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Is anyone else a fan of the bow and arrow?

  1. Feb 24, 2006 #1
    Is anyone else a fan of the bow and arrow? For the past two months I've been archery-happy, spending most of my free time target shooting in the back yard, making arrows, fixing arrows, making bowstrings, googling the subject and shopping for archery stuff at the weekend swap meets here.

    It's a thing that's been at the back of my mind for years and years. A while ago I finally picked up an all-wood bow at the swap meet along with three old arrows. I wanted wood for a "primitive" feel. The archers I admire are not the modern ones with their overdone compound contraptions.

    I took this wood bow out back and shot the arrows at an old cushion. From just 15 feet away, it was surprisingly easy to hit with a vague general aim in it's direction. I therefore kept backing up, and got bolder with the bow, drawing it further and further back for more distance and power. On about the 20th shot I drew the bow back so far it snapped in two and became a whizzing angry mess of string and shards in front of my face. Cheap, crap bow.

    Googling revealed that an all wood bow has to be made carefully following the grain of the limb from which it's constructed, or, it has to be prevented from developing any initial splits by the application of some tough, flexible coating on the front with good tensile strength. The Native Americans used animal sinew fibers glued on with a gelatin-like glue made from boiling various animal parts. Further googling revealed that almost all ancient and primitive peoples were extremely advanced in engineering their bows to prevent them from doing what mine did, and spent months slowly gluing them up from a variety of carefully chosen composite materials. The myth of the whittled stick dies.

    Someday I may make an all-wood bow from scratch in the primitive manner by gluing sinew on the front, but for now I've settled for wood and fiberglass composite bows that I've been able to pick up at the swap meet for peanuts. (The same general bow I pick up at the swap meet for ten dollars turns out to sell new at the archery store for $250.00. I'm stealing them.) I have four now: a longbow, two medium recurves, and a small, mean, surprisingly powerful recurve.

    My arrows are a mixed bag of wood, fiberglass, and aluminum shafts. I ground broadhead points out of steel for the wooden ones. Factory made screw in points for the aluminum ones are cheap and work well. For a while I was putting plastic vanes on the aluminum ones that needed repair, but I'm switching them all over to feather fletching and they are behaving much better with it.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2006 #2
    Yes I have a bow.I somtimes shoot targets in my backyard but not too often because I'am afraid I mite miss at accidently shoot a kid or somthing.I somtimes put stuff on the targets like an apple(not a persons head) or once an old cell phone.
  4. Feb 24, 2006 #3
    Its against the law to shoot bows in the city I live in, but I do shoot up north. I use a bow made out of lemon wood that my Grandfather made.
    A few years back I was talked into useing a Flemish weave bowstring, I was suprised the difference it made. I also use a arm guard, cause, ouch, it really hurts when ya mess up.
  5. Feb 25, 2006 #4
    I'm lucky in that the back yard here is nearly a cliff going up from the lawn. If I miss the target it can't go anywhere but into the side of the hill.

    I've read about the Flemish bowstring and am curious about them. I haven't ever seen one in real life and can't completely follow the explanations I've read about how they're made.

    I've strung all these bows so there's 5+ inches of space between the bow and string when at rest. The string doesn't get my arm when I release it. Took me a while to get used to the soreness in the fingers that draw and release the string though.
  6. Feb 25, 2006 #5


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    I haven't tried archery since junior high school, when it was required in gym class. I loved it at the time! My father was into archery, and when I took it in gym class, it gave us something to share (he even gave me an old wrist guard he had from when he was much younger to use while learning). If he hadn't died shortly after, I think it's a sport we'd have really enjoyed together. They still offered archery when I first started high school, and I wanted to sign up for it in gym class again, but unfortunately, because some kid decided to break all the rules and shot an arrow into a car out on the road in front of the high school instead of at a target, they suspended it from the curriculum. :grumpy: :frown: We only had cheesy little bows and some rather crooked looking arrows in gym class, but it's something I still think would be fun to do again if I ever found the time and a place for it (I think time is the biggest limitation).
  7. Feb 25, 2006 #6


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    Y'know, my dad had given me that arm guard to use, but I never did use it (none of the other kids had one, so I felt silly even bringing it to school, let alone actually using it...keep in mind this was junior high). I never hurt my arm once. I wasn't great at the sport, but considering how crooked the arrows were that they gave us, I was able to keep up with the one kid in the class who actually had done some archery at home...it was one of the few things in gym class I was ever good at. :rolleyes: Maybe that's why I liked it so much, I actually beat some of the other kids at it for a change (the only other thing I was ever really good at in gym class was weight lifting, but only to be disappointed years later with the realization that it was the age at which it's normal for girls to surpass boys in strength...the boys catch up a bit later...in junior high, I could bench press more weight than the boys on the JV football team :biggrin:...and that was the first time I ever even tried weight lifting of any kind...I think it was all those stupid push-ups they made us do...I wish I could still do as many push-ups as I could do then...I'm not sure if I could even do 10 now, and back then, I did 100 one day just to get out of some other gym exercise that I didn't want to do...we were given the choice 100 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, or participate in something nobody wanted to do, but I can't remember what it was...I hated sit-ups, so was the only one who opted for the push-ups).
  8. Feb 25, 2006 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    I tried it once but could never get it to work after reading Zeno.
  9. Feb 25, 2006 #8
    The sport loses more potential followers that way.
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