Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Reducing Wood For A Bow

One way to help reduce the wood while making a bow is to use a saw to cut to near the level you wish the material to be reduced. By periodically cutting allong the belly and back, you can then use a axe or chissele to remove the chunks without removing too much by either chewing too much with an axe in the major reduction fase or biting into the wood with the axe to remove a chunk and the chunk eventuality removing too much as it peels away on the follow through; the saw cut will inhibit further separation down the wood face.

saw to help wood removal on bow

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Morning of Archery Hunt Tip

If you are just starting out in archery hunting, its wise, especially if you use different bows, to bring some blunts with you on the hunt. You'll want to sail a few arrows at soft ground every morning before you set out. Get the feel for both your bow, its behavior and your body the day-of, regardless of what your quarry may be. Warm up the muscles and get blood to the right ones. Im not an avid bow hunter, but this tip will mitigate guilt of a missed shot or worse - and of course dont hunt unless you have put in your time at the range.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


We all have times, when we waver in our discipline. We make excuses, we submit to the "haters", we look for devine "signs" reinforcing the doubt; we justify our giving up saying it was one of these things and as a result, it was "not meant to be". Is it the universe conspiring against us because our choices are really not "who we are meant to be" or just our mind interpreting randome goobbly garbage stimuli as an answer to uncertainties we are working out whin? I believe its both.

My mother says "god help those who help themselves". If we push past the doubt, we may find that what we are left with is more questioning, but that the universe will still support our path, "guide" with devine signs. We are never off the hook and as autonomous entities, forced to perpetually question if we will hold fast.

There are times when self identity thoughts are stronger than at others; astrologers have a reason for this phenomenon, but because of that reference it in no way reduces the experience we have. If we do submit to signs, haters, whatever thought - we are destroying what was "no longer serving us" according to astrologers or as we say just acting "not who we are or meant to be"; but these thoughts and adjustments is what makes us what, and who we are in the physical world - getting closer and closer or better and better, hitting that something that we are - like practicing traditional archery and coming collectively closer to that mark. Whith time and practice too, better and better at hitting any mark, and so understanding not only how to make a group in a target but make a group with a new bow and in any target. I believe that our mark can be whatever you want it to be.

There are times however when we have to rein back our shot. Can we hit that deer? Is the bush going to ruin the shot? Is the arrow going to hit that mark? Is the universe ready? Am I  ready? There is a feedback loop which creats uncertainty and always holds our actions in check.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

How I Fletch an Arrow with Natural Feathers

The following is how I, at the time this article is being written, fletch an arrow using real feathers.

Select the long wing feathers of a bird- in this case, a crow. The tail feathers will work as well. You generally want to use feathers from the same side so that the vein  and curl of the feather is simmilar between all fletching used on the arrow.

At the flesh attached end of the feather, there is, at the beginning, a portion where the feathering grows toward the opposite side of the rigged vein; where it begins this feathering must be removed.

 Grab the feathering where it begins and peel it away.
 If a second arrow feather can be made of the other side of the feather, do the same to the feathering there. It is best to avoid waste, so  to my knowledge, feathering can be used as a poor wick for a oil lamp (thoroghly saturate a ball before lighting), insulation and decoration for those inclined.

The next step is to remove the excesses hard vein of the feather. Cut with a sharp tool roughly a cm from where the longest feathering ends.
arrow making feathers

The two "sides" of the feather must now be split down the center. I use the rigged vein in my arrows as this provides strength to the feather vein while its on the arrow and thus it makes the feather more effective at catching air. Find the line on the "inside" of the feather, and follow it with the tip of a sharp tool as far possible. Cut where it can no longer be followed and remove the excesses feathering. Clean some of the gunk and uneven vein remaining on the underside of the rigged vein. Save excess feathering and find a use for it or return it to the woods.

The feather is now ready for storage and sorting with similar feathers once a few feathers have gone through the said steps. 

Once three of simmilar shape are found, cut their lenth of hard vein to near equal, and remove a cm of feathering from the end so the ammount of feathering is equal on all three feather veins. 

The "hanging-over" feathering which covers the end can now be cut away as this interferes with your sinew binding and the finger placement on a Mediterranean style string grip (unless the vein is placed slightly further down the shaft). Also remove excess feather from the top edge of the vein which you are certain wont be on the arrow when finished as this too will interfere with sinew wrapping.

At this point, natural sinew must be wet in the mouth, or soaked thoroughly. The longest sinews are ideal. Once the sinew is soaked, place all three feathers arround the wood shaft, so the ends, closest to the knock, are roughly 1 inch from the deepest part of the knock groove. Carfully, with a thin strip of sinew begin wrapping the veins to the shaft at the forward end of the feathers; adjusting them so that they are spaced equal distance from one another. Keeping the bind tight as you wrap, twist the sinew thread as well. Tie a knot arround the shaft now and then to add security to the wrap already made. A slightly heaver sinew thread may be used to compensate for water damage while the arrow is in use, but moisture should be avoided entirely as this will adversely affect natural fetching. 

Once the full, stripped end has been bound with sinew, check to make sure the veins are equally seated arround the shaft. If they need much adjustment, redoo the binding. If only a little adjustment is necessary, a awl or other sharp tool can be used to move the lenth of already sinew bound vein. 

Once the veins are equally spaced, continue the wrap through the feathering fibers in a even and unrushed spiral. Make sure the wrap is tight. The vien of the feather should have a sligh helical, when the feather is finished being wrapped to the shaft, but the vein must be streight. Insure the helicl is added but that the feather vein is linear and uncurving. The spacing of the vein must be even with the same portion of the adjacent vein on the shaft. While wrapping the veins, check and adjust the spacing bettween viens; also ensure they are tight to the shaft by pulling them up in the knock direction. Once propperly positioned and the sinew woven through the section of feather fibers, pinch the vein with the sinew using the wrap and hold the sinew down with your thumb. Repeat untill you reach the end of the feathers. 

If the sinew thread nears its end, simply, tightly twist it, while wet, with about 2.5 inches overlapping the new sinew and continue wrapping to the shaft tighly, frequently checking feather spacing. The tight shaft bind, drying of the sinews in a tight twist, and glue added later should maintain a solid connection and wrap. It is likely that feathers will need to be replaced on a well looked after shaft, one with little exposure to water dammage, before the sinew wrap will fail.

Once the spiral has reached the end of the feather, carefully, to keep the wrap tight, adjust the feathers so they are even around the shaft. Pull the vein tight under the sinew by going through the feather "sections" allong the vein, lightly pulling it toward the knock end. You want the vein streight (though on a slight helical) and flush with the wood. Pull the bald end of the vein tight under a wrap or two of the sinew to remove the accumulated slack, then begin wrapping the stripped end of the feather vein. Again, add one or two knots with the sinew thread to secure the tight wrap, already made. 

Once the stripped feathering has been wrapped, spiral the wrap to just beneath the wood knock groove and make a few wrapps with the sinew here. Wrapping the sinew here will stop the bow string from destroying the knock on a wood shaft upon arrow release. I shoot a 70# bow at 28 inches so this step it necessary. Tie a knot with the sinew and the wrap is complete. 

At this point, it is quite prudent to reinforce the sinew wrappings with hot hide glue. The glue will keep the knots from coming undone, sinew from fraying during arrow use, and the feather vein lenths from migrating arround the shaft shot after shot. New glue can be added now and then to reinforce the bind. Also, when hot or fresh glue is added, keep the shaft pointed to the ground and alow to dry in this postition as well to avoid hot glue running onto the feather. 

Natural feathers do wear with shaft use, like most arrow "feathers" or silicone veins; so when this happens, simply remove, cut and cook the sinews in a soup, and refletch. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Moss and Lost Men (Finding Direction Useing Moss)

I dont often get lost in the bush. I use land marks and have a general idea of direction in my head. But while hunting, and at the same time starving or otherwise not a full form, you cant always pay attention to all the land marks.

It's difficult to get lost if you are in an area where there are many roads with the occasional noise. However, one way to tell direction is with moss. In the northern hemisphere, moss will grow primarily on the north side of trees; it does this to avoid the sun which travels east to west. Follow the moss, and you'll have an idea of the direction you need to go.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Preserving Jello or Hide Glue

I dont write the way to do things, but way to do them.
I used to save my extra bone broths (and meat) in heat sealing mason jars and store in a second fridge. The plastic from the lid was getting into my broth, so that method was thrown to the way.

Make broth, and gelatinize the liquid. The liquid should be able to stay sold at room temperature for some time; this is difficult with just bones in your average broth, so it will need much tendon and or skraped hide which is chemical and contaminant free from a wild, clean animal, to make it as thick as possible.

Scoop the jellow onto a stainless steel rack (not chrome plated) in surprisingly large chunks so that they are not touching much. If you use a glass plate, once dry, they will stick well enough to pit the glass and leave it in your food. These glass shards you absolutely dont want eat so you'll need to use a tallow or an oil (I have not tried oil) of you choice on the plate to prevent sticking. The grease that usually appears on the tops of broths works well.

Blow fans on the chunks; enough so that the surface cant stay moist initially for very long; keeping the fans blowing for 4 days or so in a well ventilated coolish room. At some point, after a few days, flip the hardening "things" and finish dehydrating the clumps.

Eventually you will be left with sharp, "things", of dehydrated jellow  which can be taken outdoors, used as hide glue (provided there is no oil on the chunks from drying), added to a soup, just left to melt in the mouth, and simply stored in a dust free container.

If the gelatin is not quite thick enough just pour it onto the the plate , with a layer of game tallow covering the surface, and the puddle will dry and begin to lift away from the plate after a couple of days.

You must coat the surface of your translucent, not colored, glass plate first or the glue will pit the surface when you try to remove it later.

Im still working on how to do this outdoors. The chunks tend to want to melt into a sloppy puddle and smell in short.

Just flipped.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Risk Assessment of The Wild

My experience has been that there is a greatly inaccurate assessment of the risks within the wild among those less experienced in the wood. "Dont touch that shroom - its probably poisonous", "Dont go into the woods - wolves will eat you (or bear or cougar)", "Dont go near the ants - they bite", "Dont go near the mice - they all have diseases". Name it, if it exists, there is a reason to hide or hate it; this perspective, given the gifts of our species has had and does have a devastating effect on our environment, and it feeds back to us.

Obviously you cant eat ALL mushrooms, but their are A-LOT of wild mushrooms you can eat and this can be said of many wild misunderstandings.

 As they say, the only thing to fear is fear - fear does not manifest only time does.