Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hand Forged Bodkins

I have recently begun blacksmithing and finished my first bodkin arrowhead.  It's fairly crude but it will get the job done nonetheless!  It was forged from 1/2" diameter steel round stock in my coffee can forge.  I'd like to thank my friend Joe S. for use of his anvil, coal, and more. I'd also like to thank Matt P. for some tools, and great knowledge of smithing.  I plan on making more and hopefully better looking ones by the end of this week.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Warbow Pictures

Here are some pictures of my favorite English warbow archers of today!

Jaro: Czech Bowyer

Mark Stretton

Marlon Torrez:
Recently pulled a warbow of #225lbs made by Rudderbows!

Martin Harvey of the Company of Hollyrood

Nick Birmingham of the Company of Hollyrood

Forum name: Thimo



Simon Stanley: Very well known in the warbow community.

Steve Stratton of DIY Archery, Bowyer in the U.K.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Theory About Warbows of #180lbs!

In my time reading an old warbow forum I ran across an interesting theory.  The theory pertains to the warbows that are percieved to have a draw of close to #180 pounds.  The aforementioned warbows were square in the handle cross section, which would make them painful and undesireable to shoot by hand.  They also fit into "U" shaped brackets on the gunwhales of the Tudor flagship the Mary RoseThe brackets are spaced about seven feet apart, enought for a longbow.  The theory is that these extreme bows were used as mounted crossbows whereas the archer would place the bow in the bracket and use both hands to draw while using the rock of the ship to gain elevation. 

An interesting theory no doubt!  I've tried researching for pictures of these brackets but haven't come across any yet.  This theory is not outof preportions and it would be interesting to see more investigation.

Here is the link to the original forum post. Go near the bottom of the page and look for the name 'glennan' on the left.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Warbow Strings vs. Draw Weight

There is a school of thought within the English Warbow community that the warbows rarely, if ever, went over #100lbs in draw weight.  The argument is made using evidence from the artifacts recovered from the sunken Tudor ship the Mary Rose.  Since no bowstrings have in fact survived the centuries under water, scholars and enthusiast have looked to other aspects of the medieval archer's aresenal for support of this theory.  The evidence they use comes from arrow shafts recovered from the shipwreck.  Scholars and enthusiasts have looked at the nock (the portion of the arrow that is mounted upon the string) to determine that many so called "warbows" were probably less than #100lbs.  The nocks on the recovered arrows were only 1/8 of an inch wide, therefore, only able to accomodate a string 1/8" thick or less.  They theorize that it is unlikely a string of 1/8" thickness can support more #100lbs of draw weight.

Looking at the string of my warbow, I measured the thickness of my string at the nock point.  The thickness was exactly 1/8".  At the nock point there is and extra layer of cordage know as the serving, so I measured a portion of the string without the serving and it was less than 1/8".  The string material I use is called FastFlight and is a modern manmade material.  Warbow archers of medieval and Tudor times would have used natural linen or hemp fiber bowstrings.  I have a linen string for one of my #55lb bows.  Upon measuring that string, it too is less than 1/8" thick.  No doubt that a #55lb bow is going to require a less intense string than that of a #100lb+ warbow.  However, Myself and other warbow archers believe that warbow of draw weights greater than #100lbs could indeed have strings no more than 1/8" thick.  Here is a link to a forum thread on this very topic...

As the topic is still in debate, I believe that warbows of the medieval and Tudor times were often over #100lbs in draw weight.  Please add your thoughs and comments...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Warbow Article

I found this great reference today that takes a critical look at how warbow testing has been done acurately and inacurately.  Very thourough with lots of detail.  There are so many aspects that go into creating and accurate test, be it armor piercing, flight testing, or accuracy.  I found myself captivated by this for the better part of an hour today!

I love the shape of the lozenge bodkins, I call them "heavy war" bodkins, they just have this look to them that radiates extreme power!  As if it could penetrate a Knight's steel breastplate like a sheet of paper! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

English Warbow from Rudderbows 110#@30"

Here is a video of me shooting my warbow from Rudderbows Archery.

Any questions? Please post questions and/or comments and I'll get right back to ya!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chainmaille Armor Pet Peeves

More and more in the armoring world I am seeing an influx of people making chainmaille.  This is awesome and it is where I began my armoring career. However, there is one main thing that many of these people do that irks me! I am referring to folks who decide to attach sleeves at a 45 degree angle.

Here's what I mean....

Here is a non-45 degree hauberk...

You'll notice the 45 degree suture, in the first picture, where the sleeves are attached to the main body.  The second picture is a simple "T" shaped hauberk.

People freak out with the "T" shaped hauberk because when one wears it and their arms are hanging at their sides, the ring pattern elongates, and becomes very open

Such as this...

Here, you'll notice the rings overlap each other providing more coverage and protection

Now, my pet peeve comes when folks mistakenly say that the 45 degree arms provide better protection.  Most folks who choose a chainmaille hauberk with 45 degree arms, choose it purely as an aesthetic choice. 

In a combat situation a medieval Knight, man-at-arms, or whomever, would fight his opponent with their arms up.  Which, while wearing the "T" hauberk would cause the ring pattern of the sleeves to bunch up and provide great protection.  If a soldier were to be wearing a 45 degree hauberk, only while the arms are hanging at one's sides do the rings of the sleeves overlap in the proper pattern. However, as soon as the arms are brought up, the ring pattern elongates, drastically reducing the effectiveness of the armor.  Since it would be foolish to fight an opponent with your arms down and much wiser to fight with your arms up, it makes sense to choose the type of chainmaille that will best protect you.

Warbow Armor Penetration!! With Pictures!

This is me drawing my warbow of #110@32"   It will penetrate 16ga steel plate from 10 yards, and can also penetrate two layers of chainmail with a filled box in between. Very powerful!

MORE PICTURES!!! Here is the 16ga steel plate I mentioned above. It was shot at using the #110@32" waarbow from a distance of 10-20 yards. For any skeptics, I plan on capturing some video of me doing this again in the spring and summer of 2011.  So stay tuned!

The front of the plate was the damage was done!

About the size of a mans torso.

A close up of the back. Notice how the steel seems to peel.

When the arrows hit it really warped the steel!

A bodkin in one of the holes for a reference.

Here is the chaimail hauberk I will use in my next test.

It is only butted maille, so please dont through a fit. I know, and agree that riveted maille is historical and better suited for testing purposes. However, I have none and not enough time or material to create it.
 Since I was shooting from such a close distance, it doesnt give us the greatest idea of what a warbow could do in battle.  Considering that English archers typically trained at no less than 240 yards we can infer that their enemies were typically at a similar distance.

The next time I do an armor penetration test there are a few things I am going to do different.  I am going to use a dense pillow, and place a chainmail hauberk and steel plate over it.  This will better simulate an armored opponent.  This setup will be placed at 100 yards, to give a better replication of battle conditions. 

Please, comment with any tips, concerns, question, etc.  This is a highly debated topic in the warbow community and any feedback is greatly appreciated.


Do you have an interest in the English longbow and/or warbow?  This blog is purely devoted to the ancient art of medieval warbow archery.  I strive to be as authentic as I can with my equipment and techniques.  I currently shoot a bamboo/ipe/hickory warbow that draws to #110@32" meaning one-hundred ten pounds of draw weight with an arrow drawn to thirty-two inches. This is on the lower end of the medieval warbow draw weights and i hope to move into the #140 range.

Please, ask any and all questions you have about archery, medieval archery/combat, English longbows and warbows, etc.