Dick and "Classy" Go Stumpin'

*** This is shaping up to be a super day... Having just finished the work on my Hill bow blank (see separate pages under "Project X" ), yesterday I wound two new strings. I had stolen the string from my 66" Wesley to use in tillering and testing the blank and it is now pretty shot... got strung and unstrung about 30 times, some of them before the nocks were nicely smoothed, plus getting sawdust and stuff worked in. I finally, finally, got a good feel for where to put the peg in my jig to get the right string length with my personal twist. Now it's marked and i can work intelligently (no rasberries, please!) from that point.

I left the two bows, the Wesley and the Classic, strung up overnight to stretch the strings and this morning I twisted them up to a good brace height and served them, then put nocks on. I start out with the brass nocks until I have had a chance to test the bow, then take them off and do a wrapped nock. And I do twist tight. Even though my bows are all light now, I still use the same 12 strands I used when I was shooting heavier. It fits my nocks well.

The sun is shining today, temp scheduled for 67, and the Classic is going for its, and my, first ever stump shooting outing. Ann and I are going up to Snoqualmie Pass and see how many stumps I can kill....

I have to comment, and I hope i don't sprain my elbow patting myself on the back, that it felt awfully good this morning to take out the completely finished bow... waxed, new nocked string, and arrows that i had made myself (at least as far as length, balance and fletching is concerend), wearing the new brace, belt and quiver that I had made, What made it even better was that I drew down for the very first shot, from my roughly 16 - 17 yard spot, and put that arrow right in the X! I shot a bunch of nice yellows from 10 to even 30 yards. (A few of the earlier 30 yard shots were under the target till I got adjusted, but we won't discuss that a lot...) Seriously, this is not going to be a long range shooting bow, but it's going to be a delight out to 20 - 25 yards. It pulls smooth and goes off with a nice, pleasing little "thunk". I pursued this bow through all the different efforts in a tribute to my very first bow, bought with paper route money in 1955. This one is pretty darn close, and I'm going to go out in the woods and be a kid today! ***

Note: To see a complete display of the making of this bow, from the blank to finished, go to: "Project X4"

The above post was sent to my Howard Hill buddies this morning.... following which Ann and I took off for the area of Tinkham Campground, in the Mt. Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest, just east of North Bend, WA. Tinkham Road is an old logging and railroad road in an area that was logged off way back... probably about the 1920's. It hasn't been relogged since as the logging practice for the dense Douglas Fir forests of western Washington was clearcutting, and the Forest Service declined to clearcut next to I-90 where it would be highly visible. The result is a beautiful area of deep woods, full of old stumps.

The following is a photo story of a walk in the deep forst cover of our kind of woods. You'll see why we talk about moss and claim that we rust rather than tan. I was lucky... it was a beautiful day, 67 degrees and only a few scattered clouds. We drove up the road and found some likely looking areas and parked.

Finding stumps was no problem! Walking down this road, you can't go eighth of a mile without coming on at least one clearing full of old stumps. You need to find one of these clearings, because most of the ground is too thick with undergrowth or old moss covered slash to get to visible stumps to recover your arrow. Once in a clearing, there's no problem.

There are two key things I learned about stump shooting in this country today:

1. Don't shoot at stumps uphill from the road without checking first to see if there is a swampy little rivulet of drainoff under the roadside ferns.

2. Be careful stepping on moss covered logs... if they are only supported by old slash, you can break right through!

Other than the two mishaps you can envision from those lesssons, I had a wonderful time, shooting and killing many stumps. A lot of these old stumps are so big, you really need to pick a spot of bark or discoloration and shoot at that. There really are no long shots in this kind of cover. I got out the range finder and checked four longer shots after I made them... they varied from 23 to 26 yards. All four started with a short shot, then a second that hit. With a little time and practice I think i could be good to 30 yards with this little bow but I'm not there yet. However, it's very light and sweet to shoot and just plain made me feel good. I think of it as a "plinking" bow.

With that... join me in a walk though my woods...

 

 

"Classy", short for classic, and the woods themselves are the real stars of this show... Here Classy poses with a dead stump...

 

and another, soon to be followed by many more...

 

 

 

The arrow is in the slanted stump at 3 o'clock in the center...

 

 

This stump had rotted from the inside and left a slit in the side. I shot for the slit and put the arrow right in...

 

The far stump... dead center

 

 

 

No arrow in this pic... just two big old cedar stumps...

 

 

A little forest rivulet...

This was my longest shot... 26 yards. I aimed at the piece of leftover bark... and that's what I hit!

 

Classy posing again... turns out she's quite a ham...

 

Ann snapped a couple with me in them... just to prove I was there... No, the arrow isn't sticking in my leg... I'm sitting on the end of a log that had a projecting piece. I shot at it from about 20 yards and hit it dead on.

 

 

Another lovely little creek...

 

This is a nice shot of what the clearings and short trails look like... it's really beautiful country.

 

There you have it... my first ever stump shoot... on a great day... with a neat new bow. As a wonderful, wonderful bonus, Ann walked in the woods, over a mile and a half, on her new artificial hip. Her recovery has been wonderful and this was, for us, a truly great day in all respects.

Dick