Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Not Much Happening

I've got 5 flight arrows finished for Il Bastardo and I've been tinkering with the crossbow sight, but mostly I've been working in the garden and having a bit of a break from bowmaking.
There is family stuff happening too so if it goes a bit quiet on here for a while don't panic.
I'll pick up another stave when I get the urge!
Here's a couple of pics:-

Monday, 11 June 2018

Long Rambling Post

I've been busy doing loads of random stuff mostly around flight shooting and the crossbow.
I made up some 30" flight arrows for "Il Bastardo" the short Yew ELB flight bow, to check our observation that, last week, at a 30" draw it out shot the 120# Warbow.

I made the arrows similar to the 32" ones we'd used in the first test. I kept 'em almost as fat in the centre (9mm) but added a footing from some tough dark reddish hardwood I had lying around from some defunct garden furniture about 25 years ago (I knew it would come in handy one day!) Researching on the web, it looks like Cumaru, a wood I'd not heard of before, but it sounds eminently suitable).
The heavy tough footing meant I could make the front end much slimmer ~6mm with a much smaller brass tip. I left the back end tapered more sharply to make it stiffer. Overall they were almost as stiff as the 32" but only 3/4 of the weight! I also used a shorter fletching but increased their height about 1mm.

The results were very good, the 120# shot 3 arrows all pretty much in line at the same distance +/- a yard or so. Il Bastardo shot 2 arrows one being 25 yards further on and the best being 30 yards.
Actual distance was only 300 yards, but one has to allow for prevailing conditions, which is why the comparison was so useful. There was probably another inch of draw available and with the elusive clean loose there is probably more distance to be had.

My trusty test pilot JT was vastly more confident with Il Bastardo at the longer draw and it's stopped biting his bicep (that's where it got the name).
One of the 32" arrows broke at the point and I took a pic to show how they break. I'm currently making the points much smaller with a shorter smaller diameter tang. Pic top right shows the broken point, the spliced footing being glued and a triple start acme screw threaded rod and nut.

While we were over at Now Strike Archers I also shot my little Yew stick bow it's probably only about 35# but it was fun to shoot at a pile of earth and wood chips so that I could find the point on range. It turned out to be about 25 yards. I also tried it with a flight arrow and it got past the 180 yard target that the lads were shooting at!

I couldn't resist buying the screw and nut as it will get used to make a rise and fall adjustment for the crossbow scope mounting. One rotation of the nut gives 8mm of travel, it only cost £2 plus £3 delivery, I don't know how they can do it at that price. Anyhow it will give me something to play with.

Talking of the crossbow, I added a cheek piece to get my eye lined up with the scope, it's rather tall, but when you allow for the cover over the trigger mechanism and the scope mount, that's how it is.
I sawed it out with a curved lower edge where it is let into the top of the stock. I marked out the stock to suit, but sawed it on a slight angle so that the cheek piece leans over, I couldn't resist sculpting it a bit even though the rest of the stock is a bit plank like.

I had a bit of a go at 20 yards and found the effort of cocking the bow left me a little unsteady of aim. It's apparent that for any serious sighting up I need to be sitting so that I can rest my elbows on my knees and get a good solid reproducible shot. It's also obvious that for longer ranges I'll need to be able to elevate back of the scope', hence the need for the adjustable mount.

Back to the arrows and horn inserts for the nock of Warbow and flight arrows...
There has been some discussion about water-buffalo horn vs cow horn etc. I think there is some confusion as to the nature of water-buffalo horn, it is hollow where it is of a larger diameter, it does have a grain/growth rings and will split with craft knife when it's given a tap with a hammer, same as cow horn.
The tips of water-buffalo horn, as sold for horn nocks are solid and the grain is less apparent so any splitting may not be on the desired line.
Cow horn and water-buffalo (both Bovids) are equally suitable. Some may argue about authenticity, but maybe they should investigate the distribution of water-buffalo, oxen and cattle in the middle ages?

I've tried the crossbow at 20 yards again seated, much more consistent having to aim 3 divisions high on the graticule. I noticed that after 2 shots the string was riding over the left string catcher again, added a few twists and it settled down. Oddly I found that shooting off hand (standing) I had to aim 4 divisions high.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Crossbow Telescopic Sight

I've finally got round to mounting the tele' sight. It's not the most solid mounting as the rail is screwed to the wooden piece which fits over the latch, and that is only held onto the stock with a couple of wood screws that are about 1.75" apart.
It took a lot of trial and error to get it sighted up, by shimming the mount and adjusting the wooden piece that it's screwed to. Some people make the mistake of just mounting a sight and then try to adjust the cross hairs. That may work on a commercial rifle or crossbow, but on something hand made you have to get the coarse alignment right first.
I've got it sighted at 10 yards then checked how it shot at 18yards (the furthest I can get safely and conveniently) then at 5 yards.
The graticule has plenty of divisions on it and I found that at 5 yards I had to aim low by 1 division and at 18 yards I had to aim high by 3.
I'll have to see how it copes with longer ranges, but I may find it runs out of room at about 30 yards, in which case I may make an adjustable mount for the rail.

My cheek sits well above the stock when using the sight, so I'll need to add a suitable cheek piece. Bear in mind this is a tryout/development stock.

Monday, 4 June 2018

New Bows

Had a good day on Sunday at Boyton Cross farm with the Now Strike Archers (I've finally paid my subs too!). Glorious sunshine.
I took the spliced Yew 60# along for Martin, who loved it as he could now get past the 180 yard mark. Inspecting the bow and showing him round the features I pointed out a couple dark streaks about 1/4" apart running along the side of the bow. I'd hoped they would come out with scraping during the final finishing. The marks are where there is a wafer thin sliver of wood that isn't fully solid with the rest of the wood, (probably a radial crack in the wood) it's not lifting at the ends, just weak along the lines. It was showing a very slight buckle in the middle. I said to keep an eye on it and if it starts to lift I'll rasp (or chisel) out a narrow scoop a few mm deep and patch it. I expect it will be fine but always good to keep an eye on things.
The sketch shows what I mean.
JT was shooting the Italian Yew warbow that he's been making under my watchful eye over the last few months. It was a challenging stave, not very long and with a big knot half way up the top limb (which makes that limb a whisker stiff). It shot very nicely, comparable with some of his heavier bows. We can't remember exactly what the draw weight was, but about 100# at 30". It flexes a good bit in the handle as it wasn't a very thick stave to start with and I was sceptical that it would reach the 100# mark.

To give myself something to shoot I took a tiny Yew bow I made ages ago, it started as a Yew sapwood bow and then I glued a thin slat of heartwood up the belly. It's only 46.5" long but draws to 28" and it shot my flight arrows about 165 yards.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Shooting Machine Detail

I've had a request for some detail pics of the shooting machine.
It's theoretically simple, but because the bow is held at an angle (about 45 degrees) there are lots of weird angles.
Something that I screwed up with the mk1 is that I forgot to place the trigger mechanism up above the bow mounting (as in, the arrow passed over your hand... not through it!).
It also needs to have the main spine of the device set away from the bow and release mechanism to avoid the string slapping it (like it can on your arm). This is also why the track stops about a foot from the bow mount.
To stop the release mechanism sliding back when you are trying to cock the bow there is a magnet to hold it.
I made a wingnut spanner from a scrap of ply so that the A frame ( which fold up of course) can be tightened up solidly (bottom pic)
Care is taken to arrange the pulley so that it pulls dead in line with the release mechanism. Also the stirrup is placed so that pulling on the rope tends to force the front of the device down onto the ground rather than lifting it up.
I found it did flex a bit in use, so I added several blocks of plywood, glued in to stop flex and twist, these were just done on an ad hoc basis with a bit of quirky artistic interpretation to give it a steam punk / art deco look!
The main spine is a bit of 5 x 3/4 from an old bed frame.
The track is a slab of 3/4 ply for stability which is screwed on the the spine. The other bits are odds and ends of ply glued and screwed on to line up appropriately.
Enough chat, here are the pics.

Getting Close with the Spliced Yew

I took some video this morning, as I've put in a good amount of work getting the horn nocks fitted and the outer limbs blended in.
The draw length is coming back an inch at a time as I do more work.
Here's the video :- https://youtu.be/Vv2t3iYjL5g
Since then I've eased off the outers, blende the inner limbs into the thicker spliced grip and gone over it with a scraper, the draw length is now back to 25" at 60#.
The grip area has slightly thicker sapwood and a slight swell in the belly which gives a comfortable feel in the hand and maximises glue area. However, I'm keen to avoid a Victorian look with whip tillered or heavily elliptical tiller. I want the Warbow look, albeit a tad thinner as it's 60#

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Starting a Spliced Yew Bow

I've been busy around the house and garden, but itching to get back to a bow... so, when yesterday Martin, one of the guys from Now Strike Archery got in touch after a 60# Yew bow, I was keen to get started!
Well I just happened to have this spliced stave that I'd made up ages ago and hadn't used as it was too good and big for a run of the mill 40# and too small for a full blown warbow.
60# is right in the Goldilocks zone, so I filed in some nocks and gave it a quick look on the tiller. I made a video here.
Here's a couple of pics showing how nicely the sapwood heartwood boundary matches up at the grip.

Having a good day... took some rubble and garden rubbish to the council tip. I got another coat of paint on the garage door early on before it started raining and thundering.
Done some on the bow and turned down the footing on two flight arrows that I'd glued up yesterday.
Emily Cat was missing all morning but eventually turned up soaking wet... proper towel job. Just gone out again even though it's still pouring! She's bonkers... Ah, just come back in... maybe not so daft.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Yew ELB Flight Bow Comparison

I've been doing gardening and tarting up the front of the house lately,so not much activity on my blog.
Today I went out and observed my mate JT testing the short Yew flight longbow (62.25" nock to nock) against his usual 120# Yew warbow which he uses for flight at the end of roves.
The 120 was shooting 32" arrows (actually 32.5" to the very tip) and the shorter yew ELB nicknamed " the bastard bow" 'cos it's bruised his bicep a couple of times was shooting lighter 28" arrows.
Well there was little to choose between 'em and in fact the warbow shot slightly further, mind it was a slight headwind and maybe the angle of launch was a tad high.
The conclusion was that the shorter flight bow wasn't really any better and so we might as well try drawing it a tad further and shooting one of the longer arrows to give a like for like comparison. This time it seemed to be a good 10 yards further.
Now a one arrow test isn't really fair, but it proved that there is more draw and poundage in the shorter bow, and that JT found it much easier to control at a longer draw (about 31" ? ).
Anyhow, I shall ponder long and hard about maybe heat treating the bow, and checking the tiller at 30-31". I shall also make up some 31" flight arrows using the one I shot as a reference.
I won't rush into anything...

Out of interest 31" draw from a 62" (1:2) bow is pretty much the maximum safe ratio* for a well made bow especially an ELB which works pretty hard.
* Obviously this can be exceeded but twice the draw length is a reasonable guide for bow length for an experienced bowyer.
Newbies should be looking at more like 2.5 times the draw length e.g 70" for a 28" draw.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Crossbow Chrono'

I'm back from a weeks holiday on the Dalmation coast of Croatia, gorgeous scenery, lovely warm sea to swim in. A little too much sitting on a coach at a border crossing, but it was all organised so generally very relaxing.

I deliberately hadn't chrono'd the crossbow prior to going as I didn't want any disappointment hanging over me! I finally got round to trying it yesterday evening, it had already had about a dozen shots through it and has had time to settle.
Using a commercial alloy bolt (303gn)
First shot 196.3 fps . I'd been expecting 200 +/- 10 so that seemed about right.
The brace height was a bit higher than I'd used before so I took about 10 twists out of the string and tried again... It was slower, so I then added 5 twists and repeated, and then the same again.
It doesn't take too many twists on a short bow to bring the brace height quite a bit.
Here are the results starting from the slowest where I'd taken off 10 twists.
186.7 (+5 twists)
190.7 (+5 twists)
195.0 (+5 twists)
192.0 (no change to string)
196.8 (no change to string)
193.4 (no change to string)

I didn't want to twist the string up too much and risk over stressing the bow as it seem to be working within it's comfort zone. But I couldn't resist trying a lighter bolt (198gn)
229.7 fps which is ok. If I take it field shooting I'll use the 303 gn bolts.

 I couldn't resist going on E-bay and ordering a 'scope. I only went for a cheapish one as this is all just a bit of fun. I meant to order one suitable for an air rifle as they for some reason seem to shake scopes worse than fire arms!
In the search for a suitable scope with a decent size lens to let the light in, not too much magnification (x2 is prob enough) and the right mounts, I forgot to check it was suitable for air rifles... I also forgot to check where it was being shipped from.... yup, you guessed China!
 Still I'll find plenty to do around the house and garden while I wait on delivery, and the scope was pretty cheap as it had an 8% discount on it so only £26.03 !
* Reticle Type: Mil-Dot 
* Illuminated Type: Red and Green with 5 level brightness adjustment 
* Magnification: 2-6 x 32mm
* Material: Aircraft-Grade Aluminum Alloy 
* Field Of View(@100yds/@100mm): 15.71-41.96
* Eye Relief(mm): 75.0-95.0 
* Exit Pupil(mm): 4.6-14.0
* Length: 210mm 
* Battery: CR 2032 x 1 (Not Included)
I'll include a link to it just in case anyone is curious, but of course it will expire at some point.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Tidying Up

I spent the morning sorting through the Yew which I got back in January 2017 . I got it all down and trimmed it on the bandsaw, created a whole lot of scrap and ended up with a few decent staves and some marginal ones and possible billets. I put 'em back up on the shelves, most of 'em are spoken for already and one that is otherwise lovely one has a huge sideways bend.
I've been repairing and making some more flight arrows with a bit of weight and stiffness variation. The differences are relatively small, but maybe a little extra weight stiffness and a more forward balance point will fly better in a  head wind... anyhow time will tell.
Pic shows my 28" flight arrows with a regular filed shooting arrow for comparison. (The one at the bottom is being fletched)
It's good to try and re-use ones with broken tips as they are a bit of a fiddle to make.

I haven't had the bottle to test the crossbow through the chrono yet.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Warbow & Crossbow

I've been working once a week mentoring my mate JT while he produces a warbow from a stave of Austrian Yew. He has 2 staves so, as is my wont we worked the worst one first, it had some sideways bend, one big knot and was a tad thin at the grip.
It's progressed nicely and is managing to pull 100# at about 24" . It needs the outers to come round now, but that will happen automatically to some extent when the nocks are fitted and blended in. Video here:-
Mean while the crossbow prod is ready for test... I'll update this post later.... fingers crossed.

The pic shows the string catchers / string bridges, they serve several purposes.
1. The stop the string riding over the top of the prod at the end of the power stroke. This can easily happen with a low brace height, string vibration and stretch.
2. They are made of horn mounted on sheet rubber which will hopefully kill some of the vibration and shock as the string hits home.
3. It improves the force draw curve, increasing early poundage as the bow is effectively shorter until the string lifts off the bridge. Another way of looking at this is that it is effectively allowing a longer string at the brace height. A longer string will pull back further (e.g. In the extreme limit a 30" string pulled back to double up on itself would be 15" long, but a 32" string would come back 16" ).
The Eagle eyed amongst you will notice the aluminium mounting plate has no hole for the bolt to travel through! That's just a blanking plate to allow it to be assembled and tested on the tiller. The actual plate that will be used is mounted on the stock and is an inconvenient angled shape so it can't be used for tiller testing.

The ends of the prod have been bound with carbon fibre/epoxy to prevent the string splitting down the end of the bow. The nocks have been double served, so hopefully it should be ok this time.

Whew, First test shot was good, the draw seemed pretty smooth and the shot didn't seem to clatter or rattle.
I put a load of wax on the track to show how far the string overshoots the brace position when actually shot.
Update:- I took some slo-mo video later to see how the string catchers work. It looks like they do a good job!

... Just saw this little fellow in the garden... not a great pic as it was high up on the bush.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Another Try at the Crossbow Prod

A while back I bought some nice Maple off Ebay and cut it on the bandsaw to form the core of the prod. Some heat bending got it roughly shaped for glue up on the former. This lay around in the workshop for a while then eventually I cut some Ipe belly laminations and put a bit of shape into them (each limb being a separate lamination). The bamboo was planed up in the usual manner.
Once I'd started the glue up I realised my clamps weren't quite big enough... bugger! Too late to trim down the plywood former to allow the clamps to fit (although I s'pose I could as the pot life of the glue is a couple of hours). Anyhow I pressed on with plenty of rubber strapping. The prod came off the form pretty well, a couple of tiny gaps in the glue line, but they are near the centre where there will be a block glued for the mounting arrangement.
Oh, dear it was too stiff! |When tried on the tiller the draw weight rocketed up towards 150# while the draw was still a bit short. I felt that if I drew further the weight would be too high and it would start to take a set (I was checking that by, putting it back on the former, and I could feel there was a slight change already)
What can I do? I'd narrowed the bow a tad already, I can't take wood off the back without weakening the fibres of the bamboo, and I don't want to take any off the rather thin Ipe belly strip...!

Hmm... I know I'll take it out of middle! What? Eh?
I ran it through the bandsaw cutting along through the centre of the Maple core removing a saw blade's width! This effectively gave me two thin prods, I lightly sanded the two sawn faces and glued them back together now minus the thickness of the saw cut!.
At first sight, this sounds bonkers, but it's actually quite clever. If the saw wanders a bit it doesn't matter because the two halves will still match virtually perfectly! Now the prod is glued back together it is now about 1.5mm thinner, not only that but losing an even amount along the limbs weakens the tips more than the centre which should improve the tiller as it was mostly bending in the middle (1mm removed from a 10mm section is a smaller proportion than 1mm removed from a 5mm section at the tip).

This was all carefully calculated beforehand by sticking a wet finger in the air and going for a fine narrow bandsaw blade. The proof of the pudding is trying it on the tiller and yes, it feels more supple and the weight is down to just over 100# rather than approaching 150# . These figures are at a sort of guess work draw length with a string that will just fit on without flexing the prod.

It looks good enough to proceed with further work.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Whew What a Scorcher!

Blimey a week ago it was vest,shirt, cardigan, and woolly hat to venture outside. Now it's shorts and now't else.
A couple of hot days and the garden has burst into life so I've been pottering about, putting a new top on the patio table made from cheap decking, putting up a new parasol, dredging the pond and cleaning out the pump to get the waterfall going again.
Chap came over to collect the yew bow yesterday which meant I could go up to Cloth of Gold today and shoot round with my mate Mick the Blacksmith. We were joined by Brian which was just as well because I was smashing arrows at a prodigious rate (it is a bit stony) and he lent me 3 of his old ones.
It was great to shoot in a very relaxed informal manner, often just shooting from the red peg, which gave me practice at the longer shots that I rarely get to take. We didn't bother to score either.
On one very long shot, the Tiger, I used some arrows that had lost their points, that gave me a faster arrow and a flatter trajectory, of course the arrow bounced off the Tigers arse! Quite a noticeable difference going from about 400gn to 300gn whereas going from a 100gn point to a 70gn point makes virtually no difference. The arrows did flirt a little in the air, I shall have to see where the balance point is and see if I can learn anything from that for my flight arrows, mind, they have much smaller fletchings....
I'd been looking forward to trying the moving target, a bear on a zip wire. Mick and Brian kindly let me stay on the peg while they took turns working the rope to draw the bear back and then release it while the other shot. It took me about 9 shots but I eventually hit it. It's very interesting and almost impossible to analyse exactly what one does, it is very liberating not being able to hold and aim as such and IMO encourages an instinctive approach. I tended to draw swing and loose in a fairly smooth movement rather than waiting at full draw. What I found most interesting was that despite shooting poorly prior to the flying bear, the next target I hit nicely first arrow from both A and B pegs (the course is 18 targets with two sets of pegs, A & B for each). I feel I'd become more relaxed and in tune with the bow.

We finished off in the pub with a welcomed pint, ham sandwich and bowl of chips.

On the bow making front I've been running some Ipe through the bandsaw to make tapered laminations for the crossbow prod project and maybe a belly for a laminate flight ELB.

Cheerio! Too hot to do much more!

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Yew ELB Close to Finished

I've done some more heat correction on the bow to make it overall straight. Although it still has the slight kink it looks much more symmetrical. The horn nocks are done too but not polished up.

I went to a med' soc' 3D shoot in Kent on Sunday, great fun but rather tiring. I shot round with some friends ( in a group of 4) and had a good natter with some of the other folk at lunch time whilst enjoying an excellent Chicken casserole. My shoulder was giving me some gyp, so I dropped down from Twister to my little Hazel bow after lunch. My shooting was the usual inconsistent mix of abysmal and brilliant.
Shot of the day for me was 20yards at a boar which was behind tow trees. From the red peg only about a 1 foot section of it was showing, centred on the kill. No one else had hit it first arrow. I stood and stared at the centre of the kill... and stared some more... then drew and loosed. Plum centre of the inner kill 24 !
The drive back was a bit of crawl with the Sunday traffic and Brands Hatch traffic, but a shower, roast dinner and a glass of beer soon restored my equilibrium.

I also picked up some handy exercise tips and a recommendation of a Thera-Bar flex bar which is apparently V good for curing tennis elbow. I've ordered one from the interweb and I'll report back on how I get on with it.

Thursday, 5 April 2018


I haven't actually made a bow for a while, been busy refurbing arrows for a 3D shoot on Sunday, tinkering with the lathe, making flight arrows etc.
I've a few bows on the book and thought I'd better get on with one of 'em. These days I find most of my staves are nice quality ones that people have sourced for themselves and have brought along to be made into bows. This arrangement suits me fine as long as I don't get a lorry turn up with a load of staves that someone expects me to turn into bows! I very much pick and choose what I do, mainly because I have my own projects to get on with too.

Anyhow, I was feeling a bit cocky and picked up the Yew stave (Pacific Yew?) and ran it through the bandsaw in short order. I cut it pretty close to my guestimated final size and at one point thought I'd maybe taken off too much. It's fine and has been quick and easy to get back to near final weight. Of course nothing is too easy when you have a rather perfectionist streak. The bow has a couple of deflex dips, the worst being in the lower limb gave it the appearance of an ugly hinge, so I got it jigged up, applied some heat and pulled some of it out. It's virtually impossible to actually completely straighten a dip if it is more like a kink or is concentrated over just an inch or two, but it can be smoothed out to give the limb an overall straight line with the odd undulation. In other words the tips and grip are pretty much in line, which is almost what I achieve. Mind, I may correct it a tad more and induce the merest hint of back set/reflex. We'll see.
I s'pose I should say what I'm aiming for 50-55# at 28" . The draw length will only be 26" but it's wise to take it back to 282 as this will be used for roving where it's easy to stretch for a little extra.
The guy I'm making it for is about my height or a whisker less (5'10") so I'm making it about 70" nock to nock, although it may loose an inch when I put the horn nocks on.
It's a nice clean stave which only had one knot which was on one edge and disappeared as I roughed out the bow. The few dips and undulations still give it some character.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Flight Shooting PBs

Had another go on Sunday, managed 341yards with the Osage bow shooting off the fingers this time (so it's a genuine PB).
The Yew ELB flight bow was still too much for me and even JT my trusty test pilot struggled, slapping his bicep painfully with the string on one shot.
The Yew bow just isn't controllable with confidence so I've reviewed the tiller and draw weight with a view to improving the tiller and bringing down a whisker from 95-100# to 90-95# I don't put an exact weight because I'm not going to hold it at full draw long enough to read the scale accurately, an by sod's law the scale was out of picture at full draw in the video! (See link below for video)

JT was a bit put off* having whacked his bicep, but he stepped up and had a go with the Osage (80#) which he controlled and shot with confidence bagging himself a new PB of 324yards. I'm guessing he shot a tad shorter than me due to his not being used to a 28" draw and anchoring at that length. The shots looked good enough and I was half expecting that he'd out shot me.
I'm sure once the Yew is tweaked he'll master it, can't guarantee it will shoot as far as the Osage though!
Interesting to compare the tip width of the two bows

and to look at the marks on the arrow shelf /arrow pass of the Osage which show where the arrow was rubbing, maybe I'll tweak that a bit to make it easier on the arrow.

* I think that's a bit of British understatement. I think that it hurt like hell, but as he's not a cheating Australian cricketer, he refrained from calling a press conference and bursting into tears. ;-)

Monday, 26 March 2018

New PB For Distance!

Had a good time shooting on Sunday, mostly flight testing 4 new flight arrows. I tried 'em from my Osage flight bow first but struggled to reach full draw and they were going about 280 yards. I took the one that went the furthest and tried it from the shooting machine (26 3/4" draw) ... I didn't see it go, we walked up the field to pick up some other arrows and I couldn't find it, then I spotted it about 40 yards further on, obviously well past 300, I got out the laser rangefinder and sighted back to JT's landrover, then subracted 10 yards as we'd paced that far out onto the field  345yards! That smashed my previous best which was from the same bow at a 24" draw.
My mate JT then tried 'em out of the Yew ELB flight bow, but struggled to get a controlled full draw due to the short draw length not giving a convenient anchor as he's used to shooting 32" draw.
Back at home I've confirmed the draw weight at 26 3/4" to be about 80# so I should be able to mange that with a bit of practice.
I don't want to wear out the bows so I'll refurb' last years quick try out Yew flight bow for training purposes, I'll have to repair one of the flight arrows as the tip fractured just behind the pile.
The solid Ipe arrow was seemed to fly shorter than the footed arrows, but they all came off the bow fairly cleanly. Ideally I'd have tried then all from the shooting machine but there was a lot of other shooting going on and the lure of a pint and a bowl of chips at the Rainbow and Dove was hard to resist.
It was my arrow number two that subjectively seemed to fly best and made the 345yard shot.

A request for more arrow info :-
Arrows 1 and 2 seemed to fly furthest, they are lightest and have similar FOC balance point, they all have similar spine.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Belt Sander Fixed

I've got it rebuilt with the fully sealed bearings and it runs sweetly. I've vastly improved the dust collection and made it so I can change belts without using any tools (bliss!). I just lift the wooden catch, slide out the dust box and I can change the belt.
The metal tray that was fitted beneath the belt was held on with 4 fiddly little M4 screws and the dust extractor spigot was pointing down wards from that, virtually inaccessible.
The new arrangement seems to catch the dust better, although some overshoots, as the shield doesn't protrude above the level of the belt (that's another modification I made, allowing long items to run over the sander without fouling).
It's much more convenient having the on/off switch accessible too. (The pics are taken from the other side to the on off switch).

Meanwhile a friend asked if I could have a try at fixing a flight bow of his which has taken on some twist/ sideways bend when braced. I'ts by a reputable well known American Bowyer who has told him how to do the fix as shipping it back and forth to the US is impractical.
It's a very deep, narrow ELB flight bow, Hickory back Osage belly with some other core wood.
The technique suggested is to force the string over while braced and heat the side/belly (on the outside of the bend, see pics). This has needed a couple of 20 minute heat sessions, taking care not to get it too hot. After the first session it was back in line but crept back some way over night.
The friend in question has given me some carbon fibre tow which I will use wrapped round the nocks of the next crossbow prod... that should stop the bugger splitting!

The second session I got it a little hotter and pulled it another inch over. It seemed ok the next morning, but I'll leave it a few days before declaring it good.

My only reservations about the method are the ability of the Resorcinol glue to withstand the heat (but the glue line is for the most part, deep withing the limb).
Secondly, is heating it whilst braced going to introduce set? The bow did have some set to start with.
Anyhow, it's a no-lose scenario as the bow would become fire wood if it isn't fixed

Monday, 19 March 2018

Belt Sander Refurb

My cheapo belt sander has been getting sluggish recently so I stripped it down to find out why.
The bearings had pretty much seized up and one was rattling about on the shaft, having worn it down (e.g The shaft was rotating loose in the inner race of the bearing).
Fortunately the outer portion of the shaft is smaller diameter (11mm) where the pulley fits. The bearing inner diameter is 12mm and the shaft had worn down to a whisker over 11mm.
So I was able to turn the whole shaft down to 11mm , I then turned a bush with an inner bore of 11mm, pushed that over the shaft (with some epoxy for good measure) and then turned it down to 12mm.
That repair went well so I've ordered new bearings, good quality sealed ones, the old ones were "shielded" which keeps out big bits of crud but aren't good for dust. Mind I've cleaned out the old ones and they are ok, but for a few quid, I'm happier not to have to repeat the strip down every few years.
While I'm waiting for the bearings I thought I'd make some other improvements, like moving the on/off switch to an accessible location, improving the dust extraction and making belt changing easier.

Last pic shows work in progress, you can see where I've moved the power switch. I'll blank off the hole with some sheet aluminium or a bit of 1/8" ply.