Saturday, 28 December 2013

Whistling Walnut! - Whistling Arrow

Here's what to do with those Walnut shells left after Christmas!
I used some old broken arrows to make up one with 28" draw to the back of the walnut. But for testing I used a tiny little Osage bow I'd made from an offcut. I didn't really expect it to do much without a lot of fiddling and fettling of the air holes in the walnut, but worked first time! Turn the sound up and enjoy!
I'm now trying to make a two tone one by closing off the inside of one half to form a small chamber, when the two halves go together it then forms a big chamber and a small one.

The two tone, didn't go much better, so I made a couple out of Pecan shells, they whistle louder and fly better as the nuts are smaller, more aerodynamic and lighter. I used 70 grain points to keep the weight down.
The Pecans are more delicate and don't split in half, so I flattened the ends on a belt sander and then very carefully drilled through. The inside was removed using a needle file (bit fiddly) the nut was then glued on to the shaft and a 6mm hole drilled in each side just forward of centre.
Warning they make a bit of a mess of the target! I'm now shooting them from a 35# Hazel bow and it's driving them past the nut right into the target foam!
I let my Son have a go shooting them as it's such a laugh... his grouping is too good! He shot the walnut off one of them. I didn't mind, the Pecan ones are better, as being smaller they will still fit in my quiver whereas the walnut ones won't.

Walk in the Woods

The pics can tell the story. One shows how twisted growth can be sometimes be seen in a limb.

Nature's bow wood testing facility! See the limb which is bent right over in the second pic (just above half way up the right side) and how (in the next pic down) once I cut it free it has sprung back? I was careful to make sure I was out of the way as I sawed it else it would have taken my head off. Judging from the size and the bend , it looks like a 250# Warbow at full draw!

I cut the skinny straight one which is sticking up and right at about 45 degrees. Then I carefully cut the one which is under tension.
Neither are ideal, I think there is a little twist in the big bit and a few knots on what is the back if you assume it's already decided how to bend as a bow.
The skinny bit is, well... skinny!
Anyhow, it's always good to have wood seasoning, worst case is it will end up on the habitat pile for the hedgehogs, stag beetles and other critters to hide it. It provides cover from the cats which live round here.

It's very much a case of a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush when it comes to bow wood.

Over the last couple of weeks I've had a couple of leads regarding some Yew, it may come to nothing, or it may materialise in a month or two. Patience is a virtue when it comes to making bows, which is prob' why kids don't have the success they wish for.

I've been tinkering with my Walnut shells for the whistling arrows too, (pics when completed).

Talking of Woodland stuff I also got an autobiography of Ray Mears for Christmas, they are in "The Works" at a reduced price. A good read especially if you are that sort of age. He calls it the analogue age when kids were allowed out to play, it rang a few bells with me.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas Presents and a Review of 3013

I got a handy little pocket GPS thingy from my Son which will allow me to record the location of promising Yew trees and also measure distances of flight shots (probably to within about 5-10 yards).
My wife made me a super Warbow bag, long enough for the longest bows. It has a reinforced leather base, a draw string with tassels and my DH Bowyer's mark on it... excellent. Got some more 40 grit belt sander belts too.

I've been tinkering in the garage, I'm trying to make a couple of whistling arrows using Walnut shells, I'll post some pics when I've done it. I've also been fiddling and fettling the stick Yew longbow and reducing the sapwood on the 90# @ 32" bow.

Review of 2013:-
Over the year I seem to have been building increasingly heavy draw weight bows. I seem to have broken a few personal records too (not to mention a few bows!)
The first heavy bows were "Trans" in April (A Transatlantic bow with Oregon Yew spliced belly and a continuous back of English Yew sapwood) and "Dogleg" which was a wobbly Yew stave that was heat treated and belly patched when it cracked.
Both those bows featured in being filmed as a contributor on Tudor Monastery Farm in July , a glorious day out on the South Downs.

I really enjoyed the fairly experimental Hazel with static recurve tips and an abstract paint job on the back which I made in May. Hazel continues to impress me, and maybe next year I'll try a Warbow from it.

The 120# spliced Warbow that exploded on the tiller was rather educational and is still the most viewed page on the blog!

I broke the score of 500 barrier at a field shoot in October (I scored 532) . It gave me great pleasure as I managed to avoid the after lunch dip, and getting 'tired and hungry' (our family euphemism for grumpy Dad syndrome), which often puts a dent in my scores.
This was followed by the 100# Elm warbow which I could just about manage to draw. The 100# mark being a bit of a mile stone even though it's just another number of course! The 302 yard flight shot I managed with it also broke another barrier.
Th 130# self Yew Warbow was finished next and this is the heaviest bow I've built to date, beyond me to draw it though! Hopefully I'll see how it performs next year.

The less bow related highlights were refurbishing a small lathe and making a couple of copper Archer sculptures. The cider making in the Autumn is an activity which marks the passing seasons, as does making Blackberry and apple pie!
I opened some on my Cider at Christmas, the clear fizzy batch was great.... the cloudier stuff was rather sour, but fine for sploshing in the cooking or quenching your thirst. Next year I'll do smaller batches in 5L containers... the big 25L fermenting bucket seemed to be a mistake.

It seems the word 'Warbow' ensures plenty of page views and I've also learnt to title my pictures so that Google Images will find them. This has resulted in a steady increase in the the number of people finding the blog. It's fun watching the numbers increase, but the real purpose of the blog remains to encourage and inform people who want to have a go at making bows and as an aide-memoir for myself, It truly is a working diary.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Seasons Greetings

Sort of winding down to Christmas. Finished at work, but there's loads of shopping and Christmas related stuff to do.
I've escaped to the garage a bit and been working down the sapwood on that next 90# Yew bow. I'll be shooting more arrows through the 70# Yew stick bow too, it seems to be behaving now.

I wasted the whole of yesterday trying to get the PC protection working again after Virgin Media said their security was being switched to a new company.... the link they kindly provided just screwed the PC and I .... blah ...blah...blah... I'm sure you don't want to know the boring details.
Anyhow I'm back online now.
Here's a festive picture for you! Taken a few years back when we had a lot of snow. That Yew tree is just outside our kitchen window and it was smothered in berries that year and full of squirrels & Blackbirds. We get Goldcrests in there too.

I expect I'll be a bit quiet for the next week, so Happy Winter Solstice and the festive greetings of your choice.
I'll doubtless post before the new year to check if you've all been good and have had a visit from Santa.
If all else fails have a nice boxing day walk in the woods and cut a Hazel stave.
Have fun and thanks for all the comments and contacts over the year.
Best wishes to you all

Watch out for Tudor Monastery Farm Christmas Special  (Dec 31st 9-10:00) You should catch a glimpse of me and some of my mates. If not, at least the bows they are shooting in the archery bit were made by me.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Confession and Speed Test

The first patch I put on had a small knot, more like a load of concentric rings really, but I noticed some tiny cracks radiating out from it... drat!
Well, I still had all the glue, strapping, offcuts of Yew and tools out, so I just took a rasp to it and added another patch, long and deep. This giving a nice continuous layer of clean wood up the belly made up of 3 interlocking/overlapping patches. You can hardly see 'em unless you know what you are looking at.
I've started shooting it again ... and I thought I'd shoot a few through the chrono'. It's maybe a whisker slower than I hoped, but it's rather long and carrying some excess timber in the form of knots. The results were a bit variable as I was having rouble getting a clean shot through the optical gate of the chrono' .
The best were a whisker over 167fps, using my 'standard'  arrows, which felt pretty good from the bow, although an 11/32" shaft would feel smoother.
The bow is looking very handsome now, it will need a lot of shooting in to make sure it's all fine. All the patches are on the upper limb. There are a couple of features on the lower which I will keep and eye on.
I've not done an arrowplate, I'll wait and see how it settles and if the guy for whom I'm making it still fancies it...
Maybe he's jinxed ;-) as the previous one I was making for him blew on the tiller.
Hopefully I'll have some cleaner staves seasoned by the summer.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Patches Finished

Maybe I should call this one "Apache"  ...( Because its a patchy bow ...geddit?... groan...sorry never mind).
Here's a pic of the problem area, you can see the bulge (showing whitish) , the first patch can be seen above the defects.
Then there's pics of the finished job. Upper pic is the side view, giving a good view of the second patch, lower pic shows both, they blend into the bow rather well although the second shows more.
The things to note:-

I've made sure the ends of the patches are staggered to try to avoid any weak point or visually eye catching point. A long patch is less obvious than a short one. There are still some black lines etc, especially visible on the side view. I didn't want to cut into the sapwood and if more problems occur, I'll just keep the bow for myself... it's supposed to be a stick bow not a jigsaw, so there has to a point when to quit!

The patch was strapped down with rubber while the glue was curing, but I haven't bothered showing that...  the last pic is immediately after the rubber was removed, it shows a nice amount of glue has squeezed out. Too much glue isn't really a problem as long as the joint is firmly strapped (don't squeeze it all out), it's messy, but not a problem. Too little glue and you risk a dry spot or an air pocket. The masking tape is just to hold the patch is position while the rubber strapping is wrapped on.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Belly Patching

I've tried to let the pictures tell the story.
The thing to bear in mind when doing a repair is... you don't want to be doing it again, or making multiple patches to do the job if you can avoid it. Sometimes it may be necessary to do two which overlap, or in this case you'll see I've filled the groove of the central pith with yew dust epoxy mix. There is no point in patching over unsound material!
The procedure is:-
1. Rasp out the cracks and make a long flat area for the patch to cover all the discontinuities and suspect areas. In this case it exposed a line of pith so I cleaned that out using a chainsaw file with the end ground cleanly across at a slight angle to act like a round chisel/scraper.
2. Fill the pith groove, then rasp it all flat again.
3. Find a suitable bit of Yew for the patch. Easier said than done! The offcuts from that actual branch were two knotty, eventually I found an offcut which was relatively knot free and a reasonable match for grain. That is to say, the patch wants ideally to have the rings running the same way as the limb of the bow. It's not essential and I could have used a quarter sawn bit with the rings effectively running back to belly. It wouldn't match in so well, but would still look ok if done well.
4. Prepare the patch to size allowing plenty of length and a little extra thickness. Get the width about right as it needs to be flexible so it will pull down flat when glued. I run a cabinet rasp along the two faces to be glued holding it across the work like a draw knife, this gives fine grooves along the wood. There is plenty of argument about how smooth a surface to be glued should be. I'll let you make up you own mind.
5. The glue is mixed, I use Resintite which I apply to both surfaces, despite the instructions saying just one (again, make up your own mind)
6 The patch is held in place with masking tape to prevent it moving while the rubber strapping is applied. I only use one layer of strapping pulled tight. It's cut from rubber roofing sheet or old inner tubes, about 1" wide and wound on to overlap each turn slightly.

Because this patch is on a finished bow, I've protected the bow with plenty of masking tape. I've also strapped the bow down to a length of 2x1 pulling the tip down by about 1/2". This is to remove a bit of a deflex bend at the weak point which is being patched, it will make the bow more symmetrical and remove the little set which the weak area had taken on.

The strapped up patch is left overnight for the glue to cure. Watch out if you are doing it in cold conditions and bring it in somewhere warm to cure.
It's then a matter of taking off the strapping and carefully rasping araway the excess wood. It needs extra care at the ends, where the patch protrudes past the flattened area as it will not be glued down cleanly to the prepared surface, but may have glue loosely tacking it down to the belly of the bow which still has it's Danish oil finish. If you are not careful, this loose area can tear or splinter down into the patch. I use a cabinet rasp held gently. Of course you don't want to rasp into the parent wood or remove so much you are back to having a weak spot! The moral is slow and steady... you've put all the work in, don't screw up now!

I haven't finished it off yet, and I'll need to re-tiller the bow, but I'll post this for now as I've had someone asking about doing a patch.

I should have looked at this blog entry before I did the job! If only that were possible... I ignored my own advice and should possibly have rasped out more, I'll explain!
On the edge of the bow are a few black lines where rain or rot has got into the wood. The patch bridges over this area and I was hoping it would effectively sandwich the unstable wood between two bits of good solid stuff. The marginal wood is also on the edge and about half way between back and belly where it is theoretically neither in compression nor tension... Yeah right, someone tell that to the wood, now I've taken the bow to full draw a few times its bulging slightly where the black lines are. This is possibly due to the fact that areas which were previously distorting have now been strengthened, pushing the strain onto the next weakest link of the chain.
Anyhow, I probably couldn't have done it all as one patch anyway. It's frustrating, but a second patch should do the job. It just needs perseverance!
In the cold light of day, it simply needs doing, and the bow was an accident waiting to happen without this remedial action. a stitch in time saves nine... or more accurately two patches in time will save a smashed bow.
I've rasped off the offending corner of the limb, stopping just short of the sapwood at the edge. I've made a patch... much more difficult this time as it's curved incorporating some of the belly and some of the side like a long curved corner piece. Tricky to explain, but I'll post some pics tomorrow I've had enough for today!
If you look at the top picture (click on it to see it big), on the left, just where the blue of the G clamp meets the bow, you can make out the dark areas of poor wood on the side of the bow, there are 3 curved dark lines.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Shooting In and Derbyshire Yew

I've cleaned up the Yew stick bow and I'm shooting it in. At 70# at 28" it's surprisingly hard work, and it's taking a while to get sufficient accuracy to risk shooting through the chronometer, which is a tricky business with a longbow. Too close and the arrow either hasn't actually left the bow yet or it's flexing like mad. Back off to ten yards with a heavyish unfamiliar bow and you are risking shooting the chonometer or the lights etc!
70# doesn't sound much, but it it's enough to compress the joints and muscles and make a 28" draw more difficult... my usual anchor point just doesn't get me there and I'm having to pull further back verging on a medieval draw. You can see from the target, the first few shots were rather wild, but I then rattled 3 in touching each other, a combination of warming up, getting used to the bow and adjusting my anchor.
It feels smoother with the 11/32" shafts, but I'm using the 5/16" 'standard' arrows as I'm keen to work it hard during shooting in to see if the belly cracks and features move at all. It certainly is looking handsome now, I've been over the back with wire-wool soaked in white spirit to get off the last vestiges of cambium and I've sanded out the tooling marks. The belly is glass smooth so that I'll feel any wood if it starts to lift or crack.

Update:- Here's some video of me shooting it. I've also noticed I can feel a slight edge on one of the belly cracks... that's made the decision for me... I'll patch it.

Meanwhile I've been reducing a handsome stave of Yew for a chap who got it from Derbyshire. He's after 90# at 32" which suits me fine as I should be able to shoot it.
It's going to be very long, using virtually the whole stave to be as tall as the longest Mary Rose bow. The wood is very nice with few obvious problems. The sap wood is rather thick and is a bit thicker at one and and along one edge, so will need reducing. The wood will have had a year seasoning come January, so I've got time to slowly take the sapwood down.  You can see the pencil line to which I'm aiming to reduce the sapwood. You can see how big it is in the centre, It's that size for about a foot or so each side of centre then tapers to about 25mm square at the tips.
The only slight irritation with very long bows is they get cumbersome and it's very easy to bump them on door frames light fittings and all the other clutter in my garage. It will be a nice change to work a good clean stave. In contrast I have the other Churchyard stick to work, which is also aiming for 90# @ 32" so I may work them together so I can compare and contrast. Maybe I should write a learned paper and submit it to the craft guild of traditional bowyers and fletchers.... just kidding, I'm not a great one for guilds societies and such like. I hardly want to pay to be a member of a guild just so they can tell me I'm a decent bowyer... I've worked that out already! (Hmmm sorry if that sounds a bit up myself, maybe I'm just a grumpy old cheapskate).
Maybe Groucho Marks had the right idea when he said, he didn't want to belong to a club that had people like him as members!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Yew Stick Longbow Full Draw

It's been shot a few times, got the horn nocks on and had a wipe of Danish Oil. I will take my time shooting it in and finishing it. I want to be V cautious in case any of the cracks on the belly start to open or move, in which case I'll rasp off about 3/16" and glue on a nice long slim patch from the same wood (I always save the offcuts) There are things like grip and arrow plate to consider later, but first I'll give her plenty of exercise.
You can see the bow isn't bending that much, due to it's long length, this was deliberate caution on my part as the stave is so knotty. Normally I like to see a bow with a good bend on it.
Sorry the pics are dotted about a bit, it's a limitation of the blogger software and I can't be bothered to use 'paint' to join all the pics into a montage. The pictures show some of the features, there is a nice little ridge on the back at one point and the big swirl of knot by the bottom nock is interesting. During roughing out there was a big knot there either side and I was tempted to cut it off, yet by the time the tips have been worked down there is just a nice swirl and bump there. A lot of problem areas just melt away during the bow making... some however stubbornly remain.

I think the beauty and strength of this bow is it's untouched back and it would probably withstand a 32" draw, at least maybe a flash/slash draw to 32" for flight shooting. I won't risk it though as the knots and the cracks/shakes mean it is unlikely to fail gracefully if over stressed, more likely to explode.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Knot's Cracks and Features

The Yew bow is now just over 70# at 28" and the tiller is looking good.
I'm cleaning up the back, a laborious task, carefully scraping off the remaining cambium and cleaning out any dead wood and manky stuff from knots. You'll see some of the knots are pretty huge, so I'm pouring a little low viscosity superglue into the crater and flexing the bow to force it into any cracks.
There are some areas on the belly where radial cracks from the central pith are showing, I think these are stable, but worse case they can be rasped out and a belly patch added. With a bow like this it is safest to leave it long and also to make sure it has plenty of shooting in and time to settle a lesson I learned from
'Bonkers Bow' (A search on this blog for 'Bonkers bow' will show all the work on it and what an awful scruffy offcut of Yew can turn into).

Note the tear drop shaped scraper in the second pic down.

I'll press on cleaning up the bow and then get some horn nocks on it. I'll go for black Waterbuffalo horn as it will tie in with the dark of the knot holes.

I've had a bit of a play with the bow, moved the top nock down half an inch and tried a few test shots. Smashed an arrow by using one too stiff, too close to the taget, it struck home at 45 degrees and fractured itself. Backing off to 10 yards with my usual arrows gave a clean true shot (even with the string adjusting toggle on the string!). Looking forward to shooting it with decent nocks and string. On the tiller I had it back at 28" a good few times and even held it for a second or two, it feels safe and sound, but only time will tell.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Yew Stick Bow and Draw Weight to Brace a Bow.

The Yew Stick bow has come back to 28" at it's not going to make 90# but it gives me room to reduce the length by an inch or two and fine tune the tiller for 70# at 28" for someone who has been waiting for a bow from me for a while. (pics tomorrow)
Maybe the other fatter Churchyard stick stave will make a 90# Warbow.

I've been in conversation online with a fellow bowyer about draw weight, long strings, string tension etc and it's all a bit confusing.
The upshot is I think I encapsulated it by saying the draw weight on a long sting, short string and string tension are 3 very different things. So 50 pounds isn't necessarily the same as 50 pounds! It depends how you measure it.
As an example the draw weight of a bow at brace height is zero.
(A force draw curve pretty much shows the draw weight going to zero at brace height).
Even if you argue that it can't be measured 'cos you aren't drawing the bow, we can say, ok! Then measure the draw weight at 1" of draw and it will be very little.
However consider the tension on the string at brace height, it's probably 40 pounds or so! Anyone who as struggled to string a bow will vouch for that.

Can you get a bow tillered almost to final draw weight by just pulling it to brace height on a long string, if you know how the long sting draw weight converts to a final fully braced draw weight?
Yes and no!
Say we know that a 80# bow needs 60# on a long string to pull the tips back 6" to brace height. Theoretically we could simply do that ... BUT of course the bow has never been draw beyond 6" tip deflection!
So,  assuming we are using a real world stave with knots kinks, dips etc.
When we put our short string, brace it and pull it back to 28" draw will the tiller look right?
Of course not!
It will be out of kilter and may even be trying to twist or bend sideways. Maybe the draw weight will be spot on... But we will need to adjust the tiller and when we do so it will loose weight and we will end up with a 70# bow in stead of 80#.
That's the difference between a nice even laminated stave, where you can probably get a lot closer to final weight a lot earlier.

What is the point of all that?
Well, it illustrates why, if I'm making a 80#bow, I will use the full 80# on a long string to get it back to brace height. It may be a bit over weight and I'll still have a good bit of wood to remove, BUT I'll have a chance to get the tiller right!
Won't it over strain the wood?
I don't think so as:-
a) The bow is going to take 80# anyway when it's finished.
b) 80# on a long string is less strain on the bow than 80# on a short string, due to string angles etc. In the same way that at brace there is substantial tension on the sting but no draw weight.
c) The defection on the bow is a lot less than on the fully drawn bow.
d) Any belly wood that was stressed will probably get removed during tillering anyway.
e) How much weight and stress do you think the wood was supporting when it was still  in the tree in a howling Winter gale?

So there you go! I hope I haven't bored you all rigid with this diatribe, but maybe it answers some fundamental question... conversely you may disagree with my analysis.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Yew Stick Longbow Progress

I've got it to a low brace and it looks skinny and under weight.. but it still feels rather stiff, like it may be about 70-90# at 28". Of course I haven't gone mad and just heaved it back... despite the temptation.

The grip is almost the full size of the stick and is still pretty stiff.
As it's flexed the bark has been cracking off showing me where the bend is concentrated. There are a couple of areas where there are some cracks (shakes) on the belly and sides. Some of these are associated with the pith centre line (visible in one of the pics), these and the knots have been liberally doused with low viscosity superglue as a precaution to help stabilise them and prevent further cracking. Hopefully some of the cracks will disappear as the stave is worked down.
The top pic shows a couple of the dead knots, the sapwood flows nicely round them and I'll try no to disturb it. Note the bark is still on there, so it's not flexing much, about half way between the knots and the right edge of the pic there is a crack in the bark going up from the lower edge where it's about to pop off.
The pic of the whole stave shows it has a hint of reflex, which will be nice if it can be maintained.

I still don't know what the draw weight will be, as there are a lot of features to be worked around. So it may end up as a long bow with a 28" draw rather than 32". Not sure how the back will take the 32".
I'm keeping the cross section fairly wide and thin, but well withing the accepted definition of a longbow (depth/width >= 5/8), but a long way from the narrow deep D laminated bow of Victorian target archery. I mean... does it look like it wants to be a target bow?
Hope fully I'll get some pics of it on the tiller over the next few days.
Here it is, about 60# at 25".
A frame grabbed of some video as I tentatively flexed it.
It doesn't look too bad, a little stiff in the outer limbs.
It's now a trade off, how far dare I pull it? Dare I shorten it an inch or two? Can I get the middle and the tips flexing a bit more?
I don't think it will make the 90# at 32 I was hoping for, but maybe the bigger Churchyard stick will do for that one. Probably done enough for today, it needs some looking at and thinking about...  nice cup of tea will help.

I also bought some nichrome wire off E-bay, it's special wire that is used for heating elements. I'm going to use it to make a hot wire feather cutter for trimming fletchings. As electronics design is my day job, it's a relatively simple task, not sure when I'll get round to it but now I have the wire, it's something I can do when I need it. I have fancy plans for making it so it will fit on the tool post of the lathe, so the arrow can be mounted in the chuck which can then be turned by hand. I have a couple of 12v batteries from an old golf trolley which should provide a nice power source, or an adjustble power supply which might be good for it, just needs Ohms law and a bit of arithmetic. Something else for the 'to do' list.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Fraternity of St George Shoot

I had a great day out with several guys from the club at the Fraternity of St George shoot in Windsor Great Park. (You can just make out Windsor Castle on the horizon in the gap between us).
We rendezvoused at a pub for registration and proceeded from there to the shoot venue. There was a great turn out, I've don't think I'd seen quite so many longbow archers before.
The organisation was great and there was even warming fruit punch before we started.
The weather was cool and dry, perfect for the time of year. We were shooting at marks from a variety of ranges, some barely visible, some over trees. There were some closer timed shots too, one being 10 seconds to loose as many as you could at the head of a goose (a polystyrene cut out) for a prize. Apparently this replicated a Scottish shoot where a goose was buried to the neck in the soil and shot at. The range was about 40 yards or so, my first shot was a few paces short, the second (last shot) was about 10" away. Someone managed to hit it!
At one point there was a rider on horseback, she kindly agreed to ride away about 250 yards and then come at us at a fast canter so we could get a feel for how it may have been in battle! I mimed shooting and felt I could have got about 7 shots away in the time it took her to reach us. It felt quite intimidating having the horse come at our line (with a suitable gap in it for her to ride through) but I'd rather be in our shoes than hers, for she would surely have succumbed to a hail of arrows were it in earnest.

I was shooting my 50# Yew longbow and there were several other Yew longbows there too, including a lovely characterful one from some slow growing English Yew found on chalky hills (Malverns if I recall correctly?) The bowyer recognised me from one of the forums and we had a good chat, scoffing at those who would have you believe that you can't make bows from English Yew.

In the afternoon I was also carried the big Elm 100# Warbow which drew some interest.
The flight shoot was to be the final shot (4 arrows) and the shoot captain Brian Mooyaart kindly suggested I warm up with the Elm bow on the last Mark to be sure I'd manage it. I let fly and my heaviest (600grain) flight arrow seemed to go for miles. This gave me the confidence that rather than being tired, I was in fact nicely warmed up!

The flight shoot was great, however, the strain of trying for a full 32" draw was throwing my aim way off left and I was missing the shooting lane. I actually shot the furthest arrow at 302 yards, this didn't count as a win, being out of bounds, but it told me what I wanted to know about the bow and my flight arrows.
The arrow which went the furthest was 385 grains, the four arrows I had were nominally two at 400 gn, a 500gn and a 600 gn. The 600 fell shortest, followed by the 500 and the two 400grain arrows. The result pretty much falls in line with the results from my experimentation here:-
Lighter is faster, as long as the bow, arrow (and my elbow) can take the force!
I was really pleased with the bows performance (if not my aim), the light was fading and it was getting late. We had a fair distance to travel home so we reluctantly took our leave and drove home, missing the prize giving in the pub.

My thanks to the Fraternity of St George for the excellent hospitality, organisation and a thoroughly enjoyable shoot.