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23435Re: [SCA-Archery] Mary Rose

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  • Colin MacNachtan
    Sep 9, 2007
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      On Tuesday 04 September 2007, THL Cain Saethydd wrote:
      > I am on an excursion in Drachenvald. Yes, got lots of Pics. Even
      > some from the Mary Rose. Found out Sir Robert Hardy is still alive,
      > so am going to try to contact him and setup for a hands on sometime
      > this next year. I was offered one several years ago, but could not
      > get over here.

      I also made my way to the Mary Rose exhibit last Friday while I was in
      Drachenwald. It's an incredible place. I spent 3+ hours wandering through
      it and watching the video, and another half hour looking at the actual ship.

      > By the way, notes on the bows and arrows of the Mary Rose.
      >
      > 1- Many of the war arrows were cut/planed with perpindicular grain,
      > but had in appearance similar grain patterns we find with common wood
      > shafts today. All of the arrows on display did show signs of
      > fletching.
      >
      > 2- Some of the war bows (yew) had sapwood backing, some did not.
      > Some were horizontaly aligned grain (normal way), while some were
      > biased (angle) and others were perpindicular grained. Sir Robert goes
      > into detail on this in his book 'Longbow', but still was nice to see
      > it. All of the bows on display did show signs horn nocks.

      As a fairly new archer (and not a bowyer) I lack the skill to make detailed
      analysis of the bows and arrows I saw. But I do have a few observations...

      What struck me most was the shape of the bows. They all had a dramatic taper
      to a fairly sharp point. Their shape made me think of a double-ended spear,
      though with a varying curve. I presume this makes for a faster release since
      the tips have so little mass.

      Conversely the center of most of the bows are almost circular and very thick.
      Many of them have a diameter of 2 inches or more.

      > They had a display yew war bow of considerable size, available for
      > anyone to test their mettle. The challenge was issued to draw it to
      > the ear. I did just that. I did not attempt a second draw, but did
      > not cry out in pain, either. This was on friday, I still feel my back
      > out of place today, Tuesday. However, for anyone who reads the study
      > on the bows of the Mary Rose, you will find that the average draw
      > weight was not even close to 180lbs, more like 80 to 100lbs. This bow
      > was approximately 85 by my estimate, but the great length of the
      > limbs could easily have thrown my estimate low by 20 lbs.

      The test bows were solidly clamped to a wall at their center, with a test
      arrow permanently nocked and extending through the wall. This arrow had a
      stop at what was problably 27-28 inches. They had a child's bow, a "lady's"
      bow at probably 40 pounds, and a full bow that I would estimate at 80-85
      pounds, though one of the staff assured me it measures 75.

      I drew the full bow to its stop probably half a dozen times. It was awkward
      being attached to the wall, plus its full draw is 1-2 inches less than what
      is comfortable for me. Today (two days later) I have a slightly sore
      shoulder from the effort.

      The staffer also said of the actual bows from the Mary Rose, they estimate a
      range of 80-160 pounds draw weight, though he did not give any indication of
      how many at each weight.

      Colin
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