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RE: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking

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  • Smalley, Doug
    Hmm... I like your point you make here... it reminds me tho of something I read in Hardy s Longbow ... something about being required or somesuch to practice
    Message 1 of 14 , Dec 1, 2000
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      Hmm... I like your point you make here... it reminds me tho' of something I
      read in Hardy's "Longbow"... something about being required or somesuch to
      practice archery under "such-n-suches" reign in England... as I don't have
      the book handy here at work, anyone remember or know the reference that I'm
      talking about??

      Robert
      (wonderfull memory... I just read the book again like two months ago...
      LOL...)

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Hal B. Clark [SMTP:hlclark@...]
      > Sent: Friday, December 01, 2000 8:39 PM
      > To: SCA Archery
      > Subject: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
      >
      > If the fletcher made arrows 12 to 16 hours a day, when did he shoot?
      >
      > I dinna doubt that those who fletched arrows for the military did sit a
      > fletch for many hours per day.
      > However, I do doubt that these men ever shot a bow. Military arrows
      > were probably made to a standard gauge of straightness finish, and
      > possibly weight. These arrows were than bundled into
      > sheaves which, on the battle field were then placed in baskets. Most
      > archers then shot an arrow
      > "into the air which came down none know where" in mass volley fire. At
      > the larger battles, there may have been 60,000 arrows up there at a
      > time. Accuracy was not a requirement.
      >
      > I am also sure that each archer had a dozen or so arrows on his person
      > that had proven reliable
      > either in practice or were his own make, which he knew were accurate for
      > that time in battle when one shot was all that stood between him and a
      > sharp sticker of some sort.
      >
      > Maybe my thoughts on this are all screwed up but I don't believe the
      > mass produced GI issue arrow was something I would risk my neck on.
      > Walk Tall
      > Gentle Ben
      >
      >
      >
      > Get medieval at Mad Macsen's
      > http://www.MedievalMart.com/
      >
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      > [Email to SCA-Archery-unsubscribe@egroups.com to leave this list]
      >
    • James W. Pratt Jr.
      This makes more sense...now how do we prove it? James Cunningham Former expert in long range Artillery ie:USAF in mass volley fire. At
      Message 2 of 14 , Dec 1, 2000
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        This makes more sense...now how do we prove it?

        James Cunningham
        Former expert in long range Artillery ie:USAF

        in mass volley fire. At
        > the larger battles, there may have been 60,000 arrows up there at a
        > time. Accuracy was not a requirement.
        >
        > I am also sure that each archer had a dozen or so arrows on his person
        > that had proven reliable
        > either in practice or were his own make, which he knew were accurate for
        > that time in battle when one shot was all that stood between him and a
        > sharp sticker of some sort.
      • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
        Dear James and all, There is an old expression from Merry Ole England: 4 and 20 Scotsman on your belt which refers to the sheave of arrows that an archer
        Message 3 of 14 , Dec 1, 2000
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          Dear James and all,
          There is an old expression from Merry Ole England: "4 and 20
          Scotsman on your belt" which refers to the sheave of arrows that an
          archer would be handed and take into battle. 6 of these would be kept
          long (a cloth yard) drawn to the ear for flight and be fitted with
          different heads,
          usually broadheads for injuring horses and taking down the rider, and
          the remaining 18 would be fitted with more common bodkin types and were
          usually shorter for more accurate closer shooting.
          My source for all of this comes from various sources, an old book
          on weaponry by Farris (it's for young readers,but the illustrations are
          great) The History of Marksmanship by Trench, and don't laugh, but an
          article written by Ben Pearson that I read when working on my archery
          Merit Badge in the Boy Scouts back around 1960. ( Okay, my secret's out,
          before I became a mean biker in the late 60's, I was a Boy Scout.)
          How accurate any of this is, is debatable, but these are the
          tales that have come down to us. Most of the writing that we have on
          medieval archery(Western Euro.) are at best from later period writers
          that looked back with a bit of romance and exaggeration. The types of
          men(and women?) that were archers were common, and not literate as a
          rule. The tales of battle were usually written about the nobles, and the
          period writers had a big problem with accuracy and numbers, i.e.: Does
          anyone really know for sure the actual numbers of French to English at
          Agincourt?
          -Geoffrei



          http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
        • Alberic
          Greetings: On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere that many military arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads, so
          Message 4 of 14 , Dec 2, 2000
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            Greetings:

            On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere
            that many "military" arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads, so
            they'd fly once, but then break up on impact, to prevent being shot back.
            This apparently didn't have much effect on target damage, but I expect
            they switched types when firing against hardened/armoured targets.
            (Volley fire against peasants is one thing, knights another.)

            Cheers-
            Alberic
          • Karl Sandhoff
            I ve also read this about crossbow bolts but not about arrows. In fact, I ve read a number of accounts af gleaning shafts from the field between engagements.
            Message 5 of 14 , Dec 2, 2000
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              I've also read this about crossbow bolts but not about arrows. In fact,
              I've read a number of accounts af gleaning shafts from the field between
              engagements.
              In service to the dream,
              Carolus von Eulenhorst

              On Sat, 02 Dec 2000 00:32:59 -0800 Alberic <ALBERIC@...>
              writes:
              >Greetings:
              >
              >On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere
              >that many "military" arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads,
              >so
              >they'd fly once, but then break up on impact, to prevent being shot
              >back.
              >This apparently didn't have much effect on target damage, but I expect
              >they switched types when firing against hardened/armoured targets.
              >(Volley fire against peasants is one thing, knights another.)
              >
              >Cheers-
              >Alberic
              >
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              >
              >

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            • Mike O'Toole
              ... From: paul kaveshan To: Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2000 7:15 PM Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval
              Message 6 of 14 , Dec 2, 2000
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                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "paul kaveshan" <pkjdw@...>
                To: <SCA-Archery@egroups.com>
                Sent: Saturday, December 02, 2000 7:15 PM
                Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking


                > >From: Alberic <ALBERIC@...>
                > >Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
                > >Date: Sat, 02 Dec 2000 00:32:59 -0800
                > >
                > >On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere
                > >that many "military" arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads,
                so
                > >they'd fly once, but then break up on impact, to prevent being shot
                back.
                >
                > Greetings.
                >
                > I read this too somewhere. Once a 600 grain point is in flight, a
                150(?)
                > grain shaft wont help that much in penetration. I am trying to find
                the
                > book in which it had the specs of this type of arrow.

                You may want to double check this fact about 150 grain shafts.

                The only verifiable arrow shafts that I know of from the middle ages are
                the ones recovered from the Mary Rose and they were about 1/2 inch in
                diameter and made of poplar. This size may be hard to conceive but when
                you think that the Mary Rose bows with draw weights of 110 to 185 lbs
                would need very strong shafts. Now when I consider 5/16 Port Orford
                Cedar shafts weiging in at ~350 grains I can easily imagine a half inch
                piece of poplar having a mass of 800-1000 grains

                In Toxophilus Ascham writes

                "Yet, as concerning sheaf arrows for war, (as I suppose) it were better
                to make them of good ash, and not of asp, as they be nowadays. For of
                all other woods that ever I proved, ash being big is swiftest, and again
                heavy to give a great stripe withal, which asp shall not do. What
                heaviness doth in a stripe, everyman by experience can tell; therefore
                ash being both swifter and heavier is more fit for sheaf arrows than
                asp: and thus much for the best wood for shafts."

                Toxophilus, Ascham, Simon Archery Foundation, p120

                This quotation certainly leads me to believe that in the medieval
                mindset that the "stripe" or striking power was also dependent on the
                material of the shaft and not just in the mass of the head.

                Michael O'Byrne
                Montengarde
              • paul kaveshan
                ... Greetings. I read this too somewhere. Once a 600 grain point is in flight, a 150(?) grain shaft wont help that much in penetration. I am trying to find
                Message 7 of 14 , Dec 2, 2000
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                  >From: Alberic <ALBERIC@...>
                  >Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
                  >Date: Sat, 02 Dec 2000 00:32:59 -0800
                  >
                  >On the subject of military arrows, I seem to recall reading somewhere
                  >that many "military" arrows were made deliberately weak in the heads, so
                  >they'd fly once, but then break up on impact, to prevent being shot back.

                  Greetings.

                  I read this too somewhere. Once a 600 grain point is in flight, a 150(?)
                  grain shaft wont help that much in penetration. I am trying to find the
                  book in which it had the specs of this type of arrow.

                  Keep em flying.



                  Ld James
                  Shire of Tempio
                  Archery marshal
                  Chronicler
                  Cadet to OEngus of Greymist

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                • James W. Pratt Jr.
                  For those not use to weight of wood. Poplar is lighter than ash. Until I find my book on weight per cubic foot poplar feels lighter than norway pine. I have
                  Message 8 of 14 , Dec 3, 2000
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                    For those not use to weight of wood. Poplar is lighter than ash. Until I
                    find my book on weight per cubic foot poplar feels lighter than norway pine.
                    I have shot a poplar arrow off a 36 lb recurve and it went over 150yards.
                    Plus it is very brittle and broke the head off when it hit the road(which
                    was a good 40yards behind my intended target).

                    James Cunningham

                    > You may want to double check this fact about 150 grain shafts.
                    >
                    > The only verifiable arrow shafts that I know of from the middle ages are
                    > the ones recovered from the Mary Rose and they were about 1/2 inch in
                    > diameter and made of poplar. This size may be hard to conceive but when
                    > you think that the Mary Rose bows with draw weights of 110 to 185 lbs
                    > would need very strong shafts. Now when I consider 5/16 Port Orford
                    > Cedar shafts weiging in at ~350 grains I can easily imagine a half inch
                    > piece of poplar having a mass of 800-1000 grains
                    >
                    > In Toxophilus Ascham writes
                    >
                    > "Yet, as concerning sheaf arrows for war, (as I suppose) it were better
                    > to make them of good ash, and not of asp, as they be nowadays. For of
                    > all other woods that ever I proved, ash being big is swiftest, and again
                    > heavy to give a great stripe withal, which asp shall not do. What
                    > heaviness doth in a stripe, everyman by experience can tell; therefore
                    > ash being both swifter and heavier is more fit for sheaf arrows than
                    > asp: and thus much for the best wood for shafts."
                    >
                    > Toxophilus, Ascham, Simon Archery Foundation, p120
                    >
                    > This quotation certainly leads me to believe that in the medieval
                    > mindset that the "stripe" or striking power was also dependent on the
                    > material of the shaft and not just in the mass of the head.
                    >
                    > Michael O'Byrne
                    > Montengarde
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > 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]
                    >
                    >
                  • paul kaveshan
                    ... I agree that they may not have been 150 grain shafts. Thats why I put the (?) in there. I was not quoting a fact. I really dont know how heavy a shaft
                    Message 9 of 14 , Dec 3, 2000
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                      >From: "Mike O'Toole" <mike.otoole@...>
                      >Reply-To: SCA-Archery@egroups.com
                      >To: <SCA-Archery@egroups.com>
                      >Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
                      >Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2000 15:15:01 -0700

                      >You may want to double check this fact about 150 grain shafts.
                      >The only verifiable arrow shafts that I know of from the middle ages >are
                      >the ones recovered from the Mary Rose and they were about 1/2 >inch in
                      >diameter and made of poplar.

                      I agree that they may not have been 150 grain shafts. Thats why I put the
                      (?) in there. I was not quoting a fact. I really dont know how heavy a
                      shaft they may have been. But it still holds that once the arrow is in
                      flight, most of the energy will be put on the target. Even if the shaft
                      breaks on impact, the point still has the mass & speed behind it.

                      Ld James
                      _____________________________________________________________________________________
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                    • Brad Boda d'Aylward
                      Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking ... (snippage) ... My understanding is that for some of these battles, the local clergy performed religious
                      Message 10 of 14 , Dec 22, 2000
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                        Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking


                        >Dear James and all,
                        (snippage)
                        > How accurate any of this is, is debatable, but these are the
                        >tales that have come down to us. Most of the writing that we have on
                        >medieval archery(Western Euro.) are at best from later period writers
                        >that looked back with a bit of romance and exaggeration. The types of
                        >men(and women?) that were archers were common, and not literate as a
                        >rule. The tales of battle were usually written about the nobles, and the
                        >period writers had a big problem with accuracy and numbers, i.e.: Does
                        >anyone really know for sure the actual numbers of French to English at
                        >Agincourt?
                        >-Geoffrei
                        >
                        My understanding is that for some of these battles, the local clergy
                        performed religious rites just prior to the battles and then waited in the
                        wings, as it were, to perform the death rites afterwards. These men were the
                        chroniclers of these after action reports and being quite litterate,
                        provided more accurate reports than usual.

                        Brad
                      • Michael vanBergen
                        Brad, I wish I had my notes on the book in hand but no such luck, so I will wing it. A book titled Eyewitness to History by ? found at Barnes and Noble, has
                        Message 11 of 14 , Dec 22, 2000
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                          Brad, I wish I had my notes on the book in hand but no such luck, so I
                          will wing it. A book titled "Eyewitness to History" by ? found at Barnes
                          and Noble, has a 2 page or so article on Agincourt written by a french
                          knight who survived the day. He said the 1st french battle sent 6000 to
                          the left wing of English archers and 6000 to the right wing, while the
                          rest of the battle went to the center. On one side, only 20 or so made it
                          into the wall of stakes while 6 score made it into the stakes on the
                          other side.He states the archers were on the wings and angled forward
                          with the English men at arms in the center. Further, he states that the
                          English threw down their quivers and bows ( no mention of arrows) ,
                          picked up their side weapons and waded into the gaps in the line that
                          they had created and continued to fight. The 2nd battle came on and got
                          caught up in the disarray ofthe 1st battle. The 3rd battle never tried
                          the field.

                          There is also a story on Crecy there as well.

                          Compared to today an d our in depth news reporting, they really werent
                          that specific. An article on KLing richard, from the same book as above
                          stuff, states the king was above average height with a ruddy complexion.

                          Michael

                          On Fri, 22 Dec 2000 13:39:29 -0500 "Brad Boda d'Aylward"
                          <bradb@...> writes:
                          > Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking
                          >
                          >
                          > >Dear James and all,
                          > (snippage)
                          > > How accurate any of this is, is debatable, but these are
                          > the
                          > >tales that have come down to us. Most of the writing that we have
                          > on
                          > >medieval archery(Western Euro.) are at best from later period
                          > writers
                          > >that looked back with a bit of romance and exaggeration. The types
                          > of
                          > >men(and women?) that were archers were common, and not literate as
                          > a
                          > >rule. The tales of battle were usually written about the nobles,
                          > and the
                          > >period writers had a big problem with accuracy and numbers, i.e.:
                          > Does
                          > >anyone really know for sure the actual numbers of French to English
                          > at
                          > >Agincourt?
                          > >-Geoffrei
                          > >
                          > My understanding is that for some of these battles, the local clergy
                          > performed religious rites just prior to the battles and then waited
                          > in the
                          > wings, as it were, to perform the death rites afterwards. These men
                          > were the
                          > chroniclers of these after action reports and being quite litterate,
                          > provided more accurate reports than usual.
                          >
                          > Brad
                          >
                          >
                          > -------------------------- eGroups Sponsor
                          >
                          > Get medieval at Mad Macsen's
                          > http://www.MedievalMart.com/
                          >
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                          >
                        • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
                          Dear Brad, And your answer to the question of Agincourt is?....................? I have read conflicting reports written by very literate people of the period
                          Message 12 of 14 , Dec 22, 2000
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                            Dear Brad,
                            And your answer to the question of Agincourt
                            is?....................?
                            I have read conflicting reports written by very literate people of the
                            period as having anywhere between 25 to 50 thousand French and several
                            hundred to a few thousand English. Contemporary 20th century military
                            scholars who after counting the actual divisions that they knew were
                            employed have estimated that it was between 10 to 15 thousand French
                            against about 1 to 2 thousand English. But the actual true answer is:
                            unknown. The documentation conflicts and all that we really know is that
                            the English were greatly outnumbered.
                            Medieval census taking was notoriously wrong. Recounts of battles are
                            notoriously exagerated, and although they seemed to count just fine when
                            it came to commercial exchanges, they did seem to have a problem with
                            overstating numbers to flesh out a story or a census. Of course we can't
                            be so "cocky" about how we count, the election ya know.
                            Respectfully,
                            -Geoffrei


                            http://community.webtv.net/jrosswebb1/EASTWINDStribal
                          • Brad Boda d'Aylward
                            Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking ... Aah. Tis of a truth you do speak. I know of which you refer. (sorry, Midsummer s on Cinemax) Try to get a
                            Message 13 of 14 , Dec 23, 2000
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                              Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] medieval arrowmaking


                              >Dear Brad,
                              > And your answer to the question of Agincourt
                              >is?....................?
                              >I have read conflicting reports written by very literate people of the
                              >period as having anywhere between 25 to 50 thousand French and several
                              >hundred to a few thousand English. Contemporary 20th century military
                              >scholars who after counting the actual divisions that they knew were
                              >employed have estimated that it was between 10 to 15 thousand French
                              >against about 1 to 2 thousand English. But the actual true answer is:
                              >unknown. The documentation conflicts and all that we really know is that
                              >the English were greatly outnumbered.
                              >Medieval census taking was notoriously wrong. Recounts of battles are
                              >notoriously exagerated, and although they seemed to count just fine when
                              >it came to commercial exchanges, they did seem to have a problem with
                              >overstating numbers to flesh out a story or a census. Of course we can't
                              >be so "cocky" about how we count, the election ya know.
                              >Respectfully,
                              >-Geoffrei
                              >
                              Aah. 'Tis of a truth you do speak. I know of which you refer. (sorry,
                              Midsummer's on Cinemax) Try to get a head count of the fighters on the
                              field at Pennsic............ and this in an age of people who are known to
                              be able to count.

                              Brad
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