Author Topic: Medieval Fletching  (Read 59598 times)

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Offline nathan elliot

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2009, 03:56:14 pm »
Yewboy, this is fascinating stuff. You have to get it all down in a book, personal quests can often become lucrative ventures.

Nat

Offline Phil Rees

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2009, 06:10:50 pm »
Yewboy
Sounds as if your in a very privaliged position, do you have any plans to publish your research?

Yewboy

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2009, 05:30:02 am »
Well I have never thought of writing a book, however I may get round to it at some stage, but at the moment I have not completed my research, so no book untill I am absolutely sure that I have got it right.
Thanks for the thought though.
I am at present trying to recreate a natural string from hemp that will stand up to the stresses that a 150lb+ bow will put on it, I know linen works reasonably well but I feel that hemp may be stronger, if only I can work out what the glue was. So far I have raw hemp which has been spun into a thread, this is quite strong but not strong enough, I know that a pine resin glue was used to bind the fibres together but then this makes the string quite hard and not very flexible, I also know some form of natural vegetable oil was used to enable the glued string to be flexible but I have to find a natural oil that was available in England and at the correct period, The Japanease used natane oil mixed with pine resin in their hemp Yumi bow strings but this was not available in England, Rape seed oil can be used but again not available during the time period I am looking at, Natane (rapeseed) is a Brassica, so I am trying different Brassica plants and trying to extract the oil from them to make the glue.
So as you can see there is no point in me publishing anything untill I have answers for all aspect of the bow and arrows.
I have very accurate replicas of the bows made from Italian Yew, I have accurate replica arrows, but no string yet.
I will keep you all up to date with my findings if you are interested, but I will not get into time wasting arguments about my research, if someone feels they know better then please don't tell me I'm wrong unless you have physical evidense and can prove what you are saying.

Offline Phil Rees

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2009, 05:37:46 pm »
Sounds fascinating Yewboy, strings are certainly the missing piece of the jigsaw. There are, as you proberbly know, fragments of tar covered rope  recovered from the Mary Rose, do you think  they could hold a clue to the construction of the bows strings?

Yewboy

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2009, 07:33:14 pm »
Thanks for that Horace, yes but all these tar covered fragments of rope can help with is rope construction and not the glues used as these were probably fragments of the anti boarding nets that covered the decks and also helped to trap the crew when she went down, I'm sure the tar would negate the need for another glue type, however it is worth investigating, I believe recently a small fragment of what could be a bow string has been found and is now being tested by the MR Trust but I am not privvy to that info at present and probably will not be untill the MR has done their research, but here's hoping.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2009, 06:05:13 am by Yewboy »

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2009, 12:17:32 pm »
There is enough evidence about the string construction that the only open question is the composition of the "water-glewe" mentooned by Smythe, who was a great booster of archery in the reign of Elizabeth I. My guess is simply hoof glue, which has actually been used. Other possibilities are suggested by Kani, a Saracen writer who gave the recipe that Moslems were using on their silk bowstrings. It was 5 parts beeswax,10 parts resin and 20 parts fish glue which was applied to the main part of the string, not the separate loops. Crossbow strings were treated with cordwainers coode, which, although I think we don't have the exact recipe, would probably have included pine pitch, resin, oil or beeswax

Rod

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #36 on: August 03, 2009, 09:34:34 am »
It's a long way from being a "war" bow but I have an Aldred with the original string which has become rather dry having once been left for a long time in a hot dry location and the string coating has become somewhat fragmented.
It seems to me that this type of coating does better in a slightly damp climate than in one that is too dry.

Rod.

Oggie

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2009, 05:38:42 am »
My first proper post and its a question on Medieval Fletching.
Just over a year ago I was given some superb tips by a very knowledgeable chap who may well be on this forum.He showed me the benefit of deepening the nock so that a leather strip could be inserted and secured by glue and binding onto the shaft.This acts as a cushion against the string and is in addition to horn reinforcement.
I have never seen the MR or Westminster arrows up close and wonder out of interest, if this technique is in evidence on these arrows?
Best wishes,

Mark.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2009, 05:42:09 am by Ordric »

kerbinator

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2009, 12:11:19 am »

There is no reason to helically fletch them - the arrow will spin because of the natural shape of the feathers

I know this to be true from my high speed filming - http://homepage.ntlworld.com/alan.blackham/ewbs/hscam/shooting/shot1.avi


So you mean I don't have to go through all that trouble of putting a helical on my Fetches and get more range.   

Offline Davepim

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2009, 04:42:59 am »

There is no reason to helically fletch them - the arrow will spin because of the natural shape of the feathers

I know this to be true from my high speed filming - http://homepage.ntlworld.com/alan.blackham/ewbs/hscam/shooting/shot1.avi


So you mean I don't have to go through all that trouble of putting a helical on my Fetches and get more range.   

Helical fletching works well for short feathers, but for long ones of the English Warbow arrow type, you don't need them for the reason stated above. The ONLY advantage of the long feathers on these military arrows was rapid stabilisation of the arrows which were of a standard length and spine (well, more or less) whereas the bows were not, so arrow spines were not typically matched to the bow.

Cheers, Dave

Rod

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2009, 09:03:47 am »
Before the scientific measurement of spine, shafts might be sorted by cross sectional size and weight, which works well enough most of the time, there being a general but not precise relationship between density and stiffness in a shaft material of a given dimension.

Beyond this they are sorted by feel when bent in the hand and by where they go when shot cleanly, if necessary.

Rod.

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2009, 02:38:08 pm »


Helical fletching works well for short feathers, but for long ones of the English Warbow arrow type, you don't need them for the reason stated above. The ONLY advantage of the long feathers on these military arrows was rapid stabilisation of the arrows which were of a standard length and spine (well, more or less) whereas the bows were not, so arrow spines were not typically matched to the bow.

Cheers, Dave
[/quote]

 Have just got back from Europe and  my first visit to the Mary Rose museum. Quite wonderful. i met Alex Aldred who is working on a book based on her study of Mary Rose archery gear. In a position to consult the person who has seen more of Mary Rose arrows than probably anyone in the world, I asked; 'Straight fletching or helical ?" Immediate one word answer: "Helical". That's good enough for me. Others more knowledgeable than me can debate whether modern fletchers have better ideas than theirTudor ancestors.  Also, are sheaf arrows together in a leather disc all different lengths ?  No.

Offline Davepim

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #42 on: November 02, 2009, 05:06:18 am »
Bow-toxo,
     Although I have been to the MR museum, I haven't yet seen the stuff in the "back". You are correct regarding the lengths of the arrows being mixed, and this has been commented on many, many times on this and other forums, which is why I stated "sort of" referring to standardisation of the arrows. As to the fletching, I have seen several photos of the lines on the shafts where the fletching was glued, and I have to say that they look straight to me. I have seen 16th century chinese arrows with very low profile fletching, of a foot or more  in length, that were glued helically onto the shaft, so I would certainly say my original statement regarding helical fletching only working for short fletching was wrong!

Dave

Offline adb

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #43 on: November 02, 2009, 08:06:46 am »


Helical fletching works well for short feathers, but for long ones of the English Warbow arrow type, you don't need them for the reason stated above. The ONLY advantage of the long feathers on these military arrows was rapid stabilisation of the arrows which were of a standard length and spine (well, more or less) whereas the bows were not, so arrow spines were not typically matched to the bow.

Cheers, Dave

 Have just got back from Europe and  my first visit to the Mary Rose museum. Quite wonderful. i met Alex Aldred who is working on a book based on her study of Mary Rose archery gear. In a position to consult the person who has seen more of Mary Rose arrows than probably anyone in the world, I asked; 'Straight fletching or helical ?" Immediate one word answer: "Helical". That's good enough for me. Others more knowledgeable than me can debate whether modern fletchers have better ideas than theirTudor ancestors.  Also, are sheaf arrows together in a leather disc all different lengths ?  No.
[/quote]

What evidence is she basing her statement on?

Offline Davepim

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Re: Medieval Fletching
« Reply #44 on: November 02, 2009, 09:41:45 am »
Sorry Bow-toxo, I misunderstood what you were saying. Your source tells you that the arrow-shafts were all of the same length in the arrow-bags? As well as having helical fletching? Did I get this right?

Dave