Thursday, April 24, 2008

Indian bow update!!!

Being too impatient to wait and try my bow when I had made a primitive arrow, I decided to try out the bow using one of my store-bought arrows. I noticed really quickly how much the arrow set to the side and at a wide trajectory compared to modern bows where the arrow sits on a rest and has a trajectory in line with the bow. The arrow made it's target and sunk in which was a great relief and very exciting to me. This means that I have a method for making a viable hunting tool should the need ever arise. After a few more arrows I had to call it quits because of other commitments, but not because the bow was lacking! I didn't expect a lot from my first handmade bow and am looking forward to making more of these in the future. It takes me back to being a child stringing up bendy sticks and pretending I was an indian. The process is rather therapeutic!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The indian short bow!

The camp-out went well (besides waking up sick at 5 AM.) I made a debris hut out of some red pine that had been cut from a windfall. I slept warm and felt pretty good about the shelter. The next morning after starting to feel a bit better (about10am) I started to teach the indian short bow. They are the typical bow you would see on the plains and can be very short or up to to the typical length of a modern recurve. We split the Ash staves into halves and some into quarters then made the bows from the outer rings (bark-side). We had some sharpened mower blades instead of drawknives but then the camp Ranger brought us two drawknives which made our work much more effective. We shaved the staves down until they started resembling bows and then sanded them after checking how they flexed over our knees. WE made bowstrings by twisting twenty feet of four strands of thin string until it kinked, then doubled this over, twisted some more, waxed the length of it , twisted some more, double it over and waxed it more. By the time we were done we had a reasonably thick string about the length of the bow and that would stay twisted on account of the wax and doubling over. (imitating Sinew) I strung two bows and was pleasantly surprised when they didn't snap under the pressure. Woooohoooo!!! This was quite an accomplishment and felt wonderful to draw them back and feel like they might actually work for casting arrows! I was excited that we had actually made primitive bows using only hand tools and some string on a spool, and a candle. I have yet to cast and arrow with them. The first one we strung was made by a boy who has gone on to carve it down. This has caused a weakening and fracturing of a limb that will no longer make it strong enough to fire. This will be a lesson for him and a story for me to share when teaching how to make them again.
They say the best way to learn is to teach and that is the case for me. My bow looks like a reflex but that was the natural feature of the bow stave. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring is here!

I have been very busy lately but even so I can't help but to notice the Blue-jays screeching, the robins calling and the chickadees singing. We have had some starry nights and as I come in from a late "day at the office" I can sometimes look up and find my favorite constellations. The bulbous flowers are all coming up and the earth is starting to wake up again. I am excited to be alive! I feel really excited about this year and the upcoming warm seasons. I am planning many attempts at learning new skills and have already begun making some blanks from Ash trees which I will try and make a primitive bow from. These trees were cut near my college as apart of a construction project and left to waste, which allowed me the opportunity to try making bows without me cutting live trees! I'll try and post of my progress.

As always, keep up on my new skill and creative posts at

Take a moment and bring your nose to the earth and notice what memories stir as you breath in the rich smells of spring soil!