on a spot on the chest of the Deer, drew and loosed smartly without too much thinking. At last a first arrow hit to break my run of blanks.

This morning I've put the Yew longbow back on the tiller. The heat treating/bending doesn't seem to have brought up the draw weight surprisingly, but it has greatly improved the shape.
Maybe I rushed the heating, moving the hot air gun every 3 minutes rather than my usual 4).

I've also roughed out the Mollegabet, it's a but of a curate's egg with some clean areas and some with a lot of cracks, splits and shakes. One bit of wood just dropped off exposing what the inside surface of a crack is like.
I doused all the cracks with low viscosity superglue to hopefully hold it together. I will need to heat bend one of the levers into line and the slowly start trying to worth the limbs into an even taper.
My evaluation of a project usually wavers between thinking it's impossible, to do-able several times in the early stages. At one point I was worried I'd roughed out the working limb too thin at one point... Maybe I have but it's probably ok. Anyhow I'm thinking that maybe with the state of the wood 40# may be safer than 50#. Better a sweet fast 40# than a pile of broken Yew... we'll see.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Heat Bend/Treat & Yew Log

I was a bit ambivalent about the Yew longbow... it was fine, but I want better than fine... it all seemed a bit too quick and easy.

So I've heat treated the belly and pulled the right limb into a tiny hint of reflex to match the left. I didn't over do it or go mad with the heat treatment. Being more symmetrical I should be able to get the braced shape and full draw tiller much nicer, it should also improve the performance and give me maybe an extra 10# to allow for fine tuning the tiller.
I did it this morning so that it can rest tomorrow while I'm off to a shoot. I'm very pleased with the result, but I won't really know how it is until I get it back on the tiller.

Meanwhile I've been looking at the bough from which I'm hoping to make the Molle'. Hmm it's rather scruffy and looks like it's maybe been standing half dead or very slow growing. The sapwood is very thin and there is a variety of problem knots, missing sapwood and bruises to the wood...
But, I've used similar before and "Dogleg" a trusty warbow was from a similar stave with wafer thin sapwood.
One advantage of the Molle' is that I only need a relatively short section of good clean wood near the middle, the levers can be a bit scruffy, it doesn't matter as they don't have to bend. They can also be misaligned, as being narrow they will be easy to heat correct.
Anyhow I've sawn some of the really scrappy stuff off each end to see what the wood looks like. It's fairly promising and a lovely colour. There are a fair few radial cracks, mind these don't matter too much, but it illustrates why it's better to split or saw a log into halves before seasoning to relieve some of that internal stress by exposing the centre of the log.

I'll get out my chalk, a length of string and a tape measure to see if I can lay out the bow.
I'll base the bending sections roughly on Twister which has a wideish flat limb. I'll scale up the overall size from the Yew backed Cherry Molle'. I'll leave some extra length on the levers, which can always be reduced later, basically let caution be my guide. Also remember the guy I'm making it for is left handed, this may be important when thinking about the natural curve of the log.

Friday, 18 September 2015

An Interesting Commission and Yew ELB

A Yew Mollegabet about 50# at 28", that should be fun to pick up next. It will be for a guy who visited a week or so back and will be from the yew he brought. I've been doing some armchair bow making planning how I'll make it. First step is to rough it out on the bandsaw, but it needs a bit of an overhaul first.

Yesterday I refurbed the bandsaw as it was squeaking a bit and needed a new blade. I gave it a good clean out and noticed the drive belt was fraying so I ordered a new belt and a couple of blades.
I noticed that Bedford Saw & Tool   from whom I got the bits also do improved blade guide assemblies. Maybe that's something for the Christmas list (damn, I've used the "C" word)
I think maybe the belt has worn because I occasionally run it without the dust extractor running (if it's connected to the belt sander instead) and saw dust gets trapped between belt and drive pulley.
Anyhow it's running smooth now.

I'm hoping to get a 75# Yew longbow finished. over the weekend, or ready for finishing at least.
See video here:-
Not sure who it's for yet as I have two commissions from people who are overseas for part of the year but back in the UK regularly. They both want bows of about that weight and want on a single stave (as opposed to billets).
The problem (and irritation) is that neither seems to respond to E-mails!

Personally I reply to E-mails within an hour or two, a day at the outside... contacts from the website take longer as I don't check that so often.
I prefer E-mail to phone as it gives a written record that can be referred back to, also pic's can be sent of course.
When people take the trouble to visit, I know they are serious and they get my attention.

Talking of E-mail... the down side is the damn spam, and I apologize if anyone has had any spam coming from my E-mail addresses. I think my address book has been hacked as I've received bogus E-mails from a few of my archery contacts. I've changed my passwords as a precaution.

Left limb of the bow looks stiff in the outer and weak just left of the grip, but it does have some natural reflex at the tip, Right limb needs to bend more all over and especially the mid/outer.
I'll press on with it.

Update:- I've measured limb thickness every 6" and also used my fingers to even out the thickness taper (I work on approximately 1.5-2mm every 6"). The limbs are coming round much more smoothly and it's about 75# at 28" now, ready for horn nocks.
This stave had so little spare thickness to play with that I've only just removed some of the original bandsaw marks! It's been made from the only good stave in this post:-
This rather illustrates how it's a struggle to find decent timber.
Note the left outer limb looks stiff, but you have to bear in mind the natural reflex... so it's bending more than it appears.
I may heat treat the belly and bend the right limb to match the left. That will bring up the draw weight and give me some more scope to perfect the tiller. On the other hand it's pretty much there as it is.

I've not blogged up the work on this bow as much as usual, and maybe I'm a bit grumpy. It's down to family issues and this isn't the place for such stuff.

I'll ease up on the Yew ELB for now and maybe plan out that Molle' and get it roughed out.
Looking forward to a field shoot down in Kent at the weekend, good to get some in before the weather turns. I'll be taking the repaired Yew ELB, The spliced billet bow, the Near-lithic and Twister to actually shoot.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Great Day's Shooting

I took the Near-lithic bow to the field shoot at the Aurora Club... Brilliant!
I shot round with my mates Mick (who took the video) and Lawrance who was shooting a Yew bow that I'd made.

The bow performed superbly, most of my misses were high, as the bow was surprisingly fast.

I shot steadily for the first half, not blanking a single target, but also not getting any first arrow kills. I eventually blanked one and also had a 3rd arrow glance off the centre of a rock hard old 3D Owl which rather irritated me. But I had a lucky poor shot (paw shot... tee hee) on a bear.
After lunch I'd settle down and stopped thinking... the first arrow kills and inner kills suddenly started coming. See this video of the bow in action:-

Also the pro kill on the giant mosquito!

I gave the bow a good inspection when we'd finished and it looked fine. You can see the tiller in the still grabbed from the video, it looks great, and that shot was a first arrow kill at decent range (you can tell from the angle of the aim)
The weather held fine despite the forecast for afternoon rain (hence the waterproof tucked in belt).
The turnout at the shoot was fairly sparse, (lots of other events were on this weekend) which mean we shot round without being held up at all. It was a joy to shoot in perfect conditions and at our own pace.

The bacon and egg butty and fruit cake with tea from the catering tent was just the job to keep up the energy levels too.

It was a lovely friendly atmosphere and well organised (despite us 3 old gits being unable to see direction signs!)
The deer set out in the field was at a testing distance, but I was invited to have another go at it as the course was quiet (non scoring of course)... still took me 3 arrow to hit it... D'oh. Good to chat to some new faces too.

Thanks to all at Aurora for their fine course and hospitality.

For anyone who likes the minutiae of these things:-
There were 36 targets, but one consisted of 2 piglets with one arrow at each.
I scored 474 with 16 of those being first arrow hits.
5 of those were first arrow kills, with two of those being inner kills.
Over the first half I scored 208. Over the second half 266 which shows how I had got used to the bow.
I got 2 blanks but one was a good solid shot that glanced of the rock hard old target (an Owl... it would have knocked it off it's perch)

I like the bow so much I'm considering re-tillering Twister a few pounds lighter whilst trying to retain the speed. Or maybe I'll just make a lightweight Hazel bow instead, I don't want to risk spoiling Twister as it's such a great bow.

The pic of the 3 bows shows the difference in brace height between a primitive and and Mick's AFB of modern materials.
Mick scored best with over 500 (the AFB has a much flatter trajectory) and Lawrance beat me by a little which is pretty much what I'd expect. I don't profess to be a good shot, merely a reasonable one. I was more than happy with my performance. I expect if we'd swapped bows the result would well have been the same!

Just checked on the Aurora website and I won the Sunday Primitive class... mind there were only two of us shooting primitive LOL !

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Finishing a Couple of Bows

The spliced billet Yew bow has finally been finished, I've taken a few pounds off it, mostly of the upper limb to improve the tiller and get it to the required weight for it's new owner (about 47-48#) at 28".
I've added a black Waterbuffalo horn arrow plate and got 3 coats of Danish oil wiped on to it. When that's dry in the morning it will get the final coat of beeswax polish.
It will be great to see it find a home at last as it's a very handsome bow with some natural recurve. It will also help clear some room for whatever I pick up next... mind the garage needs a good tidy before that.

The Near-lithic is done too, after some fiddling and fettling to get the tiller right and get it settled down.
It's had the same Danish Oil finish.
I've marked the arrow pass with a burnt in spot, somehow a fancy arrow plate didn't seem right on a primitive (my regular field bow doesn't have one).
It's looking good and shooting well now, having had 75 arrows through it in total, 35 since it was patched. I'm tempted to shoot it tomorrow at the Aurora field shoot.  which is fairly local to me, I'll probably take it along with Twister and see how the mood takes me. If it's chilly I may shoot the Near-lithic as it's lighter.
I'll doubtless post how it goes ( might try and take some pics too)

Monday, 7 September 2015

You Snooze You Loose

The Near-lithic bow is V nearly there... I'm going for about 38# at 28".
I'd shot about 25 arrows through it and then videoed it on the tiller. the left limb looks stiff just left of mid limb, I looked back at the previous pics and you can see it there as well.

I'd written a whole post about the subtleties of tillering, then as I was wiping the bow with Danish oil, my heart sank...

I noticed a chrysal on the lower limb. I hate chrysals with a passion even though they are not fatal.

Hindsight is 20:20. I'd taken my eye off the ball, counted my chickens etc. and pride comes before a fall. Choose your platitude.

Anyhow I knew not to panic or to take drastic action. It was still a fine bow, but not the quality I set myself. What to do?
Now it was just one small chrysal going half way across the belly, but I knew that even when I eased off the stiff area and improved the tiller it would still be there lurking to a surprising depth in the wood. inviting other chrysals to form.

I've taken the bull by the horns and done a patch. You can see I've done a reasonable job of matching the grain and hopefully the wood will age so that it is barely visible.
This time I've drawn it slowly and kept an eye on the tiller, I shall maybe ease off the upper (right) limb a tad and I'll shoot another 50 arrows through it. All this work has maybe dropped a pound or two in draw weight, but hopefully I'll get it shooting how I want. There's a field shoot on Sunday, so maybe I'll give it an outing then.
The chrysal formed at a weak point just right of the stiff section and just left of the burn mark on the wall where the wiring went down to the burnt out switch (note:- don't run wiring beneath a bath!... done before my time in the house.) Hopefully the weak point is less obvious in the lower pic with the stiff area eased off and the patch left slightly thicker.

The actual performance of the bow is clean and fast. If I draw it slowly I can see the arrow comes back pretty much on a straight line due to the narrowness of the handle at the arrow pass. I was getting a hint of wrist slap as the string settled, so I twisted the brace height back up to  5- 5 1/2". Brace height is generally fairly low on primitives, this gives a longer power stroke to maximise speed.

The other pics show some of the character, the waggle in the top tip, a little knot near the lower nock and the nice grain on the flat belly.

Odd thing is the bow hadn't taken any set, I'd expect it to take a bit of set before it chrysalled.
I feel a bit guilty, I'm always banging on about how good Hazel is, maybe it needs to be longer and wide, maybe I was trying to be too clever and got careless. A friend got in touch saying his Hazel bows tend to chrysal but still shoot ok. I s'pose, much as I hate chrysals I'd rather have that than a smashed bow.
All part of the learning process... can't argue with the wood.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

110# Elm Warbow First Shots

Finally got to see the Elm Warbow in action...
My mate JT was brave and shunned the hard hat and safety goggles... fortunately it didn't explode.
He shot a good few arrows through it including 3 different flight arrows. The best was a bamboo one, not actually the lightest, but it has the thinnest shaft and seemed to fly truest.
Best shot was a frustrating 299 yards as measured with a laser range finder. I'm sure with a bit of practice at getting that elusive sweet loose he'll get past the 300. I'm also going to tune up that flight arrow with some better fletchings.
I've put together a bit of video here:-

And here's a full draw still so you can see the tiller of the bow.

I also shot the Yew primitive which was pretty sluggish. It weighs a ton and is obviously carrying a lot of excess weight. Even with a flight arrow the best it made was about 170 yards which is abysmal from a 50# bow... but then a native American would have only been interested in killing game at close range not distance.
From the pic you'll see I was wearing a stupidly baggy sweatshirt which was snagging the string.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Near-lithic Hazel Bow

The "Near-lithic" is just my little joke, as it's not really supposed to be based on any particular artefact. The way we interpret the evidence from a few bows found in bogs is slightly dubious anyway, there is plenty of argument and discussion about each bow. Otzi the Iceman's bow is a classic example, is it a stave? Is it a bow? ? Which was going to be the back which the belly?
Bottom line is we don't know and if we did... would it matter? It's just one bow made by one man at one moment in time. That's why the Mary Rose bows are so valuable, they are a statistically significant number of bows.

The other day one of my visitors asked how I thought the Mollegabet style bow came about.
Well... first thing I always say is I don't know. It's also V hard to get decent information from the museums that hold the artefacts unless they are in the UK. I think our museums are wonderful and under appreciated (for pities sake don't let the Government privatise them... little bit of politics there)
Anyhow, back to the question. Maybe what I'm doing with this bow illustrates how a bow style might evolve.
We have a good bow, we make a copy. There are minor changes and hoped for improvements, maybe we narrow the tips or make it a tad wider or longer.
If the new bow is better, we hang onto those design ideas, if it is worse, we reject them. Just like classic evolution. Of course there is the variability of materials etc.

On this example, the 'Bark On' bow I'm copying seems exceptional, which is why I still have it! It's been overdrawn, is light, fast and hasn't taken any set. I usually refer to it as the Ruth Goodman Bow, as she shot it to great effect on TV.
One day I noticed the lower limb is actually a bit longer than the upper, which is rather unusual. The bow was made 'on the fly' and I just made it that way. On the new bow, I have changed that slightly, but not right back to the conventional design where the lower limb is a tad shorter.
I'll see how it performs.

Conventional design is:- The grip extends 1" above the true centre and 3" below it, thus the lower limb is 2" shorter than the upper.
Bark On bow upper limb 27", lower 30"
Near-Lithic    upper limb 29", lower 30"
So you see, I'm keeping the unconventional longer lower limb, but toning it down a bit.
Now if this turns out to be a superb innovation in primitive bow design promise you'll keep it under your hat! (To use an archery expression)

Back to the Mollegabet, I think our modern ones look more radical than the artefacts that have been found, maybe the more extreme look is better, or maybe it's our clumsy interpretation...
Most likely is that there is no such "specific design" and that bows of the period are a variety of styles that blend seamlessly into each other.
I'm not saying any of this is fact, it's all just my guess and theorising and experience of how I make bows.
Pics show the two bows side by side, the string alignment, low brace and at 40# 24".
Target is just below 40# at 28"
The points of interest are the the left limb kicks up slightly, visible near the grip in both braced and drawn pics. In the pic with the bows on the floor, the limb tip nearest the camera is actually off the floor. There is some S shape side to side too and some twist in the limbs (mostly the lower relative to the upper). The waggle near the top tip needs carefule management to stop that limb bending sideways. EG. In the string alignment pic. The far tip tries to bend to the right, so I have to leave the right edge of the limb a bit stiff and keep shifting the nock left until it draws back in a straight line. Small adjustments checked often. An 1/8" sideways shift in the nock can make a fair bit of difference.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Old Friends with Old Friends

I had a great visit yesterday, three people, which is a bit of a garage full! A couple of bows I made back in 2011 we being returned for inspection, both have slight pinches at pin knots. The bows were made from sister staves of very nice Yew.
You can see 'em in this post:-

The ladies bow was the "recalcitrant Yew"
I'm pretty sure the pinch had always been there and it was on a pin knot that goes diagonally from the edge of the belly and out to the side. I don't think it was going to close up any more.
In fact you can see the pin knot where the pinch is in the bottom right pic on that previous post/link. The shakes you can also see in that pic' (fine splits running along the grain) are still there and haven't moved at all.

The gents bow had previously had a patch on the back near one of the tips when it was first made. We had trouble locating where it was as it was all but invisible. See this post:-
It was interesting to look over my previous work. I was pretty happy with my workmanship and pleased that the bows were still being used.
The pinch on the gents bow was very small and central on the belly, I don't think it was a problem, but he was keen to be safe rather than sorry.
I've rasped out a small scoop to see how deep the pinch went and to expose more of the pin knot. It only went down about a mm or two but the knot was a bit loose, so I've cleaned that out, filled it and patched over the top.
The bow had taken a bit of set in the lower limb, so I strapped it up a bit straighter for the glue to cure, and I gave the belly some heat to. I'll see how it looks this morning when I unwrap the strapping.

Anyhow, back to the visit, the other chap brought along 3 yew boughs to be made into a couple of bows. One bough was very good and probably has a good longbow and maybe a primitive in it.
The others were a bit scruffy, but he fancied a Molle' made from one of 'em. That appealed to me as it's on my to do list anyway, I'll have to sort out draw weight etc and remember he's left handed when I start on it!

We had a go with various bows and the Chinese Repeater of course.
The lady was very impressed with the little Hazel neolithic style bow that Ruth Goodman shot on the Tudor Monastery Farm TV show and asked if I'd make her one.
Maybe I should call it "Near-lithic" rather than Neolithic? Now't like a little pun...
Fortunately I happen to have a stave of seasoned Hazel that I'd been working down at a village fete, so I've been worked on that yesterday evening to get it somewhere near size and weight so I can start decent tillering. It won't be a pretty as the Ruth Goodman bow as the bark is already off it. It came off in one almost continuous sheet when the stave got soaked in a down pour at a show.

A good day all round that rather left my head buzzing and last night I ended up dreaming of sorting through staves of weird exotic wood whilst helping to set up a circus!

Enough for now, tea and toast are calling and I want to look at that patch...
I've got the wraps off, the patch looks good, but ironically, as I rasped it down it revealed a tiny pin in the patch! Too small to be an issue, but it rather amused me.
The heat treating and strapping up has worked very nicely it's taken out maybe 1/2" of set leaving the lower limb much better matched to the upper.
Where I've had to sand down the patch it's removed some of the nice dark colour of the wood, but then I've also removed the leather grip (as requested) which reveals paler wood underneath. To try and blend this in a bit I've gone over the whole bow lightly with wire wool soaked in white spirit, this is also necessary to remove any wax allowing me to re-apply Danish oil. I've done a few other cosmetic things, filled another tiny pin knot and rounded the edges of the back near the nocks and cleaning up the arrow plate where the wood had shrunk back slightly from the back edge of it..

Later today I'll pop it up on the tiller, exercise it a bit and check the curve. Once I'm happy with it I'll Danish Oil it. The pic of the garage is just to give you an idea of the chaos. You can see the Yew boughs on the floor, the Yew bow on the bench and the Hazel leaning up against the shelving on the left. We did very well with four of us in there, that's gotta be a record... we were all very well behaved of course.
Update:- I put the bow on the tiller, it still looks gorgeous and the draw weight was 60# at 28". I think the bit of work on the lower limb has done a good job.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Yew Primitive at 28"

I've recurved the tips of the Yew primitive, shortened the string to get a full brace height and heaved it back to 28" to see if the bark would pop off.

It's quite a spectacular bend at a healthy 55#  plus draw weight.
See this video:-

I'll probably reduce the draw weight and maybe recurve the tips some more and slim them. It's just a bit of fun to see what I can get from this Yew stick that was hugely deflexed originally.

I rummaged around and found a string that was just right for the bow and had a few shots with first my standard arrows. Then I tried an 11/32" slightly heavier, finally one of my pretend mediaeval 32" arrows from a good long draw, I could barely believe it as it clattered into the previous arrow... dunno quite what that says about shooting carefully matched arrows.
It does show the bow is shooting left, probably due to the width of the grip needing softer spined arrows... or maybe that's just where I shot 'em, I'm not sure I was consciously aiming at the white pigeon cut out, but I'd imagine I was.

The bow felt a bit heavy and sluggish, but seemed happier with the biggest arrow.

The bark has stayed on, but has cracks across it showing where the stress is, the cracks are fairly evenly spread and go very close to the handle which is what I wanted, it shows the whole bow is flexing (except the tips which are meant to remain stiff).

Once the bark has come off I might paint it in Native American style.