Monday, 31 August 2015

Set vs String Follow

One problem with heavy bows is that I can't shoot 'em in. I normally like to shoot at least 50 and in some cases 100 arrows through a bow before I declare it finished.
Yesterday I'd heaved the Elm warbow back and forth and pulled it briefly to 32" but not held it there and not allowed any margin of overdraw. So to compensate and help the bow settle, I left it strung overnight. (Do I hear cries of sacrilege?)
Anyhow, this morning I put it belly down on the floor and measured the gap between floor and grip.
1 3/4", that's some set and some string follow. The set will be the gap after it's had a few hours to recover.
Just measured it again some 4 hours later and it's 1 1/8" so that's the real set... but then, only compared with what it was before it was even made into a bow...
So I laid it on the floor against the chalk line I'd traced out before heat treating and it sits exactly on that chalk line.
So how much set has it taken? Overall from where I started, very little. From after heat treatment, maybe and inch and a bit.
Further update:- measured it a day later and it's dropped to just over 3/4" !
Hopefully I'll get some video of it being shot at the weekend... weather and test pilot permitting.

Meanwhile it's been raining all day, so I've swept up and cleaned the garage having virtually finished the bow. I wanted something to tinker around with in the garage, so I made a little wood drive centre for my lathe and turned down a bit of box wood that I had lying around.
Did a bit to the Yew primitive too moving from axe to spokeshave. It's just a bit of fun, no measuring, just doing it all by feel and eye. I'll probably recurve the tips a bit and get it bending in the grip. It'll be interesting to make it the same draw weight and length as Twister, my regular field shooting bow. I can compare the performance then.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Elm Warbow Virtually There

Yesterday evening and a bit this morning was spent with a scraper taking out the rasp marks ready to get it on the tiller again for a full draw (or near it).
Sitting on the floor of the garage I was struggling to get a long enough pull on the rope as it has a 2:1 advantage (e.g. I have to pull 62" for a 31" draw, but on the plus side, at 100# I only have to pull 50# ).
It needs a bit of cleaning up, the nocks polishing, a decent string and maybe a scrape here and there.
It's back to 110# at just below 31" from a 5" brace, so very close.
All a bit nervy so I strung it for half an hour then got it on the tiller and heaved away at it.
Video here:-
I'll tinker with it today cleaning it up.
Here's the full draw pic, looking pretty good, maybe a hint stiff in outers still, but there is a hint of reflex in the left tip which make it look slightly stiff.

Other pics show the kink and knot in the upper limb.
Note: you can see the Aluminium ring I use to adjust the length of my tillering string.
The bow is braced in all the pics.

Made the string, got it on there and put it on the tiller. I sat on the floor and heaved back and forth on the rope, a bit like a rowing machine. I took it briefly to a bare 32" where it was a shade over 110#.
I'm happy enough with that as the bow seems to have taken very little set. In fact, it's still not returned to the chalk line I made on the garage floor.
Better to have a bow that's a tad lighter but not over stressed than one that's starting to break down, and take set. Of course, that's not to say it won't take a little, but it bodes well. I'm hoping the performance will be as good as it's younger sibling (Dennis Elmbow mk1) that threw an arrow over 300 yards.
Time will tell, and hopefully it will get an outing soon enough. I did plink an arrow from it, but could barely draw it more than a few inches, being keen not to pull a muscle.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Elm Warbow progress etc

The Warbow is now at about 100# at 28" from a 5" brace which should give about 120# at 32". It's bending much smoother now and is ready for the horn nocks and more slimming down of the tips.
I'll crack on with that this afternoon.

I'd promised someone I'd look through my seasoned staves to see if I had a suitable one. The pic gives you some idea why I need to splice up bows from billets, out of all these staves there is 1 good one (just below the tape, which is opened up to 6', so you see they are not very long), three others that are maybe ok and the rest need some serious straightening or reducing into billets.
Even the good one is a bit thin in the middle and the sapwood has been gouged with a chainsaw when it was cut. You can see them separated into piles, ok and poor.
I trimmed a few of 'em and will start work on one in a week or so when the Warbow is done.

I forgot to mention what I was doing during the 2 hours of heat treating.
Ages ago I strapped a short length of yew (62.5") to some 2x2 in a slight deflex deflex shape.
I set to with an axe trimming it down in the 4 minutes between moving the heatgun along the limb by another few inches.

I'd been inspired to look at the short piece of Yew by seeing some original authentic Native American bows at the Avalon shoot. One of the guys there Andrew Hall is a bowyer (he's one of the few who makes horn sinew composites)  and avid collector of native bows etc. He'd brought them along to show someone, and I had to stick my nose in and have a look too.

5:30pm. I've got the horn nocks on, found a string with smaller loops* so they sit better on the nocks, adjusted it to about 5" brace and drawn it to 100# at 28"
I need to video it to really see what needs doing. I think the outers need easing off some more, but I've done enough for the day. I can certainly feel the grip moving as I draw it a little by hand, which also suggests the outers need to work more

* My long tillering string has huge loops so they can over roughed out staves.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Elm II Running Commentary

I'll be writing this in dribs and drabs today because that's how I'm working.
The left limb was still stiff in the outer third and overall a bit stiff, I did a little more work with a fine set spokeshave and rasp, checking the tiller on a slack string, but still haven't got back to brace height.
I seem to have done a lot and seen little change... Now this is the point where the beginner thinks "I need to step up to coarser tools and really remove some wood" Fatal!

This is the point where I think, it's not moving yet, but I know I've taken off a reasonable amount, I do another couple of strokes with the spokeshave on that lower limb and then exercise the bow, by pulling it back repeatedly on the tiller with a view to getting it to a low brace.
As I pull it I'm peering down the left limb and I can see the outer third is actually flexing a bit. I twist the string up and get it a low brace just an inch or two... Devil's own job to get the string on even with a stringer. I start pulling again up and down, getting up to 100# and beyond. Yes it is flexing more, and wouldn't you know it, the right is looking a tad stiff near centre now.
Slow and steady wins the day, and if progress seems slow, don't be tempted to gallop away taking off tons of wood.
I'm still not back to where it was before heat treating but V close. I reckon the heat treating adds about 10# to a normal draw weight bow, and bear in mind I also took out about 2" of deflex, so that accounts for the work required to get back to where I was.
I've posted a Youtube video with a look over the stave and it then being flexed to just over 100# at about 24"

I'll be updating this post during the day, when hopefully the centre will be bending more rounded and the outer thirds will be working more. Maybe time to think about putting nocks on too.
Done more narrowing the tips, taking some off the belly at the grip. I've got it at 5" brace pulling 100# at 26" so it's getting closer.
I'm toying with reversing it of the tiller, making the slightly stiffer right limb the lower. That will also put the knot onto the theoretically slightly less stressed upper limb.
I say theoretically as, how many of you have ever seen a bow break on the lower limb? I think I've only ever seen the upper limb break, mind you can't always tell when they completely explode.
All getting a bit nervy now, so it's stop think, have a cup of tea. I really need to man up and pull it to 115-120# but maybe I'll get the tips working a tad more first.
I'll leave it braced for a few hours, help it to settle.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Elm II Heat Treated

The weather has been appalling all week, at one point I had to take off my shoes and roll up my trousers to paddle back from the garage to the house, pausing to unblock the drainage gulley on the way!
The Elm warbow was up to about a 4" brace and drawing about 26" at 115# so I felt it was ready for heat treating, no point doing it too early as you just end up rasping off the heat treated wood.
I spent about 2 hours yesterday afternoon heat treating the belly with it strapped up straight. You can see how it's improved the shape compared with the chalk like on the garage floor done as a reference before the work.
I didn't try to force too much of the kink out of it, I just strapped it down with some rubber strapping. The heat was applied from the tips progressing slowly along the limb. Side cheeks of off-cut wood clamped in place, that way the worrying knot had time to warm up slowly and the bend was spread along the outer limb to direct the heat along the limbs (plenty of pics of this process elsewhere on the blog if you search for heat treating)
I put a little scrap of wood over the knot to help keep some of the heat off the epoxy/wood dust filling.
The heat has degraded the epoxy but not as deep as I'd feared, I can clean it up and re-fill it.

Damn it's just started raining again, and I've got to go up to the dentist later to have a cracked filling fixed... maybe I'll have to drive up there which is irritating as it's only a 15 minute walk to the dentist.

Update:- I've cleaned off the underbark layer from the back of the bow and narrowed the back a bit, aiming for a trapezium cross section (wide belly, narrow back) as most woods are stronger in tension than compression, also woods like Elm Hazel Ash need a wider belly... (others will assure you that Ash is a wonderful wood that needs no such allowance... personally I wouldn't trust it further than I could fling a grand piano, but it's still vastly better than having no wood at all!)
Anyhow, I put it back on the tiller, reverting to the slack string to see how it was bending... I'm glad I was cautious, the left (lower limb with the big knot) seems much stiffer, maybe it's the heat treated and re-filling that knot. I didn't pull it very hard (maybe 60-70#) I wanted to see how it moved before pulling it to full weight. It pays to proceed carefully after any major work. If I'd braced it and heaved it back to 115# it could have been catastrophic!
That limb was somewhat wider than the top limb so I've tidied it up, narrowing it more (mostly from the back), and running a fine cut of the spokeshave over the belly. You can feel and hear the change in the wood from the heat treating, some of the very outer surface is slightly charred, but basically it is definitely harder. It's looking a bit better and I've pulled it a bit more about 95#.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Elm Warbow Working Hard

I've tidied it up some more and got it to a low brace (about 3"). It's flexing enough to see what's happening, to adjust the tiller some more and maybe think about the heat treating.
I've run the sides of the bow over the belt sander to even them up so that when I heat treat it I can clamp slats to the side to contain the hot air, direct it along the belly and stop it bowing onto the back.
There are some areas I'm not sure about yet, at one end the sapwood gets very thick and I don't know if I should reduce the sapwood or end up with no heart wood on the belly. Its getting to the point where I need to get the tips moving now.
Warbows don't give you much tillering time once they are braced, what I mean is, they are so stiff to brace that by the time you've manage to brace it you are 80% there... or maybe it just feels like that to me. It's all a tad nerve wracking, you can't afford to tippy toe around it, you have to pull the poundace whils ttrying to check the tiller at the same time. No good messing around trying to get perfect tiller at 60#... you'll just end up with a 60# bow.
Other opinions and experiences my vary of course, but what ever you don't listen to second hand advice!
If video doesn't come up, try here, it's better resolution on the Youtube link... dunno what's up with Google blogger today.

It looks a bit kinky and clonky in the still which is why video is so useful (just noticed the string is touching against the box of flooring stacked beneath the tiller rig, which may be effecting how the bow rocks on the tiller), you can study it at your leisure and try to see what is actually flexing. Yes the middle looks stiff in the still, but it does actually flex. It all looks stiff as the actual tip movement is pretty small, that's the big problem for beginners, actually discerning where the movement is on a wobbly stave.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Elm Warbow II

I've picked up the Elm Warbow (mk2) again. The aim is to make a bow of about 120# to shoot a long way for my mate JT. The stave isn't perfect, but then wood rarely is. I'll model it largely on "Dennis Elmbow" the mk1 which lobbed an arrow over 300 yards.
The wood is from a piece of Elm give to me back in July 2013, from the same log as the mk 1 Elm bow.


I'd already roughed the stave out as close to dimensions as I dared on the bandsaw, so I filed in a couple of nocks grooves, put on a long string and winched it back, 90# and then up to 100#.
It flexes ok. It looks a bit squareish, but that's down to the shape of the stave, very flat or even slighty reflexed over the central section, the a slight deflex dip and a reflexed outer 1/3.
It's a nice symmetrical shape which will help the tillering but will always be in danger of looking a bit hinged in the middle of each limb. I won't try to straighten those kinks because of the belly knot.

Talking of which, I've left a little extra width there for now and excavated the loose wood, it looked solid to the casual glance, but a bit of a probing showed it to be crumbly stuff.
Once I've got it braced and flexing fairly evenly I'll heavily heat treat belly. That begs the question, what to do with the excavated knot in the mean time? If I fill it, the heat treating will degrade any epoxy based filling, but I don't want to tiller it without the knot filled!
Maybe fill it, heat treat it and then re-do the filling... I dunno, play it by the seat of my pants.

Update:- Having used the spokeshave to tidy the belly and take down some stiff areas I've flexed it some more on the tiller, nearly back to brace height.
Inspecting that knot hole revealed more punky wood, the flexing had loosened it. I excavated it some more and it's just about right through to the back! It just shows how deceptive knots can be. I'm not digging into fresh wood , just picking out crumbly old knot wood. The spike on that probe is 1" long.

I need to sort out my Yew staves too, but up and down the step ladder heaving it all about is a bit too energetic at the moment. Hopefully I'll be back to full energy levels in a day or so.
Not sure what I've got in the way of full length staves and what draw weight they'll make. I know there's not many good clean straight ones.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Field Shoot

I wasn't 100% fit, suffering from an upset stomach, maybe too much raw apple juice along with being out too much in the sun the previous day. I almost didn't go, but I knew I'd be miserable if I stayed at home.
Anyhow it was a great course but slow shooting with a lot of walking, we didn't get back to the tea and food until we'd shot 21 of the 40 targets, that was nearly 2pm. I'd had enough by then and the rain was setting in. It's a wise man who knows when to quit, so I wolfed down a burger chips, apple pie with custard and a cup of tea. Yes it was greedy, but I'd been up since 6:30 and eaten very little, I'd even forgone the "emergency chocolate" which I normally carry round.

I'd shot pretty well all things considered and tried to concentrate on my form, I still blanked 3 targets, but they were generally tricky ones with an awkward stance, where maybe I got into overthink with the form instead of just improvising and trusting my instinct.
I got 3 first arrow kills with one being an inner kill for 24.
Of the 21 targets I hit 10 of 'em first arrow, so I was happy enough.
Most of my hits seemed more central, although it got a bit wayward as I tired. There were some testing long shots and a couple of novelty ones too.
On one target you had a choice of two 3D badgers to shoot at, one being a tad closer but you had to shoot through the window of a old derelict building which was below you and about 12 yards away. The arrow had to go in the window, out the door and hit the badger. The widow and door fram weren't really in the shot at all, and I hit it first arrow.

My best shot was a first arrow kill on a deer at about 40 yards, and the worst scoring shot was a deer at about 35... I thought I'd hit a non scoring first shot on it's horn, but I got lucky and found it was in the ear a good couple of foot away from where I was aiming. (I'd shot the second arrow into it's rump, assuming the first wasn't counting as a hit)

Sorry no pics, I got home and climbed into bed, out like a light for over an hour.
thanks to our host at Avalon and the 4 guys who shot with me, mind, to be fair I was no trouble at all!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Point Blank? Musings on Aiming

There is endless tedious debate and discussion on the forums about "instinctive" or "gap" shooting and such like which usually degenerates into semantics.
One problem for me is that people never seem to concisely define their terms.
I wondered how far low do I actually aim when I'm shooting at 10 yards?
I put a small piece of white paper, or as the French might say a point blanc on the lower edge of the target. I drew up, put the point on the white spot and loosed. I did it again to remove some experimental error.
You'd think it was all pretty clear now... but the problem remains how do you describe that point of aim?
In actual terms measured at the target it's about 27" below where the arrows strike. BUT imagine you are trying to explain to someone who has never shot before.
Do you say aim 27" below the target?
But what if the target is in the middle of the boss? 27" below it is now somewhere on the floor.
Or do we judge the distance below the target as measured on the bow limb.
We can do the geometry:-
27" measured at  360" (10 yards) scales down to
2.1" when measured at 28" (distance from eye to bow limb).

So am I aiming 2.1" low or 27" low ... or am I just going by feel/experience/instinct ?

The final piece of the jigsaw is that as soon as you consciously try to think about what you are thinking it changes.

Just to clarify the "point blank" thing for those who don't know the real definition:-
Point blank isn't zero range for a bow (in fact it isn't quite zero for most firearms*!) It is the range at which the white point of aim marker actually corresponds to the point where the arrow strikes (e.g the "point on" distance).
In the case above, if I was shooting at 20 yards the arrows would strike about 15" or so above the white spot. at about 35-40 yards the arrows would be hitting the white spot... (if I were a better shot) so that is the point blank range.

Comments welcomed!

*e.g A rifle with telescopic sights would hit an inch or so below the point of aim at zero range, because the sight is mounted an inch or or so above the barrel! It would presumably be zeroed in for say 20 yards?

Friday, 21 August 2015

Improved Shooting

I'm shooting a few and often, the problem is not getting too grooved in to one range and one target position. I'd noticed a bit fat pigeon on the lawn, I mimed shooting him through the patio doors, it gave a good focus, so I promptly cut out a pigeon shape and pinned it to the target in the garage. Yeah I know the tail is too short, but it was just an odd scrap of paper.
My first three shots were rather spread, but having warmed up, the next three were spectacular, each nicking the kill circle.

I can always group one arrow (joke) often two, but it's easy to start thinking and spoil the next shot.
Later in day I thought I'd try something different, I backed up about 5 yards under the Yew tree and tucked behind the potted Tree Fern. No room to stand so I knelt (I love the kneeling shot, plenty of stability), the bow had to be almost horizontal and the target was only visible through a small gap. I concentrated on form ... thud, a kill. I didn't shoot the other two arrows. Always finish practice on a good shot.
I'm finding I'm more consistent now, it still takes 3 arrows to warm up sometimes, but I'm happy that my left/right variation is better. Still have to remember, anchor, full draw, push out at the target, follow through.
Looking forward to the shoot on Sunday, I'll try to keep some discipline and concentrate on enjoying the shooting, the score can sort itself out.
Talking of scores... the final Cider result is 23 Litres and a litre of apple juice in the fridge. Should be ready to taste by 2016.
I've just about got all the cider making gear washed and stashed away. A good sweep up and I'll have a sort through my staves.

I've got an Elm warbow to work on, the Hazel I was messing about with at one of the shows, I also fancy making a Yew or Laburnum Mollegabet flight bow with a bit of deflex and levers that are kicked forwards. If I splice the levers on I can use a shorter bit of wood. I want to get past 300 yards again.
I've also had a couple of enquiries for Yew bows, so I may get a visit.
Ooooh! I'm getting all excited at the prospect of getting back on the shave horse.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Soon be Back to Bows

With the open shoot at Avalon on Sunday I've cut all my arrows down to the same length (27 1/2" to the base of the point) and I've been shooting a few arrows every day trying to concentrate on consistent form and shaking off bad habits. An old cork coaster has been pinned to the target boss which makes a satisfying noise when I hit it, it also helps the focus.

I've got 15L of cider pressed, it's bubbling away like crazy already and is still very cloudy. The Plum wine is looking a nice colour and beginning to clear. There's one more batch of apples lying on the garage floor waiting to be done.
To get the last few apples from high up on our apple tree I made an apple picker from a plastic bottle. The idea came courtesy of YouTube and it's really effective... it helped that I had a big old bamboo pole lying around. It's highly entertaining too, like some sort of party game for grown ups... fish the apple off the tree. it's clever the way it catches the apple as it comes away.

I've got the repointing of the chimneys all finished and the ladders stashed away again.

Mrs Deer the wooden sculpture in the garden was getting a bit in need of maintenance (about 10years old now!) so I tightened up her leg joints and added bamboo pins (about 3/16") to keep them more secure... she gets cats and squirrels jumping on her which can make her collapse. The ridge along her back had come off too, so I dowelled that back on 3/8" at the rear and a bamboo pin at the front.

There's a warm damp Autumn feel to the garden, the pond is nicely full and one of my Froggy friends was smiling at me from the reeds. I zoomed in with the camera and the face recognition software homed in on him!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Musings on Shooting Form

I'm not a great believer in overthink, or over analysis, but one has to be aware of what you are doing as opposed to what you think you are doing.
I don't do a lot of shooting or a lot of practice, I'm also shooting different bows all the time as I make 'em.

I've noticed my shooting has got sloppy over time and also my physique has mellowed a tad (to put it euphemistically) sore elbows, stiff neck and the usual ailments of age.
I always say solving problems is easy, the hard thing is actually identifying the problem.
So here we go, problems with my form.
1. Draw is now a tad shorter and can be inconsistent in length.
2, Tendency for left arm to be thrown away to the left with no 'follow through', (that's remaining on target until the arrow hits home).
3. Tendency for left arm to waver or collapse to the right.

I think these 3 are all related so I looked at my arrows which are two sets with lengths of  about 28" to the base of the point and 27.5" to the base of the point. The shorter ones are where a point has broken off and been replaced. I keep the sets separate and usually use the longer for open shoots.
I think striving for a full draw with the longer arrows is  over stretching me in terms of reach and poundage (to a lesser extent). This is only slight in absolute terms but I've tried going over to the shorter set.
It gives me a more comfortable/consistent draw and I know I can push out the bow hand firmly at the target giving the full draw, better stability of the bow arm that helps alleviate problems 2 and 3.

I went round the 3Ds at the club today with a few mates, I wasn't too fussed about the aim or score, more getting a full draw, a stable left arm and holding position until the arrow struck home (or missed!). I felt my form was better with improved left right accuracy. Missing left or right is V annoying, as it should be the easy bit, the distance estimation and judging the elevation is the hard bit.
The other big thing I've been trying is to hold the draw for an extra half second or two whilst keeping neck and jaw relaxed. My dentist will testify to my habit of clenching my jaw when concentrating.

Normally its draw, anchor on a count of "one",  "and" then loose on "two", I've been trying the extra hold to help condition/stabilise the left arm.
It's a tricky compromise because I don't want to start "thinking" or "aiming" whilst actually drawn, two things which IMO are almost fatal leading to now't but indecision.
I normally draw a whisker above point on the target, then adjust down or up without deliberate thought. Before draw I'll have thought the target is either further than point on, less than point on, or my 10 yard shooting into the garage distance, everything else is gut feel relying on eye/brain coordination.... occasionally on long shots with something like a standing bear I may think I'll put point onto his nose and let the arrow drop into his chest as it's beyond point on range.
It should be smooth and instinctive without any conscious thought other than maybe the mental check list of...
Anchor... yes
Full draw ... yes
Steady left arm...yes
concentrate on where you want the arrow to hit (aim small, miss small)
Relaxed jaw ... yes... Oh, I've loosed.... thud...
The best shots are those when one is barely aware of how it happened.

There may be many target archers, coaches, and people thinking this is total nonsense.
That's fine... it's my take on it and I always say to people who ask (and some who don't!) it's good to listen to all the ideas and advice, but only take on board the stuff that you think makes sense, or works for you.

The hardest thing is separating what we think we are doing from what we are actually doing.
If in doubt set up a camera and take a bit of video, you may get a nasty surprise!

Why now? There's an open shoot at Avalon next week and I haven't shot as well as I should for a good while. Mind I'm not chasing scores, I just want a reasonably consistent form with a few first arrow kills and not too many 'blanks' (miss with all 3 arrows). Mostly I just want an enjoyable day out where I can remember the good shots.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Odds and Ends

On an apple hunting expedition I came across some lovely Blackberries down between the railway line and the river Stort in a nature reserve. It's a real sun trap and the blackberries were ahead of the ones nearer where I live.
I boiled them up for a few minutes with some sugar, and they went really well with some Gooseberry fool that my wife had made.
I'd been talking about Gooseberry fool at work and Lea, one of the "girls" who I've know for years and years asked if I'd bring in a little one for her! I took in a little ramekin of fool and a few blackberries to go on top.
I'm only working mornings now which a great enhancement to the work life balance. Lea dropped by after work to return the pots, so I showed her my wine and apple stash. She'd seem my bows, but never tried one, so she had a go.
She was sticking them in the boss nicely, which is more than some target archers who aren't used to short range can manage! She enjoyed having a go, and was impressed by how far they were sticking into the boss. Initially she expected to shoot from about 2 yards and thought she wouldn't hit the target from the full 10 yards from outside the garage.
It's always fun to show off the bows, but, in the bright sunlight I noticed some tiny hairline chrysals on the belly of the Mollegabet, I could tell they were chrysals as I could just feen 'em with my fingernail.
Normally I'd be upset by any sign of chrysals, but this didn't worry me as they were evenly spread which shows an even tiller, and it was always an experimental bow. It also shows I was pushing it to the limit.
The fact that it's effectively shot out gives me carte blanche to experiment further, maybe splicing on some lever extensions to increase the draw length. Even if it goes puddingy now, it's done a good job of flinging a few arrows a long way.

I've made a start on the cider too, got the first 5 litres nearly done.
I've got about 4 litres and the dry cake of pressed apple has been put in a fermenting bucket with a litre of water to soak out some additional juice over night. I'll give that a second pressing tomorrow to top up the demijohn.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Fruits of my Labour

I've racked off the Plum wine to remove all the fruit pulp and to let it continue fermenting in a lidded bucket with an airlock. It seemed a shame to throw away the pulp as it smelled lovely and was full of yeast sugar and alcohol. I tried mixing it with flour, a bit of sugar and a pinch of salt and kneading it into dough to see if it would rise. It did after a few hours so I made half a dozen fruit bread rolls... gorgeous with butter while still fresh and warm.

Yesterday was beautiful weather and I felt like shooting a few arrows, I'd not been up the club for ages so I went up and shot round the 3Ds with a group of people I'd not shot with before. Most enjoyable. My shooting was a bit scrappy, drawing a bit short and missing left or right. I settled down and pushed my bow hand out with more purpose, this lengthened the draw and added some left right stability. I was trying to settle my form a bit, have some fun and get back to the feel of the bow. There's a shoot at Avalon at the end of the month, must book up, it's always a great shoot. It's an hour's drive which is a little tiring these days. (that'll make anyone from the US laugh, as that's 'just down the road' to them).

Rain is due this afternoon so I tidied up on the roof (still not quite finished the pointing). Make hay while the sun shines I though, so I strolled down the cycle track to see how the apple trees are doing.
Not bad, a good few wind falls and giving the branches a bit of a shake brought down some more. There are three different trees in close proximity, big sweet ones, small yellow tart ones and some dark red ones that have pinkish flesh.
I got 25 pounds which is a good start. By the weekend after some rain wind and sun there should be enough to start the cider making.
That means I've got to get the garage tided up now... it's all go.

It irritates me that some people moan about Harlow and run it down as an urban post war concrete jungle. They are often people who don't live here and think themselves superior. Yes there are run down areas, yes there are some miscreants, but that's true of any group from the poshest to the most humble.
I can walk up to the town centre in 10 minutes, I can forage bow making timber, blackberries, apples, sloes and plums. If I'm lucky I may even see a Kingfisher.
Gotta keep our eyes open and appreciate the good stuff.

Friday, 7 August 2015

More Chimney Work

The house has two chimneys and while I had the ladders out I had a look at the second... it was in a right state. The concrete crown was falling apart and came away in my hands...
I've cleaned it up and been casting a new one in situ.
Now't to do with bows, but it's been getting me fit and is fairly enjoyable in a masochistic way.
The funny thing is, a bucket of concrete seems to weigh a ton, yet it's probably no heavier than the draw weight of my regular bow.

Once I've got this done I'll be able to get the ladders put away, tidy the garage and get back to the bows... Ah, there will be the cider next... then back to the bows.
In the meantime we've been enjoying the fruits of the garden in the form of Gooseberry fool.... yum.

Talking of ladders, my trusty old tubular steel stepladder has long since lost it's rubber feet. This isn't a problem until I want to use it on a decent floor or the rubber flat roof.
I found a great company on line that has all different sizes of rubber ferrule with steel reinforced bottoms. I ordered some on line and they came really quickly. It was only when I looked at their address I realised they are in Harlow like me!
Anyhow I refurbished the stepladder for less than £8
the company is
I also got some new rubber feet off E-bay for my extension ladder, they will be too late for this job, but I'll have 'em fitted for next time.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Non Bow Related Activity

The flashing round the chimney has been letting water in which is showing as marks on the bathroom ceiling... time to get up there and re-point it before winter comes round.
It didn't take too long to get up there on a roofing ladder (with a safety harness) and get it done.
 Picked up more plumbs, got 10 Litres of Plums fermenting for wine and a pot of Plum Chutney boiling in the kitchen. I like free stuff, shame to see it going to waste. It will be apples for cider next.

the plumbs are a wonderful colour, it appeals to our hunter gatherer instincts... if 1 plum is good, 5 plums are even better and all those lying there to be picked up are unresistible.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Reworked Molle' Flight Shot.

I went over the field with my mate John, he wanted me to video him with the 130# warbow, and I wanted to try the reworked Molle'.
First shot I got exactly the same distance as I got last time 261yards ... hmmm, bit disappointed.
We then took some video of the warbow.
I wasn't going to bother with another shot, but I thought maybe I should as the loose was a bit sluggish last time and the arrow wagged it's tail as it left the bow.
This time I had the string barely on two fingers and I made sure I pulled it the last couple of inches and loosed as crisply as I dared...
I didn't see a thing... I joking looked around by my feet for the arrow... it hadn't exploded, so it must have been a damn fine loose.
We walked out to retrieve the arrows... no sign of it... walked a little further and then spotted it way off line to the left. 283 yards Wooo! Pretty slick for a 45# bow.
The still is grabbed from video of me shooting the heavier flight arrow. The lower limb looks twisted, but I think it's the camera angle and I'm probably canting the bow a tad.
Here's a video too.... it's poor due to the compression... dunno why they insist on compressing such a short clip.

In the interests of fairness here's my mate JT at full draw too.

2016 Update:- I've found the original video and uploaded it to Youtube.