Here is my build- along of a wooden flightbow called 2.5xdouble dragons. I call all my bows, the choosen name is related to my favourites during the time I do them. In this case the name is a link to my favourite band when I made the bows forerunner 2xdouble dragons, DOUBLE DRAGONS, a mathrock- duo from Middletown, Connecticut. 2nd, my 10 years old daughter wanted to know how to play computer- games, so for to get the actual spirit, I checked for the Double Dragons- Fists of Rage-, a classic. I found a free download of it, we really had some fun…… 3rd, the 2xdouble dragon was my first trial to make a wooden flightbow, if you´ve begun it, you´ ll be unable to stop it, I have to make a better one, soon you get hooked on flightbowery. 3xdoubledragons will upcoming.
For to be serious, I´m an experienced bowyer, during the past 20 years I´ve done hundreds of so- called primitive bows, but I´m a flightbow- beginner, if you are an advanced flightbowyer, my first trials are not to much exciting for
you. So support me with your advice, if you´re a flightbow- beginner too, my first trials could inspire you, maybe you could share your first trials here.
What is a flightbow? A bow that is shooting a flight- arrow very, very far! What is far in that case? An average wooden bow or selfbow is shooting a common arrow matched(spine) to the bows capablities(drawweight, drawlength) its drawweight plus 100. F.e., your bow draws 50lbs, so it should send an arrow about 150yards, plus/minus 20%, according to the bowwood and the design. This is a rule of thumb. The plus tells us there are opportunities to make the same bow shooting an arrow further.
Take a lighter arrow, but not to light, there is a limit. If the arrow is to light, it will not get a stable flight, the arrow will not fly to far.
You could shorten your bow in length, you could heat- treat it or steam- bend some reflex into it, but don´t go to far. It´s a risky game, for to get it, just do it……………………
More experienced bowyers know more or less what makes a wooden bow shooting an arrow very far. Some designs are predicted to shoot far, done with excellent fast woods you´ll get it.
According to my knowledge one of the actual wooden flightbow- records has been shot by Marc St. Louis, he gets about 360yards with his heat- treated elm bow, drawing about 65lbs.
For more infos on primitive flightshooting go for the PALEOPLANET- just use the link buttom at the right, look out for the flightshooting section in their forum.
But the truth is: it is very hard to do a flightbow, you can calculate them very exactly, anyway you´ll be far away from a real flightshot. Bowyers are always going for to get a lot of energy of a minimum of mass. But to less mass makes a bow unstable, breakable…………exploding……………sometimes I´ve the impression that real great flight- bows are done by accident? A well- done wooden flightbow should shoot an arrow at about 280yards.
For to make a bow shooting an arrow far, it should cast an arrow with a high speed. Usually shorter bows bows shoot faster than longer bows, cause the limbs- motion takes less time. Again there´s a limit, short bows stress the wood more, its again a question of balance, anyway you´ve to make a decision, choose a design, a real great bowwood, maybe osage- orange, yew, elm, ipe, blackthorn, hawthorn or my favourite euonymus.
In the case of 2.5xdouble dragons I was heavily inspired by PALEOPLANETS Badger5419 aka Steve Gardner, he is a real expert in flightbowery and the author of “The Mass Principle”, a great chapter in the Traditional Bowyers Bible, volume 4.
He recently came up with the idea of making flightbows very short and shooting them with very light arrows for to get high speed casting the arrows very far, go for: http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/31937
But it´s myself who is somehow obsessed by short bows, I love the idea to handle a weapon looking like a toy, its making is such a delicious job, so exiting…….
I had 2 small pieces of osage- orange left, about 24″ in length, one of them measured less than 1″ in thickness, the other one measured a bit more than 1″ in thickness, their width was about the same, 11/2″. Not to much mass for to get a bow stronger than 45lbs, anyway an experience with a design.
The design of 2.5xdouble dragons is based on skinny tip- designs originally derived from the ancient Mollegabet- and Holmegaard- bows: a skinny tip is usually a bit thicker than wide, so it is stiff, not bending and reduces mass of a bow´s limb. So it provoques the inner limb bending more and increases the speed of the limb´s forward motion. It tooks a lot of experience to know how to design a skinny tip. If it is to long the inner limb could break down, if it is to skinny it will bend, maybe sideways too. Have always in mind to keep the building line while laying out and shaping the bow, otherwise you´ll end up with the string beside the bow´s handle. So the last step in shaping the bow will be the rasping of the skinny tips very carefully.
2.5xdouble dragons turned out to work well, even with this tremendous bend in the linner limbs, cause it took some set after a few fulldraws, I heat- treated the inner limbs at their belly- side heavily. This worked well, finally it draws 38lbs at 23″. It is a fast bow, it shoots a 330grs.- arrow at 132f/s, a 255grs.- arrow at 144f/s, a 220grs.- arrow at 168f/s.
Its measurements: length is 44″ ( handle 5″, bending sections 11″, tips 8.5″), physical weight is 9oz., the string is made of linen.
The handle measures 1″x3/4″ in cross-section, the limb is 11/4″ in width , tips are tapering from 11/4″ to 3/8″ in width and 5/8″ in thickness.
I´ve never done a selfbow such short before and I´m really surprised what a bend an outstanding bowwood like osage could withstand without any damage. It is very worth to go on making short selfbows. 2xdouble dragons will be featured here soon as well as a short selfbow made of euonymus.
2.5xdouble dragons has not got a finish and a final wrapping at its handle yet, I´ll do it if I´ll be very sure that it is really ready, maybe I´ll do some additional heat- treating or making the tips more skinny for to get some more f/s.
50% of the work is done, now I´ll have to find the flight- arrow matching the capablities of 2.5xdouble dragons. I´m sure this bow will shoot a 100grs.- arrow with 200f/s plus. But how to do such a light arrow performing a stable flight? I´ll update you.
Update the 2.5xdouble dragons.
For sure this is a short flightbow, usually wooden flightbows have to be longer. Flightbows made of horn, wood and sinew are capable of storing more energy, so they can be build shorter. If hornbows are made to long, they are to heavy in physical weight and the advantages of the horn/ wood/ sinew- composition are lost.
While making short flightbows I´m just checking out how far could I go drawing an only- wood- bow. Those trials are telling me a lot about the capablities of bowwoods. Anyway a short bow will shot a light arrow very fast, cause its limbs are moving faster.
The best length of a wooden flightbow should be about 60″ in length for an about 24″ draw.
Sorry about the chronos for the 2.5xdouble dragons, there was something wrong with the setting of my indoor chrono- equipment. I guess experienced bowyers have noticed my wrong numbers. After having rearranged the setting I got the following numbers, now the calculation of the efficiency are making sense.
Here we are: a 330grs. arrow was shot at 124f/s, a 232grs. arrow was shot at 130f/s, a 155grs.arrow was shot at 141f/sec, this means 11.7, 10.1 and 6.7.
The 2xdouble dragons is ready, its numbers: 45.5″ in length, 44lbs at 23″. It shots the 330grs.arrow at 124f/s, the 232grs.arrow at 141f/s anf the 155grs.arrow at 155f/s.
The short euonymus called alasehir is not quite ready but chronoed. It is 50″ in length and draws 23″ at 50lbs. it shots the 330grs.arrow at 140f/s, the 232grs.arrow at 150f/s and the 125grs.arrow at 162f/s.
So I´m far behind the magic 300f/s, I´ve to go again…………………………
Next trial is an about 55lbs at 24″ longer bow made of euonymus again, it is 59″ in length. It is not ready, you see it anyway posted here in a somewhat rough state.
Enjoy the pics! There are flightarrows too, an upcoming bowXplosion will be a build- along of flight- arrows.