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This happy looking little tension strap is made from the outer braid of a 4′ length of 5/8″ yacht braid. I guess its breaking strength at 3 tons.

The splice that forms that eye has a tapered core inside it. This taper makes for a neat and easy application of strength where strength is needed, over the length of the strap.

Our current strategy relies on inducing tension into that strap, and then locking that tension into the limb by means of corrugated whippings out on the extreme tip. And yes, we love to cheat by using epoxy now and then. (The Roman’s probably had some pretty good heat activated resins. Think of ferrule cement, blobs of pine pitch, rosin, etc.)

If ever one day this investigator is lucky enough to encounter a good quantity of sinew, he figures it would behoove mission sucess to have all the basic cordage designs modelled in modern fibers first. In short, enough refined sinew to power a machine of Firefly’s size would be a fairly precious, labor intensive outing for whoever came up with it. Not the sort of thing you’d want to entrust to a machine that wasn’t already up to snuff.

And hence the reasoning behind using modern cordage for the springs, strings and other little wingy-dings. At this stage, it’s all just an exercise.

Still decked out with inletting black, the Mk IX’s ash limb shows off its radical new length and taper.

A cunning plan has taken root wherein we start testing with the new limbs at the full length seen here. At 31″ OAL, that is 4″ longer than the previous set. By utilizing a set of whipped on nocks, we can shorten the limbs at will. Or, for that matter, return them to full length. When an optimum length is established they can have any excess removed then.

Compared with that old Mk VIII in the photo, it’s clear we are going into new and dangerous territory with Firefly.

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