Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Latest News on Custom Arrows

Well, folks… I’ve put this off as long as I could, but I’m afraid I have to do it…

I need to raise my prices.

Every time I’ve ordered arrow shafts in the last year the price has been higher than the previous order. I try to keep the cost under control by ordering in bulk but it still adds up.
My main feather supplier raised prices last January and I’ve been absorbing the difference for the past 11 months.
It’s just gotten to the point where I can no longer afford to keep the prices where they are.

I’ll hold off for another month, but effective January 1st prices for a dozen arrows will go up $10.
So a dozen arrows of the basic design that have been selling for $70 will now be $80. The crowned and crested arrows that have been $90 for the dozen will now be $100. Other designs will see a similar increase.

No matter how I justify the increase, this is still a lot of money and I recognize that. However, if you peruse other custom arrow makers I think my work will still stand as a good value for what you receive.

I use only hand spined shafts that have been weight matched to +/- 10 grains (usually much closer in weight). Unless otherwise requested, all arrows come cut to the specified length, tapered for a tip, and field points firmly glued on. Arrows I make are ready to shoot when you receive them and this is included in the price rather than added to it as many arrow makers do.

And… all the arrows I make are true custom arrows. While I have some basic guidelines to assist folks with decisions, there is no catalog where you choose Combo A or Option 4. You and I will be working together to get true custom arrows that you can be proud of in the field or on the range.

I’ll tell you a secret… do you know the most common email I get when someone has just received their new arrows?
“These are too pretty to shoot!”
I’m just as proud of the arrows I make as their new owners are.

As I mentioned, I’ll stay with the old prices through the month of December. If you order and pay for arrows in December we’ll use the lower price. If you make your order on the first of the year I’m going to look at you with sad eyes and charge you a bit more than the day before.

Thank you for your support.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Medieval Marketplace this Saturday

Rather late notice for me to be saying anything, but Greenman Archery will be at the SCA event, Medieval Marketplace this coming Saturday, November 26.
The event will be held at Kuns Park, 1600 Bonita Ave, La Verne, CA 91750. The site opens for shoppers at 10:00am and you don't even have to camp out Friday night to get the good deals.

Medieval Marketplace is essentially a shopping event for SCA-type vendors and products. There should be about sixteen different merchants there carrying a wide variety of goods, many of which are handcrafted and quite unique.
While Thanksgiving day looks like it may have some rain and dreary weather, Saturday is forecast for beautiful California weather: clear skys and a 79 degree high.
We attended Medieval Marketplace last year and had a very good time. It was wonderful to have a chance to see everyone. The site is fairly small so it's easy to visit with friends, new and old.

I hope to see everyone there!


We had a great time yesterday at Medieval Marketplace!

There seemed to me to be a slight shortage of customers but I don't think it affected our day much. Quite a few mundane folks came through the event looking at what everyone had to sell so we had a few interesting conversations trying ot explain what they saw. Most were somewhat fascinated with the whole event. There was some heavy fighting going on in a "Bear Pit" scenario and that noise and excitement is always popular for folks to watch.

I thank everyone who placed arrow orders with me. Your patronage is so very greatly appreciated as I try to make this little business work and keep me out of an office.

I also thank Master Hroar for making his late wife's books, fabric, and other items available for new homes. It's never easy to lose someone but he can rest assured that at least her things have gone on to new and loving homes that will care for and value them as she did. I purchased a book on fruit and vegetable preserving and a book on bread making - something I need quite a bit of help with. Fayme got some beautiful fabric as well as some sewing, gardening, and cooking books. Some people believe that a person is never truly gone so long as their memory is held in someone's heart. If that is the case, Mistress Huette's memory is in for a very long run as folks use and love her items.

A high point of the day for me was a surprise visit from Gary and Michael. They were very heavily involved with the SCA for a number of years but have not been participating of late as other activities take their time. Gary is a leather worker of no small talent and I've been nudging him to get out his tools to make some items for me to carry. He's currently busy with learning a new job as he prepares to retire from his first job, but I have a feeling that he's weakening and I'll eventually have some wonderful leather quivers and other parts available for sale.

Happy Archery!

I have been asked if there are any pictures from the day. I don't normally get a chance to take pictures due to being too busy. But Fayme frequently takes more than a couple and posts them on her Flickr:
SCA Medieval Marketplace with neovictorian


Monday, November 21, 2011

Robin Hood and the White Arrow

So last Friday night we did something that I haven’t done in quite a long time…
We went to a play!

Let me back up a little.
A few days earlier I had emailed a friend of mine a happy 236th birthday for the USMC. Erik is a Marine who’s given his country some pretty good service over the years. Like many of today’s service men and women, he has a number of Middle East tours under his belt. These deployments have taken him away from his wife and two young children but he’s done the job with honor and courage and I’m proud to call him friend.
Anyway, Erik emailed me back to thank me for the birthday wishes and told me that he was in a play at the Rose Center Theater in Westminster, CA. The play was a musical called Robin Hood and the White Arrow. That sounded pretty good so Fayme and I started looking at our schedule and the show dates. Suddenly, Erik emailed me and asked me to call him, immediately. I did, we chatted for a bit, he asked me to do something, I agreed, and we decided to go see the play this past Friday evening.

Wow, talk about a good time!
Robin Hood and the White Arrow is a musical and we just enjoyed the hell out of it. The story follows much of the Robin Hood legend as we usually know it but goes into a unique direction that made for a very good story of the legendary hero and his followers.
There are some seriously good talents in this play and I was blown away at the strength of their voices.
Best of all, I got to see my White Arrow used in the play, and a noble part it had.
That’s what Erik had asked of me, can I make them a good white arrow? They opened the play with one of his personal arrows simply spray painted white. Then he suddenly thought of where he could get a white arrow made specifically for their purposes. I was happy and honored to do it.

Sorry, no pictures from the play itself. You'll just have to go see it for yourself. Trust me, you won't be sorry.

Thanks, Erik!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

She Made a Bow!

If you saw the last post you read about how Amanda met me at Pasadena and got a good start on her bow.
At this past Sunday’s SCA event she and I got back together so she could get it finished.

The bow was bending pretty good but one limb was consistently stiffer than the other. Amanda kept working on it with the cabinet scraper without a whole lot of change.

When Amanda asked me for the Shinto rasp I asked her why she wanted that tool since it removes wood a lot faster than the cabinet scraper. She showed me how she had compared limb thickness from one limb to the other and saw that she had quite a bit of wood to remove before they matched thickness. That was just about the best reasoning I’ve ever seen and it just pleased me to see her take that jump in understanding. I gave her the Shinto.

It wasn’t too much longer before she was back with the cabinet scraper. A little bit after that and we decided tillering was done: the limbs were bending well and evenly and the bow’s weight was in the range she was looking for. After thinning the limb tips Amanda re-cut the nock grooves and we were ready for a string.

By this time the event had ended and we had to leave the field. Changing location to the benches at the nearby short range I made up the new string, served it, and she put the first arrows across the bow.


At this shoot I also met a gentleman who had what is probably the most beautiful bow I have ever seen. Heath had an #85 longbow of Italian yew made by English bowyer Steve Stratton. Mr. Stratton is a Master Bowyer in The Craft Guild of Traditional Bowyers and Fletchers and if Heath's bow is a representative sample of Mr. Stratton's work, he well deserves the title.
I had the pleasure of holding the bow for a few minutes while I put a new serving on the string and I did not want to give it back. A yew bow of that weight has something it in that awakens the soul of a traditional archer.
Also impressive was Heath's clothing and kit, all period appropriate for an English longbowman. To top it all off, he was a hell of a nice fellow to chat with. Heath mentioned that he wants to learn bowmaking so I told him he really needs to come to our Pasadena gatherings where he can meet others of a like mind and we can get him started on his bowmaking path.

Watching those big arrows fly in the clout was a real treat.

Happy archery, everyone!

Monday, October 17, 2011

She's Making a Bow!

It looks like I’m on a roll for posting lately!

Yesterday we had our monthly gathering of primitive enthusiasts at the Pasadena Roving Archers range in Pasadena, CA.
This is a loosely knit group with widely varied interests. For the most part we focus on doing things by hand. Some of the folks are skilled in things like flint knapping, primitive fire making, forging, bow making, making arrows from natural materials like shoots, branches, etc., and other “older” skills.

The monthly gatherings are a chance for us to show off our most recent successes, and failures, and get advice from others who may be more familiar with certain skills. Plus, we get to spend time with some truly great friends.

I met Amanda at Great Western War, the SCA event I recently attended. She was interested in making a bow but didn’t have the time available during the event. We arranged to meet at this month’s Pasadena gathering to get her going down the dark path of bowery.

Amanda was certainly working harder than those characters sitting in the background.

That's my new red wagon back there... thanks Mom! It's become invaluable to cart stuff from the truck to where we gather. Plus, Jack, who is hiding under Barbara's shirt in the background, loves riding around in it.

A number of tools are suitable for making these board bows. Personally, I prefer the block plane but Amanda got good use out of the spokeshave.

She didn’t quite get the bow finished before I had to leave, taking the bow horse and tools with me. But Amanda did get to the point where we put a tillering string on the bow and she began to get the limbs bending evenly. We should be able to get it finished at this next weekend’s SCA Agincourt event at the Woodley Park archery range in Van Nuys.

Single day SCA events don’t really have enough time for me to help someone build a bow of their own, I just get too busy working with my customers. But if any local folks would like to do what Amanda is doing then just let me know and we’ll get together at the Pasadena range to get you going.

Happy archery!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Interesting Blog Stats

Here's something that really kind of took me by surprise.

This is a screen shot from the stat counter I have keeping track of various things in this blog. This picture shows visits to the blog by country for about the last two weeks.
I'm not surprised by the preponderance of visits by United States residents; after all, that is where I live. But check out some of those other visitors: Hungary, Finland, Macedonia, Russian Federation, Slovakia. Heck, there are 16 hits from Greece!

How cool is that?
I had no idea when I began this blog that it would ever reach so many people across the world.
Admitedly, I don't know if all these folks meant to visit my blog. I know I've occasionally landed on an unintended page and left as soon as I realized what had happened. I hope that doesn't happen too often here but I'm sure it does once in a while.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:
My thanks to everyone who visits and reads this little blog. You guys don't always leave replies to what I post but I still appreciate the time you spend here reading what I write and looking at what I make and what I do with my time.

Happy archery!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Great Western War XIV Review

Great Western War XIV is done and I’m home, having survived the experience.

GWW is a multi-day Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) event currently held at the Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area near Taft, CA. I was there from Monday, October 3 when merchant set-up began to Monday, October 10 when the event ended.

I didn’t do as well with sales as I hoped I would but it was better than it could have been. I heard a rumor that attendance was down a bit and that could have affected things.
It’s always a little tricky trying to sell ready-made custom arrows at an event. There are so many dynamics to the arrow that must be properly matched to the archer/bow that it can be difficult to have the right thing sitting on the table. Then there are the artistic elements of the arrow.
It’s not unusual for a customer to find the perfect spine arrow but be allergic to their pink artwork. Or maybe an archer finds the perfect red arrows but they’re spined for about a 50# bow and he’s using a 35# bow. I much prefer to make arrows custom to order but I have to have something on the tables to showcase my work.

At this event I had some prime red oak boards that Salvador had picked out for making into bows. These boards are great for beginning bowmakers and I took along the bowhorse and my tools in the chance that someone would want to get a board and make it into a bow at the event.
As luck would have it, I sold one board to a young woman and she dove right into making it into a bow. Lexi didn’t have much experience with hand tools but where there is a will there is a way. I helped a little bit when she began running out of time but it’s safe to say that she did the bulk of the work. She finished the bow Sunday evening and I made a string for it just before I left Monday morning.

There were other people who were very interested in bow making but who didn't have the time to do it at the war. For many of those individuals I gave them information about the monthly Pasadena gatherings where we can get them started on bowmaking.
I spoke with some wonderful people over the course of the seven days I was at the war. Some I've dealt with via email and never had a chance to meet in person, others I met for the first time. I even got to meet one reader of this blog (who's name I unfortunately can't remember). I thank all of you for the time you spent with me.
I didn't get any pictures of him or his booth but my neighbour to the right was Aelred, master potter of A's Round Pottery. It was a real treat to hear him joke with his customers and those just walking by:
"These are the pots you're looking for." (said in the best Obi Wan Kenobi voice)
"Come, fondle my pots!"
"The mugs are microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and drunk resistant."
Thanks, everyone!

Monday, September 12, 2011

And Now For the Real Pictures!

Thanks for your patience, everyone!
Now I can finally give you the actual pictures of the special arrows I recently made.

First, a little background:
Back on April 30 I attended the SCA event, Robin Hood Archery, Rapier, and Thrown Weapons Tournament at the Woodley Park archery range. Prior to the event I was approached by Maestra Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani, the Baroness of the Angels, about having something special for the event. For a less than usual cost I agreed to make a set of custom arrows for the winner of the event.

On the day of the event the winner was THL James Everglad, a very accomplished archer. When I approached him to see how he wanted his arrows made James very graciously told me that he has enough arrows already. Rather than make another set for him he asked me to make them for the Baron of the Angels, Master John ap Griffin. The Baron was just getting started on his own archery path and could use some good equipment. I asked James if I could try something special that I’d been thinking about and he gave me free rein to make the arrows as I wished.
Almost at the same time, Lady Rayne the Archer of Anan ordered another set of arrows for the Baron. She wanted these to be less decorative so the Baron could have a “practice” set and wouldn’t have to worry so much about losing or breaking arrows from the “special” set.

As I mentioned in my previous post there were some hiccups along the path for these arrows. I had to order some special materials and then had computer printer issues that needed to be resolved. I tried to get a special use printer that I have up and running and for various reasons that entailed finding a used laptop to run the printer. That ended up not working out yet but eventually all the various parts came into line and the arrows got built. In the following pictures you’ll be able to easily distinguish between the two sets of arrows…

I used silver leaf on the special cresting to give a touch of flash and make a good background for the Baron’s personal device, which I shamelessly stole from the baronial webpage. The small size of the device shows some pixilation of the art but you have to look closely to see it.
The yellow crown on the arrows is an iridescent airbrush paint and the cresting is craft acrylic paint.
My judgment on these is somewhat biased but I think they came out pretty damned good.

Both sets of arrows were presented to the Baron at the Barony of the Angels 41st. Anniversary event on September 10. To my great regret I was unable to attend due to a prior commitment for the day. If anyone has pictures of the Baron getting his arrows I’d love to include them here.

Thanks for your patience in waiting for the good pictures.

Happy archery!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And Now… For Something Really Cool…

A while ago I was commissioned to make some special arrows for someone. In fact, two different people placed different commissions for the same person to receive new arrows. The two sets would be similar, but different, kind of a full fancy dress set and a Friday casual set.

I had something different in mind that I wanted to try for the fancy set and once I got the go-ahead I began gathering things together. There were some unexpected bumps in the road: a printer that stopped behaving, an effort to get an old printer working again, a new/used laptop for the old printer to connect to… it’s been interesting.

Finally, everything came together and I got started on the arrows. I think they came out really well. This is a treatment that I will be making available on other custom orders. It will cost more, unfortunately. I do have to make a living and pay my bills. But it's pretty dang unique and could be just the ticket when someone wants the ultimate in special arrows.

Yeah, I know. I’m a jerk. I got you all worked up and ready to see these great new arrows and I’ve got the picture edited so you can’t see them.

The problem is, I'm really excited about these but the recipient of these arrows hasn’t gotten them yet and doesn't know anything about them. I don’t know if that person reads this blog or not and I don’t want to take the chance that the surprise will be blown. Give it a few days and I should be able to put up the real pictures. It’ll be worth a trip back to the blog to see them, they really do look great.

Happy archery!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Upcoming Events

I figured I’d put up my forthcoming schedule so folks would know where they can catch me.

Not a lot coming up in the actual number of events but they are high quality events!

September 11 will see Greenman Archery at the Caid Open Archery and Thrown Weapons Tournament at the Woodley Park archery range in Van Nuys.
This is a great single day event and I’m really looking forward to it.
Unfortunately I will NOT be able to attend Angels Anniversary on the 10th.
The Barony of Angels has always welcomed me with open arms, even when I’m just hanging out beneath a tree. They’re great people and I’d love to be at their anniversary event but I have a prior commitment to do volunteer work at a rest stop in La Jolla for the Amtrak Century, a 100 mile bicycle ride from Irvine to San Diego. Although you’d never know it to look at me now, I’m a cyclist in addition to being an archer and helping about 1,200 cyclists complete the century is just a whole lot of fun (and hard work, I’m going to be a wreck at Caid Open).

The next event is Great Western War XIV.

In the past few months I have fielded a few questions about whether or not I’d be at this event. For a long time I had to reply in the negative. The disappointed looks that reply received have caused me to rethink my decision.

Consequently, Greenman Archery WILL be at Great Western War this year… hurrah!

I should be arriving Monday, October 3 for merchant set-up and will be leaving at the end of the event, probably Monday the 10th.

I will have a pretty good selection of already made arrows and a great selection of hand-dyed canvas bow socks. Be sure to check out the new colors. The purple is rich, the red is vibrant, and the moss green is just plain beautiful. I will also have some un-dyed bow socks for those who want a natural color or who wish to dye their own.
I’ve been asked why I don’t make fleece bow socks and my answer is to throw a canvas ‘sock on the ground. When it’s picked up it may be a little dusty but otherwise unharmed. Do that with a fleece bow sock and you’ll be an hour picking out the various sticks and stickers embedded in the material. However, some archers want the padding that fleece provides. For these folks I do have fleece-lined canvas bow socks. The canvas gives the tough protection, the fleece gives the soft padding… just don’t look too closely at the fleece inside the sock; I use what I find on sale and it may have ponies or teddy bears on it. Don’t use it inside out and no one will be the wiser.
Another bow sock of interest is the design I make specifically for Asiatic recurve bows, what we frequently think of as the Hun or Mongolian style. These ‘socks are canvas lined and have an exterior of beautiful jacquard material. The colors are brilliant, the feel is soft and silky… these special bow socks have an elegance that bow socks have never experienced before. They’re perfect for a Chinese lord, a Mongol chieftain, or just an archer with a treasured bow. The jacquard fabric isn’t as tough as canvas but if you’re willing to take a little care these bow socks will give your kit the perfect note of elegance.

I’m working on something new for bow socks and I’d like to get feedback from you. I’m looking at coating some un-dyed bow socks with a traditional waterproofing solution, either linseed oil or a mixture of linseed oil and beeswax. These ‘socks would be suitable for the archer desiring a more period item for his or her kit. The waterproofing solutions do have a certain odor to them but once it’s cured it’s not very strong and it’s certainly not an offensive odor at all. What do you folks think?

To keep myself entertained at the War I’ll be taking my bow bench so I can work on a bow or two. I’m also going to have some selected red oak boards available at a good price for those people who would like to have a try at making their own wood bow. The boards will have instructions included. If purchasers of these kits would like to work on them during the event I will have my tools and the bow bench available for use in the Greenman Archery booth. It is entirely feasible that a bow may be made and shot during the event.

Are you looking forward to these events as much as I am?

Happy archery!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

And Sometimes You Win One

Here’s a story about customer service. I’ve been involved with customer service in one way or another for the balance of my working life. Customer service is something I pay close attention to. Of course, I’ve also been a customer for pretty close to the same amount of time, so I know this sword from both ends. It’s certainly made for some interesting experiences.

Sometime last year I found myself in need of a new computer printer. I didn’t use my old one enough and it basically dried up. No amount of head cleaning or Q-Tips with alcohol would get it printing again so I began looking for a new one.

I’m not really picky on my printers. I need them to work and print legible pages but I don’t need photo quality work or special features. Affordable ink is a big plus, as are separate color and black ink cartridges.

I found a printer on sale at Target, a Lexmark X4650, that seemed as if it would fulfill my needs. In addition to printing it had a scanner that seemed like it would be useful, and it was on sale; that's always a big incentive for me.

For a while the printer worked well. Then it began having paper feed issues. The paper wouldn’t go all the way into the printer and only the latter half of the document would be printed on the top half of the paper. Very frustrating. After some troubleshooting I discovered that it fed better if I kept a pretty thick sheaf of paper in the tray. Then that stopped working. I ended up having to reach over to push the first sheet of paper into the printer when it was getting set to print. Very frustrating. Finally, the print quality went south. The first half of a document printed fine but the second half faded to the point of illegibility at the bottom of the page. I tried everything, head cleaning, alignment, wiping the ink cartridges on a clean lint-free cloth in the prescribed direction, nothing worked. More than frustrating.

Cruising the Lexmark website looking for solutions I happened across customer reviews for this printer. The balance of these reviews were pretty positive so I could only think that I had one of the few exceptions to the rule. I also found an email address for Lexmark Listens, a customer feedback opportunity. I took the opportunity to send them an email begging for help in getting my printer working so I could quit hacking up hairballs every time I needed to print something.

Here’s where things got interesting.

After a few days had passed with no reply I figured Lexmark was like many companies and really only wanted to hear about their customer’s good experiences and they really weren’t going to help me.

Then I got their email.

I was shocked.

The Lexmark customer service representative apologized for the issues I was experiencing and noted that most of their customers had great results with their printers, they really weren’t sure why I was having these issues and didn’t know what to tell me to assist in getting it working properly.

Would I like a new printer? The one I have is discontinued so they’ll have to upgrade me to the latest model.

Wait… what? Would I like a new printer? A better one? In this day and age of questionable customer service and companies edging their customers into taking the blame for their issues, Lexmark was apologizing and offering me a new printer. I accepted!

The new printer was sent out that week via FedEx, overnight, no less. I haven’t installed it yet but I am sure it will install and work without a hitch.
At this point I can’t say enough good things about Lexmark.

Their email to me was the proper level of compassion and apology and their treatment of my issues was exemplary. I could not have asked for better customer service. Lexmark is a company that I feel good about recommending.

Note: I was at a friend’s house the other day doing some sewing and noticed that they have the same printer model that was giving me hairballs. They said it’s worked great for them and given good service. It sounds like I really did get an exception to the rule in mine.

Happy archery... and printing!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Observation

When did it become necessary for kids to be constantly entertained?
Game consoles are now available in many cars. Heaven forbid that kids have to look out the window during a trip. Now they can watch videos or play games without ever having to see the beautiful world around them.
Hand held game consoles are common place. Sometimes it seems as if many kids have either a cell phone or a game console in their hands almost every hour of the day.

Which brings me to my observation...

Some background first:
The monthly Pasadena primitive skills gatherings that I participate in are amazing collections of knowledge and fun things to do. At these gatherings you can learn how to make bows, arrows, string and rope, work with gourds, learn how to make stone arrowheads, make fire with sticks, slings, bolos, bowstrings, do leatherwork... and the list goes on. If there is something you're interested in there is probably someone who can get you started on it or at least cheer you on. People pay big bucks for the type of knowledge we freely pass out at Pasadena. In fact, a national specialty woodworking store has bowmaking classes available for $395. The information taught in the class is identical to what may be found for free at Pasadena.

That all sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
Kind of exciting...
Different from your regularly scheduled Sunday...

So tell me, why would a kid choose to sit at a picnic bench and play with his hand held game console instead of participating in the fun?
All this wonderful stuff is going on around him, other kids are shooting their bows at the target bales, and yet he sits there with a glazed look on his face as he watches tiny figures on the game screen.

I don't even know what to type, I'm so baffled.

Happy archery...?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chamberlin Ranch re-cap

So I’ve finally slowed down a little bit so I can give my account of the Chamberlin Ranch shoot last weekend.

Headed toward the event the weather wasn’t looking good. Forecasts were showing a good chance of rain on Thursday, a higher chance on Friday (with thunderstorms), and then clearing to good weather on Saturday and Sunday.

And that’s pretty much what happened.

The drive up on Wednesday was good. I got gas and picked up a couple things at the store in Buelton before heading out to the shoot site. Once there I sorted out where I’d camp and set up the booth and settled in. I was very fortunate to have Mike (damned if I can remember his last name) on one side. I first met Mike at this shoot last year and really enjoyed his company. He did a pretty thriving business making bowstrings and selling French Opinel knives for an extremely reasonable price. He’s a good stringmaker, too, I had him make one for my spare Abbott bow.

Thursday dawned nice but got cloudy as the day progressed. The afternoon eventually saw some drizzle with occasional rain. We went to town for dinner and had a good one at A.J. Spurs in Buelton. We go there every year and they put on a good feed. I still can’t believe the spring traps they have as ornaments on the walls are fully functional. I can’t tell you how tempted I am to set one and leave it for the next nosey kid. No, I’ll never do it but am I turning into a devious individual or what?

Friday was colder and wetter. The predicted rain and occasional thundershowers rolled in so everyone just relaxed under cover and enjoyed being there.

Friday night… now Friday night was interesting. It turned out to be about the second coldest night I’ve ever spent camping. I was warm enough in my bag but would have slept better if my air mattress hadn’t leaked. We have about four mattresses in the garage and we can never remember which ones leak. We knew for sure that the Coleman mattress did not leak so I took that one on the trip. Turns out that it does leak so every morning saw my hips hitting the ground by about 6am. Anyway, Saturday morning saw everything covered with a very heavy frost with occasional ice where we had standing water. A couple people quoted about 23 degrees overnight and I don’t think I’d argue that point.

Saturday and Sunday were the actual days of the shoot and everyone had a great time. I only shot one of the three courses and opened up my booth when we finished the first course.

I’d like to thank everyone who stopped to chat with me over the five days I was at the shoot and especially those who purchased something from me.

Beef jerky was gone by Saturday afternoon, all the heavier spined arrows I’d made up went to new homes, a good handful of bowsocks are now protecting bows for their new owners, and there was a lot of traffic with bamboo arrow shafts. In fact, all the heavier spines are sold out and I need to make a new order for more.

This has been an excellent shoot every time I’ve attended. If you’re in the area and haven’t been to the shoot you owe it to yourself to go. In my opinion, this is the best traditional shoot in southern California.

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures while at the shoot. But if you'd like to see some good ones, go to THIS PaleoPlanet thread and see what folks have posted there. On the second page... yes, that's me with the green knit cap pulled down over my eyes. Fayme made the cap as a prototype and it needs a little fit adjustment. Sure was warm, though!

Coming up, I’ll be at the SCA Robin Hood shoot at Woodley Park in Van Nuys on April 30.

After that we have the Conejo Valley Archers Pacific Coast Traditional Challenge in Simi Valley on May 7 and 8. This is the second best traditional shoot in the area and I’m really looking forward to it.

Happy archery!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Upcoming Events

It's time to set down some kind of schedule so folks know where they can catch me if they want to speak in person or see what I've got in my sweaty little hands.

On Saturday, March 12, I'll be at the SCA event Gyldenholt/Calafia Friendship Tournament in Garden Grove. I won't be selling at this event but will have the bow horse and the now-famous hickory bow to work on. I've been working on this danged bow for at least two years now and hope to have it finished and shooting before I have to go into a retirement home. Stop by and have a chat!

Possibly my favorite 3D shoot of the year is coming up on April 9th - 10th.
This is the Chamberlin Ranch Traditional Rendezvous near Solvang, CA. While the shoot is only listed as being Saturday and Sunday quite a few people go up there early to really pack in the fun. I should be driving up Wednesday and coming home Sunday. I'll have the whole booth with me ready to sell custom dyed bow socks, beef jerky (sold out last year!), beautiful ready-made arrows, bamboo arrow shafts, and I'll be more than happy to take orders for custom arrows.

Saturday, April 30, will see us with the whole kit at the SCA's Angels Robin Hood Archery, Rapier, and Thrown Weapons Tournament at Woodley Park in Van Nuys. This is a rescheduled date as the original February date was postponed for weather related issues. This is a great event and I'm really looking forward to it. The winner of this event receives title to a square foot of Sherwood Forest in England. How's that for a great prize? He or she will also get something else but you'll have to wait for opening court to hear what that will be.

For the time being, that's as far forward as I've looked. I'll be adding a couple more events to the list soon. For sure there will be the Conejo Valley Archers traditional shoot but I have to look up the dates for it. I'm sure there will be other SCA events, too.

Stay tuned!

Happy archery!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sinew, It's Not Just For Soup!

One of the regular guys on PaleoPlanet recently started a thread in the Trade Blanket section asking about sinew. I kept an eye on the responses because I was also interested in some.
Cesar, one of the site's frequent contributors and the owner of Legionnaire Archery, responded with information about sinew he had available. I messaged Cesar and ended up purchasing a few pieces.

Shipping was pretty quick and the cats sniffed the package thoroughly before I had a chance to open it up. It's probably a good thing we don't have a dog or the sinew would have been chewed up before I knew what was happening!
I took the sinew out to the back patio to see how it would process out. Rather than the deer sinew most places have Cesar sells cow sinew. The information I had from other sources was that cow sinew would work just fine for backing a bow or for my intended purpose, making primitive-style arrows; the price is certainly reasonable. I only did one piece and only did that one part way, but I think this stuff is going to work just fine.

Here is what I started with...

And after a few minutes of beating it with a rock, here's what I ended up with...

A little more work and I'll have some really nice threads to seperate.
Coupled with the turkey feathers I recently got, some knapped points or trade points, and some shoot shafts, I think this stuff is going to work just fine.
In fact, I've recently been captivated with short, sinew backed bows such as were used by Native Americans here on the US west coast. If you know me then you know I'm woefully slow on making bows but I suspect that when I get around to trying a short bow, this sinew will be perfect for the back. I'm sure I'll be getting some more from Cesar for that project.

Happy Archery!