Monday, 30 March 2015

Take Down Finished

You can't see the join as Eric Morecambe used to say!
I've made it ambiphibious, so I can shoot it with either hand under water :-)
(sorry about that silliness!)

The Mother of Pearl has particularly nice figure. The shot with the join opened up about 1/2" shows how thick the Mother of Pearl is, I like it thick so I can put a curve on it which make it look more opulent.

It's my first take down and a welcome addition to my bow collection, it may well suit me as I finding a lighter draw weight less strain.


I shot at Aurora yesterday, it rained off and on all day, but not too heavy and it wasn't too cold. I was bulked up with less clothing but did have all the wet gear,

I shot Monkey bow (pic, for those who don't know what I'm talking about!) which performed pretty well, mind, it was only at the end I realised my point on range was no longer the 40 yards I get with 'Twister' but was more like 30-35.
It was a tough course with plenty of smallish targets at fairly long range and a couple of V long shots. We even saw a crossbow miss a big Deer on one of the very long ones!
I was shooting with 3 other guys from the club, Longbow, AFB, Horsebow and my primitive. I came last, but was much happier with my shooting. I only just got past the 10 points per target average, but with wet hands stained brown from glove and tab and a bow on it's first open shoot I was happy enough.
Monkey bow caused some mild amusement at the refreshment tent when he asked for a slice of apricot and marzipan cake Ooooh Ooooh Aaaah Aaaah Aaaaah. He rather baulked at shooting the Baboon and Monkey targets tho' !

Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Shot In the Arm

I've been tinkering about with my lathe tuning it up a bit and making another point for one of my flight arrow. It had an antler tip and it's centre of gravity or  'point of balance' (POB) was aft of centre whereas it's generally reckoned that slightly front of centre is best.
This is slightly contentious as I believe some Turkish flight arrows were POB aft of centre and some claim it's possible to actually generate lift with a slightly nose up attitude. I can't really comment as I have neither the experience nor the aerodynamic credentials. However the antler tipped version didn't go as far as the others.

Anyhow, having made the new point I went off to the flood plain to try 'em.
As I walked across the field to recover my arrows I put up a Lapwing which made a startled call as it flew off low to the ground. I'd also taken a larger target for the laser range finder (an old steel shelf) which was much better.
I walked right up to one arrow, but couldn't seem to see the other... after much walking in circles and a bit of swearing I suddenly saw it ten paces past the first... no idea how I'd missed it!
The distances were 230 and 242 yards, a bit further than last time, possibly due to the slight tail wind rather head wind.
I walked back to try the arrows again, shooting them in reverse order. First arrow cleanly away, taking care to try for a good 45 degrees a full draw and a crisp loose.
Second arrow I tried to snatch the fingers back rather than letting them creep forward as I loosed.....
BANG! The point of the arrow had slipped onto the belly of the bow and the arrow exploded!
I've never done this before, but I have seen it happen a couple of times at roving shoots where people have been striving for extra distance.
the arrow can normally stand the huge acceleration of the string but simply can't take 40# of compressive force on it's rather long flexible shaft. It simply buckles and shatters, bruising one's arm (or worse. Hence the title of this post). The string flew off too, but the bow seems OK.

I'm still tinkering with flight arrows and made up this shaft reducing cutter, inspired by various YouTube clips I'd seen. You can see I tried it on a scrap of bamboo shaft.
It's made by drilling a 6mm hole in a piece of scrap steel opening one face slightly with a 'cone cutter', a tapered cutter (see pic), a corner is then sawn out to give a cutting edge.
I've since found it blunted rather quickly, needs to be hardened, or of a better design, plenty of stuff on YouTube. I've got a bamboo shaft nicely barrelled, but possibly too thin and weak spine. I'll have to test it (with suitable arm and eye protection!)

I'm using some bamboo shaft I have that are spined at 40-45# I've heard some say that bamboo is no good for flight arrows, but they offered no explanation. That's exactly the sort of advice I ignore.
The bamboo has some waggles at the nodes, but some work with a file and carefully spinning the shaft with one end in the electric drill while pressing the shaft onto the belt sander soon got it much straighter (I had a thick gardening glove on and the sander belt wasn't too aggressive).
The point of all this is to get the diameter down as wind resistance or drag is proportional to the frontal area (cross sectional area) so a 6mm shaft should be much better than an 8mm shaft as it's cross sectional area is only 0.56 that of the 8mm shaft. There are many other factors of course, but skinny with small fights is a good start point!


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Friday, 27 March 2015

Take Down Sleeve Success

Whew, what a relief! I managed to pull apart the bow, mind it was a hell of a job and I ended up falling backwards at one point as the bow pulled out of the vice.
The pics pretty much tell the story. But here are some details.
I bought Epoxy resin and hardener, a reel of 1" glass tape and some spray mold release wax which cost about £35.
The resin should be mixed in a 30:100 ratio, but I checked the data sheets and went for 25:100 (or 1/4 as we sometimes call it!) This was to give me a longer pot life, but as it happens it would have been fine as it was cold in the garage. In fact I ended up with the old "will it cure?" anxiety!

Wrapping it up was very straight forward, and I'd have got away with mixing less resin, but I didn't want to run out. I mixed 400grains of resin with 100 of hardener. I reckon 300 would have been ok, certainly for a longbow. The finished wrapping was covered with clingfilm to stop any loose ends of glass popping up, it also allowed me to squeeze it and shape it slightly.
The two halves of the bow had been pegged together with a 3mm bamboo skewer to hold it alignment while wrapping and that's what was worrying me ... would the bamboo peg shear when it came to taking it apart? Should I have used a scrap of softer wood or a toothpick?

Early this morning I strung the bow to help crack some of the excess resin around the ends of the wrapping. and to flex it a bit. I the clamped the lower half of the grip in the vice and heaved and waggled for dear life, at one point flying backwards into my shelving, fortunately I smacked into the vertical support pretty much square on, with the impact nicely spread up my whole back, rather lucky as I could have easily hurt myself on the assorted clutter. (I really must move that pile of Zulu spears which are standing point upwards in an old dustbin.... [joke] )



A bit of a gap soon opened up and I knew I was on a winner. Banging the lower nock on the floor (with a bit of carpet there) shut the joint again so that I could give it another good pull an open it further. The open/close/open was an attempt to break off the bamboo peg.
Once it was about half way out I used chunk of soft pine as a drift to tap against the the shoulder of the right (upper) limb, the impact help finally pop it free.
Once apart, it was V tight to reassemble so I rubbed it with chalk to find the tight spots and very gently relieved them with some 120 grit paper wrapped round a flat file. I didn't take any off on the fore/aft direction, as that had some built in taper to help it out. It's still tight, but will probably ease of, I didn't want to over do it and make it sloppy.

I'll clean up/reshape the glass using metal working files (no power tools as glass dust is nasty). A wipe of rapid epoxy will seal any exposed glass and then re fit the leather grip.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Starting a Take-Down

The bow with a bend has been sawn in half and is going to become a take-down (carriage bow). I was thinking of using sheet steel to make a socket, but the guys on Primitive Archer suggested glass fibre tape and epoxy resin would make a pefectly fitting take-down sleeve which would be virtually invisible when finished. They provided a link to a long series of You tube videos which show the whole process done on a recurve. Be warned, there are 10 videos!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByxnlRc0ePc

I've got the bow jigged up straight and you can see from the pic the amount of misalignment that I've had to take out. Running a hand saw down through the slot has trued up the faces and an angled hole has been drilled through the join to give temporary alignment when pegged with a bit of bamboo kebab skewer.
I've rasped away the wood which will be replaced with epoxy and glass fibre tape. The whole grip area will be wrapped with tape and epoxy, but one side is coated with mold release wax first to allow it to come apart.

I've order the materials from the interweb, it's costing about £35 but there should be enough to do a few bows.
I wouldn't have spent any money if I'd done it with steel, but I wouldn't have learned so much.

My son and I had a bit of a break, shooting a few arrows into the garage... he couldn't seem to get a decent group, so I found the spray can I'd used on the sculpture I did last week. It was so near empty as to be no further use. A target like that is a good incentive and he hit it in short order with a satisfying hiss... aiming for the yellow rectangle on the can.
Mind it spayed black paint over my arrows, so I had to clean them up afterwards!




Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Returning Bend!

The fast Bamboo backed Yew bow has been brought back... my heart sank when I was sent E-mails showing the lateral bend had returned.
On seeing the bow it was glaringly obvious, but the odd thing is it was worse than the original problem!
Something was shifting, the heartwood, the bamboo, the glue line?
I offered to completely refund what had been paid, or to replace it with a choice of bows.
A couple were tried and a similar 50# Bamboo backed Yew was chosen. The arrow plate is on the wrong side for a left hander, but I can do that at a later date when convenient. The bow was give an quick clean up, string grooves filed into the nocks and it was buffed up ready to get some use.

I can now play with the bent bow without any worry about ruining it or letting someone have a bow that isn't right. It's an opportunity to learn.

I took some pics and the bend seems to be at a point about 4" above the grip on the edge of where I'd done a belly patch to take out a worrisome knot.
It occurred to me that maybe it was that patch that was causing the bend, and if the patch can cause a lateral bend, then it can also cure it.
I'd also noticed when doing the patch last time I noticed that with the wood rasped away the bow had much less lateral strength, so that gave me my plan.

Rasp out the old patch and extend the area to be patched. Clamp the bow up with a good degree of over correction while the patch is glued in.
The patch itself will be hold in in the correction rather than expecting heat bend to hold it in.
The wrapping will come off tonight after a full 24 hours. I just hope I haven't over corrected!

You can see the rasped out scallop extends into the built up start of the grip. It needed a couple of tries to make the patch, and that was heat treated to match the belly of the bow before being glued in.

Ooooh Ha! A plan if the straightening doesn't work out I can remove the grip and make the bow into a 'take down' or 'carriage bow', it's something I haven't done and would be a nice addition to my collection. handy for travelling too.
Note:- The straightening didn't work and it gets made into a successful straight carriage bow. 3/32015

A bit of Flight Shooting:-
I took the flight bow down to the flood plain, it was still a bit muddy under foot, but clam and flat with no one about.
I had 4 arrows which I shot, packed away the bow and then walked out to measure.
My laser ranger finder target is a bit small once I got beyond the 160 yards which is where my "standard" field shooting arrow landed.
The next two arrows were only a couple of yards apart at 182 and 184 yards.
The furthest arrow was a slightly longer shaft and dropped at 215 yards, maybe it was the slight extra draw or maybe the slightly heavier weight. I'll weight the arrows and see if I can draw any useful conclusions.
The two main things were, I need a bigger target to sight onto (maybe a sheet of hardboard with aluminium foil glued to it. Secondly the venue is very good.

Those distances probably sound paltry, but it's only a 40# bow and I think archers are a bit like fishermen in so far as they will say they shot 250 yards, when it was really 250 small paces.
Another thing is, some of the ballistic equations you can find on-line where you plug in numbers and get results are nonsense as they ignore wind resistance, which for an arrow is very significant.

I'll plug in the arrow speed and see what range they say I should get.
E.g If I plug in 56.4m/s (which is about 185 fps) at an angle of 45 degrees they say I'd get 324 metres  (354 yards) range!
Lets try 165fps which is reasonable for a 50# longbow (165 fps is 50.3 m/s) that gives 258 metres (282 yards)

Working back the other way, the equations say that my launch velocity was 144 fps to achieve 215 yards. Well we know that's wrong, so it's all about the arrow and drag.


Monday, 16 March 2015

PW !

That's like a Personal Best but a personal Worst!

I'm embarrassed to admit I wasn't great company at the Avalon shoot.
I could blame the flight bow, it was fast but didn't feel like it had the solid smooth weight of Twister or the longbow I shot last week. More likely just one of those days of perpetual near misses and grumpiness.
It started badly as I was encumbered with rain gear which I later took off at the suggestion of one of our group (6 of us, it was a busy shoot).
The course was admittedly tough with some long shots to small targets. I didn't even make the 10 points per target average... oh dear.
At one point I asked the guys "What's the difference between me and a constipated Owl?"
...I shoot but can't hit. Whereas the Owl can hoot but not... well you get the idea!

We were shooting a mix of longbow, horsebow, flatbow, recurve, my flight bow (primitive) and one guy Mark who also makes bows was shooting target limbs on a wooden riser that he'd made himself (no sights).  The riser was interesting, as he'd made it with a dead straight grip like a longbow or primitive so he could still have the same style as his other bows.
He was shooting superbly and was probably trying to make me feel better when he said he thought we'd all shot well on a particularly tricky uphill shot. Well, I'd blanked it and was trying to do the scoring for the 6 of us at the time (with a pen that didn't write well and without my reading glasses) so you can imagine I wasn't overly receptive!

Still there's always an up side! My shoulder feels much better today and I did hit a couple of decent first arrow long shots. A Tiger at about 40 yards and a much smaller standing bear on a steep downhill 30 yard shot. And at least there wasn't a swear box on the course!

I'm going to get my fitness back so I can shoot good ol' Twister at a shoot in a fortnight.

I've got a couple of flight arrows re-done to suit the flight bow. I tried 'em at 10 yards and they were going a bit sideways and striking 6" left of the aim point. I rasped away the arrow pass by about 1/4" and tried again, much cleaner flight. I'll try 'em for distance in a day or so.



Thursday, 12 March 2015

Decisions decisions

I've got the sculpture all finished, I took this picture at work as they have a neutral green back cloth and decent photographic lights. They have software that will remove the green background too, but I couldn't be bothered to do it.
I tried some pics with my old camera, it's fewer pixels but has a bigger lens. It still gives that effect whereby the verticals at end are angled, I s'pose its due to getting close and the image being a fairly wide angle. Dunno if it would be better shot from a distance with zoom. I can't really be bothered to check it out, as the eye and brain compensate for this anyway.

I'm trying to pick a bow to use at Avalon at the weekend. I still have a bit of a twinge in my back between the shoulders so I'm looking at the lower draw weights 40# rather than 45-50#
My shooting has been all over the place and erratic. I also noticed my neck was hurting a little.
Taking stock and looking at my form  I noticed my stance was getting more and more closed (e.g my back is facing the target slightly) this has been something I do to help prevent my main fault of throwing my bow hand and arm to the left.
This is a classic case of adding another fault to cover the first!
So now I've been trying to make sure my stance is right, but without over thinking and spoiling the rest of my shot, also trying to follow through and stay on target rather than snatching the bow hand away.

It's fatal to try and change too much, and I'm just trying to maintain my relaxed form. Putting a strip of masking tape vertically up the target and aiming at that showed an improvement in horizontal spread once I'd corrected my stance.
Still not sure what bow to use. If I'm missing, I only have to pick up Twister and I'll hit the target, but having hit it once, I can go back to another bow and hit it.
All about confidence and not being conscious of "ooooh I'm shooting a different bow".
I may take a couple of bows and decide on the day, the deflex/reflex flight/field bow, Monkey bow and twister are all in the running.
Don't think I can manage Twister all day, but maybe I could shoot it in the morning... but what if it's cold?.... Ha, you see? The perils of overthink.
Monkey bow is such a laugh, I may go with that to give me a relaxed fun days shooting.
I can also annoy everyone else by going "Ooooh Ooooh Ahhhhh Ahhhh Ahhhh"
every time I get a first arrow kill!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

"Take 5" Sculpture Near Complete

I've been working on it all day. I needed some of my heat bending tricks to get the nice undulating Yew strip.
Once I've added a small waggle brass leading into the brass rods I'll probably dismantle it all, re-finish the base, varnish the major parts and re assemble it. I'll probably give it a light spray of lacquer to stop any discolouration of the brass.

You can see from the reflections, the base isn't too bad, considering it's plywood.
(Overall length about 21.5")

Saturday, 7 March 2015

This and That!


The chap I'd made the Bamboo backed Yew longbow came over to get it and seemed very pleased with how it shot.

I shaped the grip of the flight bow and tried it today as a field bow, it felt odd have low draw weight but it performed pretty well. It took a good few shots before I stopped thinking about the bow and just looked at the target. I went down to' medieval corner' and tried it for distance, it shot a couple of arrows about 180 yards which is pretty good. There a little twist in one of the limb, I'll do a little work on it and probably shoot it next weekend at Avalon


The sculpture is coming along.
I've made a model of it which is evolving and I'm also working on a slightly larger version with the base painted a nice gloss black.

It's supposed to represent my visualisation of Dave Brubeck's "Take 5", Now you all know that piece even if you don't recognise the name...

The sculpture sort of reads left to right, a couple of bars of intro, with the verticals being the beat, the swooping band of Yew is the saxophone... there is other stuff added in, but less is more sometimes.

The scale of some of the elements will change in the final piece, the Yew will be more of a feature.
It represents about 14 seconds of the piece, but the intro is somewhat compressed to two bars.
If I tried to represent the whole piece the sculpture would be about 30 yards long!


Nice moon last night, got a pic of it behind the Eucalyptus, sort of a Japanese motif.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Grip and Arrow Plate Done

All it needs now is final taking out of any slight tool marks, a coat of Danish oil every night and morning for a few days  a coat or two of beeswax polish and a good buffing up.
The pics look a tad dull  and dusty as It's not been buffed up.

Too sunny and you get reflections too dull and it looks flat, hard to get photos that actually do it justice.

I'll have a break from bows for a bit while I try to make a sculpture on the theme "Jazz".
It seemed like a good idea when I offered to do it, and I have ideas whne I'm playing "Take 5" in the car...
Saw Dave Brubeck at the Barbican once.
Nice...

Anyhow the problem is getting what is in my head as ideas to become reality, I'll prob do a little model (maquette if we are being posh) first.
Problem with that is, the maquette can look great and spontaneous and the final thing end up like it's been built by a firm of civil engineers!
Still it will be a refreshing change.

My Son had a go with some of the bows, so I took some pics, here is the flight bow and Monkey Bow.
It shows the difference in full draw shape.
Note:- The bows are canted so, look slightly odd. E.G top limb looks extra long as it's closer to the camera.


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Flight bow Fumblings

I think the flight bow is really a 40# at 28" (or 27" measured for flight).
I asked on Primitive Archer how to find the optimum draw without over stressing the bow.
The trick is measure the poundage at say 26", draw it to 272 and note the poundage.
Then let the bow down and try again at 26" its should be where it was before, if it's now a lower draw weight at 26" than it was the first time then it's beginning to be stressed.
I used this procedure to tease it back to 28" (measured from about the mid point of the grip). It had lost a whisker from it's previous 27" measurement, so I think that's about it.
This means I can pretty much shoot it with my regular arrows.
I've taken a lot of excess from the tips and narrows the limbs a bit to.
Being honest I'm disappointed as I wanted to break the 200fps, but it's shooting 189fps and I feel it should be able to stay at that speed.
There is one more ace up my sleeve and that's a lighter string, I don't even know what this string is made from as it's off an old Osage bow of mine and it has far too much weight for a flight string.
The pic shows how hard it's working now, the right limb has been narrowed a whisker over it's outer half to weaken it a tad and save weight as it seems to be bending less than the left (lower) limb.

I'll press on with the longbow tomorrow and get the arrow plate and maybe the grip done.
While I was messing about I offered the flight bow up against the form where it was glued up. I could see it had taken about 2" of set, all in the outer half of the limbs.

D'uh, well I made a 6 strand string, made no difference through the chrono', but at least I've done the arrow plate on the longbow... nice black waterbuffalo horn really clean inlay.