Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas and Year's Review

I got some vital bowyers supplies for Christmas... some check shirts, string, a new pair of camo' colour placky crock shoes :-) and a handy LED torch/light which will be good for when I'm doing videos as it can swivel on its magnetic base or its hanging hook, I'll be able to spot light specific details.

I have a niggly cold and cough, so I've not been shooting over the break, except for a few desultory arrows into the garage.

Looking back over the year I've done a few things that were on my to do list.
I made a take-down bow, which later broke, but I'd get it right next time!:-

The Hazel warbow :-
I'd been wanting to make a Mollegabet and finally made two, having some great fun with the Mollegabet flight bow:-
I've got some flight bow ideas for 2016 and it would be nice to get out nearer the 350 yard mark.

I got to work a couple of "Italian" Yew staves... I put it in quotes 'cos I can't be certain where the wood came from as I didn't cut it. I worked a good bit of English Yew too.
The more Yew I work, the more I'm convinced that you simply can't make generalisations about wood from it's origin or judge it from appearance.
OK, dark fine grained Yew with a thin layer of creamy white sapwood looks beautiful, but you can't assume that it's been properly seasoned, won't move or split, doesn't have buried knots or shakes and streaks of dead wood hidden in there. Similarly it is foolish to dismiss pale straw coloured Yew with indistinct sapwood as unfit for bows.

I met plenty of friends old and new, and it was great to spend some time with a fellow bowyer Jamie who was over from Canada teaching a longbow making course:-

The non-bow stuff was fun too.
I made an sold a sculpture, an abstract representation of the jazz piece "Take 5"

The plum harvest was good so I made a load of plum wine which is very good, but I think it will be even better given another few months. I think it's still doing a little slow fermentation so it's still rather fruity. The cider was good too.
I was pleased that we had solar panels fitted to our roof which is South facing, I think the investment will pay back better than if we stick it in a bank where it will do now't but fund banker's ill deserved pay.
Finally, the Youtube videos following a complete bow build have been well received and are much better quality than downloading straight onto the blog. They are a bit time consuming but fun to do... and no one is forcing me to do 'em! I try to show the detail that isn't available elsewhere.
I'll do other videos as appropriate.

I always try to encourage new bowyers to have a go. Being the anniversary of the battle of Agincourt I had a fleeting moment of doubt, wondering if the art of making bows would die out...?
But no, there will always be bows made in England and Wales... it's deep within the culture.
When people ask "How did you start making bows?" I reply...
It's not so much that I started... you stopped! All kids make bows, some of us just get a bit better at it over the years!
So a thanks and all the best for 2016 to my friends and all who've read and commented on the blog.

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