Re: [SCA-Archery] Fletching shapes
- Greetings. Roger Ascham, in Toxophilus, says this about feathers (Keep in
mind, his work is primary documentation, but of the 16th century, so may not
have direct application to your question):
pg 123..."Fourthly, in couling or sheering, whether high or low, whether
somewhat swine-backed (I must use shooters' words) or saddle-backed, whether
round or square shorn?"
This seems to indicate that different shapes and heights of feathers were in
use during the 16th century, in England.
pg 128..."the swine-backed fashion maketh the shaft deader, for it gathereth
more air than the saddle-backed; and therefore the saddle-back is surer for
danger of weather, and fitter for smooth flying. Again, to sheer a shaft
round, as they were wont sometimes to do, or after the triangle fashion, which
is much used now-a-days, both be good."
It's unfortunate that Ascham uses the term "shaft" twice in this paragraph.
He's hard enough to understand without confusing us with similar terms. In
the last sentence of the preceding paragraph on pg 128, he is clearing
speaking of the cut of the feathers, when he says, "And thus as concerning setting
on of your feather. Now of couling."
There has been a lot of debate about the meaning of swine-back vs
saddle-back and what Ascham may have meant. But I believe that these two passages make
it clear that the shapes we see today, i.e., parabolic, bananna, and
"traditional" cuts, were known in his time in England.
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