Author Topic: laburnum and elder  (Read 204 times)

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Online Rākau

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laburnum and elder
« on: March 26, 2020, 01:13:13 am »
Hi everyone,

I have a question regarding Laburnum and Elder. I managed to cut a 2 staves of elder and a mixture of staves and billets of laburnum just before NZ went into lockdown.

Is there anything I should be aware of when it comes to preparing these for seasonong?

Offline lonbow

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Re: laburnum and elder
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 02:58:24 am »
Laburnum is a wonderful bow wood, I even think  its my favourite wood.

Unfortunatelly, laburnum wood tends to crack during the drying process. This happens, because the wood at the surface is drying quicker and therefore shrinking quicker, than the inner wood.

But theres a way how you can avoid this. All you have to do is to slow down the drying process so the wood will dry evenly throughout the whole stave. So right after splitting, you can apply some linseed oil  on the entire stave and put the stave into a cool place, which is not too dry. The cellar might be ideal. The stave will dry slower an more evenly. I have never had any cracks with this method!

lonbow
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 03:11:25 am by lonbow »

Online Rākau

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Re: laburnum and elder
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 03:57:31 am »
yeah I am excited to give it a go, I've heard only good things about it! The staves I've got seem to be affected by some sort of borrer, hopefully not too bad though.

A couple of the branches I got have no heart wood, have you ever tried an all sap wood laburnum bow?

Offline GlisGlis

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Re: laburnum and elder
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2020, 04:57:18 am »
i collected some elder staves (sambucus nigra) and was impressed how good they seasoned without checking even without any care ( glue or wax sealing). Bark stripped off right after cut.
this may be a case tough

Offline lonbow

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Re: laburnum and elder
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2020, 05:14:47 am »
Good to know GlisGlis! Im also planning to cut some Elder!

Ive actually seen  a laburnum  bow with more  than 2/3 of sapwood in the midlimb area. So an only sapwood bow might work!

But be cautios with laburnum.  Its a very toxic wood. I have two friends who bent some laburnum wood with dry heat. The next day they woke up with a bad headache. Please open the doors an windows while youre working. Applying some linseed oil before using the heat gun might also prevent the wood from evaporating too much. And please be also cautious with the wood dust!

lonbow

Offline wstanley

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Re: laburnum and elder
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2020, 02:53:45 pm »
I recently cut this elder branch (6', 2.5' diameter at one end, 3'' at the other). Pretty small diameter, but I think I can get a 35-40lbs bow out of it? Will see.

It can definitely check on the ends if you don't follow the basics when seasoning. The peeled bark can be used for cordage.

I hear it takes heat treatment real well.

I use elderberry for arrows, darts, and fire starting. Versatile plant.

Would like to see what ya get.

Online Rākau

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Re: laburnum and elder
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2020, 05:13:55 pm »
point taken re the toxicity of laburnum lonbow, I will be very careful  :NN

Does it heat bend well?

Good information on the elder glisglis and wstanley I have already sealed the ends and I will de bark today, maybe make use of the bark for cordage too.

Offline lonbow

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Re: laburnum and elder
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2020, 03:57:24 am »
Steaming laburnum is kind a bit tricky. It will jump a bit back after unclamping.

I once had a stave with a strong reflex. I streightended it with steam. It was quite streight after unclambing. After that, I put the stave aside for a couple months. When I wanted to continue,  I recognised that the stave had the strong reflex again. It crept the whole way back. So I steamed it streight again and right after that fixed the streight position with the heat gun. I think I used the heat gun for a bit more than 20 minutes on each limb. That worked very well and the wood kept streight.

So you can fix modest bends with the heat gun! If you want recurves on your bow, you can steambend the wood first and after that fix it with dry heat. It seems to me that the wood looses its "memory" when treated that way.

lonbow