Author Topic: a wet spring.  (Read 18591 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

briarbrow

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2007, 11:53:42 pm »
If a stave has high moisture content it will follow the string considerably.  The MRBs don't show much set and sometimes none or backset.  The bowyers supposedly air-dried their staves for 7 years so they had an understanding of the affect of moisture content.  It is most likely that bows were kept in human environments where they would stay suitably warm and dry.  A day marching in the rain won't hurt a greased-up bow at all and a night by the fire will have it as dry as ever.  Most primitive cultures seem to be savvy about moisture content, so I don't think there is any reason to believe that the MRBs had to be significantly overbuilt to allow them to be soaking wet.  Also, historical accounts tell us that the archers were very in-tuned to the affects of moisture (i.e. removing and protecting their strings at Crecy when it rained). 

            J. D. Duff
Hiya JD.
my first question was how attentive are you to MC. you don't see in effects? or how many damp days before you feel it softening?

I don't have the answer only a feeling a different kind of fighting needed a different kind of tool. cheers:)

>>> it's funny the site spellcheck doesn't recognize the word "bowyer"

duffontap

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2007, 03:19:24 am »
JD, weren't most of the MR-bows unused? - so no wonder they didn't have stringfollow   ;)

Very interesting discussion by the way :)

Well Kviljo,
As a bowyer yourself, you know that a bow takes 80-100% of its string follow while being tillered to full draw.  Even if they hadn't been 'broken in' they had been finished completely.

            J. D. Duff

duffontap

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2007, 03:32:10 am »
If a stave has high moisture content it will follow the string considerably.  The MRBs don't show much set and sometimes none or backset.  The bowyers supposedly air-dried their staves for 7 years so they had an understanding of the affect of moisture content.  It is most likely that bows were kept in human environments where they would stay suitably warm and dry.  A day marching in the rain won't hurt a greased-up bow at all and a night by the fire will have it as dry as ever.  Most primitive cultures seem to be savvy about moisture content, so I don't think there is any reason to believe that the MRBs had to be significantly overbuilt to allow them to be soaking wet.  Also, historical accounts tell us that the archers were very in-tuned to the affects of moisture (i.e. removing and protecting their strings at Crecy when it rained). 

            J. D. Duff
Hiya JD.
my first question was how attentive are you to MC. you don't see in effects? or how many damp days before you feel it softening?

I don't have the answer only a feeling a different kind of fighting needed a different kind of tool. cheers:)

>>> it's funny the site spellcheck doesn't recognize the word "bowyer"

Good question.
I'm very attentive to MC.  I don't use a moisture meter, but I keep a close eye on how the stave is behaving as I bend it.  If the moisture content isn't right I can tell by the way the stave responds to stress. 

As far as how many days it takes before it starts softening--once a stave is dried completely (down to ten percent or less), MC will rise and fall slowly.  Normal days in the rain followed by nights indoors are not abusive to selfbows.  A week of walking around in pouring rain would leave a bow pretty soggy IF it wasn't cared for at all.  I believe that bows would be cared for by the archers much the way any soldier cares for his equipment.  Longbows were objects of value and they weren't left leaning against trees overnight in the rain. 

Bottom line, from a bowyer's perspective, you don't season a yew stave for 7 years just to let it get soaking wet again.  They didn't need epoxy to keep things dry either.  It was easy, daily application of wax or grease.

                J. D. Duff

Offline Kviljo

  • Member
  • Posts: 488
  • Archaeologist, Antitheist
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2007, 08:12:08 am »
JD, weren't most of the MR-bows unused? - so no wonder they didn't have stringfollow   ;)

Very interesting discussion by the way :)

Well Kviljo,
As a bowyer yourself, you know that a bow takes 80-100% of its string follow while being tillered to full draw.  Even if they hadn't been 'broken in' they had been finished completely.

            J. D. Duff

That really depends on how far you tiller it. With so many bows beeing made, I don't find it likely that they carefully tillered it every inch to 32" as we do with our precious pieces of yew. My bet is that they had so much experience with making these, that they relyed on an even taper giving the bow a good tiller, more than we do.

However, I do agree that they must have had a good insight in how moisture affected bows. Yew twists and warps like mad, so using well seasoned blanks must have been obvious to them.

duffontap

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2007, 11:28:54 pm »
I can just hear it now:  'here you go archers.  Take your unfinished, untested bow and line up behind the pikeman.  Nevermind the reputation Yew has for exploding during the tillering process, or the fact that Yew needs to be slowly exercised to full draw.  Our bowyers are the best in the world and they only need to tiller a bow to 10" before it goes to war.  Don't forget your safety glasses.' ;D ;D ;D

You have a point, great bowyers can thickness-taper a bow and have it close enough to string.  I just doubt that they were sending finished bows into war that had not been tillered to full draw. 

                 J. D. Duff

briarbrow

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2007, 09:30:38 pm »
The tillering is not so much an issue is it?
I never thought they might be wet tillered.
 liquid water again,  is not the concern; it is water vapor which cannot be stopped by waxing or wool bow socks.

dry heat would do it.  Was there really enough of that to go around on a 6 week tour?

 I am saying they were in tune with the moisture content, and dealt with it. These bows were not lifelong companions you guys make them out to be were they? they were stored in chests.




Offline Loki

  • Member
  • Posts: 381
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2007, 09:42:22 pm »
The Bows were disposable items,no fancy decorations like handles and polished horn nocks  ;D.I dont know what life span the Bow would be expected to have,but they certainly werent lifelong companions  ;D.
Quote
they were stored in chests.
is that Bad?
Durham,England

Offline Kviljo

  • Member
  • Posts: 488
  • Archaeologist, Antitheist
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2007, 10:19:28 pm »
For some, I bet they were! :-\


JD, now you're just being silly :P  Of course they wouldn't hand out bows they weren't sure would hold.
But give anyone a full year worth of good yew staves and a piecework contract, and I bet he or she would be able to make a fully functioning warbow without having it on the tiller, in the end of the year. And that's probably what it was all about - making effective weapons as efficiently as possible.

Though, I don't think you can attribute much to the fact that most of MR-bows didn't have stringfollow. After 450 years, the wood would probably have straightened itself out to near its original shape.



Anyone got an idea of the relative air humidity onboard a wooden ship sailing along the same latitude as England?

briarbrow

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2007, 12:54:28 am »
Nothing wrong with chests. Though I was implying they were not being always rubbed. and for potentially long periods of time.

However a good wooden box like that could make a relatively good buffer between the air and bow MC now that i think of it.

Wax is also used when drying difficult timbers. with a very thick coating it really slows things down. But if you are burnishing it off it can't be thick. (only mentioning)

Even if you don't use a moisture meter what is your guesstimate of the approximate MC of your bow in its best fighting form?

My guess, which it is of course (sorry) would be RH hovering around 100%. why not?

duffontap

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #24 on: May 15, 2007, 02:46:32 am »
Briarbrow,
Are you a bowyer? 

Kviljo,
I'm not sure what you thought was silly.

              J. D. Duff
« Last Edit: May 15, 2007, 02:48:42 am by J. D. Duff »

briarbrow

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2007, 08:42:53 am »
Briarbrow,
Are you a bowyer? 

Kviljo,
I'm not sure what you thought was silly.

              J. D. Duff

Hi JD,
That depends on your definition a little. I have made some bows. Why do you ask?

duffontap

  • Guest
Re: a wet spring.
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2007, 01:19:42 pm »
Hey Briarbrow,
I was asking because you said that liquid moisture was not the issue--water vapor was.  If water vapor is the issue then, there isn't a real problem because wood seasoned to the high-humidity climate of England is going to maintain a relatively steady--albeit high--moisture content.  Outdoor seasoned staves around England probably settle out to around 11-14% moisture content depending on the season.  This is not too high for Yew to perform well and would not necessitate significant overbuilding. 

I think the real issue is dealing with long campaigns in pouring rain.  An unprotected bow would soak up a lot of moisture and take 6" of set.  I think all of us would agree that the English bowman would protect their bows against this kind of moisture-absorption.  It should also be mentioned that wax and fat do create working vapor barriers. 

I think the original question was regarding whether the bows were overbuit because they had such high moisture content.  I'm trying to argue that they were well-seasoned and protected.  The English built bows that performed extremely well.  You can't do anything like what they did without nearly perfect bows.  If they were overbuilt due to moisture, they would not have had the cast that they did. 

                     J. D. Duff