Thursday, 30 October 2014

Hedeby Progress

It's starting to look more like a bow and make some sense!
I'm not a great fan of the design as it's bonkers to have a load of extra wood beyond the nocks, but there was presumably some sort of reasoning to it (I'll call the length beyond the nocks 'handles' for now).
I've got it to a low brace, the natural deflex helps there, and also helps to keep the bow looking reasonably fat despite the low draw weight. It's about 45# at 16" now. The excess wood beyond the nocks means the working length of the bow is a lot shorter than at first glance, so it will have a good bend on it when it's finished.
The bark is popping off nicely (see last pic) revealing a pristine surface beneath, it's a bit brown at the moment, but that will be lightly sanded to show the sapwood colour.
The big feature knot below the top nock may serve in place of the iron nail in the original, but on the other hand I may put a nail in.
I may be reluctant to heat bend too much deflex into the top handle for fear of over stressing knot.
You can see see the natural waggle in the stave too. I've very much leaving it in it's natural state as per the original. One nice thing is that this stave is a from fairly small diameter vertical shoot of Yew and has some of the central pith showing, this is just like the original!

One thing has come to light, the rudimentary nock grooves on one side of the bow seem to work rather well. The handles don't seem to aid stringing, but time may tell.
I'm going to a field shoot at Avalon on Sunday, maybe I'll have it shootable by then, and a day's shooting may reveal something about the design.
Update:- Here's a shot on the tiller about 47# at 20"
my usual style of tillering, the middle is bending, the outers need to work more, left limb a tad stiff on outer third.
A chap on one of the forums has been asking loads of questions about tillering.
This sort of pic is what he needs to study!
Does he agree with my comments?
Note how I've pulled it to full target draw weight and I'm noting the draw length. As I remove wood I'll try to get the tiller shape better and the draw length will automatically increase as the wood is removed. Eventually I'll end up at 45# at 28" (If I'm lucky!)


  1. I've been wondering about the sense of that kind of design, too. One one hand, I am very convinced that the norse bowyers of old knew what they where doing. But those huge overhanging deflexed tips, the iron nail... I can't see any point in it. Maybe you can smack down your foe/pray with it, once you're close enough...

  2. I shot with it yesterday on a field shoot and it performed very well, much like any of my other Yew bows. I couldn't really see any point in the handles, although it keeps the string out of the mud and is a handy grip for use as a walking pole (but not really any more than any other bow).