Author Topic: Medieval Fletching  (Read 60905 times)

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triton

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2009, 03:49:10 pm »
when speaking to Chris Boyton some time ago the subject of the copper in the glue came up and he has a good theory, which is that the glue (being nocked up in copper pots) would have absorbed the copper.
Great minds think alike  ;)

Rod

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2009, 02:09:00 pm »
Except that being of an age where I remember glue pots being commonplace in a workshop, I don't think I ever saw one made out of copper....

Rod.



acetate: a salt of acetic acid

verdigris: basic cupric acetate: popularly, the green coating of basic cupric carbonate that forms in atmosphere on copper, brass or bronze.

triton

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2009, 02:57:47 pm »
they were made from iron and only because in those days everything was made of iron. my dad still has at least one.
But as anyone that knows anything will testify, warm something up that you want to stay warm for any time and you make it from copper, not iron.
The iron glue pots were two part, an inner pot for the glue dropped inside another pot full of hot water.

Offline anglobow

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2009, 01:21:58 am »
From what Iíve heard, medieval fletching was usually applied straight. Go figure, I think itís harder to fletch straight than it is to fletch offset (feathers are naturally curved).

I am the author of the fletching article in the magazine. I have not had the pleasure of examining any original European artifacts because I live far across the pond. Iím not a highly opinionated academic, just a guy who has been experimenting with different materials that would have been historically available in Europe (goose feathers, linen thread, etc). How can anyone say exactly how an arrow was fletched in medieval times without actually seeing it done. All I know is that the method in my article has worked for me and I wanted to share it. Iíve loosed enough arrows to learn what holds up and what does not. Of all the methods Iíve tried, birch pitch is the most durable option.

Iím sure that different techniques were used at any given time, in any given part of Europe. A lot of it probably depended on what materials they had at hand and how much time they could dedicate to the task, at least in the early days. In my experience, the most efficient way to fletch heaps of medieval war arrows would have been to use some type of hide glue brushed on once the feathers were bound in place. Still a time consuming task by modern standards. I donít remember any references to birch pitch being used in the later medieval days. Itís just too time consuming. A beeswax and pitch mixture has to be applied the same way, also time consuming. But then again, Mary Rose was probably carrying primo archery gear, and the glue may have been beeswax and pitch. Probably the bigger question is whether the Mary Rose arrows represent the typical medieval war arrow or highly polished pieces of gear.   

Offline Ohio John

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2009, 09:55:32 am »
I think you guys should both kiss and make up... Or maybe find a nice girl and go out to dinner or something.
I like to throw rocks at em..... just like my grandfather's, grandfathers, grandfather's, grandfather's, grandfather did

Offline JackCrafty

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2009, 02:35:33 am »
Amazing how uniform the whipping is...and the number of turns is much higher than I would expect of a war arrow. Looks like there was a lot of care taken in the construction of the MR arrows.  I haven't read the article in PA yet....looking forward to seeing it.

From personal experience, a beeswax mixture seems to be a more reasonable "glue" than an animal based glue.  Rain and moisture would affect the animal glue and make quite a mess, in my opinion. Isn't formaldehyde the only thing that makes animal glue insoluble?
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
Youtube: JackCrafty, Allergic Hobbit, Patrick Blank

Where's Rock? Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How to Cook It?  200į for 24hrs then 275į to 500į for 4hrs (depending on type), Cool for 12hr

Offline anglobow

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2009, 09:38:21 am »
Jack, adding tannin is suposed to make hide glue more water resistant. I tried it and did not notice a difference. Also tried smoking it over a fire, said to naturally impart  formaldehyde. That did not work for me either.

Offline JackCrafty

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2009, 02:32:14 pm »
Anglobow, that's good info.  I've heard of the "smoke the glue" idea for making animal glue water resistant (because of the formaldehyde present in smoke) but the concentration seems to be too small to make a difference.  I'm glad you were able to perform a test to confirm.

In the discussions I've seen on the MR artifacts, the chemistry of the interaction of the water (where the ship was submerged) and the artifacts was only briefly mentioned.  I wonder how well it is understood?  Certainly animal glue would not survive after being submerged for so long....even if it was "waterproofed".  Is there a good reference on the chemistry of the interaction between salt water and the bows/arrows?  Have there been tests performed on reproductions which have been submerged for long periods?  Thanks.
Any critter tastes good with enough butter on it.

Patrick Blank
Midland, Texas
Youtube: JackCrafty, Allergic Hobbit, Patrick Blank

Where's Rock? Public Waterways, Road Cuts, Landscape Supply, Knap-Ins.
How to Cook It?  200į for 24hrs then 275į to 500į for 4hrs (depending on type), Cool for 12hr

Offline anglobow

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2009, 10:00:36 am »
Jack, I don't know if such tests have been made, but it would be interesting to see.

I haven't done a whole lot of reading on the Mary Rose or the medieval archery texts that everyone talks about. I guess I'm more interested in the earlier stuff, stone age through early medieval.

Offline Ohio John

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2009, 08:59:47 pm »
I think less typing and more shooting would straighten out everyones attitude
I like to throw rocks at em..... just like my grandfather's, grandfathers, grandfather's, grandfather's, grandfather did

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2009, 01:55:47 pm »
       Thanks Anglobow for your excellent article that shows clearly how early mediaeval arrows were fletched. As you said, birch tar, unlike animal glue, is waterproof. It is found on arrows up to the Viking period and went out of use in England but continued on the continent and is still produced in Poland and Russia. I believe the same process with substitute ingredients, also waterproof, was used on the MR waxed arrows. Animal glue, not waterproof, might have been less desirable at sea.                               

        As I have said, I welcome correction. In that spirit, I checked my notes and correct myself, The Alemannic arrows had straight fletching but the Viking arrows were definitely helical as shown in my drawing . For the Mary Rose arrows, I plan to visit the MR exhibit in September and can see for myself. I would appreciate suggestions on how to get hands on access.

Yewboy

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #26 on: July 17, 2009, 04:54:11 am »
       Thanks Anglobow for your excellent article that shows clearly how early mediaeval arrows were fletched. As you said, birch tar, unlike animal glue, is waterproof. It is found on arrows up to the Viking period and went out of use in England but continued on the continent and is still produced in Poland and Russia. I believe the same process with substitute ingredients, also waterproof, was used on the MR waxed arrows. Animal glue, not waterproof, might have been less desirable at sea.                               

        As I have said, I welcome correction. In that spirit, I checked my notes and correct myself, The Alemannic arrows had straight fletching but the Viking arrows were definitely helical as shown in my drawing . For the Mary Rose arrows, I plan to visit the MR exhibit in September and can see for myself. I would appreciate suggestions on how to get hands on access.

Well if your very very good I can possibly get you into the back room to handle some of the artifacts, PM me nearer the time and I'll see what I can do.

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2009, 10:43:03 pm »

Well if your very very good I can possibly get you into the back room to handle some of the artifacts, PM me nearer the time and I'll see what I can do.


 Thank you for your very generous offer. It's much appreciated.

                                                                      Cheers,
                                                                          Erik

Offline Phil Rees

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2009, 05:17:24 pm »
Yewboy
It sounds as though your conducting some pretty interesting reseaerch.  I'm sure the vast majority of the forums members would be interested to know the exact nature of your research hypothesis and your research methodology.

Yewboy

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #29 on: July 29, 2009, 06:05:05 am »
Yewboy
It sounds as though your conducting some pretty interesting reseaerch.  I'm sure the vast majority of the forums members would be interested to know the exact nature of your research hypothesis and your research methodology.
Hi Horace
Well my research is really a personal venture to gain as much knowledge on the subject of the medieval military bow and the arrows that were used with them, I am very fortunate in the fact the the MR Trust have allowed me access to the artifacts and a study room to further my research, My methodology is purely hands on and experimental with actual close reproductions, I also have similar access to the Westminster Abbey with regards the arrow found.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 06:37:30 am by Yewboy »