Sunday, 28 August 2016

Bits & Pieces

I've trimmed that Yew which we ran through the bandsaw and got it up on the shelves now and I've been shooting the Wonky Hazel a bit more.
Yesterday I went to try it over the flight field and there was a youngish chap with his bicycle under an Oak tree which is just into the field, he was having a quiet read. I went to speak to him for the obvious safety reasons and we got chatting, he was very interested and he'd never shot a bow before so I let him try a couple of shots, he was quite taken with it. Anyhow, I walked down the far end and shot with the wind (which was quite brisk), it also gave me the chance to see how the laser rangefinder worked sighting up on a telegraph pole (actually it's a power line pole... but whatever!) I got 176 yards, it didn't seem to make much difference which arrows I used, the rangefinder picked out the pole very well.
Back home I tried shooting at a white disc on my target (10 yards)... I could group the arrows, I could shoot all round it, couldn't hit the darned thing... is it the bow? I tried good old Twister, same thing... just one of those days and I'm out of practice. My Son joined me and we even tried drawing a smiley face on the disk, eventually we both hit it... I think we were using Monkey bow by then.
My basic problem was I was tense, my neck is a bit stiff and it was into overthink. Once I realised this I stopped trying, relaxed my stance, crouched over slightly, bounced slightly on the balls of my feet to feel balanced in the manner of a goalkeeper, just focused on the disc, drew and loosed... yup hit it.

I'd noticed the bow had taken a little set, (more in the upper limb) maybe because it's had so little time seasoning, it had maybe lost a pound or two draw weight but was still just over 40#.
I lightly strapped it up with some rubber strap, the tip being about 60mm out of straight, I heated the belly with the hot air gun (on low), not trying to heat treat it, just encouraging it to straighten and maybe ensure it was well seasoned ( I protected the edges with copious masking tape)  I worked the heat along the limb for about 10 minutes by which time the strapping had pulled it down to about 10mm. I strapped it down straight, gave it a few more minutes of heat and left it a few hours.
This morning it feels back to it's old self, although I noticed a few hairline cracks in the bark, I'll wax it some more, as it will be nice if it stays on although it's only cosmetic of course. I tried 3 shots, better but didn't hit it... I then remembered what I'd done last night and relaxed, settled into a comfortable stance, focused, draw loose... hit it.
While I was sorting the shelves I noticed two off-cuts of Hazel from when I roughed out Wonky Hazel, I checked the moisture content with my meter (which I rarely use) 15% which isn't much over what I'd expect for our climate on seasoned wood, this shows it has seasoned fairly well (12% is pretty much the norm) I can't test the actual bow as the meter relies on pushing it's pointed probe pins into the wood and I don't want a bow looking like a pin cushion.

If you want me to take the time and effort to explain more, you must take the time and effort to leave a comment saying which bit needs more explanation. Either that or send me a bottle of wine ;-)


  1. It's so useful that you shoot it, notice how it changes and make adjustments like that before handing it over. If the bark cracks off during use, will the poundage reduce? And what would be the best way to treat the wood underneath?

    1. The bark doesn't add poundage. I think it will stay on, but if it does start popping off, a beeswax polish is all that's needed. I use Lord Sheraton Caretaker wood balsam, they have it in Sainsburys (other supermarkets are also available). Hopefully the fine cracks will just relieve the tension in the bark.