Bow Building

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JimboCrow
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Re: Bow Building

Postby JimboCrow » March 16th, 2018, 11:54 am

I've been watching this thread IA, and it looks good to me so far. (As if I would know the difference.... :? :lol: ) I just have one question: You mentioned the hickory stave was in your basement for 5 years; is it better to let the wood dry out for that length of time, or do you get the same drying effect in say six months? Is longer better in the long run? (Did I really just ask that?? :oops: )
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SoftShoe
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Re: Bow Building

Postby SoftShoe » March 16th, 2018, 12:10 pm

Very interesting! I have considered making my own bow for some time. After skimming this thread I may just have to give it a shot.


JimboCrow wrote:Is longer better in the long run?


You can't make butter with a toothpick baby... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » March 16th, 2018, 1:37 pm

JimboCrow wrote:I've been watching this thread IA, and it looks good to me so far. (As if I would know the difference.... :? :lol: ) I just have one question: You mentioned the hickory stave was in your basement for 5 years; is it better to let the wood dry out for that length of time, or do you get the same drying effect in say six months? Is longer better in the long run? (Did I really just ask that?? :oops: )

It really depends on the moisture content in the bow. This stave was cut as a live tree, then both ends were sealed and it was set to season. There are ways to dry it out quicker, but my skills of procrastination allowed it to season naturally. Generally as long as the stave is tired in a way that it won't rot, you can let it season for a long time. You don't want it completely dry, but mostly. Interestingly enough, some of the best bows have been made from Osage orange fencepost that have been in the ground for 20+ years!

Soft shoe you should give it a try. It's a lot of fun.
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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gas56
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Re: Bow Building

Postby gas56 » March 17th, 2018, 1:33 pm

InstinctiveArcher wrote:
JimboCrow wrote:I've been watching this thread IA, and it looks good to me so far. (As if I would know the difference.... :? :lol: ) I just have one question: You mentioned the hickory stave was in your basement for 5 years; is it better to let the wood dry out for that length of time, or do you get the same drying effect in say six months? Is longer better in the long run? (Did I really just ask that?? :oops: )

It really depends on the moisture content in the bow. This stave was cut as a live tree, then both ends were sealed and it was set to season. There are ways to dry it out quicker, but my skills of procrastination allowed it to season naturally. Generally as long as the stave is tired in a way that it won't rot, you can let it season for a long time. You don't want it completely dry, but mostly. Interestingly enough, some of the best bows have been made from Osage orange fencepost that have been in the ground for 20+ years!

Soft shoe you should give it a try. It's a lot of fun.


I've been wanting to make a bow for a long time,...
this project took me less than 10 minutes to build.... I am that fast :P
materials used: aged crab apple branch, yellow binding string, & arrow material is toilet plunger.
I call it the Crap of the art bow.............. :lol:
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I think it was the 2nd cup of coffee I had :roll:
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » March 17th, 2018, 1:57 pm

gas56 wrote:
I've been wanting to make a bow for a long time,...
this project took me less than 10 minutes to build.... I am that fast :P
materials used: aged crab apple branch, yellow binding string, & arrow material is toilet plunger.
I call it the Crap of the art bow.............. :lol:
Image
I think it was the 2nd cup of coffee I had :roll:


Looks great! Tiller is perfect. I definitely don't want to be on the receiving end of that arrow! :lol:
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » March 21st, 2018, 11:45 pm

So I've been working a lot on bringing the bow down to shape. I've got the front profile down mostly to where I want it except for in the handle area, which I won't do to much to until I'm almost done. I've been working a lot in the fades where the limb tapers into the handle. Lots of people make the fades to abrupt, when they should flow less aggressively into the riser. I've been using mainly a rasp for that part. It is definitely satisfying to make something completely by hand, but it also makes me appreciate power tools :lol: I've also started making the limbs thinner, and they are just getting to the point where I can slightly bend them. I've also uncovered some knots in the wood on the belly that shouldn't cause issues as long as I leave enough wood around them.
In some of the pictures you can see how twisted the bow is right now. I will need to steam and clamp it in order to straighten it out. Right now the bow also curves away from the belly, giving it quite a bit of natural deflex. This is often referred to as gull wing. A stave like this will often times produce a very hard hitting bow as long as the curve is gradual throughout the limb to the tips and not just in the handle.
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Here you can really see the gull wing. Lots of people think that the curve is the way that the bow will bend, but it bends the other way.
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And here you can see some of the twist I need to remove. One limb is pretty straight, but the other curls at the end. It's actually easier to see the twist in the first picture.
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » April 12th, 2018, 9:28 pm

So this bulls isn't quite as eventful as the previous ones. I've just been doing a LOT of hand tool work to get the bow down to shape. I've pretty much got the profile done aside from the handle which I'll work on later. Here's the view from the front. As you can see, one limb has what is called a propellor twist. I'll wrap the limb in aluminum foil, then heat it with a heat gun and slowly straighten it. Lots of beginners when they have twist in a stave will try and draw their centerline so that it is straight as opposed to following the twist. This will give you a broken bow pretty quickly since you aren't following the natural grain of the wood.
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As you can see, I've got quite a pile of wood chips going. I collect everything in buckets because all the shavings, especially the fine shavings from the rasp make great campfire starters. The downside is my clothes and shoes end up full of sawdust, and I always end up with a splinter that waits to poke me at the most inconvenient times :lol:
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I'm at the point where I'm rounding the edges of limb and trying to get them to bend. If I were to cut a cross section from the limb, I want it to look like an oval, not a rectangle. A bow is more likely to fail along a sharp corner then a rounded edge. To round these edges, I use a spoke shave and the back of my small drawknife, which serves as a scraper. It always amazes me how much I need to take off just to get the limbs bending. As of right now I would bet this bow is around 120 pounds. I need to cut that in half.
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » April 23rd, 2018, 10:37 pm

Got it to the point where I can just slightly bend it against the floor. Hence the term floor tillering. Now I need to heat up the twisted limb and slowly bring it back to be inline with the rest of the bow. It could take several tries. I'll try and get some more pictures.
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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JimboCrow
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Re: Bow Building

Postby JimboCrow » April 23rd, 2018, 10:48 pm

InstinctiveArcher wrote:Got it to the point where I can just slightly bend it against the floor. Hence the term floor tillering. Now I need to heat up the twisted limb and slowly bring it back to be inline with the rest of the bow. It could take several tries. I'll try and get some more pictures.

So how do you straighten it at this point IA? With steam and clamps or with the tinfoil wrap and a heat gun? I used to curve my own hockey sticks with a blow torch, but if I blew it there was always another one sitting in the rack. ;)
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » April 24th, 2018, 12:24 am

JimboCrow wrote:
InstinctiveArcher wrote:Got it to the point where I can just slightly bend it against the floor. Hence the term floor tillering. Now I need to heat up the twisted limb and slowly bring it back to be inline with the rest of the bow. It could take several tries. I'll try and get some more pictures.

So how do you straighten it at this point IA? With steam and clamps or with the tinfoil wrap and a heat gun? I used to curve my own hockey sticks with a blow torch, but if I blew it there was always another one sitting in the rack. ;)

The first selfbows I ever made I steamed it, but later on found out that wasn't a good idea. The bow turned out great but the experts are never wrong :lol: I'll take a heat gun and foil in order to straighten it. It will definitely take a few tries because it not only curves off to the side, but also twists like a propeller or a fan blade. That's neat about the hockey sticks. I wish I had backup bows in case something goes wrong :lol:
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson

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