Author Topic: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery  (Read 18529 times)

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Offline PatM

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2015, 04:46:54 pm »
Those are not my words.....

Offline mullet

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2015, 05:59:06 pm »
Don't want to overstep my bounds here but it seems that the majority of comments here in the article add nothing to the original topic, and seem to be "feeding the fire". Mods is there a way to lock it until the original poster has an update? Maybe this sort of back and forth is common (have not seen anything along these lines yet in my limited use of this forum) but it seems to be a lot more hostile than any other posts I have read.

We are all here because we have a common love for primitive archery and a certain level of respect for the history. Can we try to get back on the rails and guide this topic back to those values?

Wills still looking forward to the update on Marks methods of construction and materials used in his blunts and how they perform. Maybe this is all "common sense" to most but for others (myself included) it is an interesting topic that maybe we haven't seen discussed in length.

Sorry don't usually post things like this especially being this new to the community, but this is one community I have come to respect and admire and this is a side of it that I haven't seen before (and don't really care for).

::) You must be new here ???. This is nothing when you guys start talking about, "what if". I've been reading all of this and have to agree with PatM, kinda :o Everybody seemed to use Blunts and nobody knows what for unless you were there.

 And, sorry, from a Yank's perspective, it cracked me up when Del said the article was a "little wordy". When you guys try to explain or talk about anything  I fall asleep before I figure out what this new discovery is about.  If someone doesn't use the right Terminology, or structure the sentence correctly, it's good for another bowl of popcorn and a cold beer. ;). Just kidding around, but, hey, you guys get too serious for me over a very short time in History. But I love reading this Thread.

 It's fun to read when I'm drinking a Cold One. :)
Lakeland, Florida
 If you have to pull the trigger, is it really archery?

Offline adb

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2015, 10:01:06 pm »
Looks like a bunch of posts got deleted! Is somebody in the penalty box?? ;D

Offline mullet

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2015, 10:36:36 pm »
Adam;
 I came into this late. It wasn't me.
Lakeland, Florida
 If you have to pull the trigger, is it really archery?

Offline meanewood

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2015, 04:24:33 am »
I've got a feeling, the lack of arrowhead finds at 'butts" would be because they were not used, only blunts.

I think I've seen quite a few references to hunting and war heads to be illegal in medieval times and it was a hanging offence to be in possession of one!

mikekeswick

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2015, 04:06:49 am »
Also when you are shooting at a well designed backstop why would you be snapping points off? Especially off a 1/2 inch thick shaft.
Anybody who makes a backstop then goes shooting and finds that all his arrow points have snapped off is likely to try and make a better backstop.
I think it's as simple as this.

Offline WillS

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2015, 06:09:50 am »
I'm not convinced it was due to losing arrow heads, but more down to the cost of making them.

If you've already got every blacksmith making heads for the millions of arrows required for war, you don't want them wasting time and materials making heads for practice arrows.  Therefore you use wooden blunts that weigh the same so that archers can practice without needing expensive heads.

I think its similar to bows in that respect - you have guilds popping out elm, ash, hazel and other meane wood bows for practice purposes, and using expensive outsourced yew to supply troops for warfare.  I can't see every archer in the country being given yew bows and stacks of steel-tipped arrows just to practice with them and ultimately lose/break them.

Give 'em something cheap that allows them to practice and improve without costing a fortune, and save the "real thing" for actual conflict.

Offline adb

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #37 on: January 27, 2015, 09:54:06 am »
I see your point Will, but I don't entirely agree. I don't think there has been any armed forces in history that has practised with one weapon, and gone into battle with another. I know they're both longbows, but it doesn't make sense.

I do a lot of shooting, and even when I'm flight shooting with warbows, I don't lose many heads. Actually, I've never lost one of my hand forged heads while flight shooting my warbows. The only heads I lose are lost arrows, or heads that stay in the target when I pull them out.

I agree that blunts were likely used extensively during this period, but it's not for new or different reasons. I don't go stumping with broadheads most of the time... I use a blunt!

Offline PatM

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #38 on: January 27, 2015, 10:20:51 am »
If you shoot at a typical target at long range with a blunt, does it stick in?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 12:23:40 pm by PatM »

Offline WillS

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #39 on: January 27, 2015, 11:59:10 am »
I see your point Will, but I don't entirely agree. I don't think there has been any armed forces in history that has practised with one weapon, and gone into battle with another. I know they're both longbows, but it doesn't make sense.

I do a lot of shooting, and even when I'm flight shooting with warbows, I don't lose many heads. Actually, I've never lost one of my hand forged heads while flight shooting my warbows. The only heads I lose are lost arrows, or heads that stay in the target when I pull them out.

I agree that blunts were likely used extensively during this period, but it's not for new or different reasons. I don't go stumping with broadheads most of the time... I use a blunt!

Here's my thought - you make perfect sense in context of today's usage, but then a few guys shooting today with cheap ways of getting/making heads is quite different to the many thousands who would be training regularly.  Personally I still think it would make sense for the "higher power" to decide that the thousands of archers practicing need a cheap, sustainable type of arrow head that allows the same form and technique skills to be practiced, without wasting arrow heads.

Many who are into shooting warbows these days make their own heads - steel is incredibly cheap - and if they don't then buying hand-forged ones is no longer expensive or difficult.  Compare that to the medieval period when you needed millions of them to be made from steel that needed to be sourced for that specific use and it's quite a different thing!

I guess the main point of Mark's research is that zero heads have been found anywhere other than battle sites.  When you take the massive number of archers require to practice (and let's use 100 years as a base estimate) even if only a few heads are lost for one archer's entire career of practice you're still looking at hundreds of thousands of missing arrow heads (lost in towns, cities, villages etc that are constantly excavated and turned over for various reasons) and not a single head has been found.  That simply doesn't make any sense, until you factor in the idea that the heads are perhaps wooden instead of steel.

As an aside, the blunts we're talking about have sharp points in the end of them, they're not just "blunt" so to speak.  They'd be useful for all kinds of shooting, from target to stumping.

Offline WillS

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #40 on: January 27, 2015, 12:06:04 pm »
Here's the infamous Lutrell Psalter image of archers practicing at the target butte, using blunts.  You can see the sharp points on the blunts in the close up pic.





The wooden blunts that I've seen Mark make are identical to this, using natural fibre binding in the middle, and wooden sharp points in the end.

Offline outcaste

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #41 on: January 27, 2015, 03:40:53 pm »
Hi,

Relevant to the topic is the 2008 paper written by Richard Wadge: 'Medieval Arrowheads from Oxfordshire'. Lots if interesting information on arrowhead finds; military, hunting and for practice. I would also like to know the number of medieval organic blunts found in the UK. Can anyone cast any light on this?

Alistair

Offline Yeomanbowman

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2015, 12:17:22 pm »
Will,
From the Psalter image you posted we can see that the blunts have clearly stuck deep into the butt whether they had protruding steel/iron or not.  Looking at the archers, it is difficult to read what the artist is portraying as some arrows appear to be self/horn pointed and others tipped (or placed over needle bodkins).  It could be read from the image that some arrows have been all made from a single billet of wood as in other bow cultures.  Our un-steeled replica stuck in the ground in the summer, albeit, a Welsh summer!!!
The image linked here is for hunting and not practice, per se.  This looks metal tipped but if he misses or bird flies away mid shot, the arrow could end up pinned high in the tree.
http://www.bl.uk/turning-the-pages/?id=d06e9f02-074d-46f7-a46c-090548b402d5&type=book
If the blunts are placed over bodkins, as you suggest, how does this save on metal?  Is it that it ensured, or a least goes some way to, that metal heads were easier to find?

Offline WillS

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Re: New Article on Blunts and their use in medieval archery
« Reply #43 on: February 02, 2015, 01:08:37 pm »
Hi Jeremy,

I wasn't suggesting that they were placed over bodkins at all - as far as I'm aware (and looking at the blunts Mark made) it's all wood.  The blunt itself (the main body bound with natural fibres and turned) is wooden, as is the sharp point sticking out.  Whether it's all a single piece or not I don't know, but it makes more sense if it is one piece. 

My own personal interpretation of it all is that steel was saved for the military heads due to cost and labour (both in preparing the steel and in forging the heads) and most other types of head used for practice, hunting, sport etc would be wooden, keeping the cost down and ergo resulting in far fewer metal heads being found in areas that weren't involved in battle. 

So to clarify, I don't think the blunts were placed over bodkins, but that the blunts included sharp wooden spikes at the end, either turned with the blunt itself or fixed somehow to the blunt.  Perhaps even the arrow shaft itself was sharpened and heated to strengthen it, and a blunt placed around it to provide the necessary weight?

When Mark and Ian write up the next bit hopefully they'll discuss his methods of construction.