dinorocks

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  1. After stripping bark off about 1/3 cord of wood this evening for my sugar shack/trapping outpost remodeling project, I got back to my arrow. Earlier I reinforced the fletching and nock with several wraps of hydrated sinew....once hydrated it’s very pliable...when the sinew dries, it tightens up nice. Sometime I put hide glue on the sinew but It’s typically sticky enough. I like to put a couple half hitches in the sinew as I finish my wrap. My next step was to fine tune the shaft where it connects to the point...I want the transition seamless so there is nothing preventing the arrow from slipping right through my quarry. After a little sanding to “barrel” the end of my shaft, I smeared more of my pine tar mixture to fill in any slight gaps where the point and wood meet. I use a hot knife as a putty knife to move the tar exactly where I want it. Next I wrapped the point end with sinew. The point is already securely set From the tar so the sinew is mainly to reinforce the shaft...I don’t want the point splitting back into the shaft on impact as I will loose all the momentum of the arrow. I want to make sure I only single wrap the sinew down the shaft as, again, I don’t want anything on the arrow to hang up (slow) the arrow upon impact. During the making of the arrow I described for you, I also made two more arrows the exact same way. I put field tips on these so I can practice as all the arrows I shoot vary a bit. Once I’m comfortable with the way they shoot, I plan to put another stone point on one and a blunt on the other for a squirrel or rabbit while I’m out hunting. With all the pieces and parts assembled, now the only thing left to do is to harvest! stay tuned!!
  2. My friends and family tell me that the producers of Alone would love to have me as a contestant as I would never come out of the woods to claim my prize!
  3. Last night (after helping my brother track and recover his deer with my canoe), I attached the fletching to the arrow shaft with a little hide glue and set the arrow off to the side to dry. This morning before work I processed my deer sinew in preparation for wrapping the stone point, fletching, and nock. Regarding sinew, there are two types I use as mentioned in an earlier post…backstrap and leg sinew. In the photo below I’m holding the backstrap sinew from my recent deer and a hank of leg sinew (both processed and unprocessed). I “process” the leg sinew by loosening the fibers with a wood mallet on a wood block…dry leg sinew is very hard and extremely fibrous (and intertwined). I use leg sinew to back my selfbows. I separate the fibers and wrap in small bundles (there is a bunch of processed sinew in the vacuum sealed bag in the photo ready to back another bow). Also, in the photo is back sinew from an elk…I know a butcher in MT that supplies me with elk sinew…its very long and in turn is much easier to sew with. Now that my deer sinew is dry, I bend it to separate the long fibers, remove any non-sinew membranes, and pull off what I need. I then rehydrate the long fibers in water (I like to line a frisbee with paper towels, add water, carefully lay out my sinew strands, and cover with paper towel so the entire fiber is in contact with water). I learned that if I simply put the sinew strands in the frisbee with water, they float around and then tangle with each other and are very difficult to separate. Later I’ll continue to process the sinew so it is ready to use for wrapping my stone point, fletching, and nock. Stay tuned!
  4. When I make arrows, I handle them with extreme TLC (like I'm making fine furniture)....then I go outside and stump shoot with them ;-)..I like to think that the scratches and dirt give the arrows character!
  5. As I was looking at the picts I posted, I forgot to mention that I remove some of the feather barbs from each end of the fletching so I can wrap them with sinew.
  6. I found a picture of the deer skull I dipped last year...this was her first deer (harvested during last years youth hunt).
  7. The sinew dried according to plan so I'll have that ready when I need it. I previously picked out a few turkey feathers so the next step is to process the feathers so I can use them as fletching for my new arrow. As an aside regarding feathers, turkey and goose are the main type of feathers that are used for fletching arrows. There are "right wing" and "Left wing" feathers and there are "primary" and "secondary" wing feathers. There are many debates regarding using right or left wing feathers but they all fly fine to me...maybe if I was using beveled broadheads, the rotation of the arrow might matter. Regarding primary and secondary feathers, primary are much stiffer and in my opinion, make better fletching. There are about five primary feathers on each side of a turkey wing. I use secondary feathers for my flu-flus. Goose feathers are nice because they are waterproof. Pict below shows primary right and left wing feathers and a secondary feather. There are a few ways to process feathers for an arrow...the two methods I use include "stripping" and "cutting/grinding" (picts below). To "strip" a feather, simply grab a few barbs from the tip of the rachis (center shaft of the feather) and slowly peel toward the calamus (the part of the feather that is connected to the bird). The final product is a fletching with the barbs connected to a very thin other layer of the rachis...this is a great way to make arrows that would be shot off your hand (I.e., no arrow shelf on the bow). The other method I use involves cutting the rachis lengthwise down the feather with scissors or a razor blade and then putting the feather in a clamp and grinding the inner part of the rachis with sandpaper to the desired thickness. PLEASE NOTE, THE DUST GENERATED DURING THE FEATHER GRINDING PROCESS IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH! The proteins in the feather rachis is undigestible and causes issues in your lungs...furthermore, feather dust gives off naphthalene, the same chemical that is in moth balls. I know of several people who are in very rough shape as a result of commercially grinding feathers for many years (also, avoid breathing in antler or bone dust). Once the feathers are processed, they need to be cut to length and potentially trimmed. I used untrimmed fletching for my flu-flus because of the extra drag they generate. Note a nicely tuned arrow doesn't need fletching...I tune my arrows without fletching, adjust the shaft length and point weight as needed, and then add fletching. The fletching will help stabilize the arrow in flight to make up for potential irregularities. I have trimmed the feather barbs with scissors, red-hot stick from the fire (burnt feathers smell terrible) or a feather burner (electricity is used to heat up an element (thin wire) that is bent to the desired fletching shape...the hot element cuts through the barbs like a hot knife through butter). I also have an assortment of feather choppers that I typically use. Now that I finished processing my fletching, I will next be attaching them to the arrow shaft. Again, many ways to do this...various glues, fletch tape, sinew, silk thread, etc. On my non-primitive arrows I like to use fletch tape (double sided tape) with a small dab of Duco cement added to either end of the fletching...much quicker than waiting for glue to dry. For my primitive arrow, I think I will use hide glue and tie the ends of the fletching to the shaft with sinew. Stay tuned!
  8. My hydro dip system was not that complicated...I filled a bucket with water then covered the surface with a few different colors of spray paint , gently swirled the paint (I didn’t use lead-based paint so the paint floated on the surface ;-), and slowly lowered the skull into the water through the paint. Once the skull was completed submerged (and I wrapped the base of the antlers before dipping), I used my swizzle stick and swirled the surface of the water...like magic, the paint remaining on the surface of the water either stuck to the side of the bucket or collected on my stick. Once the surface of the water was paint free, I removed the skull and shook dry...that’s it. I’m sure there are many other ways to dip (depending on the effect one is looking for). I don’t have a photos handy to post right now.
  9. I hydro dipped some skulls for the first time last year and I was very happy with the results. It is very easy, fast, and satisfying to do. The “hardest” part (most time consuming) is to clean the skull. My only suggestions are to make sure the skull is COMPLETELY dry Before dipping or the paint will slip, and to practice on a skull you might have laying around. If the dip didn’t work out the way you liked, you can always re-dip. My kids dipped their Crocs last year. It’s very addicting and you will want to dip everything!
  10. The photo below is a pressure flaker I made with a piece of copper rod and one of the spikes from the other day. I’ll carry this into the field in the event I need to fix an edge on my point. (The sinew is drying nicely...Laying it out flat on the counter will help it dry nice and straight...it will peel right off...glad my wife is so tolerant of me!)
  11. Thanks! Just finished processing my deer...I saved the sinew and it’s currently drying. I have a small stockpile of dry sinew but want to use the sinew from my recent deer...will need to wait until at least tomorrow before it is ready to use. Too much rain for an afternoon hunt...contemplating making a small pressure flaker from one of the spikes from my recent deer...and maybe a pick for my flintlock with the other. Stay tuned!
  12. Well no go with locating my rendered bear fat. So plan B was to use some tallow from a deer I recently harvested. I rubbed the deer tallow on the shaft to condition the wood (water proof it and hopefully decrease the friction when I zip it into a deer!). By rubbing the tallow up and down the shaft quickly with some pressure, the tallow gets heated from friction and basically melts into the wood. It worked great! I'm processing my quartered deer later today and will save the backstrap sinew...the backstrap sinew is longer and less fibrous than the leg sinew and can be used as thread to sew, or in my current application, to wrap my selfnock, attach my fetchings, and reinforce the stone point to the shaft. Stay tuned!
  13. Thanks! Fresh sap is too sticky to be used as is and needs a temper added to increase its strength and make it harden properly...rabbit droppings have partially digested vegetable fibers and makes an ideal tempering agent. Charcoal is also used as a tempering agent. Hopefully I can harvest with this arrow...it would be my first stone point harvested deer! Airedale, please reach out to me if you have specific questions hafting your stone points...I would be happy to help! Wolc123, my neighbor texted me the other day...he found a stone point while he was tillering his garden...doesn't look like mine LOL!
  14. Now that the walnut hull stain has dried, I started to attach the stone point to the shaft. It is not advisable to force the point into the notch or it will spit the shaft like driving a wedge into a log. With that said, it is also beneficial that the point fits snuggly in the notch. After a little more sanding I was happy with the fit. Next I melted a mixture of pine tar and rabbit droppings and apply to the back end of the point and in the notch. I apply the “glue” to both parts (called sizing) to assure good coverage for a good bond. Sometimes I “cheat” and use a dab of epoxy. While the point dries to the shaft I picked out some feathers for fletching (and many thanks again to those who gave me their turkey wings!). Still looking for my Bear fat for sealing the shaft...it’s hidden somewhere on my bench...if I cannot find it, I’ll need to move to plan B. Stay tuned!
  15. ...I choose my lucky point and picked out my straightest shaft. After I determined which was the front and back of the arrow (based on the direction of the grain), I cut my nock. When you cut a nock you need to align the nock opening orthogonal to the rings on the shaft or your bow string will split the arrow shaft. I then measured the point to my shaft so I could determine how deep to make my notch for the point. My words of wisdom when working with wood....it is easy to remove wood but you cannot put it back if you remove too much! I typically use a couple hack saw blades taped together to initially cut my nock and point notch and finish with sandpaper (I keep folding the sandpaper it to widen the cut). It took a while to keep measuring and sanding to get the point to fit properly to the shaft. The back of the points are not perfectly symmetrical so the notch’s you cut need to be point specific. I put charcoal or pencil on the back of the point when I slide it into the notch so when I remove the point, I can see where I need to remove wood. After I cut my nock and notch for the point, I stained the shaft by rubbing a walnut hull on the shaft. After I applied a few coats, I left the arrow to dry. Stay tuned!
  16. Those of you who know me, know I enjoy making and hunting with primitive and traditional archery equipment. As a “mountain man” and naturalist, I enjoy testing my primitive skills and using as much of my harvests as possible. And as a Geologist, I like rocks and have been learning how to knap stone tools and points. I thought some of you would like to follow as I construct and hunt with a primitive arrow (using one of my selfbows). The arrow shaft: I cut red dogwood or ash shoots for my primitive arrow shafts. I sort them based on diameter and flaws (knots, etc.), bundle them tightly, and let them air dry. Each day or so during the drying process I hand straighten the shafts and rebundle. Once dry, I scrap the bark off with a piece of sharp chert and carefully harden the shafts in a fire. I’ll then pick out a few of the best shafts for my arrows (based on spine weight and straightness). As I am currently low on shafts, I’m going to use a cedar shaft for this arrow. The arrow point: I typically hunt with 2 blade (or 3 blade) fixed broadheads as my bows are not fast enough to open mechanical broadheads...plus I like to keep things as primitive or traditional as possible. I have not yet harvested a deer with a stone point although I have had a couple clean misses over the past several years. As an aside, when I say primitive and traditional; I define primitive as using a selfbow or stick bow and wood arrows with selfnocks (nocks cut into the arrow shaft and typically wrapped with sinew to prevent splitting). The points can be made of steel, rock, bone. Traditional refers to a laminated (typically with glass and wood veneers) long bow or recurve bow and wood, aluminum, or carbon arrows with plastic nocks and a steel points. I have been learning how to knap stone points and tools for several years and am nowhere close as skilled as others I have mentored under. With that said, I will be using a stone point for this arrow that was knapped by one of my friends (much more symmetrical than some of my own that I currently have). Fact: stone points can be sharper than surgical steel as when you knap a flake, the stone fractures along its concoidal cleavage plane (in the case of chert (quartz)) leaving an edge at the molecular scale. Stay tuned!
  17. I got lucky after yesterday’s afternoon hunt! I was hunting behind my house from my ground blind I just fixed up located in the oak trees (and on the fringe of some wild apple trees). I was using my Bear Montana 45# longbow and one-piece three blade broadhead (I have been switching back and forth between my Bear longbow and my primitive self bow with stone points). Around 6:00PM I saw a deer slowly feeding into the oaks toward me...I was able to take a couple dry (practice) draws getting comfortable with a potential shot as the deer had no clue I was sitting about 20 yards away. The deer then started to slowly turn and walk away…as soon as the deer turned, I was ready and took a quartering away shot. I was using an LED nock and I saw that my shot was right where I wanted it when the deer bolted out the oaks, the same way it came in. After about 15 minutes (and hearing that the deer crashed off in the distance), I slowly got out of the blind to see what kind of blood trail I would be dealing with. I noticed that the arrow did not completely pass through but did partially exit on the other side (the LED was not visible when the deer took off). After walking about 10 yards down the trail the deer took, I found 80% of my arrow (with the broadhead) …covered in bright red blood, but no blood on the ground. At this point I couldn’t tell if the deer either continued straight down the trail or made a sharp right turn off the trail and through some very thick brush. I backed off, regrouped, and returned after about 30 minutes. When I continued tracking where I left off, I started to take the easy route (straight down the trail) hoping to find some blood…nothing at all. I was not yet discouraged as I knew I hit the deer good and it would eventually start to lose some blood. Based on the crashing of branches I heard when the deer took off, I figured it must have headed into the thick brush to the right of the trail. Knowing my hunting area very well, I decided I would take the easy trail and then cut to the right through the hard woods toward the creek in hopes I would find blood on one of the deer trails that I was going to cut across. If I didn’t find any blood, my plan was to then head back up to where I found the arrow and start crawling through the thick brush in hopes I could pick up the trail (I really do enjoy tracking deer). As I got about 50 yards down the trail, I just about stumbled on the deer. The deer did make a hard right through the brush and then circled back around to the trail before it expired. I was not expecting to see any “antlers” as I thought I was shooting a doe...but when I pulled him from the tall grass, I saw two very little spikes…after eyeballing the length and then taking an official measurement, I tagged him with my DMP. While I field dressed the deer, I was thinking that the broadhead had broken off inside so I took my time…I felt part of the arrow and when I pulled out the arrow section, my blood-covered hand was glowing a very bright red…in all the excitement (and maybe the beer I had while I “regrouped”) it took me a minute to figure out what I was looking at...I realized that I was holding the glowing LED nock with blood-soaked fletching and then remembered that the broadhead was on the section of arrow I found previously. I did a little inspection of the organs and saw that I hit at least one of the lungs...no other organs. I dragged the deer home, quartered it, and put on ice…I’ll finish processing the deer in a couple days. As much as I like to track deer, I was just as happy this time to have been lucky enough to have stumbled on my deer...it saved lots of time which was good because it was too warm to hang the deer over night. Below are a few picts from the hunt. Thanks for reading and good luck harvesting your deer(s)! Dino
  18. Heading out with daughter soon. One of my best friends 12 yr old harvested his first archery deer in 9H yesterday afternoons hunt...he setting his standards pretty high! good luck this morning!
  19. Well if I would have known my son and friends were getting up so late, my daughter and I could have hunted out back...and would have had a posie to drag back a deer if we harvested!
  20. Need to wrap up for the morning...very windy and warm...no deer. rain this afternoon but looking good for another sit with my daughter in morning. good luck!
  21. Out with my daughter this morning hunting on different property...I gave up my hunting grounds to my son who camped out in the woods last evening with some of his friends...always encourage the kids to spend time in the great outdoors. Good luck to all and extra luck to all the kids out this weekend!
  22. Just got back from zig zagging for about 5 hours...no deer. Very bummed. Broadside shot within 20 yards. Thought the shot was a tad bit high and a tad bit back. My game camera caught most of it and confirmed my shot...viewed the video when I got back to the house. Next to no penetration...was using my 45# Bear Montana with a 3-blade fixed solid broadhead. Maybe hit a rib straight on?