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Sunday, 22 January 2017

GOOSE FEATHER AT 100X

GOOSE FEATHER AT 100X

At the Blog of our medieval archers fighting company 
GREX LEPORUM


An article about the goose feather, the choice of the English medieval warbow archer and its unique properties.



A beautiful image of a goose feather taken with Ultraviolet light at 100X

© Yiorgos Nikiteas

Friday, 23 September 2016

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

WAR ARROW FROM ASH TREE ROOT SHOOT


WAR ARROW FROM ASH TREE ROOT SHOOT

"The archery industry in medieval England served a number of markets. So far the evidence has been of equipment for use in national military activity, but there was a great deal of equipment used more localised or personal ways, for mercenary service and crusading, or private use in England, for hunting, brigandage and sport ".

Richard Wage - "Arrowstorm".



I know that we can all buy arrow shafts from different suppliers and very few of us  have adequate workshops in which we can shape them from long strips of wood.

In the past I made a primitive arrow from Ash tree root shoot and I was surprised at the good quality and strength of the wood. ( https://velopeia.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/custom-made-primitive-arrow.html). At that time I was thinking that the thickest part of the shoot should be the strongest for the arrow nock, and of course that is the part closest to the root. 
Because of that I had to spend a lot of time tapering the shaft.

Recently having checked a shaft from an Ash root shoot that had been drying for approximately a year, I discovered that the spine and the weight was adequate for the construction of a medieval war arrow and the top of the shaft - the thiner part away from the root - was strong enough to take the nock.

Well, Ash is a prehistoric tree and definitely has been around in the British Isles since ancient times, and the question is how practical it is to make good strong arrows from the root shoots.
There are not disadvantages in this practice but only advantages. There are a huge amount around, and in cutting the shoots it benefits the main tree ( I think ) and for me something wonderful, they are naturally tapered.



Photo 1


So, during an hour’s walk in the local woods with my dog I  harvested 11 possible shafts - Photo 1. The shoots I am looking for, are straight and with as less knots as possible. At photo 2  is the root shoot that my 34” measure shaft is resting on. 
I used a small saw and a Vernier Caliper and chose shoots which at the thickest point are about 14mm - 15mm and are much longer then 34”.

Photo 2


Next step is scraping back the bark and whilst they are very fresh I make my first attempt to straighten them with steam or a gas burner. I like my bunsen burner. 
In photograph 3 I have a group of 8 fairly straight shafts. Three from the 11 had to be disposed of because of hidden imperfections and knots. As a comparison I have in the middle the finished war arrow. 



Photo 3

In photographs 4 & 5 you can see the 7.5” of goose feathers with linen binding and instead of horn as a nock re-enforcement, I used an Oak strip, also acceptable in medieval times. At the front is an armour piercing hand made Type 8 bodkin.
The only mechanical part of the process is the spinning with a drill and sandpaper, just to smooth the surface, but could easily be done by hand but would take longer. All the new 8 shafts, after a couple of weeks of drying (longer in the winter)  will be straighten further. 



Photo 4


Photo 5


There is something very important for me to mention. In these root shoots the grain direction is evenly arranged around the centre of the shaft so it makes no difference where you cut the nock but most interestingly  from top to bottom the grain is evenly and naturally arranged.
I have bought many shafts with twisted grain or irregular thicknesses between the sapwood and hardwood lines. In my opinion when the arrow spins that can produce problems in its trajectory (?), like perhaps an unbalanced car wheel. 

All the materials would be easily available to a farming or forest community or a small town in medieval times. Apart from the bodkin all the other materials are, I would  say, are almost free and here are the arrow specs.- Photo 6

Arrow from Ash root shoot - 30” long.
Natural taper 13mm - 11mm.
Spine #115
FOC 13%
Bodkin 361 grains
Weight 1070 grains

….with the 361 grains weight bodkin the spine softness and the arrow fly really well with a longbow #100 @ 32” bow and in this particular arrow  #93 @ 30”.

Photo 6

I don’t have any historical references re Ash root shoots or for any other tree, but back then, this year’s harvest of Ash root shoots would make very good arrows the next year.




added 25-6-16
arrow shafts cut to size 31" (photo 7)

Photo 7


Photo 8





© Yiorgos Nikiteas




Saturday, 14 May 2016

AZINCOURT 600, 1415 - 2015

 AZINCOURT 600,   1415 - 2015
25th and 26th July
FOR KING AND ST GEORGE!


( From Right to Left )- Ed Harris and Yiorgos Nikiteas at Azincourt 600.



Our team's colours 




This special event was shared with archers and knights from 21 countries. It is important to mention firstly that a one minute silence was held before the beginning of each battle in remembrance of the dead and in respect to so many warriors 600 years ago who fought for their countries and their kings.


I have to apologise for using mostly other peoples’ photographs to commemorate the event and credit has been given to the sources  where I was able to find them. As you can all understand, since both of us were combatants it was difficult to take photographs and/or carry cameras.

We are proud and honoured that we were accepted by the organisers and the museum of Azincourt on the basis of the historical accuracy of our kit. We all shot with bows #50 and below at the battle but in the big shoot Ed shot with #105@32 and Yiorgos with #100@32 war bows and on both occasions with blunt arrows.


  Photo: David Varey


Photo: Marta Gorath

It was an extraordinary experience, but it was also an education to view so many archers and knights with variations of defensive armour and weapons, different camp arrangements, very inventive camp fires, furniture, tents,  beautiful  dresses worn by the ladies and children, and the elaborate mens clothes in the “Friendship Evening” which were worn  mainly by French Knights. The Friendship Evening took place Friday night in the museum hall with of course a free beer. 



                                          Yiorgos with John Conyard of COMITATUS at the "Friendship Evening"


The internet is full of videos and images from the event but I will also supply some useful links at the end of the posting. The photographs here will give you a small taste of the event.

We would like to thank the organisers for this excellent event and the “Night of Friendship”, the museum of Azincourt for the free access to all participants at the event, the farmer(s) that gave  up their very large fields for the battle and the Medieval camp, the traders ( especially the Ukrainian armoury from which I bought my “primitive” falchion), and above all the participants and the public  who came to see us at this unique event and a special thanks to all combatants for the safe outcome of the battles.



An especial thanks to “The Free Company of Aquitaine” for the archery organisation of the two flanks of the English archers, and for giving us rescue when the heavens opened with some impressive storms . A real Azincourt experience!!!







 Photo: Marta Gorath


  Photo: Impressum




Photo: Rune Ckansen


 Photo: Rolland De Glabbecke


Photo: Eric Doolaeghe


 Photo: Rolland De Glabbecke


   Photo: Impressum


   Photo: Impressum


Photo: Marta Gorath

Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas

  Photos: Ed Harris


Photo: Stas Lebedenko


  Photo: Ed Harris


    Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas


 Photo: Stian Green


 Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas


   Photo: Ed Harris


 Photo: A very kind woman,- Thank you !


 Photo: Mikke Reinikainen


 Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas.  Azincourt museum.


 Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas.  Azincourt museum.


 Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas.  Azincourt museum.


 Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas.  Azincourt museum.


 Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas.  Azincourt museum.


 Photo: Yiorgos Nikiteas.  Azincourt museum.












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