Don’t Knock It
CHEAP: But that’s not the point

I bought myself a gift last week- A brand new archery bow.

It’s my second one. I’ve had a fibre-glass recurve with removeable wings for three years, so I suppose this one is mainly a toy but I still see it as a tool.

It is a one piece wooden hunting bow and if I ever use it to kill my dinner it will definitely be a tool.

For the time being, though, I am using it to practice relaxed effort and isolated movement.

So why is it a toy? Well, I was already working on those things with my other bow so I didn’t really need this one, and it not only cost three times as much, it is far more difficult to shoot so my accuracy may not improve… at least not for a while.

But that’s kind of why I got it. That and the fact that the bow was made from a tree.

You see, I’m not looking for products that will make shooting arrows easier so I can put more of them inside the bullseye; I’m looking to develop skills through archery that I can use in the rest of my life.

That’s why sometimes making things more difficult for myself makes more sense than alwaystrying to make them easier.

Sticking to that line of reasoning, I’ve ditched the store-bought aluminium arrows I started with and I am learning how to make my own from store-bought wooden staves, feathers, arrow points and knocks.

Knocks, by the way, are the notched plastic things you stick on the ends of arrows so they will grip the bow string.

If you are interested in obscure bits of information like that, going back to basics and making things for yourself is a good route to go.

That approach can also turn potential set-backs into bonuses. That’s what happened when I tried to buy all the bits and pieces I would need to make arrows.

The place that sold me my bow had most of them but they didn’t have a fletching jig, which is a tool that holds feathers and lines them up on arrow shafts so they can be glued in the proper position.

Getting that right is crucial if you want your arrow to fly straight.

I didn’t want to wait for new supplies before I got started so I improvised a jig using wood, an angle guide and a marker.

I drew lines 120 degrees apart on the end piece so I could space my three feathers an equal distance apart once I had glued the odd coloured feather in line with the knock.

I had to take my time lining everything up, but I really enjoyed faking it and the finished product appears to fly straight as… well, a store-bought arrow.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with earning lots of money and buying high quality tools and toys, but even if you can, it can still be rewarding to make things yourself.

And if someone wants to try to make something he or she could easily buy, no one should knock it… unless of course, that person is making an arrow.

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