Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha


Arrow stuff 

Y’all know I have been shifting around when it comes to throwing sharp pointy things at high speed.  While my finger is better for shooting the recurve, it still hurts enough that I can’t shoot as often as I would like.  My instinct shooting is taking a little bit of a hit due to that, but that isnt the point of this post.  Recurves are a little more forgiving of slop than compound bows are.  They are accurate, don’t get me wrong, and all of the principles I am going to bring up here apply to recurves as well, but may not be as noticeable as with a compound.

First off, you know I hate to spend hard earned money on silly little things I can make myself.  The equivalent below unit lists at Lancaster Archery supply, for between $100 and $300, depending on bells and whistles.
I made it for an hours worth of my time, and zero dinero. Measurement is via a cheap dial micrometer I keep around for quick and dirty work where I don’t need three decimal places.  The wood was scrap from where my dad was building beehives. (A local weed we call coffee tree, and believe me, its a frickin weed, not a tree, though its hard to tell it at a glance.  He cuts ’em and has a local lumber yard cut ’em into useful planks.)

The weight is from my lead supply: I formed the hook from a peice of aluminium strap. Jupiter blend sand as my mold and melted the lead in a plumbers pot right in the coals of my wood stove.  The shiney parts are trimmings to get it to exactly 32 oz. (Its actually shy of such by 4grains, close enough for what I needed. Do you know how much lead makes up 4grains? Not very much at all, considering I was only scraping that weight to bring it inline.)

That other ‘thing’ is for checking FOC or Forward of Center.  It makes ‘take off’ a little more predictable and is different between field points and broadheads.

(Since writing this, I found an even better set up at Poor Folks Bows)

Anywhoos, here is the why of this build.  I have been shooting this Darton for a bit over a month, and there have been times where I was just ready to hang it.  Almost two dozen arrows, and there were only 4 (!) That I knew would shoot true. I dont mix ’em up when I am shooting, but I had been trying to find a batch that I liked.  Alright, step back, re-approach from a more scientific direction.  If you can’t measure it, it isn’t science, its religion.  So I isolated the arrows into groups by make (2) and stated spine. (3. 340, 400, 500) and length (31″ and 29″)  (For the less informed, spine is a measure of how much an arrow can flex, the bigger the number, the ‘weaker’ the spine and therefore more flex.)  I most always shoot 340 @ 31″ for the recurve.  Its too stiff really, but its what I am used to and it allows some flexibility in point choices, (and I like heavy points on the recurve.)  Well, it does for the recurve.  Apparently not for the wheelie bows.   Anyways, the 6 arrow group that seem to shoot best for the Darton were set aside and scrutinized hard.  No odd wear, no odd anything obvious.  Weighed and all came within a grain of 398.  FOC was right at 9-10%.  But they just wont group.

Spine check. These arrows were sold and are specifically tagged at 350 for spine.  Weight matches the listing of 9gr/in, add on the 100gr FP, and 3 4″feather fletch; 398gr fits the window.


First arrow.  Spine measures 510

Second arrow: 470



5th: 470

6th: 320

I wonder why they won’t group?

Yes, 2 and 5 did group.(yes, I number my arrows.  It helps identify problems)  Sometimes by trying to share the same hole.  That was part of what was telling me that it wasn’t my form.(and believe me, I was starting to wonder.)  

Key point of this post.  As fast as the manufacturing process is for carbon arrows, they WILL fluctuate.  Even in the same run.  I would imagine that quality control is to check one in a thousand or so, then grade the entire run based on that measurement. If you are serious about your shooting, this is a key area to start when setting up your match arrows.  Even then, tuning the arrows, tuning the bow, and tuning each to the other as well as to you,  are not steps to avoid.   I have never attempted competition with the recurve and was content with my groups there, sloppy that they were.  It has been ‘good enough’ to put meat on a table.  

That doesn’t cut it for head to head competition, and compounds have so much more speed, they have to be right, right out of the gate or they will do their own thing.  Toss a broadhead on the front of that missle and things get even more bizarre if it ain’t right.

This is stuff I’ve known, but never gave a poop about while playing with my stick bows. That changed today. I am working up a stack of arrows that will work for each bow, no mixing. One group each for target and another for hunting.  I expect my groups with the recurve will improve as well.

Now, if I could find a dealer that would let me measure spine BEFORE I buy,,,,,

Update of my last post.  That deal with the gas engine welder fell through.  Apparently one of the guys I work with went and made a counter offer, clueing the owner that he had something more valuable than he thought.  The price is now way out of my range, and it was a whimsey chance anyway.  Shit happens.  (But my coworker is now on MY shitlist for awhile.  I won’t put him into crap work, but he sure won’t be bumming smokes from me anymore.)


Its been a week plus?!?!

Yeah, I’m slackin’ on the blog, sorry y’all.  

Talkin’ ’round the hollar and on job sites, hunting is far worse than I predicted.  Local game warden swears to 75% die-off of white tails this year.  Locals are saying 50% or so.  

Bad either way.  Not an annihilation, but pretty daggum devastating to the herds.  I figure another 2-3 lean years before they are recovered, so long as we have normal weather and no more blue tongue outbreaks.

Been three weeks since the Vegas debacle. What do we know? Jack.  Shit.  Someone(s) is(are) covering something up; reason(s) unknown. The local PD is playing in tune, the site where it took place is as well, and by this time next year, it will be just another incident with a body count.  Good work Fibbies, ya make Comey proud.  Until further info, reliable info, is available, I am sticking to my “weapons sale to ISIS gone bad” theory.  It answers more questions than it raises, and Occums Razor still works.

Work work work, not complaining mind you, just afraid it could dry up fast as the weather cools.

Oh yeah.  Question for some of my more electrically inclined readers. (RDP, Spud, Snake,,,hint hint) Gasoline powered welder(lincoln 200SL with a 1950’s ford flat head 4 banger), older style, 200A cap.  Is it possible to adapt a MIG welder to it?  I’ve been reasearching and the only thing I am finding is silly bugger games using microwave transformers. (Cool, but not the same thing)

Anywhos, when I find something more interesting’ or fall into some other crazy redneck engineering game😎 I will post more.  Seems things are winding down, (and that makes me a little nervous too. ) and ain’t much to say right now.

Runnin n scrapin

Made a change or two in how things operate, like the lifting lever. Otherwise, same as the Friday.

Took it out for a spin and smmothed some ruts in my dads driveway. Good thing to, as I dropped a bolt on the main strut.  The nut walked right off.  Swapped all the nuts with locking ones, problem solved.  

Is ready for the snow!

 And yesterday’s productivity

Once I had the frame bolted the way I wanted it, I locked it in the up, and drove it down the hill where my welder, gas set and anvil are located.

And while not done, I am done today.  That sun gets brutal when you’re welding or torching.  ‘Sides, I need to cut the tank apart, and would rather the cool of the morning to do that.  

Then, the fun begins. Muahahaha! (Mad engineers laugh.)

Just kiddin’ .  Actually, I look forward to giving it a try, we have a gravel road and it needs some grading done, and I feel confident this machine could fulfill that role as well.  I plan on adding a section of steel lengthwise on the bottom of the blade to enable that function.  The 12 gauge steel of the tank wouldn’t hold up long without that addition. And if it can grade, then its uses are more than doubled, cuz my yard has serious need of grading since we installed those drain lines in. Yah, it would be easier to hire a ‘dozer to do it, but I’m the tight wad, ‘member.  If it can’t, no worries, I have other options that include use of the horse power this thing has.  Just gotta make ’em. More of that ol’ repair, re-use, repurpose mentality (that our grandparents were so danged good at, at least here in the hills.)

So back at today.  Just returning from bolt place.  Had to purchase a 9/16’sX6″ shouldered bolt for the pivot.  Not something I normally keep in stock.  

Been a busy week

More than a few hours welding, wiring, and programming at work.  Picked up a new sight for the compound, more for competing than hunting, and have spent several hours getting that set up.  Its a single pin slider that I adjust to range, and that meant hours of shooting at specific distances.  I’m not overbowed, but my right shoulder is saying “hey! Give it a break dude!”  And I intend on doing just that tomorrow since I have it off.  (Whoa! A three day weekend. Been awhile)

Tomorrow is ‘work’, but of a fun nature.  I have most of the steel cut for the snowplow.  It will mostly be a matter of assembly, with a little welding involved. Maybe, if I think about it, y’all’ll get pictures of that project.  

I have been following the Vegas shenanigans and things just keep getting weirder.  How does a key witness “commit suicide” by a shotgun blast to the back of the head ?  Seriously, that was written out in the article as if it were all the explanation in the world.  He also killed his handicapped daughter, so the article said, and his wife who was in the house stated she never heard the blasts.  Umhmm, carry on, nuthin to see here.  The smell of this thing is seriously whiffing of cover-up.  The real question IMO is, which agency screwed the pooch?  And was it ISIS that did the shooting, not some 64 YO guy with a shady past, as they (ISIS) continue to claim.  Just saying,,,

Anywhoos, more when I have sumpin to say and show ya.

Talkin’ about foundry stuf

With aluminum, what works best for me is old castings.  Sometimes though, those are few between.  My solution is to bump up the silica levels with some ground glass.  Clear is best, and I haven’t tried anything other than that and brown bottle glass.  I would imagine the colors burn out, but it would be interesting to see what blue glass does to the color of the aluminum.  I tried the clean play sand and it just seemed to sink to the bottom and do nothing.  The glass is a finer powder and ‘dissolves’ better.

Yes, it makes it harder on the tools later, when I am machining the parts, but it doesn’t seem any worse that working the harder steels. (Obviously not machine steels.  Those get ground, not cut.)

When I made my little steam engine, I didn’t have any cast parts to add to the melt: just slugs of already processed pop cans.  Stuff that I had melted down and burned off the paint and plastics.  It’s tough stuff, bit feels ‘gooey’ when its getting cut.  It will gum up a file with a quickness too.  Adding a tablespoon of ground glass and stirring the melt for a bit before the pour seemed to get rid of that gooey nature.  It also brought more dross to the surface.  I also put in some pool shock; about a tablespoon full, as well and that definitely cleaned up the melt.(fair warning, do this with GREAT caution, the fumes will, WILL kill you if you get caught in them.  I won’t  tell you the whole ‘apply only in a well ventilated area’ cuz ya’d best be out in the open working with this stuff anyways.)

By the way, that is why I have those graphite rods.  I use them to stir the melt.  They eventually burn up, but it takes awhile.

A little trick for working with brass. Add a handful of matchheads to the melt before scraping the dross.  It helps bring up the dross and makes the melt flow better.  It may darken the brass a little because you are adding phosphorous to it, essentially making phosphor bronze, but thats the fun of this: learning as you go what works and how, so later you know even more.  I haven’t tried tje matches with the aluminum but it would definitely change the alloy; I just don’t know how.  When I have the shop finished, that will be another project for me, just to see.

Anywhoos, its Sunday and that means laundry day so I’ll chat atcha’ll later.

Repair, re-use, or re-purpose.

A couple of years ago, I was given a 40+ Y.O. lawntractor.  16hp B&S v-twin engine (not original equipment) but the engine had a broken rod in it and didn’t run anymore.  (The guy stated specifically, “if’n anyone can do sumpin widdit, iz you. Have fun.”.) (I have the engine still and when the shop is finished, plan on rebuilding it.  It’s well worth the effort.  Have you seen the prices on V-twin mower engines lately? Yikes!)

Now, I have another B&S engine, but its a single cylinder 14.5 hp.  I had to play around as when this tractor was built, there wasn’t any standard patterns drilled into the engine deck. It’s now mounted, had to replace an idler pulley but the belt is good.
A little detail about the tractor itself.  Its an old Sears-Roebuck model.  Has a 3spd transaxel in it that also has a hi-lo option and that option works in reverse as well. The original owner had installed wheel weights (the big heavy steel plate kind) and chains to the back tires.  They used it to haul logs out of the woods.  It may have had a mower deck on it many years ago, but that thing is long gone on the scrap heap to China.(and I am not interested in it as a mower.)

Well, looking at my collection of steel (what? Ya think I’d chuck honest stock, just because its a little rusty?  Ya, right!) As well as the pile that my uncle has accumulated, and started getting an idea forming.  My and my Uncles drive are NOT tended by the county, and we have been stranded up here a couple of times when the snow is heavy.  I am going to make a plow attachment so we can dig our way out if need be.  I am also going to make a box-blade so that we, not some hire-on, can maintain that drive. (as well as clean the lumps out of my yard so I am not killing lawnmowers)  If this little tractor can haul big ol’ oaks out  the woods, it can do snow too.  We tried it out today by hauling an old telephone pole around and that little thing didn’t blanch or stall-out once.  It ain’t big, but damned if that thing doesn’t put some serious torque down.  It hung up once going up a hillside; it dug in until it had more grip then kept on going. Those chains just chewed right in until more tire was gripping.  

As for the blade for the snowplow attachment, my uncle has an old waterheater that sprung leaks at the seams.  I am going to cut the side out of it for the curvature and grind the inner face smooth.  To get rid of all that polystyrene insulation, we’ll cut out the ends with a whiz wheel then light a fire inside, but thats before I cut the side out.  I don’t want to breath that crap when I am torching those long cuts.  

Granted, there’s more than just those two items it can be used for, but with winter coming; I am thinking the plow is paramount. (Also want some used mower blades to use as furrow teeth for the boxblade: people just pitch ’em after a season of mowing rocks around here, go figure.)

I love being mechanically inclined and a welder/self taught machinist & foundryman.  If it rings, dings, or pings, I can make something out of it. And that includes beercans LOL.

I really need to get that shop built!