Author Topic: Veteran's day bow for a veteran  (Read 2084 times)

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Offline jeffp51

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Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« on: November 12, 2017, 01:18:05 pm »
I finished this bow up yesterday and shot 100 arrows through it to make sure it was a bow.  This project has been a challenge.  2 years ago my neighbor (whom I had not met) cut down a bunch of trees in his lot to make way for new houses.  Being shameless I knocked on his door and asked if I could have some of the wood for staves.  I showed him the bow I was working on at the time and promised I would make him one if I could have some of the wood.  He took me out back and helped me cut down a few more to boot. As we spoke I discovered that he was a Vietnam veteran and that he had served in the same National Guard unit as my uncle, and in the same National Guard battalion as I would many years later.  So it is fitting somehow that I would finish on Veteran's day. (He isn't home right now, so I haven't delivered it yet.) He loves to hunt and bow hunt, and he loves woodworking, so he was really excited and curious about the project.  I was just happy to make a new friend. That was the beginning of the project.  With work and other projects and obligations (trade bows, etc.) It took me two years.

The wood was all Siberian Elm.  All I knew is that elm makes a great bow.  I didn't know that siberian elm is on the lower end of the elm spectrum for quality.  The first couple of staves I attempted had fungus growing in them and were brittle.  the shavings came off almost as a powder instead of little curls.  Those two snapped on tiller.  The third stave had a lot of deflex and sideways bend in it that, if it had been osage, I could have heated out of it easily.  This stave stubbornly refused to move.

The fourth stave I backed with rawhide and recurved the tips.  but during the tillering process, the twist I thought I had heated out came back, and with the rawhide on, it was too hard to try and redo.  Plus, I heard a ticking in the bow when I pulled it back too far, so into the corner of shame it went.

The fifth stave was working really well.  I went longer and wider, and it was straighter to begin with.  With only lightly flipped tips, I thought I had it made.  So I took it to my neighbor's house to recheck his draw length and weight (it had been a long time at this point, so I needed to make sure.)  Turns out he has freakishly long arms for his height, and pulls back to his mouth at 30".  I was planning on 27"-28", so I took it back and tried to get a little more bend out of the fades and tips.  I made it all the way to 30" and thought I was good to go--until I found a patch of frets starting on the upper limb during the finish sanding.  Time to start over. Problem was, somewhere in all these attempts, I had seen several siberian elm bows posted -- some of them from my neck of the woods, so I knew it could be done, and turn out a really pretty bow, and since I still had several staves left, I had to keep trying.  I don't like to admit defeat.

On the sixth go, I think I have it.  It is during the finish work that you really fall in love with a bow. Here are the stats:
71" knock-to-knock
Draw weight is 47# @ 30"
It started with two inches of reflex and still has one inch left, so it took little set. 
Limbs are 2" wide narrowing down to 1/2" tips.
Overlays are padauk, and the silencers are rabbit fur.
For the finish, I rubbed the char from burnt paper towels into the grain to make it stand out more, then sealed it with 7 coats of tung oil, which I toned down with a pumice/ vegetable oil slurry rub for a nice satin finish.

The bow shoots really well for all I went through.  The longer limbs help stabilize the shot, I think.  the string lines up close to the left side of the bow, so it is close to center shot.  The arrows are bamboo and sinew, with home ground points, because a homemade bow needs homemade arrows to shoot from it.

I you made it through my long-winded story, here are some pictures as a pay off. If you skipped the story (some here claim they can't read), I hope you enjoy the pictures anyway. 
« Last Edit: November 12, 2017, 01:24:41 pm by jeffp51 »

Offline jeffp51

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2017, 01:20:27 pm »
And of course the braced and full draw picts.

Offline DC

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2017, 01:37:53 pm »
Good job, do you have any wood left for yourself?
Vancouver Island
If you don't have any questions you must not be paying attention.

Offline jeffp51

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2017, 01:39:56 pm »
3-4 staves still, and it grows like a weed around here, so I can probably get more.  I also have some really nice staves from recent trades that I can't wait to work on --yew, black walnut, and osage are all waiting for me.

Offline Danzn Bar

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2017, 02:21:56 pm »
Very nice......
DBar
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking

Offline upstatenybowyer

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2017, 02:27:42 pm »
Very, very nice bow and a great story of perseverance.  :OK
"Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands."

Nigerian Proverb

Offline George Tsoukalas

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2017, 03:21:26 pm »
Excellent bow and great story. Jawge
Set Happens!
If you ain't breakin' you ain't makin!

Offline selfbow joe

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 03:50:12 pm »
Very nice looking bow

Offline BowEd

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 04:06:41 pm »
Way to stick with it.Nice bow.
BowEd
You got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything.
Ed

Offline Morgan

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2017, 06:54:27 pm »
Outstanding job and determination. I like your use of charred paper towels, Iíve been crushing wood charcoal into powder and mixing with olive oil for that effect. Paper towels will be much easier!

Offline Hawkdancer

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2017, 07:22:01 pm »
Great job!  Lot of folks forget that the National Guard and Reserves for all the branches were called  up for Viet Nam, as well as every " operation" since then, including the current doing in the Middle East.  My old unit has been called more than once for Haiti, Iraq, and Afghanistan!  The bow looks good, and I am sure he will appreciate it!
Btw, Happy Veteran's Day to all who served anywhere!  I hope you make it back safe and sound, is you are on deployment!  If you are back - don't be afraid to ask for help adjusting!  Be glad to talk/listen/chat if you need a listener.
Jeff, good luck with those other staves!
Hawkdancer
Life is far too serious to be taken that way!
Jerry

Offline penderbender

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2017, 08:10:52 am »
Very nice bow Jeff! Can't wait to see what you make with your other staves. Cheers- Brendan

Offline Hans H

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2017, 09:48:10 am »
nice story, nice pics and a really nice bow
Hans
Hans,      Bavaria, Germany

Offline ohma2

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2017, 11:45:33 am »
Nice bow and nice gesture,always liked the way elm rings feather out on the belly.

Offline bjrogg

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Re: Veteran's day bow for a veteran
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2017, 02:36:55 pm »
Sixth time is a charm Jeff. Love the story and the bow. Thank you both for your service. I'm glad you meet another friend and maybe you can get started together making bows.
Bjrogg
A hot cup of coffee and a beautiful sunrise