Author Topic: 135lb holly bow  (Read 911 times)

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Offline WillS

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135lb holly bow
« on: September 29, 2017, 12:33:44 pm »
I blew up a little 100lb yew bow today (I was working on it for an event over the weekend, and decided to finish it up during the week.  It came out alright, tillered well enough but had a ridiculous knot at one end which gave up at full draw - while taking a photo for a customer who expressed interest in it of course!) so decided to get over the failure by finishing a big holly stave that's been seasoning on my bow rack for about a year.

I left it as big as possible just to see what it would cope with.  It's 41mm wide and 36mm deep in the handle,  74" long (I've found that going much over 75" is a pointless move with heavy whitewood bows - all the ash, elm and hazel bows that I've made over 140lb have been under 75" and they're incredibly punchy with lots of front end weight) and 135lb at 30".

It had a few pins and some ugly looking knots on the back, along with a bit of rot and spalting so I wasn't particularly confident, especially considering the large wiggle of reflex and a bit knot all in one small area - but it handled them without a problem.

Simple little MR sidenocks from local cow horn, glued on with hide glue and shaped and finished with a knife.

I'll make up a linen or hemp string for it at some point, and see what it does with a proper replica arrow - I took a lot of measurements of the original arrows at the Mary Rose storeroom recently, as the ones people are making at the moment are actually quite different to the real things.

Anywho, pics.  I'll get a full draw at some point.










Offline stuckinthemud

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2017, 01:05:41 pm »
Did you saw out the stave or cleave it?  I sawed down my last holly stave but I'll be cutting some more this winter and wondered whether to split it or saw it

Offline WillS

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2017, 01:25:05 pm »
I just took what I didn't want off with an axe, to be honest.  It grows with such extreme spiralling grain that splitting is a nightmare.  You can steam it straight apparently but I didn't want to bother!  This was also a test to see if it would behave itself when made completely against the grain.

Offline Ruddy Darter

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2017, 01:31:44 pm »
Nice 8)

 R.D.
Mon arc, mon cur. Gardez la foi.

Offline FilipT

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2017, 01:36:27 pm »
Its very big in cross section, I suppose holly is on the "weaker side" than ash, elm, etc.? What did you mean by length, 74" nock to nock is the furthest you go now these days?

Offline WillS

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 01:51:28 pm »
Yeah you just don't need to go any longer for a good whitewood bow.  As long as you tiller it well, and use the correct section for that particular stave (not falling into the trap of trying to say "ash works with this section, elm works with this section" etc etc) then it's fine.  That's for a 30" draw by the way. 

If you know what you're doing you can make bows surprisingly short.  A friend of mine recently made a lovely 130lb yew bow with a 31" draw and it was just under 71" long.

Judging by this stave, holly is probably the same if not stronger than ash.  It's incredibly dense, very good in compression compared to ash and it feels the same as some ash bows I've made of the same length and weight.  I've not used enough of it to say for sure though. 

I went for quite a round cross section on this one, similar to a lot of the MR bows.

Offline stuckinthemud

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2017, 01:58:54 pm »
My D-bow was slightly better performing than hazel, the grain was not spiralling, very dense, but was fully inter locking and very beautifully figured.

Offline stuckinthemud

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2017, 02:04:21 pm »
My holly had blue mold and I found steam tended to stain it but it responded exceptionally well to heat for bending. Tempering makes a big difference to performance too.

Offline WillS

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2017, 02:10:22 pm »
Good!  That's excellent news, I'll do a full temper and cross my fingers for the magic 150lb!

Offline stuckinthemud

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2017, 02:17:25 pm »
Just as long as you are happy with the colour change.

Offline WillS

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2017, 03:03:56 pm »
I don't usually get much colour change when I temper them actually.  I feel that if it's done well you can barely tell.  Certainly hazel doesn't show it and that's very white!  I think it's quite common for people to get the heat source too close and scorch instead of bring the wood up to the right temperature slowly.

Offline FilipT

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2017, 10:30:44 pm »
What is the rule for how much draw will certain ntn length allow?
Since I am slowly getting into warbow building and archery, I am working on bow that will be 70" ntn. Reason for that is that I had string of length for that bow and I read there were in past shorter warbows so I though "why not?"
Also I read that there is no reason for draw over 31" or even 30" and I wanted to know would 70" ntn allow me a 30" draw?

Offline WillS

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2017, 10:41:45 pm »
Yes, 70" is ok for a 30" draw, as long as you tiller properly.

30" is the average draw length for a medieval bow - the 32" thing is very modern, and came about because the BLBS Standard arrow was designed before any real knowledge of medieval arrows was available.  It was made 31.5" long, so a little bit of a safety margin on bows ended up with 32" becoming standard for everything (at least, that's what I understand happened - might be wrong.)

By the time your body is being compressed by a proper weight military bow, 30" or less is perfectly sensible.  The Westminster Abbey arrow dating to somewhere around the 1400s is 29" long.

Offline FilipT

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2017, 11:00:19 pm »
So they even had some with 28" draw in 15th century? Do you know were these shorter than people usually make?

Offline WillS

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Re: 135lb holly bow
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2017, 12:33:12 am »
On the Mary Rose, there were arrows as short as 26", which would give a draw length of just over 25".  The two main averages were 28" and 30", with the 30" arrows being 4x as common.