Making and doing archery madness

I firmly believe that a successful club is more than just a field or wood and group of people who shoot there.
A good club supports its members, nurturing and developing their skills and interests. I believe it should also be somewhat of a social gathering.

It is very easy for a newbie archer to get lost and confused with friendly offers of advice or to be too nervous or embarrassed to ask for help. Ideally you want new members to be intimidated as little as possible but not everyone has the confidence to ask questions or seek advice.

Learn from the past
Many years ago, I was a member of the Black Arrow club in Derby. In fact it was the  first ever archery club we joined. Kevin the club chairman and Cherrie the Secretary organised a making and doing session for all the new members who had joined. It gave all present the opportunity to learn the basics of arrow making, string making and how to serve strings. It proved a great success being both instructional and social with Cherrie and Pete (her partner) providing food for all.
Over the Christmas holiday of 2014 Sharon and I organised a similar event at our house, with the objective of giving a few of the newbies some guidance on making or repairing arrows and a variety of other topics.
It proved to be a very sociable afternoon  and evening, helped by the contributions of everyone who came and Sharon’s expert cooking. Yes, not only is she a cracking shot but also a great cook.

Nigel showing his expertise on straightening wooden arrows.

Nigel showing his expertise on straightening wooden arrows.

We covered topics of how to make wooden arrows including fletching arrows, attaching piles and nocks. Having a number of experienced archers there proved really useful as each explained how their technique was slightly different from each other enabling a great spectrum of knowledge to be displayed and discussed.  The discussion on whether to varnish the arrow prior to fletching or fletch then varnish was one hotly debated topic. An equally debated topic was the merits of different glues for attaching piles to wooden shafts with some preferring  hot melt over epoxy glues. All the advice and comments were provided freely and in a relaxed atmosphere.

Jason showing how to use fletching tape

Jason showing how to use fletching tape

Whilst arrow making was going on in one room, arrow straightening of aluminium arrows using our straightening jig was being demonstrated in another. There was also just enough space to demonstrate applying serving to a bow string.

Discussions went on long into the night on different techniques and it was a very sociable evening. Our thanks to all who contributed their time and advice.

Greta making her first arrows

Greta making her first arrows

With everyone at the wood the following day even more discussions took place, this time with archers showing off their arrows they had made previously and again citing the merits of varnishing first or other such topics.

So if you have the opportunity to run something similar to this at your club go for it. It doesn’t take much planning and benefits can be huge.

Thanks for reading and to all those that attended. Special thanks to Kevin and Cherrie who set the bar so high all those years ago.
Oh, Kevin if you are reading this remember the glue.

Equipment review – Mybo boss

Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing some coaching with a couple of new archers down at the wood which has been great fun. Been good to get back to doing some coaching.
One of the students was asking about getting a practice boss for their garden and what to get, how much to spend etc. This got me thinking, dangerous I know.
Well, a while back I wrote a piece on setting up a practice boss and the safety considerations. (Here is the link if you are interested.)
This was based on a layered foam boss, but there are bag targets out there and a few months back I picked one up from Merlin archery store. You can see the Archery Adventures  video review here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVx16sYH2JE) .
So I thought it a good time to write a review of how we have found it.

So why did I buy one of these?

We were after something we could use not just for the recurves and flat bows but also the compound. Whist at Merlin I got chatting to the guys about target bosses and how our old tuff butt had seen better days and we were looking to replace it. They showed me the then new mybo sureshot  target boss range they had started to stock.

The staff demonstrated its stopping power by shooting a compound crossbow at about 5 yards into it. The result was about an inch or two of the bolt sticking out the back of the smallest boss. Not bad and a good demonstration of its stopping power.

First few arrows

First few arrows

Cost wise they aren’t bad. I believe replacement covers can be bought from Merlin.

90 cm are £75 and 70 cm are £49

There are three sizes are available. We have the mid range one. (70cm)

The mid range one isn’t to heavy,  manageable by me  to move round so can’t be that heavy as I’m not the strongest archer in the world. There are a couple of handles on top to make it easier to move. I’ve used these with some rope to tie ours in place.
The larger one needs a couple of people to move more due to the bulk than weight.
I’ve put ours on top of our current boss so you have a size comparison.
Mybo bag target

Mybo bag target

Initial tests are positive we’ve been using for a few months now shooting at it a couple of nights a week.

  • Arrows are easy to draw too.
  • Weave hasn’t frayed yet and the holes appear to close up quite well but can still be seen after drawing the arrows.
  • The arrows don’t penetrate too far at least from our recurve bows.  Haven’t tried my compound yet as concentrating on practice with recurve for upcoming National champs in September.
Hole after drawing arrow.

Hole after drawing arrow.

I think it works well for a practice boss and has lasted well from repeated shots though I haven’t shot it with anything other than recurves and flatbows. Although I do think you need to occasionally to shake the bag up so that the contents resettle themselves (bit like when you fluff up a pillow)
Whilst I don’t think you could replace foam bosses with these for a shoot.  I think they work well for practice at home or for a club indoor range potentially.

Top tip

One tip I would give is to get some heavy duty plastic sheets.  I’ve got a load I use in the garden and when I’m not shooting at the boss I cover it to protect it from the worst of the British weather. It also helps prevent birds or other wildlife using it as a scratching or scent post.
I hope you find this useful and if you have one of these or experience of them then let me know. Please remember when setting up a target consider safety above all else.
Thanks for reading.