Monday, 27 August 2012

Maple Primitive and a 'Robin Hood'

I'm starting on a Maple primitive, along similar lines to the Hazel (which is looking good having shot another 30 through it). It will be interesting to compare the two.
I've used Maple from the same woodland before for a stupidly long longbow and an under powered American Flatbow. I'm hoping that the primitive shape will suit the wood better, but I feel I may need to heat treat the belly to get the best from it.

A youngish chap and his dad visited me to chat about longbows, he was about to start university studying History. I was slightly nonplussed, as despite my great age, I don't actually know firsthand much about the military use of the longbow. I stressed the difference between the few facts we know and the interpretation thereof. He was pleased that my suppositions about Agincourt agreed with his.
We had a good go with my bows and he felt the Yew with a spokeshave. There is a big difference between reading about heartwood and sapwood and actually feeling it.
I let him split one half of my big Maple log with axe and wedges. Again, it's something which, until you try it you have no idea of. The Maple split easily and illustrated nicely how there is no need for bandsaws and modern machinery.

One of the bit I like best was how impressed they were with the speed of draw and loose, having seen Olympic archers holding at full draw for over 10 seconds. the speed of the arrow and the fact that it hit what was aimed at was pretty good too. The good old Chinese Repeating Crossbow also got it's customary outing and was an interesting juxtaposition to the old soundbite that 'The Longbow was the machine gun of the middleages' which is far from accurate, but has an small element of truth.
It's not easy to put the position of the Longbow into a soundbite, as without the manpower, training, organisation and supply it is just a stick.
The mobilisation of a well drilled, well suppied, well disciplined army is what allowed us to win, but even that would have come to nothing if the French had been organised and used their resources wisely.
(Just my view of course, terms and conditions apply etc...)
All in all they had a good time and I got a nice bottle of red wine and a box of chocs as a thank you.
Anyhow, it's one of those bits of Maple I'm starting on, it's not the best half of the log, but I thought I'd jump in get a quick feel of it, so if I got it wrong I'd still have the best bit for another go. I generally work this way, and I often find that the 'best' bit isn't always the best bow.
Here are some pics of it de-barked and roughed out. Being from a bigger diameter log I'll be able to leave the back of the bow as nature created it, using the under bark surface.

I was shooting in the Hazel bow some more and I heard a horrible clatter as I shot the nock and cock feather off one of my arrows, known as a 'Robin Hood'.
I'll probably repair it as the bottom of the groove where the string acually bears is still ok.
It was one of ny self nocked arrows too (as opposed to the plastic nock fitted on the other arrow).
Shooting 'Primitive' class in NFAS field shoots require the use of self nocked arrows, so I have some of each. plastic is quicker, tougher and easier to replace for general use.

No comments:

Post a Comment