Sunday, March 11, 2012

TOBP: New Strings and Old Gadgets

Sunday morning time change, it is 7am and still dark. I shot yesterday at the new target purchased from the big sporting shop in Manteca. I found that I was able to relax a bit more and not worry about bouncing arrows around inside of my shop. It is two and a half times the size of the target I was using. I bought new bow strings for both bows. I was unable to get exact matches to the strings that were in place for both bows.
Dads bow, the Ben Pearson had a string that measured about 59”. I found one that was 58. Since the string that was on the bow was homemade, there could have been a difference in it from the original string. There is no telling how many strings have been on that bow in its life time. Every string that was on it since the time that dad bought it was homemade, so I am guessing there is probably a little leeway that I can use. The brace height for the average recurve is around 7 ½ to 8 inches. The brace height  of the Silver Sovereign, with the new string,  is 7 ½ inches. Brace height is measured from the deeps part of the grip to the string.
The Bear Grizzly had a string of 52 inches. The closest string to that in the store was 54 inches.  I have not measured brace height for that one yet because I need to install an arrow rest before I place the nock set. The Grizzly had a neat looking arrow rest that was glued on to the shelf of the bow, but someone had tried to peel it off and bent it. I went ahead and removed it and the old glue. The Ben Pearson Bow has a rest on it that is called a “Flipper”. It is installed just above the shelf of the bow and at the edge of the site window closest to the string. It is a nice rest because it folds up as the arrow flies through the rest.  I found one in my gear box the other day. I have had it for years and do not know if the adhesive is still good, but I am going to try it this afternoon.  The two inch difference in the string for the Grizzly can be made up by twisting the string.  It is recommended that you use no more than 20 twist. I will check brace height and see how much I need to make up.
I found instructions that dad had sent several years ago on how to make bow strings. I have his string jig and I am going to make some strings. I made one for the bow that dad and I built and it turned out ok. I found his old shooting glove with the instructions for how to make strings. The glove is handmade and very cool looking. I remember it from years ago. Dad never bought anything that he could make.

The instructions are all hand drawn by dad and very accurate. I had never made a string before and my first attempt turned out all right. Below is a second little note that he added. He said he wished he could come up and help me sort out “this mess” I think he was referring to the above sheet.
With the other things I found I found this string server that he made. It is out of some metal that was laying around his shop. It works very nicely for applying serving to the bow string. Beside it is a picture of one of the bow strings that he sent as a guide.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

TOBP: A New Addittion

I have been shooting several times since the last post. Fingers are strengthening, my eye is getting better. I love the old bow. It is very smooth and fun to shoot.
I have been looking on the internet for a deal on a Bear bow. This morning I queried Craigslist for recurve bows and came up with a bear grizzly, 55 pound pull, 58 inches tall. The guy who had it lives in Placerville. It is a two hour drive from where we live, but the bow sounded good, so we took off after church. The seller lives way out of town and up a hill. We met him at the base the hill he lives on. As soon as I saw the bow I knew I wanted it. It had a few light scratches on it but was in excellent shape very well kept.
I gave him his money and we drove home.  At home I had a few chores to do so getting to fire the bow was delayed. After finishing the sprinklers and planting blueberry bushes, I moseyed into the garage and had a look at my new addition. I inspected the bow once more, looking very carefully for any cracks in the lamination I may have missed on the first inspection. The bow is 58 inches long, but with the exaggerated curve in the limbs it looks short.  I strung it up and waxed the string. I was not happy with the string.  There is a small section where a few of the strands are frayed pretty badly and much of the serving on the top tip is loose.  However it did not look like it would let go today, so I decided to give it a few test fires.
I followed the procedure recommended by and pulled the string back a few inches at a time listening for any cracking sounds. I did not hear any unusual sounds as I reached full draw. I knocked an arrow drew back to full length and let it fly. Wow, what a rush it is to fire a thirty five year old recurve bow for the first time. I used the same arrows as I used for dad’s bow. At fifty-five pounds, the grizzly is rated at five pounds heavier than the Silver Sovereign.  After A half dozen arrows I felt the weight difference.
All commercially manufactured bows  are measured using twenty eight inches as the standard anchor point; this reference point was set by the Archery Manufacturer and Merchants Organization or AMO, It maybe that the average person has a draw length of twenty eight inches; however my draw length is thirty inches.  Most people will tell you that a bow will stack 2lbs for every inch over 28inches, but I think it varies from bow to bow.  In this case I think that it is stacking about 2lbs per inch.  It feels very stout and shoots great.
The top picture is me shooting the Ben Pearson bow, and the bottom one is of me firing the Bear Grizzly. You can’t tell, but I'm gritting my teeth and my arms are shaking, while asking Sheila to please hurry and take the picture.  I am planning on going to an archery shop tonight and buy a couple of strings and maybe a better arm guard. That Grizzly has a good slap. More to follow.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

TOBP: No Guts, No Glory!

I found a web site called “This Old Bow”.  The site displays old Bear archery equipment and refurbished bows. I wrote an email with pictures asking for a ball park figure of what it would cost to have the bow gone over and repaired if needed. There are scoring marks on the limbs of the bow top and bottom.

While I was taking the pictures I remembered that dad had built a bow quiver. I think it was designed after Fred Bear’s recurve quiver. It stays on by pressure. I will have to find one and take a picture for this journal. I do not think I will use it though. I was always a little suspicious of them.  He built several of them using different material. It is pretty ingenious the way he built them.  The one that I can see in my mind’s eye was assembled using heavy gauge spring steel wire, a piece of metal strap and and a piece of tire. I think that it may be what caused the scoring. If that is the case then it is probably just surface scratches and will not affect the bows performance.
I remember quivers were quite the topic of conversation around the table  at our house. Dad and Donnie Plemmons sat around talking about the next project they would build. Donnie was dad’s friend and hunting partner. They were always building something . My brothers and I always wished we had a friend like Donnie. He was part of the family. I am sure many of the memories of archery and hunting will include Donnie Plemmons. Much time was spent on building or finding the perfect quiver. The wrap around bow quiver was dad’s favorite. Some guy’s were drilling holes in their bows and mounting quivers that way. Dad rejected that idea, maybe because of the two exploding bows, I don’t know for sure.
Another quiver that they built was designed after the silent stalker. I am not sure who invented it or where the name came from. I think they got the idea from a magazine article in field and stream or outdoor life. Dad loved to find something new in a magazine or catalogue that looked useful and then figure out how to build it using material in his shop. Whenever I asked him what he was building  he always said something like, “Oh just cobbling up something I saw in outdoor life.” Then he would go onto explain his idea. He was great at describing things. I had a difficult time keeping up with the description most of the time so I would just nod. 
2/15/ 12
I got a response from This Old Bow. He looked at the pictures and believes that the scratches are surface only. He suggested getting a new string, string it and pull it an inch at a time, listening for cracking noise.  He also said I should clean it with denatured alcohol. I did everything except buy a new string. Tonight I strung it up and pulled it lightly
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I strung up the bow and followed the recommended procedures. I gradually increased the distance between string and bow until I was at full length. I pulled and held at full draw length several times. I heard no funny cracking sounds and there was no separation of lamination. So I grabbed an Easton Game Getter 2216, knocked it up and fired at about fifteen yards. What a thrill!! The arrow flew as straight and perfect as I have ever seen and arrow fly. I hit just right of the bull’s eye. Fifteen yards does not sound like much until you pull a recurve bow back with and arrow and point it into your garage at a target the size of a small box.
I fired four groups of 12 arrows and hit the target almost every time.  A few arrows went pretty far off course and upon inspection I discovered they were bent. I found 12 arrows that were straight and had a blast shooting. I think I am on my way to hunting with the old bow, more to follow.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Old Bow Project

The Old Bow Project started 1/24/12
Journal notes:
Goal: Hunt and kill a deer with dad’s bow.
The bow is a Ben Pearson Silver Sovereign Silver Marauder. It is 52” long and has a 50 pound pull at 28”. My draw length is about 30” so it will probably stack about 2 more pounds. The silver Marauder is a recurve bow.
It is made of wood and fiberglass. The handle or riser at it is called is made out of wood. The limbs are laminated wood and fiberglass. Making a recurve bow is a long and involved process that takes practice and determination. All of the plans I have seen say in so many words, that if you make a good bow on your first try, buy a lotto ticket because you have luck on your side. I remember when I was very young and dad was first getting involved in archery he bought a bow from a guy in phoenix who was supposed to be a great bowyer. Dad brought the bow home and could not wait to show it off to his boys. He strung the bow up and we were all very impressed. He grabbed the bow and began to pull the string back to full draw length; I remember hearing a funny sound. Dad released the string; I think he heard it too.  He looked the bow over closely admiring the beauty of the lines and the matching wood grains.
The bow was beautiful. With confidence regained he drew the bow back to full draw. By way of a tremendous crack the bow turned into a grenade, exploding right before our eyes. Everything happened so quickly that it was hard to grasp the ramifications of the event. Just thirty seconds before dad was holding a beautiful piece of craftsmanship that elicited pride. Now in his hands he held a mangled piece of fiberglass and wood dangling from a string like a grotesque marionette from some nether world.  He went over the event a few times to make sure he had done nothing wrong.  After a few minutes he was confident that he had followed the steps for stringing and pulling a bow, which was a futile activity in its self.  The only damaging thing that you can do during that process is dry fire the bow, which is to let the string go without an arrow in it, and that did not happen.
Dad called the guy and explained what happened. The man was slightly perplexed but said sometimes that happens. He told dad to bring it back and he would give him another one that he was building. I do not remember the time frame but probably several weeks later we were once again standing in the living room and admiring the bow. Dad strung the bow, grabbed the string pulled the string back, and once again we witnessed an explosion of wood and fiber glass. This time dad was ticked. He called the guy and let him know that another one of his bows was coming back in a small box. I remember that dad said the guy was a little suspicious but was willing to take the bow back.
Dad drove over to phoenix and was ready for any challenges, but after presenting the pile of wood, fiberglass and string the guy had nothing to say. Dad came back with the Ben Pearson Silver Sovereign, and things were good after that. Needless to say dad never recommended this guy’s bows to any of his friends.