Monday, September 25, 2006

Arrow Fletching Close Up

I fletched another arrow tonight. I think it is twice as good as my first two. My brother told me to try peeling the feathers instead of splitting them with a knife. It definitely made the feathers nicer to work with and took a lot less time to prepare them. A peeled feather has little to no quill which makes it less bulky and hopefully less noisy in flight.

I've been practicing shooting in preparation for the hunt. I have some rifle targets that have 8 inch diameter black circles in the center. This is the approximate size of the vitals of a deer. I've been practicing hitting within the circle from various distances, positions and with various arrows. So far I'm best from the sitting position. I like this position because it is comfortable, stable and I think it will be easier to stay hidden.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My New Arrow

Over the weekend I fletched my first arrow. Besides a little glue, everything on the arrow is natural. The shaft is Autumn Olive. It is one of three my brother sent me from the D.C. area. It is an invasive species there that outcompetes other native plants and trees.

The feathers are from a turkey. I used elk and emu leg sinew to bind the feathers to the shaft. The dark brown substance near the middle of the picture is pitch which is mostly made of tree sap. I used it to prevent the sinew from unraveling. I burnt in rings around the shaft for style and so the whole shaft wasn't so bright. I have yet to haft a point into it. I shot it and it was pretty accurate so far.

This is the finished bark cordage that I wrote about in my earlier post. You may notice that the cordage is thicker than the picture in my earlier post. I ended up reverse wrapping it all again, which basically doubled the thickness and halved the length. This was necessary because it was too thin to be much good and I didn't do a very good job of keeping the strands of even thickness. This is now a little over 22 feet of 1/4 in rope. I'm amazed at how much I got out of the materials I gathered.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Beer Olympics 2006

Saturday I went to the Beer Olympics. This is the sixth one I've been to. The first one I went to was way back when I was working at a camp in the summer of 97. In college I hosted one each of my two senior years. I passed the torch to some other guys that hosted it the following year. Last year my coworker and friend Diane mentioned to me that she was going to have one. I gladly shared my knowledge.

This was my team, The Four Nicators (actually five of us). From left to right (Me, Lauren, Brian, Steven, Kristin) Notice the beer stained shirts. That's not sweat. We ended up getting second place overall and could've won had some things gone our way.

This is all the people from work that participated (Craig, Me, Diane, Kristin, Brian, Jamieson)

This picture is from the Keg Stand Relay event. My team got third place.

Here are all the participants. Each team member had a colored buff to wear.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bark Cordage

This weekend I met some friends in West Virginia to go white water rafting. One of the best parts of the trip was the camping. We camped two nights at a camp ground close to the rafting place. The forest was really cool. It was pretty damp and there were lots of fern plants. To me it felt like the forest planet Endor where the Ewoks lived in Return of the Jedi.

I built a fire each night we were there. The first night I was able to light it with my bow drill kit. I got a coal in less than a minute. Unfortunately no one was there to see it, because when I tried it the second night in front of the whole crowd, I couldn't get one after four tries.

Anyway, when I was gathering firewood the bark just fell off of the branches since they were so damp. I was able to get 6-7 foot long strips. Long strips are nice because when you make cordage you don't have to splice in new material as often. So far I've made about 17 ft. of rope and I've used less than 1/10th of the material.

This is some of the original material I pulled from the tree branches. From this I peeled the inner bark to make cordage.

Here is the 17 ft. of rope I've made so far. On the bottom you can see the strips of inner bark that I twist together to make the finished product.