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Harper's Young People, July 6, 1880   By:

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[Illustration: HARPER'S




Tuesday, July 6, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50 per Year, in Advance.




"Hello, Foster, what's that you're doing? shooting with a bow and arrows?"

"Yes, Stuart made 'em for me. Come in and try 'em."

Harry came into the yard, where Foster was shooting at a collar box placed on a grassy bank, and made a few unsuccessful shots at twenty yards, when Foster took the bow, and hit the box frequently, to Harry's wonder and envy.

"Stuart made 'em for me, and taught me how to handle 'em. He has a bow taller than himself, over six feet long; and up in the mountains he killed a deer a week ago killed a deer with an arrow."

"Do arrows go hard enough to kill ? Say, Foster, will Stuart make a bow for me? Won't you ask him?"

"We've got a better thing than that. Stuart wants us to get up an archery club, and he will show us how to make our own bows and arrows, just as the Indians do. Henry, Fred, Will, and Ned will join, I know, and then we will have six just enough to go off hunting on Saturdays, and have a jolly time. And we'll have a name for the club, and make a regular camp somewhere near the Glen, and have our dinners there, and our meetings, just as Robin Hood and his men did in England. How's that, Harry?"

"Best thing out, Foster. But how are we to make our bows, and what shall we make them of?"

"Oh, Stuart has told me all about it. You must pick out the straightest, cleanest sassafras pole in the hen house, and get Preston to saw it up into sticks one inch square and five and a quarter feet long. Then bring them over here, and Stuart will show you how to make a bow. Stuart will have a lot of pine and spruce sawed up for arrows, and you must get all the goose and turkey feathers you can, and bring them over too, and he will tell us about arrow making. Now go and tell the rest of the boys, and get your sassafras to Preston's as soon as you can. Perhaps we can get ready to go out Saturday."

After school the next day six eager boys stood around Stuart as he took a sassafras stick, and showed them how to make a hunting bow, talking as he worked.

"Now look close, youngsters. First plane one side of the stick straight and smooth. This is to be the 'back' of the bow, and mustn't be touched again. Next mark the middle of the stick, and lay off four and a half inches to one side for a handle. Then turn the stick on its back, and plane away the 'belly' of the bow, tapering it truly from handle to 'tip.' Do the same to the sides, leaving each tip about three eighths of an inch square. Now take a file or a spokeshave, and round off the 'sides' and 'belly' carefully, taking care not to touch the 'back' of the bow. There, the bow is in good shape, but it may not bend truly; so file a notch with a small round file in each tip half an inch from each extremity, running the groove straight across the 'back,' and slanting it across the sides away from the tips toward the middle or handle of the bow. Make a strong string of slack twisted shoe maker's thread, with a loop in each end, so that when the string is put on the bow by slipping the loops into the nocks, it will bend the bow so much that the middle of the string is five inches from the handle. If the bow when thus bent is too stiff in any spot, file it a little there till it bends right; and when it finally bends truly from tip to tip, put on a piece of plush for a handle, and smooth and polish your bow ready for exhibition. There, Harry, that is your bow. Now one of you may go to work at another stick, while I go and feather some arrows."

At it Henry went, eager and enthusiastic; but it was a bothersome job for young and inexperienced hands... Continue reading book >>

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