Longbow and arrow manufacture

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Rchave
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Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Rchave » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:02 pm

I know there's a lot of debate out there as to what the weight of a 'warbow' would be, and I'm hoping I don't just start another one of those threads... But I've been thinking recently from a different point of view- the industrial side of making and regulating the bows.

I think sometimes we often use too modern a mindset, nowadays we have things very precise, and people have many ways of checking that something is 'correct'.
To a modern mind, if someone (say a king) nowadays were to order 500 bows and 500 sheaves of arrows, we'd expect it to be done to a standard. We'd want an engineering drawing of the officially accepted arrow design, exact thicknesses, weight, all to a pretty close tolerance. And then with bows, we'd expect to see a specified length, material, thickness, and poundage.

But what I'm trying to find out is, what would 14-15th century people have? A few questions...

1- I've found a few of the 'longbow laws', but I dont think all. Are there any surviving accounts on how they should be made? This link is the best info I've found so far, but nothing conclusive.
http://www.sthubertsrangers.org/bow_arrow_length.htm

2- Would there be 'standards' set by bowyers and fletchers guilds? Did they have any specific plans to build them to? Assuming the king had some quality control to reject duds, would this be done by measuring things within set tolerances, or just getting an experienced archer to look at things and say whether they'll work or not?

3- Would they care about a bow's poundage at all? Even now people say it's not a solid indicator of a bow's performance, that a nice 100lb bow might be better than a rubbish 150lb... Plus then consider the difficulty of specifying it- when you don't have standardised weights, how do you set a standard weight for a warbow?

4- How would the bows be issued to people? Although we can find a 'best' relationship between the size of the bow and the shooter, if you've ordered a batch of 500 bows for your men, I doubt they can be for individuals. But people vary a lot, and so do bows. Do you match the 2 together, or just assume that every bow should be usable by every person?


For the 3rd point, I think it's very unlikely a set poundage was aimed for, not only because it's a pig to measure without modern kit, but also because it's not a useful measurement. I would far more expect that the requirement of every bow was to be able to lob a livery arrow a set distance (pure speculation though!). If you specify poundage, you have the difficulty of measuring it. If you specify a thickness, you have the measuring difficulty plus the irregularities and knots in the wood would be very impractical. But if you don't have a standard, what's to stop boywers just sending 20lb sticks? I think the most practical test would be to make sure that it can cover a certain range. Any other ideas?

As for the arrows, I think it's a bit easier to have a 'guild standard' as there's so many variables in making them. The range of lengths of the MR finds would suggest there was a requirement to make them an 'ell' long (or similar). But, anyone got anything more specific? What about the thickness and taper? Did they say specifics like "x barleycorns thick at the nock, with the thickest point to be y barleycorns, x fistmeles from the tip" or just leave it to the fletchers judgement?

I'm sort of trying to get an image of what a totally bog standard archer would get. As there's laws saying for every yew bow a certain number must be made of other woods, would it be more likely that your lord would give you a witch-hazel, elm or ash bow rather than the classic yew? I'm thinking of getting a warbow, but I'd like the cheapest nastiest thing a soldier would have... Im sort of imagining a rough, 'unpainted', knotted, elm stick, no horn nocks, anywhere between 90 and 140 pounds. What do other people think would be the typical issue of kit?



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:31 pm

Have you had a chnance to look at "Arrowstorm"?


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Rchave
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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Rchave » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:30 pm

I'm afraid I have no idea what that is. A film, book, website?


...Looking further online, I see there are surviving "standard" weights and measures from 14th century. So there's a possibility a bowyer could measure a bow's poundage (not that there's any evidence, suggestion or reason that he would do though, IMO).



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby nest » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:17 pm

I'm afraid I have no idea what that is. A film, book, website?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Arrowstorm-Worl ... 186227388X

hope this helps

nest



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby EnglishArcher » Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:34 pm

I'm thinking of getting a warbow, but I'd like the cheapest nastiest thing a soldier would have... Im sort of imagining a rough, 'unpainted', knotted, elm stick, no horn nocks, anywhere between 90 and 140 pounds. What do other people think would be the typical issue of kit?


140lb bow? Good luck with that. You'll need it.

It's all well and good wanting a 140lb bow but unless you can draw it and shoot it with reasonable accuracy all you will do is convince people (even further) that such bows weren't, in fact, used. And you'll make yourself look a fool, too.

If you're not currently shooting a 100lb bow give up any thought of a 140lb for a little while. Seriously. At best, you'll end up spending several hundred quid on, basically, a pointed stick.


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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby chrisanson » Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:14 am

EnglishArcher wrote:
I'm thinking of getting a warbow, but I'd like the cheapest nastiest thing a soldier would have... Im sort of imagining a rough, 'unpainted', knotted, elm stick, no horn nocks, anywhere between 90 and 140 pounds. What do other people think would be the typical issue of kit?


140lb bow? Good luck with that. You'll need it.

It's all well and good wanting a 140lb bow but unless you can draw it and shoot it with reasonable accuracy all you will do is convince people (even further) that such bows weren't, in fact, used. And you'll make yourself look a fool, too.

If you're not currently shooting a 100lb bow give up any thought of a 140lb for a little while. Seriously. At best, you'll end up spending several hundred quid on, basically, a pointed stick.



diplomatic aint ya?



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby EnglishArcher » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:41 am

chrisanson wrote:
EnglishArcher wrote:
I'm thinking of getting a warbow, but I'd like the cheapest nastiest thing a soldier would have... Im sort of imagining a rough, 'unpainted', knotted, elm stick, no horn nocks, anywhere between 90 and 140 pounds. What do other people think would be the typical issue of kit?


140lb bow? Good luck with that. You'll need it.

It's all well and good wanting a 140lb bow but unless you can draw it and shoot it with reasonable accuracy all you will do is convince people (even further) that such bows weren't, in fact, used. And you'll make yourself look a fool, too.

If you're not currently shooting a 100lb bow give up any thought of a 140lb for a little while. Seriously. At best, you'll end up spending several hundred quid on, basically, a pointed stick.



diplomatic aint ya?


Nope.

But I am happy to be proven wrong.


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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Rchave » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:30 am

EnglishArcher wrote:140lb bow? Good luck with that. You'll need it.

It's all well and good wanting a 140lb bow but unless you can draw it and shoot it with reasonable accuracy all you will do is convince people (even further) that such bows weren't, in fact, used. And you'll make yourself look a fool, too.

If you're not currently shooting a 100lb bow give up any thought of a 140lb for a little while. Seriously. At best, you'll end up spending several hundred quid on, basically, a pointed stick.


Thank you for your concern- but you don't actually have to assume I'm a naive beginner trying to be macho. I've shot bows for 16 years, I understand 'bending into' the bow, and I have shot 90, 105 & 115lb bows. 140lb would definitely be a struggle, I was suggesting that as a very rough upper limit to bog standard bows.

However, poundage is not my concern. I think the first mention of pound-force relating to a bow's power was either 18/19th century, and I don't think someone in the 14th century would refer to a "140lb bow". I very much doubt they classified objects as much as we do- modern people tend to get obsessed with performance statistics. I don't think they measured the poundage on their bows any more then they measured the acceleration and BHP of their horses.

My question is, when bows were produced, what was their idea of whats acceptable? They must have had some sort of quality control- I don't think a bowyer could have send Henry V a massive order of weak 20lb kids bows and get away with it.

So, either they had a way of measuring bows draw-weight, or they didn't. If they didn't, how did they decide a bow was good enough?

And for arrows? Is there a chance a guild of fletchers would hand out offial gagues for arrow thickness, or did people do them by eye?



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby chrisanson » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:56 am

Nope.

But I am happy to be proven wrong.



i didnt say you were wrong,arrogant and rude maybe but not wrong



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Rchave » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:28 pm

chrisanson wrote:
Nope.

But I am happy to be proven wrong.



i didnt say you were wrong,arrogant and rude maybe but not wrong



I think he wanted to make a point :) I know my post was pretty long, but whether my arms can handle a certain poundage is a moot point anyway for this thread.

My question is, what would 'munitions' grade longbows be like, and how would they regulate them?



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby The_Kyle » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:11 pm

Would a king or lord provide armaments for his troops? It is my understanding that they were obliged to provide their own weaponry. If that is the case each man would have his own bow and arrows made to his own specifications.



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Brian la Zouche » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:51 pm

re your inital questions, these are the same questions i have also asked myself

i cant quote where i read it, or how authentic the writers research was, but i did read that due to some poor quality items being received that it was stated that arrow smiths /bowers ( i dont recall reading fletchers being mentioned ) had to add a mark that identified them as the producer and being libel to fines if of poor standard, which to me indicates that some items must have been delivered of poor quailty to bring about the need to set standards

the sheer numbers of items produced makes me think that those involved in those trades would be skillfull people, i myself fletch but no where near the ammount that those people did ( not by a long shot ), for me to saw say a peice of wood square i need to get out a pencil/ set square etc, yet a skilled chippy can just get out his saw and cut it off perfect, BUT does that mean that every bow/arrow/ head was perfect.. one side of the coin says yes because of their skill, but the other side is that do they need to look perfect to do the job.. a brickie building a wall at buck house would more than likely not use any bricks there were not perfect, yet if he built it round my house i'm sure any bricks that were inperfect would be used,, it would not mean that the wall did not meet its requirments of a wall. to keep people out/ me in etc

craftsmen today still get along with bodge up jobs and make do, of course we dont know the mindset of those 700 years ago, ( although i do have my own views )

i know some bowers today who can pick up a bow and even before drawing, can tell you very closely to what the draw weight says on their scales,, i find it hard to believe that bowers back then wouldnt have been able to look at/draw a bow and know it was or wasnt acceptable,, of course re your post, they would have had to know what acceptable limits were in the first place

i love archery and my love of it far exceeds my skill level,, draw weights dont really interest me, when i started to weight train ( not re-enactment or archery connected ) i knew there was no point putting the max ammount of weights on the bars/ machines i tried what felt right if it was enough to allow me to do the correct technique i worked those over time untill i was able to add more, thats pretty much how i deal with my archery

i love your questions as i said because they are points that i have often wondered about, i'm just sorry i cant give you any answers




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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:07 pm

Brian la Zouche wrote:to keep ... me in etc

Hear, hear! :wink:

Brian la Zouche wrote:craftsmen today still get along with bodge up jobs and make do, of course we dont know the mindset of those 700 years ago, ( although i do have my own views )

Actually we can ge an insight. There are enough surviving examples of 'stuff' that we can get an impression of where craftsmen were willing to cut corners (and they were) and where they were not. Unfortuately, I can't remember what the trends that I was spotting were.

Also remember that livery arrows were supplied for a specific task (i.e. to survive long travel and then be shot at someone who's probably in armour and to not be too expensive), which is quite different from the fine hunting and competition arrows that were also purchased (at higher cost). I think that bows were also issued as livery for a campaign and they would have been subject to the same kind of rules. There may be no expectation that it would last out the battle, but if it explosed first time it's drawn, the bowyer is going to be in a whole lot of trouble!

Best wishes


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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Alan E » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:53 pm

The_Kyle wrote:Would a king or lord provide armaments for his troops? It is my understanding that they were obliged to provide their own weaponry. If that is the case each man would have his own bow and arrows made to his own specifications.

Whilst there were (various) rules (at different times) that men had to supply their own equipment, there is also considerable evidence that much more was shipped with and following the troops for resupply.
Bows and arrows in particular seem to have been shipped in phenomenal quantities: IIRC (and it's a while since I looked at 'Arrowstorm' or 'The Great Warbow' but) at times it seems there is a bow shipped for every one or two sheaves of arrows and for every one or two bowstrings. Although arrows and strings 'might' be simpler to obtain abroad (?) this suggests that bows were seen as consumables, so yes a king, lord or war-leader would need to provide replacements for any his men might have come equiped with (assuming they were considered 'adequate' at all).

I agree with Rchave that our modern mindset often gets in the way of understanding a world without precise standards, where a word meant what the people you used it with understood it to mean and not what was written in a reference somewhere...
Interesting thread.


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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Normannis » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:29 pm

I'd personally surmise it to be something like an accepted standard of function- like as you said, it must lob a standard arrow x distance or within x paces put a shaft through y thickness of linden or somesuch. Bowyers know their trade and obviously the penalties for shipping inadequate equipment would probably involve not being paid- always a good motivation to keep quality up. Equally in the 12th/13th C there are references to shields stored for militia/garrison use in Chester, assumedly made by local craftsmen to some agreed quality check- I think the best that could be asked for is for all gear to be ''fit for purpose''.



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Rchave » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:20 am

Brian la Zouche wrote:it was stated that arrow smiths /bowers ( i dont recall reading fletchers being mentioned ) had to add a mark


I mentioned this elsewhere and somebody quoted it for me:
-----------------
Anno Septimo Henrici IV (Seventh year of Henry IV - 1405)
Item, Because the Arrow-smiths do make many faulty Heads for Arrows and Quarels defective, not well, nor lawful, nor defensible, to the great Jeopardy and Deceit of the People and of the whole Realm; it is ordained and established That the Heads for Arrows and Quarels after this Time be made, shall be well boiled or brased and hardened at the Points with Steel; and if any of the said smiths do make to the contrary they shall forfeit all such Heads and Quarels to the King, and shall be also imprisoned and make a Fine at the King's Will; and that every Arrowhead and Quarel be marked with the Mark of him that made the same. And the Justices of Peace in every County of England, and also the Mayor and Sherifs, and Bailiffs of Cities and Boroughs, shall have Power to enquire of all such deceitful Makers of Heads and Quarels, and to punish them as afore is laid.
-----------------

Interestingly we have a lot of "trading standards" like this surviving, but nothing really for the longbow? Would that just be the luck of how our record keeping turned out, or is it more that arrows were considered very variable, and needing a fair bit of control, whereas a bow wasn't much more than a stick with a string? That people would be just so used to bows that they'd know what they were looking at?

Brian la Zouche wrote:i know some bowers today who can pick up a bow and even before drawing, can tell you very closely to what the draw weight says on their scales


I find it easy to get pretty close doing that myself. With no concept of "draw weight", I think you'd still have a concept of what's likely to hit something very hard, and what just won't push the arrow far enough.

Colin Middleton wrote:There are enough surviving examples of 'stuff' that we can get an impression of where craftsmen were willing to cut corners (and they were) and where they were not


This kind of thing always interests me. Like putting together a brigandine, seeing the originals they clearly didn't mind whether a nail wasn't peened properly, so long as it did its job, yet they were very precise about the rivets placement...
I bet arrow shafts were almost perfectly round, but the heads probably weren't a perfect square section.

I'm very much into the craft/making stuff side of things, and I'm trying to 'feel' their mindset for quality levels- nowadays if something's cheap mass produced crap, most things still made on a machine to tight tolerances... and if it's handmade, it's usually expected to be a lovingly expert crafted thing (or DIY, amateur stuff). We don't really have an understanding now of making things on a massive, professional scale, but nearly all by hand.

Colin Middleton wrote:Unfortuately, I can't remember what the trends that I was spotting were

What I've tended to see is a trend that practicality does appear important- nearly everything fits together where it needs to. Bits that weren't vital to the item's aesthetic were often imprecise (brig rivets, nails on woodwork, etc)...
As for a bow, i'd expect that to mean that bows would be tillered to a very even and smooth draw, but without much care to how precise the shape is, knots etc. It wouldn't surprise me if thickness (and therefore power) was done by eye.

Alan E wrote:our modern mindset often gets in the way of understanding a world without precise standards

Well, if we were bulk issuing longbows for the MoD now, we'd probably need to send each one with certificates of conformity, datasheets with draw weights on, etc... I kind of prefer the more straightforward approach- most people can tell if it's good enough or not.

Although I do find it interesting to study how things work, I think people often get too techy when analyzing longbows. I'd rather just have a 'feel' for however they looked at them at the time. Obviously though this 'feel' of a bow is a bit harder for a historian to formally write down though. (And probably why we don't have a lot of contemporary stuff)



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Honourius III » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:05 pm

A very interesting thread this. I would like to throw in another question. Did most of the arrows used come from coppicing or were they, as now, made round. Did they spit planks of timber into squares at about an ell in length and then plane them round?
Coppicing seems to me to be far less labour intensive. The arrows could be cut at almost exactly the correct thickness for the production of the arrow.



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby chidokan » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:07 pm

I did a couple of excel sheets on bow poundage vs arrow size for longbows for a couple of friends of mine who are not p.c. users but what I call 'true craftsmen'... both were slightly surprised at the results, which showed as you get to about a 1/2" shaft the poundage can vary by quite some margin. This would be quite reasonable and would cover the large tolerance variation due to the wood quality (ring size variance etc) to make the bows. If you aim for say a 100lb bow, and keep the same dimensions, there is quite a range of results from, say, 10 staves. Using a typical bell curve distribution, we could say an outcome of 80 -120lbs with about 70% being 'near enough' and a couple of oddballs being way over the top and also some rubbish...
I like Pip Bickerstaffe's idea of string type limiting size of bow... this reverse engineering approach makes a lot of sense, so even if they run the risk of snapping a string every other shot you could still hit about 100lb as an average sensible target for the tolerance band.
Most of us who use bows can pick up a bow and know whether or not we are too strong or weak to shoot it, and could make a pretty rough guess at draw weight because of this, unless it is stupidly high compared to what we usually use.. It only takes a second to string up a bow and try this, so likely a 'try before you buy' approach would be taken, and rubbish just chucked back...
Looking at the MR bows they seem much of a muchness for handle diameter, so maybe that is the rough starting size for the staves as they arrive?

I am also interested in how they were preserved against mould/rot for the long term storage of the wood and moth attacks for fletchings... I get the impression a lot were stored for years until needed... anyone any ideas?



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Rchave » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:08 pm

chidokan wrote: If you aim for say a 100lb bow, and keep the same dimensions, there is quite a range of results from, say, 10 staves. Using a typical bell curve distribution, we could say an outcome of 80 -120lbs with about 70% being 'near enough' and a couple of oddballs being way over the top and also some rubbish


Totally agree. Not entirely sure they'd aim for any "poundage" as such, just typical variation around a size that looks sort-of right makes good sense.

chidokan wrote:I like Pip Bickerstaffe's idea of string type limiting size of bow...


To a degree, but nowhere near as low as he suggests. His assumptions are that strings were made out of poor quality linen, and the results vary from either different treatment (such as glue), different quality linen (longer strands), and more importantly- different material. I've seen some references to silk strings which would totally change this theory anyway. As we know how heavy the MR arrows were, how stiff yew bows of a similar ring density and thickness are (both theoretically and practically), it seems odd to disregard both of those based on an assumption about something we know hardly anything about being weakly made.

Does anyone know what year the William of Cloudesley ballad was originally written? That's the first reference to nice silk strings that comes to mind, not sure how good a source it is though. But even if silk ones were only considered the "posh" ones... I reckon that if the thickness of the string was their only limiting factor, they'd have just made the strings thicker :)

chidokan wrote:It only takes a second to string up a bow and try this, so likely a 'try before you buy' approach would be taken, and rubbish just chucked back...


Yes! If you're buying a horse, I doubt you'd have to measure it's BHP on a dynamometer to tell whether it's a strong one or not...

chidokan wrote:I am also interested in how they were preserved against mould/rot for the long term storage of the wood and moth attacks for fletchings... I get the impression a lot were stored for years until needed... anyone any ideas?


The MR arrows and Westminster arrow both have traces of a verdigris compound painted over the whipping. The whipping itself was for re-inforcement as the glue got weak if it got damp, and the verdigris is somewhat poisonous so it seems to make sense that's as an insect killing/repelling element (not sure why else, unless anyone's got ideas)



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby randallmoffett » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:25 pm

And lets not forget the guild system is in full swing in the 14th. In York they have a man who makes sbow strings put in the stocks and have his strings burned before his face for not following the rules. (From York House Books)

We have in Henry IV reign an example of him setting standards for some aspects of arrows (Patent Rolls. Basically a few years back I sat down and read all the major royal rolls of England. From that there are a few systems used to get bows, arrows and other war gear.

All men of even little means were expected to own weapons and armour. For an archer, one bow and 24 arrows seems the norm with other weapons and armour vary depending on the king.

County. In a General Levy or commission of array (slightly different things) the men in charge are often asked to outfit the men. On the outset they do it from their own pocket and are expected to get it back from the king (maybe someday) or county (much faster). These gents in their orders are expected to get 'good' quality things often. Whether they did or did not I cannot say.

Another is towns. Towns often had a small armament. Southampton in the 1340s has a number of crossbows, bows and such we can assume were used by the townsmen.

Lords. Likely did to some point provide gear. We have the Howard House books and some of Talbot's inventories from Caister and other places indicate a small cache of arms.

Now as to whether the bows and arrows were the same. I'd assume to some degree yes. The guild system, arrayers, king all would have been able to get the items largely for free if they were subquality. Knowing how such people and governments act I'd assume they guild would protecti itself as much as possible.

I doubt they were all the same draw weight though but likely near some type of average of the day but I could not prove it directly.

RPM



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby chidokan » Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:03 pm

I havent tried to make a silk string after failing miserably using flytying silk... anyone done one? If so, how do they compare?



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby jasjohnie » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:48 pm

They're more durable than any other shafting material ever produced, and with the 'wood-look' patterns now available, they are very appealing to the aesthetic demands of traditional archers everywhere. With so many new people entering the sport of traditional archery, the need for quality, low-maintenance shafting is huge. With carbons, there's no need for straightening, sanding, painting, or sealing like on wood shafting.^_^


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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Brian la Zouche » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:03 pm

[quote="Rchave"]

I reckon that if the thickness of the string was their only limiting factor, they'd have just made the strings thicker :)[/quote]

that would mean discounting the MR shafts nock sizes then ?

I find the MR finds both good and bad, they really give us so much detail, but as my main period of interest is Crecy , it causes me a few, if not doubts then questions,. such as ... its been said before why would the bows be any different from the Mr than those of 200 years before.. but how common was silk for the use of bow strings in 1545 compared to 1346 ?
i have been told yes silk was in england even before 1346, but was it that common to supply all the strings needed for campaigns at that time.

i have been also told in a straight line of the same thickness silk is stronger than hemp, and hemp stronger than linen, the availabilty of silk poses one question ( for my period at least ), and although hemp on a straight line has a higher breaking strain than linen, when the fibres are bent, as in around nock points it becomes weaker than linen, and string break at bow nock points is far worse than at the arrow nocking point, i myself still put linen as my prefered string,

BUT i'm always open to new information

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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Langley » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:12 pm

I have heard a theory that bows were unfinished and individual archers were capable of doing some final tillering. A key to accuracy in archery is consistency so I can see the logic in this - you would want your new bow to feel as much like the one you did all your practice with as possible. It is even possible bow weights are being judged on unfinished examples and all would come down as they were tailored to their new owner. I am not aware of any documentary evidence but a friend who is a very experienced archer and has looked at the MR bows got the feeling this might be consistent with their appearance - but they have been underwater so who really knows if you can judge from what they look like now. Staves do indeed vary greatly - you never know if there is a bow inside a stave until you try to carve away everything which isn't a bow. (That is how it is done apparently according to one of our highly respected bowyers!) Just one more item to think about when we try to understand mediaeval archery though.



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Colin Middleton
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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:35 pm

What does the final tillering involve? I can't imagen every archer owning a spoke shave and shave horse if that's what's used. (Big assumptions, as I don't know the answer to my first question).

I suspect that when you're buying your own bow, you may spend time with the bowyer so that he can finish it just as you want, but I can't imaged all the archers doing this with their livery bows on the day before the battle. Not that you need that high a degree of accuracy in the battle.


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Brian la Zouche
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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Brian la Zouche » Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:22 pm

although historically i cant say yay or nay, my OWN thoughts would be that if a bow needed 'fine' tillering, then any archer who had trained long enough to get taken on campaign wouldnt find this a drawback and no need to bother, and if a bow needed 'major' work on tillering then i'd have thought an archer would not be as skillfull at this than the bowers

we all have opinions, and bowers are no exception, i know of at least two renown bowers who estimate the MR bows with a differance of 50lb on the heaviest
like many archer re-enactors i fletch and have made a couple of bows, but i'do not profess to be a fletcher nor a bower

i do like to keep an open mind and research as far as i can into a subject, but like everyone else we reach a point where, although not blinkered we form an opinion that sticks with us, and so long as we keep that open mind then we can still look at any new ideas or information

so its always good to hear of such things, the problem arises when unfounded opinions perculate into shows and talks to the public, which is how i beleive such topics as, fox tails, V sign and 12 a minute still persist



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Langley » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:17 pm

Colin, Brian - I do agree - we just don't know. Perhaps you could do some tillering with a decent dagger? Just one more of the possible variables we have to contend with when we try to get it right. We have a "No Bull" rule - you never know who you are talking to for one thing and we have found ourselves having chats with renowned academics like Mary Beard with a serious risk of making pr***s of ourselves but we always carefully point out what evidence we do have for things and what evidence we don't. (The chat with Prof Beard was a highlight of our year!) That includes the caveat absence of evidence is not evidence of absence too! It helps explain to visitors why we find it all so fascinating and has drawn in a few recruits who liked the research side of things. I always want to put 12 arrows in a minute into people wearing fox tails...



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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Alan E » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:56 pm

Re: final adjustment of your own bow, Toxophilus has something to say on the subject (late Tudor OK, but still using the same type of bow as far as we know). IIRC it's along the lines of shoot it in for a while, then adjust the cast of the tips if you feel like it. Not exactly reworking it to a different poundage or draw length.


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Re: Longbow and arrow manufacture

Postby Brian la Zouche » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:29 pm

langley,
please dont think i was being critical, i always find any subject relating to archery of interest, and i think it was colin ( appologies if it wasnt ) who said to me ''get 2 re-enctors together and you will get 3 different opinions'' :-D

Alan,
my intial thought was that this would relate to the angle of the string nocks, but like i say thats my inital off the top of my head thought

all good stuff :thumbup:




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