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Well, my plan (plan) may turn out to bite me. My wife is determined to go to Arkansas to visit family, even if I'm not ready to compete in the Cornstalk primitive class. So, for insurance, I'll be prepared to shoot the Indian bow class, whatever that is. I rounded off the square edged nocks so they would work with regular string. I made up a linen string and tied it on like the rawhide strings. I took my arrows and bow out to the target range and practiced at 100 yards on the field target bales. I'm gonna have to practice more to get my left-right aim down pat. The osage tipped cane penetrated the pine board backstop very well but the fine point dulls quickly when it hits wood. I resharpened the points to a more obtuse angle and fire hardened the tips when I got home. The arrows all weigh about 685-700 grains.
The cow rawhide makes too big a string if I make it strong enough to keep from breaking. I had made one string from gut and it makes a small strong string. I looked at Jim Hamm's book and noticed that most of the Cherokee bows have gut strings. I found a sausage maker here in town who sells beef casings and I got 2 hanks. It's a lot of gut, about 30-40 yards per hank, about 1 1/2 inches diameter when filled with water. I soaked the salt out of them and split them using a "splitting horn" I made from a razor blade and some locust wood. I soaked them last night in a weak lye solution to get the fat inside them to liquefy, changing the solution several times. Soaked in clean water a couple of times this morning and started making strings. I made two with 6 strands, one with 8 strands and one with 7 strands. I hope the 6 strand will hold up to shooting. I will let them dry this week while I am out of town. I'll practice shooting and do some tuning the next week before the trip to Oklahoma.
On the way back from picking up the casings I noticed a groundhog behind the house. I never knew there were groundhogs so close. I snuck back there to see if I could get a shot, but he ran down the hole. I sat next to a bush for a while waiting on him to come back up, but I was getting funny looks from people passing on the road so I gave up on him.
Splitting Horn, kinda like the one in this article, it took some work and some adjustment to figure out how to use it.
Test string made from 6 strands of narrow gut strips. I couldn't break it at 85 pounds. It's too short to try on the bow. The six strand ones I'm drying now were from wider strips of gut. This one fits my regular arrow nocks.
I went out in the field behind the house and took a few 100 yard shots with the new bow yesterday. I shot even with the target but off to the right a few feet. Today I decided to try the rawhide string. It broke on the first shot. I had not cut the rawhide evenly and one part of the string had several thin places in the strands right next to each other. So much for a "precision" string. I have a second one from the goat rawhide drying now and some cow rawhide soakiing.
I only have 2 locust shafts semi shaped to size. I decided to rework some cane arrows I haven't been using. I split a chunk of osage and drilled holes in one end. I cut slots about halfway the depth of the holes and tapered the ends of the cane arrows to a force fit. They are glued and drying now. I'll shape the osage to a point.
Well, the Cherokee bow is pretty close to being finished. It's 70 pounds at 28 inches. I am still working on a string and some arrows. I have only shot it in the back yard with some of my regular arrows. I had to shift my hand to find the "sweet spot". The square handle feels kinda funny. If I hold it with the base of my thumb along the edge it is almost center shot. I was not impressed with the "feel", I am used to shooting a shorter, heavier bow with a raised grip. However, I am very accurate with it. The arrows this morning were hitting right next to each other. It draws very smooth and has no shock. Balance is good if I hold it right.
It's 1 1/4 inches wide, 7/8" thick at the grip , 66 1/2" nock to nock, 1/2 inch tips. 70 pounds at 28".
Unbraced profile, it has about an inch of string follow after shooting, about 1/2 after resting. Original stave had about 1 1/2 inch reflex with most of it on the longer upper limb, to the left.
Here it is drawn to about 29 inches
Belly, braced - I'm using an old dacron string till the rawhide string dries.
Here's the string, still drying with a weight to stretch it.