Sunday, January 30, 2011

Identifying tree species

As part of being a bowyer you obviously need to know how to identify the different species when collecting wood, here is a useful website i have found. This is only useful for ever greens and when there's leaves on the trees.

Oops i shot it too much

The target i made has taken a fair fue arrows after hours of shooting. I was expecting the foam to wear out but not the frame and in one firing session. Its fixable though so i will have it back up and a s good as new in no time.

Thanks for reading my babble.

Does anyone know how good a memory foam cushion would be to use as a target? I want to find materials that will last longer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A basic floor target

This is a simple floor target i threw together to add variety to my target shoots. Its made from a reusable shopping bag some rags and cardboard. The target is one i found on the net and was able to print for free.

I added cardboard to the front and the back to add some rigidity to the target. The centre is stuffed with old rags.

The target can easily stop arrows fired from my longbow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Abit of history.... The Welsh Archer (For those who dont know where Wales is its part of the UK)

 The Mediaeval Welsh Archer.

The history of costume is a specialised study. The writer is not equipped to answer your questions on specific aspects of Welsh costume over the ages but it has been observed that styles in Wales generally followed those of England - although poor communications ensured a delay in the adoption of new fashions. 

The accompanying Welsh archer is to be found in a 13th. century manuscript . He wears a simple tunic with a cloak in thin material over his shoulders and appears to have removed a shoe to aid his grip on the greensward. One must assume that his strange hairstyle and miniature bow illustrate the limitations of the artist! 

At the end of the 12th. century Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) had described Welsh soldiers thus: "They are lightly armed so that their agility might not be impeded; they are clad in haubergeons (short garments of chain mail), have a handful of arrows, long lances, helmets and shields, but rarely appear with iron greaves (leg armour) ... Those of the foot-soldiers who have not bare feet, wear shoes made of raw hide, sewn up in a barbarous fashion."

Giraldus goes on to say that "The people of Gwentland (south east Wales) are more accustomed to war, more famous for valour, and more expert in archery than those in any other part of Wales". He describes the Welsh bow as being made of wild elm "rude and uncouth, but strong" and tells how arrows shot in an attack on Abergavenny Castle had "penetrated an oaken gate which was four fingers thick : in memory of which deed the arrows are still preserved sticking in the gate, with their iron piles seen on the other side". 

You can tell i m a beginner.

Today after peppering the target many times and wondering why they were not going where i was aiming, i decided there was something wrong with the bow. I was firing my take down bow so i figured it was where the limbs joined to the riser. When attached and tightened i would be able to move the limbs  from side to side a little so when strung the string would sit off centre by about an 1/8 of an inch.

Back to the workshop with it to get rid of the looseness, then back out to fire some more shots. Still to my annoyance the arrows were going everywhere, so i gave up for the day.

My wife is out and i m trying to find something to keep me occupied, so as its a bright night i thought i d take the longbow out for a fue shots. The arrows fly fast, straight and where i want them, Something then dawns on me. I had read in a book that you need the right weight arrows (not just length) for the poundage of bow being used.

My longbow has a draw weight of 50pounds  where my take down has a draw weight of just 40pounds not a big difference you d think. My arrows have aluminum spines with 110 grain target points. My search for the right arrows for the take down begins.

Thanks for reading my babble.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

2nd set of limbs for my take down bow the work starts......

I m going to build another set of limbs for my take down bow using the back end of the ski's. These i am hoping will be more power full than the first set. I will go step by step through the process and explain it as simple as possible.

Firstly i want to measure and cut the tips to the shape and size i want them. I measure 3 inches down and draw a line, then i find the centre and draw from the top to the 3 inch line. The tip size i want is 3/8 inch, so i measure 3/16th's of an inch either side of the line i just drew. I join the ends of the 3/8th line to about an inch up as shown on the diagram. (I tried to explain it simply)

Next i cut down the diagonal lines to form the rough shape of my tips.

Next using the 60grain sand paper i want to rough out the side that i m going to back to enable the glue to stick effectively. Because these are skis there is a thick layer of paint. I also drill the holes to attach the limbs to the handle of my take down. 

                                                                       (before and after)
To back these limbs in order to strengthen the back. I am using the last of the drywall mesh. I back each limb with 3 strips of this mesh cut a little longer than the limbs. So far (touch wood) i haven't had a bow snap using this method.

Using carpenters glue i spread a generous layer and add a single strip of the mesh. lightly spread it down from the centre out to get rid of bubbles. Do this to both limbs, wait about 30minutes and add another generous layer of glue, then a 2nd strip to each. After another 30minutes, add the 3rd strip.  Leave this to dry completely over night.   

In the morning this is what it should look like....

Using a pair of good scissors trim away the edges and use a hand rasp/ file to tidy up the limb corners. Don't sand the top of the mesh because this will weaken the backing.

Now i want to roughly file in the string nocks. For this i measure an inch down from the limb tip and mark.

Using a rat tail file at roughly a 45degree angle i file in the nocks. Make sure there is no sharp edges where the string is going to sit. Do not file away to much, play it safe more can be filed away later.

Nocks cut Time to tiller, I will go into tillering more when i make the next bow. This is what i start with i pull the string down until it gets slightly tough and hook the string on the tillering tree. Step back and have a good look at the limbs, make sure they re even. Also look to see where you need to remove some of the belly (with surform rasp) to weakening the limbs to your desired draw length. While stressing the bow always listen and watch the limbs for failing.

To the draw length i want, 30inches.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My hand made quiver made from jeans.

I am building a Quiver , out of a pair of my wife's old jeans and a belt. To go with the bow that's going into it, i am adding odd coverings the same as the backing from the bow. I am sewing it by hand although i do wish i owned a sewing machine and also knew how to use one, I hate sewing.

The highest point on the quiver should be 4inches shorter than your arrows. Here i have used a wax crayon to mark the rough shape of the top. The top line is the cutting line, the other two are roughly where the rolled lining is going to be rolled into the top of the quiver to give it some rigidity.  

The material cut away from one of the legs of the jeans. I sew the bottom up as it is with the cotton.

The lining is made from jean material wrapped in duck tape.

I roll and sew the lining into the top of the quiver.

Lining sewn in. By this point i m hating sewing.

Here i have sewn on the belt using fishing line, this is the main carry strap so it needs to be strong. To carry my bow limbs whilst traveling, i have cut strips of the snake patterned material and made pouches for them (better pictures to come). I also sewed a strip onto the bottom for looks and strength (I wish i had and knew how to use a sewing machine).  

I now add a small pouch for limbs bolts, string and wax to just above the limb pockets.
Also i am fitting a hoop so i can attach the quiver to my belt when target shooting. To finish the opening i wrap it in the snake skin material almost finished so far i have snapped 7 needles and stabbed my fingers more times than i can count I HATE SEWING.

To carry the handle (riser) in the quiver i have made a pouch and sewn it so it hangs inside the quiver. T protect the bottom and prevent the arrows from piercing through the bottom, i stuffed it with some soft padding. 
That is the quiver finished and ready for action.

Tools and materials i used:
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 Black belt
  • Left over snake skin patterned leather from Take Down build
  • Black silk cotton  and needle
  • Fishing line
  • Scissors
  • All purpose glue stick

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Basic Target

This is the very basic target i made from a fue foam Matt's that were selling cheap at Walmart and some old pickets i found laying about in our garage.

A fue wooden pickets screwed together makes a sturdy frame.

The Target is made from two gym matt's with cardboard and foam sandwiched between.

This is the finished target i've added matt's to the sides to stop stray arrows. I am a beginner after all.
For a bit more of a challenge and to get me ready for hunting i;ve added a Turkey target onto it.

A couple of my best groupings so far shot from 10 yards.

Tools and Materials used:
  • 5 wooden pickets 
  • Screws 
  • 2 Hinges with bolts and wing nuts
  • 4 foam exercise matt's from walmart 
  • Elastic bands 2 large and 16 small
  • Thick cardboard
  • Turkey target
  • Drill

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Firing the recurve i just made.

Heres my new recurve, it fires 40pounds at a 30inch draw.

 My technique needs a little work but not a bad grouping. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recurve takedown bow made out of cross country skis.

I found a pair of skis at Value Village and thought I could put them to good use.
I want to make a 68" take down bow with these, so from the tip of both I measure 25.5" down and cut. These are the limbs ready bent and ready to be backed.

The riser is made of two 23" long pieces of maple glued together. On this I measure and draw the outline  then cut the shape out using a coping saw for curves and tricky shapes and a hand saw for straight edges.

The riser roughed out and ready for shaping with hand rasp.

The left side of the riser is shaped the right is still rough as you can see i m making a pistol grip of this one.

The riser complete with holes for limbs drilled.  To attach the limbs i use a bolt and wing nut, making me able to disassemble my bow.  

As you can see i've cut arrow rests into both sides of the riser making this bow ambidextrous.

The nearly finished bow, with my tilering string attached. I have sanded the riser with 60grain, 100grain then 220grain sand paper. Making sure all tool marks are removed as much as possible. The limbs are also sanded down on the sides and belly side(do not sand the backing). The left limb which is my top limb has been repaired after a snapping accident.

The bow apart. To minimise twisting at the joints i have added dowels to lock onto holes drilled into the limbs and also a slice of rubber this also serves as a shock absorber.

I went to value village again and found a snake skin skirt. After painting the bow black i measured and cut out the material. With contact cement i attached it to the front of the limbs and a strip to the front of the riser. I also added a patch to the top back of the limbs as string slap protection and to the arrow rests.

The finished bow the pictures don't show the snake skin pattern that well. After the glue was dry and he paint touched up. I spray the whole thing in clear final coat spray. Also i lightly waxed the leather so that it stays supple and does not split when i fire it. Pics and video of the shooting coming soon.                
Tools and Materials i used:
  • 1 pair of cross country skis
  • 3 Clamps 
  • Normal Saw and Coping Saw 
  • Pencil  
  • Surform Rasp
  • Hand Rasp with files
  • Rat Tail file
  • Drill and Drill bits
  • 2 Bolts with wing nuts
  • 60grain, 110grain and 220grain sand paper
  • Snakeskin patterned leather skirt
  • Carpenters glue and contact adhesive
  • Black Matt spray paint and acrylic clear protective coat spray
  • Tilering string
  • Mesh Drywall tape for the backing

A handy place to buy reasonably priced equipment.

Helpful hints and tips very welcome!!

If anybody has any helpful hints about ways I could improve my work, please send them across. I will have a go at putting together a detailed build along for the next bow i make. Also if anyone has any questions i will do my best to answer or find the answer.

Thanks for reading!!


Ponder this!!