Author Topic: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows  (Read 185143 times)

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duffontap

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A Note on Sources...
« Reply #60 on: November 08, 2006, 07:29:33 pm »
Three or four 78” Yew staves sitting on the drying rack kind of burn a hole in the bowyer’s pocket.  So when the early archery season ended this year without any meat in the pot, I didn’t need any more reasons to pursue another archery interest that I’ve been putting off for a long time.  It was time to start the medieval war bow. 

As I was researching whatever books and articles I could find, I was somewhat surprised at how difficult it is to obtain pictures and information on the surviving examples of the Medieval-era war bows.  Information that does exist tends to be third-person, word of mouth, contradictory, cursory, cryptic, guarded by the experts, blabbed about by idiots, popularized by actors, sensationalized by public television, and sometimes even wrong.  Good source material is necessary for serious research, so we are faced with certain limitations on this thread.  I was telling a PA member the other day that history is not a toy, and I do not wish to treat the noble things of the past with irreverence.  I was beginning to think that finding a really good source of information on these bows might have to mean going to the Mary Rose Museum and breaking into the vault with a camera and dial caliper.  Lucky for us amateurs, someone already has. 



If you’ve been with this thread from the beginning, or if you’re a loyal Primitive Archer reader, you should already be familiar with Pip Bickerstaff’s articles on the war bow.  When I was despairing of finding any information on the Mary Rose bows’ dimensions, I remembered those articles from PA and decided to write Mr. Bickerstaff to see if he could point me in the direction of a good source.  Pip wrote back almost immediately.  The information he provided in that email and following correspondence has been my primary source for what we are doing here.  Pip has built Mary Rose replicas out of Alpine Italian Yew that are about as close to the originals as you can get.  He disagrees with others, and others disagree with him, but he has handled the original bows, built many replicas, and otherwise proven that he’s someone worth listening to.  As we begin laying out the bow—I hereby acknowledge my debt.



Step 4:  ‘Laying out the Bow’ follows…

        J. D. Duff


Offline D. Tiller

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #61 on: November 08, 2006, 09:15:20 pm »
MORE MORE MORE!!!!!  ;D I've been looking for data all over the place. Bring it on!!!!

D. Tiller
“People are less likely to shoot at you if you smile at them” - Mad Jack Churchill

duffontap

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #62 on: November 08, 2006, 09:17:24 pm »
Step 4:  ‘Laying out the Bow’

As Pip told me recently:  ‘the reason there are no drawings is that almost every bow is different in width, thickness and length.’  From the bits and pieces of information that I’ve turned up—this is very true.  Pip has also said that ‘you can’t build a Mary Rose bow by numbers.’   So, in laying out the bow, we have to be careful not to take anything for granted.  Here are a few general statements on the elusive ‘average Mary Rose bow.’

1. The average Mary Rose bow is about 77.952” long.  Most are about 76-79” with one as short as 73.622”, and a bow as long as 83.020”.  (Source http://www.maryrose.org/ship/bows2.htm )
2. Bows were widest in the handle (of course) and measured about 38-40mm (roughly 1 31/64-1 9/16”) in width, with one bow only 30mm wide and others scattered in-between. 
3. War bows were laid out like all English longbows—with the top of the handle about an inch above the center. 
4. Width tapered very little for the first 20” out from center. 
5. Tips were all almost exactly 12mm (about 31/64ths”) and completely round.
6. Taper was rapid over the last 10-14” of the bow tips, with the remaining space between this point and mid-limb being negotiable. 
(Limb depth and section will be covered later)

I’ve included in the pictures a stave that I’m laying out, and my current bow that’s nearly finished.  The dark lay-out on the stave shows a safe starting point.  The bow, shows how the mass is placed on a typical war bow width taper.  You can easily see in the pictures how the bow tapers very little in the middle 40+” and then tapers to very thin tips.  Looking closely you’ll get an idea of how this width taper should look.  A straight taper from the handle to the tips would not replicate the originals which were beefy to the mid-limb and then tapered rapidly toward the relatively light tips.

For comparisons, I'm 6' 2".


This pic shows the bow from about the handle out to the tip:



A couple things I did:

Start by laying out the handle--find the center of the stave and mark as shown:



To be on the safe side, I chose to lay out the tips about 3/4” wide to reduce the risk of a bandsaw accident. 



After the outline was done I worked the tips down to just over 1/2” (later to just under 1/2”). 
At mid-limb you bow should be just under the handle width (maybe an 1/8” under).
Be very careful around character.  The knot in the pic was avoided in the bow, but created a bump in the stave that will be left a tiny bit wide for safety. 



Feel free to ask questions if I’ve been guilty of being vague on anything.  Take care. 
 
          J. D. Duff


« Last Edit: November 08, 2006, 10:03:16 pm by J. D. Duff »

Offline D. Tiller

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #63 on: November 08, 2006, 09:45:48 pm »
Thanks JD that answers a lot of questions I've had. Now to go get some wood! Unfortunatly the budget is low so now yew wood. I will be making a laminate of hickory and either Ipe or Bububinga. Same basic design though. I'm aiming for an 80# bow at 31.5 inches of draw. Monday will see me picking up the wood on my day off. I'm itching to start!

D. Tiller
“People are less likely to shoot at you if you smile at them” - Mad Jack Churchill

duffontap

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #64 on: November 08, 2006, 10:04:42 pm »
D. Tiller,

I'm happy to help.  Good luck on your bow.  Keep ckecking in, too.

     J. D.

kerbinator

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #65 on: November 08, 2006, 11:06:20 pm »
Have any of you tried shooting a flaming arrow? All of mine blow out when I shoot'em. Maybe its my fuel. Kerbinator

Offline Primitive1

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #66 on: November 09, 2006, 10:16:52 am »
Though I've never shot a flaming arrow, I've thought of it often.  I wonder if Sterno fuel would work?  It's kind of like a jellified fuel source.  I know as a kid that stuff was fun to play with (albiet dangerous).  When my buddy and I would go 'rat chasin', we had to make our own torches and paper never cut the mustard (we would go into old culverts/tunnels searching for our prey).  We did find that plastic cups worked great stuffed onto the end of a stick which had the added cool effect of dripping molten plastic globs of flame as we walked...lasted a good long while as well.    Another interesting note, they had a challange on the 'Amazing Race' show which had the contestants shooting the Mongolian bows with flaming arrows 80 yards to hit a 4' diameter bowl that had what looked like gunpowder in it.  When the flaming arrow hit the bowl, it exploded into flames and was very neat to watch.  It wasn't so neat watching people who obviously never handled a bow wrestle with them...that was painful.  I was sitting on the edge of the couch, talking out loud trying to coach them...wife thought it was quite humorous. ::)  After teaching 5 children so far, you can't blame me!
When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Cedar Hill, MO

duffontap

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #67 on: November 09, 2006, 06:10:25 pm »
While I'm working on the next step, it would be interesting to see what some of you aficionados of bow performance think of the war bow front-view outline.  Is there a reason why the taper grew progressively faster toward the tips but hardly started until mid-limb?  Keep in mind also that this outline is based on the Mary Rose bows, which me may assume to represent the height of perfection of the war bow. 

                J. D.

Offline Kviljo

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #68 on: November 09, 2006, 07:02:21 pm »
I would guess more width at midlimb is there to support more bend at midlimb, and therefore probably a faster more eliptical bow.

duffontap

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #69 on: November 09, 2006, 11:30:26 pm »
Has anyone been having trouble viewing my pics?  One person wrote me and said this.  I've been experimenting with hosted pics rather than using the attachment option because it allows me to format a little nicer.  If there are specific pictures you want to see that you're having trouble viewing--let me know by email and I'll send them in an attachment. 

                          J. D. Duff

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Offline Marc St Louis

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #70 on: November 10, 2006, 08:51:40 am »
The pictures are fine at this end
Home of heat-treating, Corbeil, On.  Canada

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Offline Dane

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #71 on: November 10, 2006, 07:26:20 pm »
JD, great work sharing all your work and insights with the rest of us. I may bump up a warbow project to sooner rather than later.

I was wondering, though, where do you plan to get a thatched building to fire? Do you plan to thatch it yourself, or mockup a shed with dry hay, for instance? Thatching is a facinating subject and craft all by itself.
Greenfield, Western Massachusetts

duffontap

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #72 on: November 10, 2006, 08:11:50 pm »
Thanks Dane,

A couple of my friends and I are planning to build a disposable/flamable hut specifically for the purpose.  Thatching is an interesting subject.  I had a roommate in college who was a missionary kid from the Philippines.  He told me stories about how they would have thatching parties.  Almost sounded like a barn raising. 

I'll post something on cross-section soon.  Take care.

               J. D. Duff

duffontap

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Table of Contents
« Reply #73 on: November 10, 2006, 08:56:30 pm »
By the way, I wanted to thank everyone for their participation in this group learning thread.  This has been a lot of fun.

As of now, I plan on including the following before we're done:

1.  Limb depth and cross-section.
2.  Floor tillering.
3.  Horn Nocks.
4.  Replica arrows (on the arrow page)
5.  Finish.
6.  Video.

If there's a question you have that you don't think will be covered under those categories, please let me know and I'll try to research an answer.  Perhaps I'll have the first bow done by the end of next week?  But can I pull it!

Thanks again.

        J. D. Duff

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Offline heavybow

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Re: Mary Rose Replica Bow Build-Along--An Entrance into the World of War Bows
« Reply #74 on: November 10, 2006, 09:41:15 pm »
Josh Thats a nice looking bow. ;D marlon