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!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Posted by Running Waters at 9:25 PM