Author Topic: Questions about making a wych elm warbow  (Read 399 times)

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Offline lonbow

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Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« on: October 17, 2017, 11:28:49 am »
Hi guys,

Iīm planning to build a wych elm warbow for a friend. The bow should have a draw weight of about 140lbs @30.

Some days ago, I cut an alpine wych elm and now I have some  nice staves with really good growth rings. Do you think it will be ok, if I reduce the wood close to the aproximate dimensions of the bow and let it dry for some months until there is no more weight loss? Or should I wait for two years? My friend waits eagerly for the bow...

My next question is, what dimensions I should use. According to an article from the website of warbow wales, there is a bow from  the Mary Rose made of wych elm. The bow is quite broad and flat compared to the yew longbows (4,2 x 2,98 cm in the middle). But the most striking fact is the short length of 171 cm. The bow has seemingly been a bit longer originally, because the bowtips probably have been cut away at some point after its discovery in 1840. The diameter at the cut ends is about 16,5 cm. Which original length of the bow would you expect? Itīs possibly still shorter than the yew bows, isnīt it? Do you have any idea, why it was constructed shorter? Should I use the same length for my bow or would you recommend to make the bow a bit longer?

Greetings,
lonbow


Online paulsemp

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Re: Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2017, 12:31:35 pm »
I hate to say it and I'm certainly no Longbow expert but based on some of your questions trying to build a 140 lb bow is quite the task. I would say master the 40 or 50 pounder before you think about a hundred forty.  don't mean to sound rude but that's just reality

Offline lonbow

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Re: Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2017, 01:27:05 pm »
Hmmm... I donīt know why people in this forum think that Iīm completely new to bowmaking. (I also had this impression at one of my last questions...) Probably it is my fault. Do my questions sound, as if I knew nothing about bowmaking? Or do I maybe express myself in a wrong way, because English is a foreign language for me?

Actually I have made several bows out of ash, elm, osage, yew and laburnum including flatbows, longbows and bows with recurves. But all bows that I have made have low draw weights ranging from 25 to 65 lbs. So making stronger bows actually is something new to me and thatīs why I have some questions.

Until now, I always used wood that seasoned for at least two years. But I have read that some bowmakers were also sucessful at making good bows of wood that didnīt season so long. So my question was If anyone of you has had good experiences with making a war bow out of quickly dried wood.

And speaking about the dimensions: I could try it with the dimensions shown on the norwegian warbow website. But since I know the dimensions with cut away ends from the Mary Rose finding, I would like to make a wych elm warbow with a shape as close to the original as possible. Jeremy Spencer has made some reconstructions of the bow that seem to be a bit too short in my opinion (66" @30). Thatīs why Iīm interested on your guess what the original length was. And Iīm also interested what minimal length you would recommend for a bow that strong, just to be on the save side. Something like 72-73 inches?

Greetings,
lonbow

Online paulsemp

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Re: Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2017, 02:33:13 pm »
 Sorry didn't mean to be insulting. Wood seasoning questions made me think like that.   I would just hate to see someone get hurt with something of that weight. Would have never guessed English is your second language

Good luck

Offline FilipT

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Re: Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 12:09:02 am »
I always do fast drying technique. I cut the sapling, shape it roughly to get as closer to my initial measurements and then I clamp it on some bar that will prevent it from twisting. After couple of weeks I remove the clamps and get close with my tools to beginning measurements. You cannot make bows by measurements but you can get rid of excessive wood to make your tillering shorter. Than I leave the bow I warm environment such as my house until it stops losing weight. Than it's ready. I am currently doing that with my hazel longbow.

Offline Del the cat

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Re: Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 12:39:34 am »
I'd have though fast seasoning was ok for lighter bows of smaller cross sectional area. I'm not sure a thick warbow stave can be dried in less than about 6-9 months minimum. Just my feeling, but if you have the experience of fast seasoning, go for it and report back so we can all benefit from you findings :)
Del
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Online stuckinthemud

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Re: Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2017, 01:30:45 am »
The bow you refer to might have been that short originally but equally might have been shortened in the 1840s, no one really knows either way and the debate still rumbles on. I have one in-build at the short length I hope to finish by Christmas

Offline FilipT

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Re: Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2017, 02:34:01 am »
I'm not sure a thick warbow stave can be dried in less than about 6-9 months minimum.

Never made warbow, as you know from my hazel thread, but I like to shape the bow blank to size which is about 1 cm from intended beginning width and thickness. When I put such blank for fast drying, there is enough wood gone so it doesn't violently twist or move and also there is obviously as little wood as possible that needs drying. In lets say 3 weeks on attic, during autumn, my bow blank loses majority of moisture.

I have saplings which I intend to put through slow drying so they can be used at the same time next year, but for someone that wants a bow month after he cut the tree, maybe this fast method will work.

Offline Badger

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Re: Questions about making a wych elm warbow
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2017, 10:48:41 am »
    I fast seasoned an osage stave one time on a 140# bow and it didn't work out so well. It never really dried out properly over 6 months time. I ended up cutting it down into a 50# flatbow. For a bow over 1" thick I would give it close to a year or even two years if I had the time.