Author Topic: MR sidenocks  (Read 47965 times)

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Offline Davepim

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Re: MR sidenocks
« Reply #60 on: October 21, 2009, 04:22:47 am »
Swamp,
    This is a question that I've given a lot of thought to, mostly because I waste so much time and effort getting it right! I believe that the shape of the taper on the bow tip was traditional, going back probably thousands of years. People back in the middle ages were practically-minded, but also very tied to tradition - if something worked they were unlikely to change it. With respect, the straight taper works because of good modern glues, whereas the gradual taper works even without the horn! When I do this, I rough out the bow-tip to what looks a close match to the profile of the drill bit, then I drill out the horn and use this, placed on the bow tip and rotated round and round, as a way to find the bits that need further reduction - the horn leaves a mark on the wood. I have also wondered whether the horn nocks might have been heated up to soften them, before placing them on the bow tips (with or without glue) so that when they contract and harden up again they would form a tight fit. As you have suggested, they might have used a stone grinder with the exact internal profile of the  horn, to work the wood down. It would be interesting to see if the cones on the Mary Rose bows were standardised in any way from each particular bowyer; this might indicate such a system. However it was done, it was likely to have been done using a quick and efficient system to ensure a rapid production rate. Certainly this idea doesn't tally with the way I personally do the bow nocks, but then I am probably unusually slow and incompetent here ;)

Cheers, Dave

Offline Kviljo

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  • Archaeologist, Antitheist
Re: MR sidenocks
« Reply #61 on: October 30, 2009, 10:08:09 am »
Dave, I'm sure they did it like you do. I do it that way as well. With a bit of practise it can be done reasonably fast. They were probably not as hung up in production efficiency back then as we are today.

Mark, I can make you a couple of nocks, in water buffalo horn. Let me know if you're interested.

Offline bow-toxo

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Re: MR sidenocks
« Reply #62 on: November 08, 2009, 07:10:04 pm »
Swamp,
    This is a question that I've given a lot of thought to, mostly because I waste so much time and effort getting it right! I believe that the shape of the taper on the bow tip was traditional, going back probably thousands of years. People back in the middle ages were practically-minded, but also very tied to tradition - if something worked they were unlikely to change it. With respect, the straight taper works because of good modern glues, whereas the gradual taper works even without the horn! When I do this, I rough out the bow-tip to what looks a close match to the profile of the drill bit, then I drill out the horn and use this, placed on the bow tip and rotated round and round, as a way to find the bits that need further reduction - the horn leaves a mark on the wood. I have also wondered whether the horn nocks might have been heated up to soften them, before placing them on the bow tips (with or without glue) so that when they contract and harden up again they would form a tight fit. As you have suggested, they might have used a stone grinder with the exact internal profile of the  horn, to work the wood down. It would be interesting to see if the cones on the Mary Rose bows were standardised in any way from each particular bowyer; this might indicate such a system. However it was done, it was likely to have been done using a quick and efficient system to ensure a rapid production rate. Certainly this idea doesn't tally with the way I personally do the bow nocks, but then I am probably unusually slow and incompetent here ;)

Cheers, Dave

 I really think the [cow] horn nocks were standardized. The bowtips are all so near the same size, whatever the strength of the rest of the bow. Also, then, guildsmen were prohibited from doing the work of another guild [bowyers were not to make arrows or fletchers to make bows] and anything of horn would be made by a horner, so standardization of military gear would seem necessary. African Man described how he ground a spade bit to shape to match the tip taper and drilled the holes with that. We can see why the tips had to be round. Some say that soaking the horn in boiling water makes for a better fit. I wouldn't advise much pressure and twisting as I have caused lengthwise cracks and splits that way. They were probably glued with hide glue as Elizabethan archers in Ireland had nocks coming loose in the rain. With horn sidenocks, be sure that the groove is high enough that the string loop stays on the horn.

Offline Davepim

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Re: MR sidenocks
« Reply #63 on: November 09, 2009, 04:34:57 am »
Yes, I've had nocks split when twisting them too!, but there's no easy way out - standardised or not. The only thing I can say is that the more of these you do, the faster and easier they become.

Dave