Monday, 31 October 2016

Great Day at Avalon

Sorry no pics, I had enough weight of water and chocolate to carry round. We went round in a group of 5 all shooting at a similar pace, an AFB a recurve a couple of longbows and my primitive.
there were no Zombies!!! Aaaarrrgh :-(   But there was a big Velociraptor 3D which I hadn't shot before, which made it tricky to judge the distance.
My shot of the day was bloomin' great Bison at about 50 yards on a V slight uphill, I watched everyone shoot short and a couple of arrows catch the overhead foliage. My philosophy all day had been to avoid trying to work anything out and not to think, just look at the target and shoot. It's tricky to apply this if you are shooting last or you are being held up by a slow group in front.
I knelt, pulled it to full draw put the tip of point of the arrow about on his shoulder, then just smoothly went up a bit until if felt right, the arrow sailed away and an I was rewarded with a satisfying thud as it struck home just above the kill zone.
We were behind a group who seemed to get slower and slower, they had a crossbow and a compound in the group, but they weren't the real problem. There was a lady shooting an AFB, I'll run you through her shot routine.
1. Stand on peg, feet together staring at target... 30 seconds
2. Raise right hand outstretched as if in a Nazi salute, waggle it up and down a bit 25 seconds.
3. Repeat 1 and 2 once more if the mood takes.
4. Adopt a sideways stance the wrong way round., and look at index finger a bit more 5 seconds.
5. Adjust stance, drop right arm and raise left arm which has the bow in it... why she couldn't do all the above using her shooting stance and bow arm, I have no idea. 15 seconds
6. S.l.o.w.l.y knock an arrow, and raise bow. 5 seconds.
7. Aim, loose 10 seconds.

To be fair she wasn't a bad shot, but on one relatively simple shot where we were waiting behind, she missed first arrow, took 3 paces forward to the white peg and started to repeat the entire procedure! At this point a very bad man in the following group shouted out "The target hasn't moved has it?"
I know that's bad etiquette and could "put her off" but she was putting off every member of her group and the two groups behind who had run up against them. They were warned twice by the marshals to get a move on.

I don't want anyone to rush a shot, but they could try and move round efficiently between shots. To me it shows a lack of consideration and is a reason why I don't shoot competitively, there are people who do that sort of thing a gamesmanship. If you do have an elaborate pre-shot routine, maybe get someone to video it and look at it to make it mere efficient in both time and effort.

It breaks up the rhythm of the shoot and you start to seize up at the end of the round having to stand around watching people go through over elaborate routines.
To indicate how slow the group was, after a tea stop, we gave them 15 minutes to get moving before we set off and we'd caught up after one target.

Sorry about the moaning, it was still a great day out, perfect weather, glorious Autumn colours with sweet chestnuts dropping around us and great company.
Thanks to all at Avalon, a great venue if you ever get a chance to shoot it.

Meanwhile I've been chiselling out the hinge rebates on the doors for the summer house... I had a cunning plan, a bit of lateral thinking. Use my workmate on it's side to hold the door up!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Shooting a Few Arrows

Suddenly realised I hadn't shot for a few weeks, and at last the garage was clear of summer house building materials,  so I picked up "Twister" and shot a few arrows into a cut out white pvc foam piglet. My shooting wasn't too bad and I'm shooting a dozen each day in preparation for a shoot at Avalon on Sunday. Seeing as how it will be almost Halloween, maybe the Zombie targets will be out, that should be fun.
I had a quick look at the Yew stave I've been working on, it barely flexes so there's a long way to go yet. I'm hoping to get the summer house doors done by the weekend so I can order some sheet acrylic or polycarbonate for the glazing. I'll then be able the get back to the bows.
The doors are a right pain, I decided to use some cheap timber so that I could do a try out. Just as well really as the design consultant (her indoors) said they looked a bit heavy (I agreed) and not enough glazed area. So I ran the verticals through the bandsaw taking off 1/2" each edge and made new horizontals an inch longer to maintain total width...
She said it didn't look much different (feel free to roll your eyes at this point) so I decided to press on regardless, as they look a reasonable proportion to me.
Note the distortion due to the camera angle... the door is parallel and square cornered really! It shows how a photo of a bow at full draw can often be distorted, (the bow being similar length to that door.)
I had been planning fancy mortice and tenon or dowelled construction, but on this cheap timber (studding from Wickes) I decided to just use long screws nicely recessed, two into each joint. This allows repeated assembly/disassembly (which is just as well really!) When it's finally got full approval and sign off from all relevant authorities (wife, cat etc) I can glue and screw.
It's now getting to the point where I'm having to remind myself that it is fun!
Looking forward to slaying some Zombies on Sunday.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Roof Skinned

It looks rather handsome with roof all covered with plywood. I added a strip of ply a couple of inches wide over the join between the two sheets as there isn't a continuous joist beneath the join. I glued it down with Resintite which did me a favour using most of it up, as Resintite has a limited shelf life and I was thinking I could probably due to buy some fresh. The strip has added to the rigidity considerably. I've also added a drip edge along the long edge.
I've got the rubber sheet draped over it now, I'm not sure if I'll glue it today or wait until tomorrow.
I could probably get it glued, but it would be good to get all the edges done too in one day.

I've realised what it reminds me of at last, a railway goods wagon!
Maybe I could paint it up to look like that.
I've started planning the doors and glazing for the open end, other windows will be added later as needed.

The garage has had a bit of a sort out and a load of wooden off-cuts taken to the council tip. My sheet material store has got a lot more in it now!
I'm starting to feel the need for working on bows again!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Starting on the Roof

 I've got onto the fun bit and it's going quite smoothly, I've put insulation between the inner and outer skin so that it doesn't get too hot with the summer sun on the black rubber roof.

Pic show nice torx head screw from Toolstation, they come with a drive bit in each box. They don't cam out like pozidrive heads and they drive back out easily too if necessary, pretty quick and effective.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Bit of a Cock Up on the Summer House

I was trying to use 6mm ply to skin the internal curve of the roof, but it was just too stiff, and even cut into narrower pieces I was struggling. It even started cracking as I forced it up into the curve using a prop. I was rather surprised, but one has to be pragmatic... no good saying "It should take that sort of curve easily". I'm sure it will be fine on the top of the roof as I'll be able to screw down one edge and then use my body weight on a board to hold it down and work along the curve.
Anyhow, I took down the two bits I'd screwed up (that shows the benefit of screws over nails). I went down to Wickes and looked at their 4mm ply, it still seemed stiff as hell, so I went for hardboard instead, vastly easier to work with on the awkward overhead curve.
It's a pig to transport 8'x4' sheets of hardboard, but my top tip is to tie a couple of ladders to you roof rack and strap the hardboard onto them, stops 'em flapping in the wind.
I've got the hardboard held up with flange head screw, all in neat rows, I think it gives it a hint of 50's sci fi space ship chic. Prob won't be allowed to paint it silver and add big control levers and flashing lights :-(
It's been rather showery of late which has had me working off and on, so I've got some plastic sheet over it.
It was funny the other day, the rain had accumulated on top of the plastic, Jackie pushed it up from inside while I held the plastic taut to make sure it didn't pull back into the summer house, I got soaked as it came down in a torrent in unpredictable direction, I had a good laugh as I was ready to quit and get changed anyway.
I'll soon have it basically finished, I'll probably make temporary doors and cover the end with thick polythene to keep the rain out. That will give me time to make decent doors.

I'm enjoying the break from bows but I'll be glad to get back them soon. Bit of a shame I've had a few people enquiring after bows, two for 'boo backed Yew and a couple of warbows. Problem is I don't have any decent warbow staves or clean Yew heartwood for backing. I need to review my stash to see if there's anything that might do.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Gusset Plate Sir?

I'm making some progress on the Summer house. It's all a bit ad hoc, I have been nailing the curved beams up temporarily to allow me to get measurement for the door etc. I've added some gusset plates at the corners to give it all more rigidity. Ideally I'd like the curved roof to jut out a bit, but that would then foul on the top edges of the doors as they swing open.
There was a good bit of rain last night and I was glad I'd put polythene over the floor, I swept the water out before getting to work this morning in between the showers. I have to keep packing away the extension lead and power tools every time I stop for a cuppa in case it rains.

The pic gives a good idea of how it will look when finished, it has a hint of the old fashioned Gypsy Caravan about it.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Summer House an' the Livin' is Easy

The floor is down, with some extra support underneath and some strapping to tie it down. I found some stainless steel perforated banding, so I bent two long U pieces and concreted them into a suitable hole a couple of feet deep. The strapping is secured to one of the joists with 4 stainless steel screws.
 I've put some polythene sheet over the floor with it hanging over the edges to help keep any rain from soaking into the cut faces. Two stud work walls are up with temporary supports made from off-cuts on the bigger wall. I've sawn the notched pieces to form the inner face of the curved beams and got one glued and screwed, the glue will cure over night. I'll have to be careful to make the second one a mirror image rather than identical.
The screw held the two pieces together nicely so that I could then handle it to get the clamps on... can never have enough clamps. It would have been a nightmare without the screws.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Trip South For a Couple of Days

My wife and I went down South to visit my brother and Sister and to also visit the Mary Rose museum. I'd seen the artefacts and handled the bows but not seen the ship.
There was a bit of a queue to get in, but we got chatting to a local woman in the queue, she told us how there had been filming going on round there for a film about Dunkirk and how she'd seen a Spitfire  and Messershmidt having a dogfight over the Solent!
The museum was excellent, but the lighting was a bit dim for photography. The over-riding impression of the bows was how slim they were at the tips, mind it was hard to judge the actual size because there was no measure along side them, and those that were vertically displayed didn't have the lower end at floor level. The ship itself was a little bigger than I expected and it gave a good feel for it's size. Most impressive was the leather and woodwork which was still in very good condition and the small personally items that had survived.
Top pic illustrates nicely how a medieval master bowyer deals with a bulge on the back of a bow.

That evening we'd planned to meet some old school chums of mine but unfortunately they'd been delayed in France visiting their family and grand children. I couldn't resist going to the pub where we had planned to meet as it was...
The Hampshire Bowman !
It was a good country pub with a few bows up in the beams, I took one down to look and it was just a simple board bow mass produced in about the 50s as a "bow and arrow set" to go with the croquet set to "play" on the lawn. I was about to dismiss the other bows when I noticed one which looked odd.
I took it down (yes, I was getting some odd looks from the patrons!), what I'd taken to be a huge set, turned out to be reflex... then I wiped the dust off it to reveal an orange/red finish, paint? plastic? tape? lacquer? The ridges across the back felt like maybe it was bamboo. Then the penny started to drop, I balanced the bow on my finger and sure enough, the grip was way off centre. It had to be some sort of Japanese Yumi bow, but it was only about as tall as me (5'10"). Maybe a ladies or child's bow?
I held the tips and flexed it against my belly pulling out most of the reflex, It felt fairly stiff as if it would have a decent draw weight if strung.
Very interesting indeed. How did it get there? The barmaid knew nothing about it and no one else offered any opinion. It dawned on me that it could have easily been brought back by a naval officer who'd been out to the far East.
 It was too dim up in the roof beams to get a decent picture and I didn't want to take the bow down again. A couple of people in the pub chatted to me a bit about bows, and I felt I'd already embarrassed my wife sufficiently!
If I visit again I'll take one of my old patched Yew longbows and see if they fancy a swap. I'd like to see if that little Yumi is shootable, or at least get some decent pics of it.
Our southerly sojourn was rounded off by picking up a length of yew from a friend who I'd give a bow some years back, it's a bit scruffy but may have a small primitive in it.
The trip was tinged with some sadness as the old family home had finally been sold, we stopped off there to leave a card wishing the new owners happiness in their new home and enclosing my old key.
There were workmen there already refurbishing the place which I found very cheering as it seemed the house was getting some rather overdue attention ready to look after a new family. maybe a bit sentimental, but better than than feeling sad and down about it.
BTW. The last pic is for you to play "Guess the name of the ship" ;-)

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Base Frame Done

I've got the frame done and inspected by Emily Cat :-).
I got the timber quantity just right, with enough scrap to make those noggins to add a bit of rigidity.
The floor will be 18mm OSB which should be give it even more rigidity.
Our garden shed is a similar size and uses much smaller timbers, mind if you sneezed whilst in there, it may well collapse. There's always a tension between going cheapskate or conversely over-engineering it. Hopefully I've got it about right.
The roof timber seems possibly rather flimsy, being 6mm ply over 2x1 " battens, but there will be a lot of battens and the roof will be skinned on top and underneath. The curve should add enough rigidity to take my weight whilst putting on the EPDM.
Dunno if I should actually anchor it to the ground. Will the curved roof act like an aerofoil and might I find myself coming in to land at Stansted Airport.
click... "This is Stansted air traffic control, to unidentified summer house, you are cleared to land on runway one... over ".
It is in a fairly sheltered corner, but we are near the top of a very slight rise which seems to catch the wind.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Summer House Timber Delivery

My roofing material arrived yesterday and I've got the ground cleared and 4 concrete pads/pillars done and level.
Whilst waiting for the main timber delivery I made a board carrier for lifting the 8x4 boards. It's made from a scrap of 18mm ply and a steel plate that was in my junk box, brilliant, works a treat! An added advantage of this work is I've had a bit of a tidy and sort out of my staves.
Hopefully I'll get the base framework down tomorrow and then have the weekend off for family stuff.

Here's a sketch of the summer house. The right edge of the roof may get raised, it's really a matter of seeing how the shapes will come out of the timber and what is practical in terms of door heights etc. I'm only making the overall height about 6' so it will be a snug little place to sit out on a summers day with a glass of something chilled and a book. I might make the roof line more like the one in red to improve head room

Monday, 3 October 2016


That stands for Wrong As Quick As Possible.
It's a slightly tongue in cheek riposte to the quality management mantra of Right First Time. Which is, as anyone who has ever actually made anything a load of tosh, dependent solely on defining "first time" as after you have solved all the problems.
I like to be able to see something actually in my hands to feel how it works.

Anyhow, I'm having a bit of an interlude to build a Summer house, but I'm also sorting through some staves and messing with a shortish length of Yew for someone who wants a Primitive.
I just can't quite make my mind up about this stave, so I figure, just dive in a go with it, as it progresses I'll find out how it wants to go, if indeed it wants to be a bow at all... maybe it's height of ambition is to fuel my Big Sis' woodburner! The main queries are a longitudinal crack at one tip which will probably close up and glue with no prob' and a little of the blue discolouration in the sapwood which feels marginally crisper than the usual creamy smooth cheesy feel.

The same philosophy of dive in is being applied to the Summer house, but the more I do the more I realise it's trick trying to juggle dimensions to maximise wood usage whilst flipping between metric and imperial. I phoned in a big wood order and when I said "47 times 50 pressure treated", he said, oh, yeah, 2 by 2 (insert your own Noah jokes here). Working out the roofing material was tricky too. I'm building a curved roof that is high along one edge and curves down almost to ground level along the other. it will be made from 2 sheets of 8'x4' ply which is the same size it's always been but is now sold as 2440 x 1220mm (groan).
We looked at summer houses and they were all a bit big, a bit small and rather boring. As a touch-stone for cost, there was a reasonable quality one at about £900.
I reckon I'll build something much funkier and better quality for about £500.
I went for the rubber roof (EPDM) as it will last indefinitely although it it rather pricey. I've ordered it as a "shed roof kit" which includes the adhesive, I've used the stuff before as our house has two big flat roofed extensions that were in need of repair when we moved in. If I look out on the flat roof in summer I can see stretch marks where the roof has moved over the seasons and the rubber is accommodating the movement. Roofing felt would have split by now.... trust me, if you need to do a flat roof use EPDM.
It dawned on me, that even if we bought one I'd still have to prepare the ground. It's going beneath the Eucalyptus where nothing grows.
Here are some pics of initial clearing of the barren raised bed. I have a furry assistant who loves jumping into holes.