Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Bow II: A Trilogy in Four Parts

Expensive Firewood

A few months ago I wrote about my latest obsession- archery. At that time I bought a few bows and had a go at making my own. How hard can it be? A longbow is essentially a stick, isn’t it? So I obtained a piece of straight grained Ash and set about the project like a man possessed/demented. I plundered YouTube for information and purchased all the correct woodworking tools. I knew, with my C.S.E obtained at Tipton Secondary Modern  in woodwork (grade 4), I could knock out a bow in a matter of weeks. I should have reflected upon the fact the reason I managed to get a mean grade 4 was mainly due to my excellence in the theory and not the practice. Tis a shame that my Alma Mater burnt down the day after I left. As an astonishing point of coincidence, the fire started in the woodwork room. Predictably I fucked it all up (the bow, not the fire) and ended up with a piece of expensive firewood. I made every mistake possible but learned greatly from the exercise. No problem, I’m sure I could use the Ash for one of my many incendiary projects. The council has just inaugurated a lunatic asylum down the road from where I live. Of course you can’t call it a lunatic asylum these days. I think the council has named the place: ‘The Mental Health Unit’. The neighbours call it: The ‘Fruit ‘n’ Nut house. I’m starting to senesce.

Being of an obsessive nature makes me stubborn (nay, obdurate) and persistent. So, I decided to start again but this time I’m  making the task a little easier. I’ve managed to source a consignment of wide diameter bamboo (4 inches). Currently attempting to build a bamboo Asiatic horse bow. The handle and syhas (winged end bits) have been fashioned out of a piece of random hardwood I salvaged from a local dumpster. The next stage is to work the bamboo flat, heat harden and to shape the limbs. I’ll retreat to my ‘man cave’ this weekend for the final stage of the bow making process. Actually bamboo is easy to work, very forgiving and therefore I’m moderately optimistic that I’ll end up with a workable bow.

After a four week training course at the local archery club I’m a fully paid up member, together with my son. Our Saturday mornings, weather permitting, are spent at the club range. Afterwards we retire to the local pub (‘Felching Ferret’) for lunch and a couple of pints of foaming ale.

Now we come to my bow collection. Did I mention my obsessive nature? I now own seven bought bows. Most of the collection is of the primitive variety without sights and sophisticated appendages. Only a single bow has adjustable sights. The draw weights vary 26lb to 55lb. I confess I struggle with the highest poundage bow although it is a favourite with my son. I own two Eastern/Asiatic bows; one longbow and the rest are recurves.   

My archery is improving and although I’m no Robin Hood I did manage to shoot the neighbour’s cat, Fluffikins. In mitigation, I was very, very, drunk. I will keep my readers updated with regard to the bow making and Fluffikins convalescence.

Go Fluffikins

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