Sunday, 20 September 2020

Splicing, Warbow, Horn bow

 Someone asked me if I'd done a video on splicing billets. i was surprised to find that I hadn't so I made one... well a series of 4 actually! (on my Del Cat Youtube channel).
I also noticed one of my mates on Facebook wanting to sell a bow to fund a new warbow...errrr, I think I've got a stave that is his that I said I'd make into a bow for him (he'd given me a primo Pacific yew stave as payment). I messaged him pronto and promised to jump straight on it... work currently in progress.
A couple of videos of that on the Youtube channel too. It's really nice that he wasn't hassling me for the bow, that way, when I remembered it, I was full of enthusiasm rather than feeling I aught to do it. That's why I only really make 'em for friends these days or do bows that really pique my interest.
Currently at 130# @ 29", so pretty close!

I've been adding a bit more sinew to the horn bow too, to correct the sideways bend on the weaker limb. That has had getting on for 2 weeks to dry out, so I'll hopefully be posting something about that next week.

 I'm doing less on here and more on the Youtube channel these days, although for some projects you still can't beat the written word and decent still images.
I've noticed the viewing figures have dropped off to, not that I'm fussed, I mostly do it as my aide memoire.
Stay safe... the second wave of covid is on it's way.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Arrow Refurb' Day


I broke a few arrows trying to master the thumb ring, I'd also lost some points off my "pretend medieval" ones so I spent a bit of time refurbishing them. I spliced new ends onto the broken ones using the Titebond III that I'd bought a while back, it seems more convenient than the slow epoxy. I fitted new points on them all, the points for the pretend medievals were machined by one of the guys from our club, I'd made him a new bow in short time a few weeks back and he did the points for me as a bonus... blimey they are sharp! I gave 'em a quick touch with a warding file for fear that they'd puncture the bottom of my quiver, they will dull down pretty quick once they hit the mud at 130mph a few times.
They are 3/8" maple shafts (some now have a bit of Ash V spliced onto the end, as I can't find Maple shafts any more) the fletchings are 5" shield cut, points 100gn. This gives a nice compromise between looking good and yet flying a decent distance.
There was a guy on one of the archery websites last week complaining that his new 58# bow only shot as far as his 50# ... the more I question him, the less it made sense as he said they would shoot "about 100 yards" Yet he claimed to have a 30" draw. None of it added up, then he said he had 7" fletchings and the penny dropped..., I'd met someone like him before... totally resistant to any sensible advice and wanting to shoot 1/4 pound arrows from a low weight bow because the arrows make a nice noise. 
To be fair to him, he did thank me for my advice, I must remember not to answer his posts in future.
Why do people ask questions when they have no interest in the answer and no intention of following any advice? 

The other arrows are just my standard 28" 5/16", 100gn point, 3" fletchings .
I also ordered some 11/32" pine shafts (60-65 spine) for heavier bows. Out of interest, and slightly counter-intuitively a 28" arrow made up with 11/32" shaft 100gn, and 3" fletchings will shoot substantially further than the 3/8" pretend medievals at 31" . This illustrates why matey with his 58# bow couldn't get any distance.
BTW. I've noticed that pine shafts don't seem to cut as cleanly as cedar with a taper tool (for the points), it's no great worry, just an observation.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Shooting the Horn Bow


I took the horn bow roving, having strung it before I set off. I got someone to video me shooting it, but when I got home ... no camera... I'd swear I'd lobbed it into the car, but its nowhere to be seen. I daresay, as soon as I buy a new one, it will miraculously turn up!
Some of the guys were still at the club and when contacted said they couldn't see it anywhere, mind they did find one of my lost arrows which helps a tad.
The bow performed quite well, it was me that was the limiting factor, and I wish I had the video to see how far I was drawing. As I warmed up and the bow settled in, I reckon I was shooting about 250 yards and probably drawing about 25".
The bow was showing that one weak limb as still rather weak with bit of a tendency for the string to move over to one side. I was mostly shooting Mediterranean loose, but did shoot 3 or 4 with the thumb ring, which went quite well.

Now I'm home, I've got the weak limb strapped into a hint of extra reflex and I've added some more sinew to the weak area and to the weaker side. I'll leave it for a few weeks before reappraising it.

I'm more irritated about the memory card than the camera... I s'pose I'll buy the same model, as I know it does the job and I have a spare battery for it (Canon IXUS) at least it's not a stupidly expensive one.

Ha! The camera has turned up... it had slithered down the back of the rear seat squabs, Jackie got her slim lady hands down there and fished it out. I'll post some pics later!

Monday, 24 August 2020

Horn Bow Braced


I've got the horn bow braced and made a string from B55 which is horrid stretchy stuff, but necessary for horn bows with the high brace force to avoid breaking the nocks. Karpowicz tried lots of different ways to reinforce the nocks but they all failed with fastflite strings (or the strings broke). He actually specifies B50, but B55 is B50 with a thinner strand apparently. Anyhow to be sure I made a B55 string for one of my flight bows and, yes it stretched like mad, so it is
definitely not fastflite. 
The bow seems pretty well made with one limb being just a whisker weaker and a slight hint of twist at one tip. These minor issues can probably be corrected with pressure.
I haven't managed a decent draw, but I pulled it close to the point where the string lifts away from the levers, so hopefully, I should be able to manage it. The high initial draw weight feels rather brutal though.
here's a link to the video:-

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Horn Bow, Warbow, 3D Shoot

I've had the horn bow to a low brace using a peg board to get the limbs back, but before getting it fully braced I've done some sinew work on the it, filing the edges to tidy up some loose sinew or sinew that was wrapped around onto the horn belly. I've added more sinew where it looked a bit thin or dry, this needs plenty of time to dry thoroughly, although the hide glue actually gels and becomes touch dry pretty quickly.
While I've been waiting for this to cure I've been doing some work on a warbow belonging to my mate JT, he's not had it very long and never been happy with it. "..sold to me as a 130#....had less than 100 arrows through it. Just a horrible square (in the hand), uncomfortable thing to shoot! " I had an initial appraisal on the tiller and then set to work, it was a bit long at about 82" nock to nock with rather cumbersome nocks so I sawed them off, loosing about an inch off each end. I thought it might be interesting to saw a long section through the nocks to see how they were fitted... the result was horrible.
The pic shows one of mine (from a 50-60# bow) for comparison.

The Warbow has been strapped down straight and heat treated ready for some re-tillering.
I've done videos of both the horn bow and the warbow refurb on my youtube channel. (Del Cat)

The weather has gone from heatwave to persistent rain an thunder, luckily it held off for my first 3D shoot since the Covid lockdown at the Cloth of Gold club. It was an interesting format "kills only"

which gave a score of 10 for a kill, but minus 2 for a wound! Two arrows on each target, it produces some anomalous results like a small pheasant where I was the the only one from our group of 3 to hit it, but I scored -2. It was good fun and I was with my primitive, the other guys had a longbow and a recurve barebow. It was interesting to compare styles on some of the trickier stances. I was much more at ease with the kneeling shots.
Thanks to all at CoG for a wonderful shoot.
The torrential rain returned on my way home and more the next day, when in the evening I noticed some water on the floor of the sun lounge... so it was up onto the flat roof clearing all the gutters and accumulated buck from the roof, hopefully that will prevent a recurrence. I couldn't see any actual problem and my guess is that the muck accumulated behind and under my solar hot water pipework had allowed water to rise over the flashing or to find a seam in the flashing/upstand against the wall. Time will tell.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Horn Bow!

 Back in February (it seemed further back than that) I bought a box of stuff from a bowyer who was moving on to other interest and projects. The main items were a part finished composite "horn bow"* , a pair of horns, some horn tips, sinew and Adam Karpowicz book "Ottoman and Turkish Bows manufacture and design" (the definitive work on the subject, and very hard to find in hard copy).
The bow comprises the horn, wood and sinew structure, but it had never been strung so I approached it with some trepidation...which is maybe why it's been sitting since February! Mind I had been studying the book.

I've now started work tentatively flexing it, tidying up the sinew and evaluating it. I may do some glue and sinew work before cutting in nocks and stringing it, but it's a matter of making haste slowly. I have done some sinew work before, but very little, I do know it needs weeks if not months or years to fully cure (depending on thickness of glue, sinew etc. Hopefully the little I'll be doing will cure in a month or two.

There is no rush, and I recognise I'm a long way from my comfort zone. It bears no real resemblance to tillering a wooden bow as apparently most of the adjustment is done by flexing and some gentle heat.

The blogger site has forced me to use the new version which abjectly refuses to allow me to move pictures or wrap around text in any useful or consistent manner... maybe it's so it works better on phones. Anyhow, it is what it is and I'm tending to post more on Youtube now. The advantage of the blogger is that it gives better quality still pics which are good for reference... the disadvantage is, it's bad for my blood pressure!

It's something that I'd had as a long standing ambition and the sort of thing I read about as a kid with almost total incomprehension... bows that can shoot 800yards? So for me it's a privilege to get to work on the bow without having had to do some of the very slow, messy preparation and sinew work.
I'm doing short video showing the progress, but bear in mind it's a long term project with no real idea of the potential draw weight or the chance of success... but that what bow interests me... I don't make bows to end up with a bow! I make bows to learn and to enhance my skills.

*That's not to be confused with the many cheap Chinese "horse bows" on the market which are fibre glass (or glass/wood laminate) . These are often leather covered and I've seen people shooting them as "primitive" at NFAS field shoots and winning... I couldn't be bothered to challenge it, I only shoot for fun, and if people want to cheat I'd rather not get wound up by it. Experience over the years has shown me that cheats often claim total innocence, get "upset" and say things like "oh, well if you want to be like that about it"... and you end up as villain of the piece... 
I don't really want any more plastic medals anyway! 

Friday, 31 July 2020

Heavy Yew primitive Pics

I've got it sanded, oiled and waxed, it looks really good, unfortunately I can't get it back to full draw myself, but hopefully it will get shot on Sunday.
It's rather handsome.