Don't leave the kids out of the things you find important... Nota bene! The following ramble was written at three in the morning and may contain sentiment, ramblings, and a bit of opinion. I don't want this to sound preachy. What was intended as a few childhood pictures from primitive technology events ran away with … Continue reading Raised With Wilderness Skills
Tracking the process for creating the ancient and venerable flat bow; a complex hunting tool from five continents. This is a very brief overview of a process that takes many bows to master. I can honestly say that bow-making was my gateway skill into the primitive technology world. It's one of the few things I … Continue reading Revisiting the Bowyer’s Craft
An advertising card from when people appreciated hand made archery equipment. No training wheel, gizmos, releases, or sights. There is no date on the image but I suspect that late 18th century or early 19th century would not be too far off. Apparently javelin throwing was in vogue at the time as well. Now we … Continue reading Trade Card from a Bow and Arrow Maker
Satire on archery from 1794. More at the British Museum.
More bamboo arrows from the leatherworking reverend.
I’ve been doing a little consulting to my nephew*, who has been making a Mongolian bow for a school history assignment. His theory is that the Mongolian bow gave the advantage to the Mongols during their invasion of China in the 14th century, so he’s making one and testing it out. I disagree in a greater part, but it’s more important that he can research, develop and coherently defend a theory. I offered to make him some contemporary bamboo arrows to go with the bow, partially because I knew he wouldn’t have time, and partially because it was an opportunity for me to learn some new skills working with bamboo. He’s also going to be a little more forgiving than a paying client if I make a couple of mistakes while I’m learning, or take some shortcuts.
Paleotool has an excellent two parter on making bamboo arrows, I…
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Finding “handedness” in archaeology… using the fletching of arrows as an example. As a professional archaeologist AND primitive technologist I am very skeptical when someone claims they can determine which hand of a maker is dominant on an ancient tool or weapon. One reason for the distrust is that the archaeologist may not have experienced creating the object in the same way the original maker did. I think the Leatherworking Reverend has a valid point in the following article (and not just because it affirms my own experiences).
At most find-sites that have arrows there will be a non-equal mix of S- and Z-wrap on the bindings. The dig report will assert that left-handed fletchers were responsible for those that aren’t the majority direction arrow binding, probably without mentioning whether it’s the Z- or S- that they are talking about. I can’t find where it was written down the first time, but it has been repeated until it became lore. Consider the Ötze website:
According to technical archaeologist Harm Paulsen, the two arrows could not have been fashioned by the same person. The fletching shows that one was wound by a left-hander and the other by a right-hander.
and the Mary Rose Trust:
Hopkins (1998) studied 408 shafts from chest 81A2582 (O9) and recorded that, in every case, the binding thread had been wound in a clockwise direction from the tip end of the shaftment (ie, the portion of the arrow…
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Robyn Hode – England, ca. 1450 A.D. An hundred shefe of arowes gode, The hedys burneshed full bryght; And every arowe an elle longe, With pecok wel idyght, Inocked all with whyte silver [or silk]; It was a semely syght. A Gest of Robyn Hode, lines 523-8 in English Popular Ballads, 1922 edition
A sheef of pecok arwes, bright and kene, Under his belt he bar ful thriftily, (wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly: His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe) Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, Prologue, The Yeoman, lines 104-7.
I have been working on a bow-making tutorial for quite a long time now. Trying to be as explicit as possible while not dumbing everything down is a tricky narrative to follow. Just gathering the appropriate images of the process is time-consuming and difficult but truly, a good image is worth a thousand words.
Happy archery Sunday. Diana on a rock with bow, arrows, quiver, and very little else. More posts about ARCHERY here.