Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whoa! It's kinda been awhile!

Well, I feel I must apologize for not being a better steward of this blog! Life has dealt me some unfortunate cercumstances as of late which has kept me occupied from things such as making new blog post and archery.  However, in a week or two things will change for the better and I will be having some new material for all those interested in this blog.

Thank you for stickin' around and please stay tuned for more soon!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Archer's Tassel. "Not just for decoration!"

Hello everyone! So I am going shooting today for the first time in a few months, hooray! While preparing all of my tackle, I looked at my archer's tassel and thought what a good blog entry it would make.

The archer's tassel is simply a wad of yarn that is used to clean arrows, and in some cases to dignify rank.  The tassel is made up of  many strands of yarn about 14 inches in length, which are the folded in half, and tied to make a loop.

This can be hung on a belt loop, the belt itself or where you please I guess!  Many traditional English longbow and warbow archers today where a tassel such as this. 

It is a very inexpensive project that I put together for exactly $1.  All I purchased was a skein of yarn from the local dollar store, and everything else I had at home!  So, with that freedom you can choose any color(s), length, or make a bunch and sell 'em!

All in all, it is a nice addition to a medieval archery enthusiast's kit and looks very cool.  Be prepared to get many comment and compliments when you show up to your club with your new tassel!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Medieval Arrow Bag: FINISHED

Hello everyone, thank you for reading this :)  I kind of left my medieval arrow bag build-along about 3/4 of the way finished and I apologize for that.  So, here are some pictures of the completed arrow bag! Enjoy!  If you have questions about the construction of this bag, please comment below and I will answer as best as I can. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

My First Time (first warbow experience)

After I joined my college archery club in the fall of 2009, I began to explore the world of archery.  I began rifling through videos on youtube, found some amazing archery forums, and got to know and learn from a  professional bowyer.  Throughout my explorations one form of archery kept me most interested, the English warbow.

The English warbow drew me in like it does most folks, with its draw weight.  Ranging from 70-180 lbs, I was astonished to see men pulling these bows with such ease.  The minimalist design of the warbow struck me as beautiful.  So simple yet so very complex.

My first try at loosing a warbow came after a typical friday practice with my club.  We had been shooting for around two hours when the owner of the property, who is also the bowyer mentioned above, came out to shoot with us.  Him and I began talking and the conversation moved onto English warbows.  He mentioned excitedly that he had one ready to go for a customer and that he would allow me to try it out.  In my excited stupor I happily agreed and waited while he fetched the bow.  When he returned, he held in his hands a hickory backed yew, English warbow with a #90 draw!  My adrenaline was racing and as I held the bow for the first time the bond was sealed and I knew this was the type of archery I was made for.  Using what knowledge I had gained from watching countless youtube videos, I took my first shot.  The power of the bow felt immense!  Compared to my #55 pyramid longbow, the #90 lb'er felt like a cannon!  As mentioned above, my adrenaline was racing and I drew the bow without a hitch.  When I loosed the arrow, it bolted away like a laser, and buried itself to the fletchings in the target.

I was hooked, and now there is no turning back!  I have since immersed myself into the warbow culture and community.

here is a link to the bowyer mentioned above, Rudderbows Archery:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Good News! Starting a Rivited Maille Project!

Hello all and thanks for dropping by!  My birthday recently past and I was graced with some wonderful gifts one of which is some rebar tie wire.  To those of you medieval hobbyist out there this means one thing...RIVITED MAILLE! Yes, I have in my possession several hundred feet of blackened, annealed, 16ga steel rebar tie wire. 
Yes, it's beautiful but what it is to become will be even more spectacular.

The process:
I will wind the wire around a 1/4" mandrel into large coils about 1 foot long. It then look like a large spring. I will cut the ring individually with a pair of modified bolt cutters. The modification allows me to cut the rings so that there is an overlap.  Then I will re-normalize the rings and begin the flattening process. That steel bar in the photo will be used in this step. With a tube just big enough to accomodate the bar I can place a ring at the bottom of the tube upon a steel surface and proceed to drop the bar upon the ring and flatten it. This will give a nice uniform flat ring. Then I will either punch a hole in the ring and use a cylindrical rivet or drift a hole and use a wedge rivet. The wedge rivet is more historically accurate, however.

So thats the crash course on rivited maille. I am so excited to start on this! Once I have a large enough piece of maille I plan on conducting some long range (50-100yards) armor penetrations test with my warbow :)

Thanks again for viewing! feel free to comment, ask a questin or two, and please let me know your reaction below!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Making a Warbow: progress report 1

Hello all,
Easter, April 24th, happened to be my birthday and my girlfriend graced me with a wonderful gift. A new 4 in 1 rasp! It works like a charm and I my muscles are very grateful to have a tool that does most of the work now, haha.

Below is a short video of me showing the current bend of my stave. The upper limb is on the righthand side of the video.  I hold up 8 fingers to indicate that this is the 8th tiller video I've recorded. However, I've decided to stop using videos as a guide to the tillering process. After reviewing video 1 and 8, very little difference is visible in the bending of the stave. I believe the video scews the angle and therefore the viewpoint of how the stave is bending. If you'll notice how stiff the upper limb is near the tip, I have been scraping and rasping my heart away there, and noticed very little difference throughout the videos. As other people have suggested I will be getting a tillering stick at the least to help with the tillering process.  Also, I am using a shorter string in this video as others have suggested.
On the whole, I'm glad with the way this stave is turning out. I wont be working on it any further until I get a tillering stick, just to avoid ruining the stave with my current methods.  Thanks for checking in!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Making a new WARBOW

I've had this stave for awhile and decided to start tillering it along! It boasts a hickory belly, Ipe core, and Bamboo backing. It is 76" long and 1 3/16" wide at the handle. I would like it to end up around #130@32" however anything over #90 would work.
The upper limb is on the right side of the picture (the side with the vent).  Both limbs appear to be stiff from mid-limb to the tips. I'll concentrate scraping there until an even bend is achieved. 

I've been advised to used a shorter tillering string so I'll remedy that right away. That should help give a better idea of how the bow will bend at certain draw lengths.

I'll be making a series of post tracking the progress of this bow so check in periodically to see whats new.  Please don't be shy! Comment!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Robert Hardy on the Medieval Longbow

The Military Archery at Neville's Cross, 1346
By: Robert Hardy
I found the following article to be a fascinating and insightful read.  It brought up several interesting aspects of the medieval archer and logistics of military campaigning that I not previously thought of.  Give it a read I'm sure there is something to be learned by all. Enjoy!

"The Military Archery at Neville's Cross, 1346." Medievalists.net. Themebuilder, 27 Jan 2011. Web. 4 Apr 2011. <http://www.medievalists.net/2011/01/27/the-military-archery-at-nevilles-cross-1346/>.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Making a Medieval Arrow Bag, Part 2.

In this post I will provide the pattern and  method for sewing a medieval arrow bag.

Materials needed
-At least 2 yards linen or canvas fabric. Linen being historicaly preferred.
-Appropriate needle for fabric weight.
-Pins, I only had two but more will definitely benefit you.
-Thread of similar color to fabric.
-Your arrow spacer
-A string for the top drawstring
-A leather string, aprox: 6 inches

Here is the pattern...
A- This is the circumference of the arrow spacer and will be the width of the fabric. This is where the spacer will be sewn into the bag.

B- This is where the bottom of the bag will be tied to hold the arrows in.  It is the same measurement as A.

C- Fold the fabric down along this line to make a space for the drawstring. It is the same measurement as A.

Step 1. Measure the circumference of your arrow spacer and add 1/2". As you can see mine measures 22" exactly. Mark measurement A.

Marking measurement A

Step 2. Figuring out where to mark B and C.  To do this it is very handy to have an arrow on hand.  Place the arrow on line A as if it where in the arrow spacer.
Now we can mark measurement B and C in relation to the arrow.  B should be marked about 3 to 5 inches below the tip of the arrow. Be sure that there is enough arrow above line A so that when you mark line B the arrow wont fall through the spacer when the bag is completed.  The distance from A to B should be about 26 inches

Marking line B

Marking line C. Line C would be the one that is farthest left. The other two are not needed, I was just experimenting.
Step 3. Cut out the pattern. It should look just like the pattern up above. A simple rectangle with your lines A, B and C drawn on it.

The pattern as it should  look before cutting out.
Step 4. Fold the entire pattern in half length-wise.  Starting at line A whip stitch all the way to the bottom of the bag.  

The whip stitch almost completed.
Step 5. Now that we have the whip stitch completed, turn the bag inside-out. It will actually be outside-in but, ya know. Now we want to hem the bottom of the bag. To do this I turned the bottom edge of the bag inside on itself twice, so I would be sewing through three layers of fabric.

The double-rolled hem.
Step 6. Sewing in the arrow spacer. Place your spacer inside the bag and align it with line A. Spiral stitch the spacer into the bag.

View from the top.
View from the bottom.

Okay, so that is all I can manage for the time being.  Please let me know if this was helpful and if needed what do I need to change.

Thanks all!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Military Archery In Medieval Ireland

Introduction: In studying Irish medieval warfare the bow and arrow is of particular interest for many reasons. It is by far the most frequently represented weapon in the archaeological record and unlike other weapons it tends to occur in datable contexts on excavated sites. This is largely accidental, because bows and arrows were of little monetary value and easily broken and lost, but the fortunate result is that a more comprehensive and reliable archaeological study is possible for the bow and arrow than for any other medieval weapon. There is also a greater wealth of useful historical information available than for other weapons of medieval Ireland. Thus it is possible not only to study the bow and arrow as archaeological artefacts but to place them in their natural context, which is the history of warfare. A study of the history of the weapon reveals that it is particularly appropriate, and not entirely accidental, that the bow and arrow is so well represented in the archaeological record of medieval Ireland. There is probably no other period in which the weapon was of comparable military importance.

Read the rest here:

Halpin, Andrew. "Military Medieval Archery in Medieval Ireland: Archaeology and History."   Medievalists.net. Themebuilder, 29 Jan 2011. Web. 30 Jan 2011.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Making a Medieval Arrow Bag

I have reccently decided to make use of my scrap leather pieces and create a medieval arrow bag.  In my own searching I have found very little info on "how to" make an arrow bag so I thought I would take up the task myself! Hopefully you find this useful and interesting!

Here is the leather spacer. It is a piece of vegetable tanned leather I picked out of the scrap basket at Tandy Leather Co. and then cut to this shape. I cut it out with and X-Acto knife.

I used pennies to trace circles for the arrows holes. They leave enough room for the arrow and fletching to pass through cleanly while still holding the arrow solidly.  Several other folks' leather disks were 6 1/2" in diameter and I cut mine at 7" because I plan on hardening by soaking it in hot water and drying it and that will allow it to shrink down a little bit.  There are 24 holes as per leather spacers recovered from the Mary Rose.  Soon I plan on sewing a linen or canvas bag onto this disk to complete the bag! Stay tuned

Two scrap pieces that I used to practice "cuir bollei"

Here is the hardened piece compared to a non-hardened piece.
 To harden the leather, a process also known as cuir bollei, I turned on my kitchen faucet to the hottest water it could put out.  Once it was steaming and uncomfortable to the touch I plugged the sink and allowed it to fill up about an inch and a half with water.  I then put the leather in the water and allowed it to thouroughly soak, about 1.5-2 minutes. then I let dry for twelve hours. The result was brilliant, a hardened piece of leather not to weak and not to brittle.  I highly recommend that you run your own tests first before your actual project.

Here is a quick video of me water hardening or "cuir boillei" (I dont know how to properly pronounce it, so sorry if I said it wrong in the video).  I use the little bubbles coming out of the leather as kind of a gauge to tell when the leather is soaked through well enough.  Then, as I stated in the video I will let it dry for about a day.  Just simply leaving it out in the open sufficiently dries the leather. Be sure to keep it on a flat surface and keep it from curling while drying.

Coming soon: sewing the arrow bag together!