Historical Medieval arrow replicas

For Discussion concerning the construction and use of arrows and quivers.

Historical Medieval arrow replicas

WillS
Registered User
Joined: 01 Sep 2012, 10:15

11 Dec 2016, 20:08 #1

I finished making these recently for a customer, and as somebody mentioned on the other thread about seeing some replicas I thought it would be worth posting them in here.

The Westminster Abbey arrow is 28 7/8" long, barrelled according to dimensions found at the Warbow Wales website (11mm at the head, 11.2mm at the breast and 7.5mm at the nock), fletched with goose primaries and the head is one I forged inspired by the Westminster Abbey head.

The Mary Rose arrow is 30" long, tapered from 1/2" at the head to 3/8" at the nock, with the taper starting somewhere around the middle of the shaft.  Fletched with swan primaries and fitted with a head I forged based on a Museum of London artefact, but also (to my pleasant surprise) pretty similar to the head on display at Winchester Museum in both dimension and form.

Both arrow shafts are made from hand-planed European aspen, and both feature a 1.5mm slip of cow horn glued in place with hide glue, a beeswax and pine resin verdigris compound and the fletchings on both are bound down with pure silk.  Neither arrow shaft is oiled or sealed as there is no evidence of that being done and no need when using aspen, but simply burnished. 

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1442
Registered User
Joined: 11 Feb 2011, 03:20

12 Dec 2016, 15:12 #2

Awsome!
I love everything about your arrows from point to nock.
The feather wrapping is incredible and so are the points
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gekitsu
Registered User
Joined: 16 Jul 2012, 16:14

12 Dec 2016, 16:08 #3

nice work will, many thanks for posting the photos. i really will have to go up behind the house and cut/season all the aspen (p. tremula, i’d guess) that grows straight enough for one arrow length.

i have to say, i wasn’t too fond of that tudor bodkin shape when i first saw it, but it really has grown on me.

also fascinating is how ‘plastic-y’ the verdigris compound looks. it’s funny how we tend to read that kind of look/material as something quintessentially modern, but the more i see of the craft of the past, it doesn’t seem to be at all.

raphael
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears … in rain.”
—Roy Batty, Blade Runner
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WillS
Registered User
Joined: 01 Sep 2012, 10:15

12 Dec 2016, 18:09 #4

Cheers guys!

Yeah the Tudor head was interesting - I could have gone down the path made by other, far more experienced arrowsmiths but I couldn't find any actual extant heads that looked like their versions. This one is based exactly on an original head which I was able to get measurements from, so I'm fairly pleased with the accuracy of it. It's just a shame it doesn't look like the "accepted" Tudor bodkin.

The compound was the biggest challenge, as nobody I'm aware of is making it properly, to produce a similar compound to that found on original arrows. It's normally made as a type of varnish painted over the bindings, which I knew wasn't right. This stuff is so simple to make and use once you know how, and it's virtually indestructible - it will survive countless shots, secure the fletchings and bindings very well and most importantly has the same texture and appearance as original arrow compounds.
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gekitsu
Registered User
Joined: 16 Jul 2012, 16:14

12 Dec 2016, 18:39 #5

can you talk a little about the shaping process for your tudor bodkin? i get how to make the type 10s (and derivatives), and can wrap my head around an economic way for making type 16s/swallowtails/similar anatomies, but these delicate fins on a rolled socket have always puzzled me.

raphael
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears … in rain.”
—Roy Batty, Blade Runner
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WillS
Registered User
Joined: 01 Sep 2012, 10:15

12 Dec 2016, 20:00 #6

The Tudor heads are simply swaged to shape once you roll the socket. You need to make a special swage block to do them, but they're incredibly quick and easy once you've got that. There's a wonderful video on YouTube by Jake Fenwick of the Canadian Warbow Society showing how his local smith makes them.

The type 16 and other barbed heads are far more difficult, as they're welded in separate sections using the heat of the forge, holding both pieces in the forge at the same time, bringing them up to welding heat and forging them together. X-ray analysis on extant heads has shown that they were all made this way. There are alternative methods but none give the same shape and form.
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First White Falcon
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Joined: 15 Jun 2011, 19:58

12 Dec 2016, 21:56 #7

Very nice work!
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gekitsu
Registered User
Joined: 16 Jul 2012, 16:14

12 Dec 2016, 22:35 #8

ah, i should have figured! am i right in assuming that when you go the route of forming a spoon, rolling it closed & to rough dimension, you also equalise part of the small differences in socket shape/diameter when you smash it into shape with the swage block?

using a swage also explains how a seam from rolling the socket could end up running across a flange shape in one of the higher res photos you posted of milosz’s work. that used to puzzle the hell out of me. such a nice feeling when the world makes a little more sense all of a sudden

as for the barbed heads: that’s what i’ve heard. you can make them via a shortcut by splitting your material into a kind of T-shape before forming the socket, with the head of the T then making the barbs, or by the traditional way & welding two parts. either way looks like a lot more work than type 10s, but also like very little wasted work on the way. it’s just a much more complex shape.

raphael

if anyone else is interested in the video:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears … in rain.”
—Roy Batty, Blade Runner
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Rod
Registered User
Joined: 17 Jun 2005, 23:07

17 Dec 2016, 11:55 #9

Interesting, but it would be nice to lose the music and just listen to him talk about what he was doing...

Rod.
It's meant to be simple, not easy.
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gekitsu
Registered User
Joined: 16 Jul 2012, 16:14

17 Dec 2016, 18:48 #10

i agree, rod. it sure is pleasant to look at and listen to, but the running time could hold a lot more information.

raphael
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears … in rain.”
—Roy Batty, Blade Runner
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Rod
Registered User
Joined: 17 Jun 2005, 23:07

21 Dec 2016, 14:29 #11

Looking at the above method and that of Mark Stretton leads me to wonder about the efficacy of combining block and mandrel. Something that always came up when buying hand forged heads was the quantity that had to be sorted through if I was trying to pick out a set in which the heads were at least reasonably straight, even so with a good selection I would still end up teasing heads in situ into a more precise alignment with the shafts using a small hammer and anvil.I reckon that in making large quantities for barrage shooting against a large body of enemies, alignment on the shaft would likely have been less of an issue, but for men requiring a higher level of predictability, such as the forester marksmen named by Wadge as being chosen to assemble a select body of men for the Black Prince's retinue, the process of selecting and fitting true heads might have been quite time consuming.
Perhaps making large quantities to a more precise standard might have been simplified by starting with making the spoon and rolling the socket before using a mandrel and block/press in combination to ensure a useful degree of uniformity and straightness.
Obviously this would be more simple if making a single standard short type, even so the same principle might be usefully employed in straightening other longer types where straightness is more critical in accurate shooting and also in creating a more uniform socket.


Rod.
Last edited by Rod on 21 Dec 2016, 15:08, edited 7 times in total.
It's meant to be simple, not easy.
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WillS
Registered User
Joined: 01 Sep 2012, 10:15

21 Dec 2016, 20:22 #12

You shouldn't need to use a mandrel to get a straight socket.  I've never been bothered enough to make one, and I've not had to straighten any of the heads I've made.  They should come out straight as part of the process.
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Rod
Registered User
Joined: 17 Jun 2005, 23:07

23 Dec 2016, 14:38 #13

Will,Perhaps they should, but in my experience, with some well known makers they rarely do...
But then as archers our expectations are somewhat varied.  :-)
It seems to be less a case of getting the socket straight, but more often a case of not getting the socket perfectly aligned with the head.
Also a degree of variation in socket sizes in a set of a given type does not appear to be uncommon.


Rod.
Last edited by Rod on 23 Dec 2016, 14:53, edited 3 times in total.
It's meant to be simple, not easy.
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