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RE: [SCA-Archery] Spine Scale

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  • Block, Alan W
    The medieval fletcher did this 10-16 hours a day. He probably developed a fine sense for gauging the stiffness of shafts. This is a lot more time and effort
    Message 1 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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      The medieval fletcher did this 10-16 hours a day. He probably developed a
      fine sense for gauging the stiffness of shafts. This is a lot more time and
      effort than I can afford to get it correct.

      -----Original Message-----
      From: cgelszus@... [mailto:cgelszus@...]
      Sent: Friday, December 01, 2000 2:56 PM
      To: SCA-Archery@egroups.com
      Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] Spine Scale


      Greetings!

      ... and I'm absolutely fine with that. In the TBB chapter on handmade
      arrows James (?) Massey states that he's grouping his shafts by flexing them
      and
      going for the 'feel'. I'm sure a medieval fletcher would have had similar
      skills just based on the amount of experience he must have had with the
      material. I'm just reluctant to replace that with modern technology and
      still
      consider the result to be rlated to medieval reenactment.

      I also have to admit that sometimes I am enticed to cheat. An arrow rest
      for example would make shooting much easier. And an undocumented selfbow
      profile might provide better cast than the ELB design. So far, I've reminded
      myself of my (personal) reason to start this type of archery - which was to
      try
      to get as close to the medieval equivalent as reasonably possible. But this
      might not continue if I don't get a decent Winter Challenge score soon ...
      ;o)

      Will

      > Conchobhar and others,
      >
      > While not taking sides on such an issue (my opinions don't matter to
      > anyone
      > else but myself), I can see some justification for the science of arrow
      > making. While the medieval fletcher may not have had the same sorts of
      > tools, you can bet the archer had a care for well matched arrows.
      > Practice
      > for a many a medieval archer, was their job. I would hazard a guess that
      > they may have approached matching arrows by the shoot and record the
      > grouping method.
      >
      > Njall Olaf Hagerson
      >

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    • Scott Jaqua
      I hope I didn t imply that you giving criticism. It seem to me you were stating an observation. Which I in turn, presented another side to. It would seem to me
      Message 2 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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        I hope I didn't imply that you giving criticism. It seem to me you were
        stating an observation. Which I in turn, presented another side to. It would
        seem to me that the test would not be a matter of proficiency, but rather
        research. No it seems to me that Roger Asham recorded almost every other
        aspect of becoming a good archer in period. From bow selection to choosing
        the proper teacher. Does anyone recall him writing about arrow matching in
        hi book?

        Njall Olaf Hagerson (who admits to reading it so long ago, that the memory
        of it fails)

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Prince, John
        >I would hazard a guess that
        > they may have approached matching arrows by the shoot and record the
        > grouping method.
        >
        > Njall Olaf Hagerson
        >

        Good M'Lord,

        My missive was not met as a critism, only an observation. It would be
        interesting to determine if your conjecture holds true. I believe
        that it would take someone who is proficient in the art form to
        draw any conclusions however. Intuitively, it makes sense.

        Conchobhar
      • Prince, John
        ... It would be an interesting project wouldn t it! You could have one set of arrows matched by whatever mechanical ( scientific ) means up against a set of
        Message 3 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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          > I hope I didn't imply that you giving criticism. It seem to me you were
          > stating an observation. Which I in turn, presented another side to. It would
          > seem to me that the test would not be a matter of proficiency, but rather
          > research. No it seems to me that Roger Asham recorded almost every other
          > aspect of becoming a good archer in period. From bow selection to choosing
          > the proper teacher. Does anyone recall him writing about arrow matching in
          > hi book?
          >
          > Njall Olaf Hagerson (who admits to reading it so long ago, that the memory
          > of it fails)
          >

          It would be an interesting project wouldn't it! You could have one
          set of arrows matched by whatever mechanical ("scientific") means up
          against a set of arrows determined by the archer using your method.
          This is where I think "proficiency" would play apart. Perhaps
          "experience" is a better choice of a word. I say this only because
          you would want any variation in grouping to be reduced as much as
          possible due to performance on the part of the archer. A sort of
          "science" vs "instinctive" approach in arrow selection.

          Conchobhar
        • Jean-Paul Blaquiere
          ... Which is why we use the modern tools like fletching jigs. If i had the time I daresay that I could be silly/insane enough to go and find a tree and cut
          Message 4 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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            > On Dec 01, Block, Alan W scratched in indelible ink :

            > The medieval fletcher did this 10-16 hours a day. He probably developed a
            > fine sense for gauging the stiffness of shafts. This is a lot more time and
            > effort than I can afford to get it correct.
            >
            Which is why we use the 'modern' tools like fletching jigs. If i had the
            time I daresay that I could be silly/insane enough to go and find a tree and
            cut out a nice set of arrows, and probably a bow too. But no yet ;) A
            comment passed to my by one of the armourers in our group was that if the
            Vikings had had grinders in their time, they would have used them!
            I use the tools available to me to make my job of making my toys easier. I am
            working on the joy of 'making my toys' but that will be more beneficial to me
            when I have more time :)

            /Jp...
            --
            Jean-Paul Blaquière || Avatar of Computational
            japester@... || Thaumaturgy
            Words are fingers that point at the moon. Once you see the moon, you no
            longer need the fingers. -- someone, somewhere
          • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
            Several people, out of a desire to help others improve their shooting and the quality of their arrows, have suggested that they aquire a spine scale and a
            Message 5 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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              Several people, out of a desire to help others improve their shooting
              and the quality of their arrows, have suggested that they aquire a spine
              scale and a grain scale. One good gentle even posted an excellent site
              with plans for making one inexpensively. With some of the responses,
              you'd think we were asking you to drink "Drano". So please, if the idea
              offends your sensibilities, please ignore all of the helpful advice, and
              go about your business as usual.
              We really don't know a great deal about medieval period archery
              and its craft. Ashams book "Toxophillus" offers some insight, but was
              written well after the great age of the longbow and is the writing of an
              academics tutor, not a great military archer. It is a wonderful book and
              a must have for any student of archery.but it is not the final word or
              by any means the complete story. We all seem to quote from it as if it
              is the word of God. It is just another source.
              90% of what we do in the SCA is not
              period archery or re-creation or even re-enactment, it's modern
              traditional style archery in costume. There are some that are fiendishly
              attempting to be accurate, and others that buy a fiberglass bow and want
              to step to the line with their Simms arrows and play the game, and "it's
              all good", all are welcomed and encouraged.
              That's the way it should be. We will not allow much of the real period
              tackle because it has been deemed unsafe, we've learned over the
              centuries. And we've learned more about physics and how to measure what
              we do, and I'd venture to say that in many cases we are probably a lot
              more accurate archers than our predecessors,IMHO.
              Play the game anyway you want, I love to play at the romance, make
              my own self-bows, self nocked arrows with tied on fletches and
              re-inforced wrapping on the nocks, but I also have and use a moisture
              meter, a spine scale, a grain scale, a cresting lathe, fletching jigs,
              feather burner, oh, and yeah, the internet too.
              -Geoffrei


              http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
            • James W. Pratt Jr.
              I know what you shoot and you do have a decent score better than mine. If I have followed the thread correctly you are planning to go back to Drachenwald? If
              Message 6 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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                I know what you shoot and you do have a decent score better than mine. If I
                have followed the thread correctly you are planning to go back to
                Drachenwald? If and when you do have them shoot the Winter Challenge.

                James Cunningham


                But this
                > might not continue if I don't get a decent Winter Challenge score soon ...
                > ;o)
                >
                > Will
              • Guy Taylor
                ... This brings to mind my friends that makes and shoot their own primitive tackle. One of them has a spine tester that he made but he does not always use it.
                Message 7 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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                  --- In SCA-Archery@egroups.com, "Prince, John" <jbprince@p...> wrote:

                  > It would be an interesting project wouldn't it! You could have one
                  > set of arrows matched by whatever mechanical ("scientific") means up
                  > against a set of arrows determined by the archer using your method.
                  > This is where I think "proficiency" would play apart. Perhaps
                  > "experience" is a better choice of a word. I say this only because
                  > you would want any variation in grouping to be reduced as much as
                  > possible due to performance on the part of the archer. A sort of
                  > "science" vs "instinctive" approach in arrow selection.
                  >
                  > Conchobhar

                  This brings to mind my friends that makes and shoot their own
                  primitive tackle. One of them has a spine tester that he made but he
                  does not always use it. Another simply bends the shafts he makes in
                  his hands and grades them by feel. Feathers are put on without
                  benefit of a fletching jig but I have seen Tom use his toes, not sure
                  if that is period or not but it works for him. He will shape
                  feathers either with scissors of a burning coal. Pyrographic
                  decoration is done with the sun and a magnifying glass. Finished
                  arrows are further graded by actual shooting into the two classes of
                  the good ones and the ones that get the "Wonder if I can hit that
                  from here?" shots. The latter are frequently unrecovererable in the
                  bushes.

                  Taillear
                • James W. Pratt Jr.
                  I do not think they worried about groupings as much as we do. Even the Ice Man had only one or two arrows ready to shoot. If I were a Welsh archer, the only
                  Message 8 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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                    I do not think they worried about groupings as much as we do. Even the Ice
                    Man had only one or two arrows ready to shoot. If I were a Welsh archer,
                    the only time I would need more than two arrows would be durring a war. For
                    the Hunters out there how many of you have taken more than two shots a deer
                    befor you retrieved arrows?

                    Intuitively, it makes sense.
                  • Guy Taylor
                    ... arrow ... Different persons get different things from their SCA participation. This occurs in every aspect of the SCA experience. For me, I am a
                    Message 9 of 22 , Dec 1, 2000
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                      --- In SCA-Archery@egroups.com, "Prince, John" <jbprince@p...> wrote:

                      > As a new member in the archery community I've been following the
                      > banter about spine weights, "perfectly" matched arrows, and all the
                      > other items about the "scientific" approach to archery with much
                      > amusement. M'Lord brings forward something that I've been wondering
                      > about for sometime. While SCA archery turns it's back on that
                      > unmentionable type of bow that is so prevalent in the hunting world
                      > as being "not medieval/traditional", as a group it apprently has no
                      > problem using all the gizmos and gadgets, bells and whistles in
                      arrow
                      > selection/construction. A bit schizophrenic I think.
                      >
                      > I must admit that I know next to nothing about the sport, having
                      > only been at it for about 8 months. However, I do like the approach
                      > being taken by the gentlman above.
                      >
                      > Conchobhar

                      Different persons get different things from their SCA participation.
                      This occurs in every aspect of the SCA experience. For me, I am a
                      traditional archer first, the SCA is a game I play on the weekends to
                      be with some good people and to get another chance to shoot my
                      equipment in a friendly atmosphere.
                      Not to disparage anyone else's SCA experience but whenever I see
                      someone sign their letters with "In service to the Dream." I am
                      minded of the tagline that talks about this being what I do on the
                      weekends, the Dream consists of a blond, a red head, a gallon of
                      chocolate syrup... etc. :-)
                    • Karl Sandhoff
                      The Medieval and Renaissance archery communities know full well about the intricacies of arrow making, they just didn t have the tools and had to use other
                      Message 10 of 22 , Dec 2, 2000
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                        The Medieval and Renaissance archery communities know full well about the
                        intricacies of arrow making, they just didn't have the tools and had to
                        use other techniques (such as a balance scale to make sure all
                        shafts/points/feathers matched in weight to each other). Drying oils
                        such as linseed seal as well as varnish. The big difference was that
                        they didn't do this for war (never fall in love with your ammunition) and
                        sport didn't get written about as much. Their form of sport was somewhat
                        different as well. So while a perfectly matched set might be produced as
                        a gift to a high ranking noble, they really didn't need them as much as
                        they used them differently. The technologies and tools used in the shops
                        to make gear were always more sophisticated and precise than the gear
                        made and used in then field.

                        Njall Hagerson wrote:
                        While not taking sides on such an issue (my opinions don't matter to
                        anyone
                        else but myself), I can see some justification for the science of arrow
                        making. While the medieval fletcher may not have had the same sorts of
                        tools, you can bet the archer had a care for well matched arrows.
                        Practice
                        for a many a medieval archer, was their job. I would hazard a guess that
                        they may have approached matching arrows by the shoot and record the
                        grouping method.

                        Reply -
                        And this is the crux of the issue because no matter how well the arrows
                        were matched, the was no quantifiable way to match them to a bow. In
                        fact, wood bows change their dynamics through their lives as they begin
                        to take a set, lose elasticity, etc. Thus the arrows perfectly matched
                        to it have to change.

                        In service to the dream,
                        Carolus von Eulenhorst

                        On Fri, 1 Dec 2000 14:15:57 -0800 "Prince, John"
                        <jbprince@...> writes:
                        >> Greetings!
                        >>
                        >> Easy answer: I don't care! ;o)
                        >>
                        >> a) In medieval times they did not have PU varnish.
                        >> b) They also did not have moisture-, spine- or other meters.
                        >> c) They still managed to hit stuff.
                        >>
                        >> Now, trying to recreate _medieval_ archery I'm using linseed oil and
                        >> beeswax for shaft protection. I do _not_ hit the target very well
                        >(at least not
                        >> intentionally ... ;o) ). Sorry, but blaming moisture content would
                        >be to
                        >> easy. It's ME who's messing up.
                        >>
                        >> Will
                        >> * Who also does not use a fletching jig until it can be documented
                        >;o) *
                        >>
                        >
                        >As a new member in the archery community I've been following the
                        >banter about spine weights, "perfectly" matched arrows, and all the
                        >other items about the "scientific" approach to archery with much
                        >amusement. M'Lord brings forward something that I've been wondering
                        >about for sometime. While SCA archery turns it's back on that
                        >unmentionable type of bow that is so prevalent in the hunting world
                        >as being "not medieval/traditional", as a group it apprently has no
                        >problem using all the gizmos and gadgets, bells and whistles in arrow
                        >selection/construction. A bit schizophrenic I think.
                        >
                        >I must admit that I know next to nothing about the sport, having
                        >only been at it for about 8 months. However, I do like the approach
                        >being taken by the gentlman above.
                        >
                        >Conchobhar
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                        >
                        >

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                      • Elizabeth Pidgeon
                        Stored bare shafts will gain a little spine over the years if properly stored indoors , and working arrows will loose a little due to cell degridation . Carl
                        Message 11 of 22 , Dec 3, 2000
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                          Stored bare shafts will gain a little spine over the years if properly
                          stored indoors , and working arrows will loose a little due to cell
                          degridation .
                          Carl
                          Message text written by INTERNET:SCA-Archery@egroups.com
                          >
                          Greetings

                          One more worm for the can. If you are working with un-sealed arrow
                          shafts... how MUCH does mosture content effect spin? I know that it is not
                          much fun on arrows, bolts, bow, targets, and archers.

                          James Cunningham

                          I really don't know how much variation in full arrow spine you'll find in a
                          dozen 32" shafts that are perfectly (well, OK, closely) matched according
                          to
                          standard spine. Could someone with an adjustable-span spine tester test
                          this?<
                        • James W. Pratt Jr.
                          snip (such as a balance scale to make sure all ... snip Wrong.... they had scales to weight gold (see the Viking )...what I have not found is fletchers or
                          Message 12 of 22 , Dec 3, 2000
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                            snip
                            (such as a balance scale to make sure all
                            > shafts/points/feathers matched in weight to each other).
                            snip

                            Wrong.... they had scales to weight gold (see the "Viking")...what I have
                            not found is fletchers or bowyers using scales on arrows or how to prove it.
                            Maybe if we found arrow heads/a file/and a scale we could make a conjecture.
                            But I have already asked how much good is that.

                            spip
                            The technologies and tools used in the shops to make gear were always more
                            sophisticated and precise than the gear made and used in then field.
                            snip

                            I cannot see a poacher getting his arrows from a fletcher but as any modern
                            fletcher knows, even with modern tools, experience and practice are a big
                            part of making the best arrows.

                            James Cunningham
                          • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
                            To All, Very heavy draw weight bows, such as the bows that were shot in medieval times are LESS critical of exacting spine. Ask any master arrowmaker even in
                            Message 13 of 22 , Dec 3, 2000
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                              To All,
                              Very heavy draw weight bows, such as the bows that were shot in
                              medieval times are LESS critical of exacting spine.
                              Ask any master arrowmaker even in our society about this. I shoot
                              heavier than average bows,70# plus, and although I am
                              compulsive about weighing, spine and grain weight, I am constantly
                              reminded by great fletchers such as Master Li Kung Lo and others that
                              the close matching of spines at that weight and speed is NOT AS critical
                              as it is on lighter weight bows and arrows, you just need to make sure
                              you are not shooting under-spined arrows, or, DISASTER! On lighter
                              weight bows (under 60#, by medieval standards) it is very critical. I
                              don't know why this is, perhaps there are experts out there that can
                              explain it better, but it is shown in practice.
                              So, even though you are using a nifty little self bow that you've
                              made that draws at 40# at 28" with self nocked arrows with tied on
                              fletching, you cannot compare what you are doing to the "classic"
                              British war bow which drew at between 80# for those weaker gents up to
                              170# for the "knuckle scrapers".
                              All of what I've written so far about spine and grain weight is
                              geared toward the wonderful sport" that we practice in the SCA. Where
                              the majority of people are not drawing seige bows, they are working on
                              their form and trying to get their arrows as close to center of the
                              paper target as possible. The physics and dynamics of our lighter weight
                              target bows is very different, much more critical of weight difference,
                              a lot more responsive, and due to increased speed, more critical of
                              archer error on release.
                              One previous writer is correct about the arrows found in the Mary
                              Rose(source: Hardy "Longbow", Hugh Soar, "Instinctive Archer") they were
                              estimated at being well over 1000 grains each. With a 300plus grain
                              arrowhead, that means the shafts with fletching would have weighed in at
                              over 700plus grains themselves. These would have been shot out of a
                              120plus pound bow delivering the ordinance at over 220fps. DAMN!
                              This isn't the type of archery that we do.
                              -Geoffrei


                              http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
                            • Karl Sandhoff
                              Many years ago in the library at California State University, Long Beach there was a book with an illustration purported to come from the 14th or 15th century
                              Message 14 of 22 , Dec 3, 2000
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                                Many years ago in the library at California State University, Long Beach
                                there was a book with an illustration purported to come from the 14th or
                                15th century from the archives of the "Fletcher's Guild" (I don't recall
                                the exact Guild name) in London which clearly showed a balance scale on
                                the workbench next to a pile of materials and several completed arrows.
                                While I know that the jewlers and goldsmiths had similar scales with
                                precise wieghts to measure against, I did not see any such weights in the
                                image and did not wish to imply facts from evidence not in view. In
                                addition, my experience with engine rebuilding had me balancing engine
                                parts against each other to achieve balance though the exact weight was
                                not important. We used a similar balance system. Thus, my deduction of
                                one possible conclusion. Since I no longer am near the University, I
                                will have to wait on trying to find the book again until I get back with
                                time to spend (I do still have library priveledges).
                                In service to the dream,
                                Carolus von Eulenhorst

                                On Sun, 3 Dec 2000 12:08:44 -0500 "James W. Pratt Jr."
                                <cunning@...> writes:
                                >snip
                                >(such as a balance scale to make sure all
                                >> shafts/points/feathers matched in weight to each other).
                                >snip
                                >
                                >Wrong.... they had scales to weight gold (see the "Viking")...what I
                                >have
                                >not found is fletchers or bowyers using scales on arrows or how to
                                >prove it.
                                >Maybe if we found arrow heads/a file/and a scale we could make a
                                >conjecture.
                                >But I have already asked how much good is that.
                                >
                                >spip
                                > The technologies and tools used in the shops to make gear were always
                                >more
                                >sophisticated and precise than the gear made and used in then field.
                                >snip
                                >
                                >I cannot see a poacher getting his arrows from a fletcher but as any
                                >modern
                                >fletcher knows, even with modern tools, experience and practice are a
                                >big
                                >part of making the best arrows.
                                >
                                >James Cunningham
                                >
                                >
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                                >[Email to SCA-Archery-unsubscribe@egroups.com to leave this list]
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                                >

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                              • Karl Sandhoff
                                Indeed, the archery we practice has much more in common with the archery spor of Ascham and Princess Elizabeth than the war of Agincourt and Crecy. If one
                                Message 15 of 22 , Dec 3, 2000
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                                  Indeed, the archery we practice has much more in common with the archery
                                  spor" of Ascham and Princess Elizabeth than the war of Agincourt and
                                  Crecy. If one were to examine the equipment of war vs. the equipment of
                                  sport (including hunting) one will find the sport equipment much finer,
                                  more precise, and delicate (though by no means fragile) than that for
                                  war. We often seem to be arguing to cross purposes as even the sport is
                                  still in period, albeit late period.
                                  In service to the dream,
                                  Carolus von Eulenhorst

                                  On Sun, 3 Dec 2000 13:44:18 -0500 (EST) jrosswebb1@... writes:
                                  >To All,
                                  > snip<
                                  > All of what I've written so far about spine and grain weight is
                                  >geared toward the wonderful sport" that we practice in the SCA. Where
                                  >the majority of people are not drawing seige bows, they are working on
                                  >their form and trying to get their arrows as close to center of the
                                  >paper target as possible. The physics and dynamics of our lighter
                                  >weight
                                  >target bows is very different, much more critical of weight
                                  >difference,
                                  >a lot more responsive, and due to increased speed, more critical of
                                  >archer error on release.
                                  > One previous writer is correct about the arrows found in the
                                  >Mary
                                  >Rose(source: Hardy "Longbow", Hugh Soar, "Instinctive Archer") they
                                  >were
                                  >estimated at being well over 1000 grains each. With a 300plus grain
                                  >arrowhead, that means the shafts with fletching would have weighed in
                                  >at
                                  >over 700plus grains themselves. These would have been shot out of a
                                  >120plus pound bow delivering the ordinance at over 220fps. DAMN!
                                  > This isn't the type of archery that we do.
                                  >-Geoffrei
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >-------------------------- eGroups Sponsor
                                  >
                                  >Get medieval at Mad Macsen's
                                  >http://www.MedievalMart.com/
                                  >
                                  >Sponsored by House Wyvern Hall, BBM, East Kingdom, SCA
                                  >[Email to SCA-Archery-unsubscribe@egroups.com to leave this list]
                                  >
                                  >

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