Author Topic: Help with ERC.  (Read 478 times)

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Offline Beba

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Help with ERC.
« on: October 17, 2020, 10:40:36 am »
Hi folks, my name is Bill. Posting anything is extremely rare for me but I can use some advice. Been trying for 15+ years to fine some usable ERC.  Last winter I got 2 logs of ERC about 85Ē each. I debarked, quartered and sealed them. Iím hoping to get an ELB or 2 out of them but building shooters is more important than a specific style. All suggestions and opinions welcome. Iíll try to post a pic but computers and photography are not things I handle well.

Offline Morgan

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2020, 12:11:26 pm »
ERC is beautiful wood. I think it will test your patience, but if you get a shooter out of it, it should be a nice looking bow. Donít have any advice, but good luck and please do post pics if it works out.

Offline Santanasaur

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2020, 12:50:02 pm »
Iím curious what others here think of the practice of violating the back of ERC. Iíve read many times that it can safely be violated on the back, like yew, in favor of getting an even strip of sapwood and an even looking bow.

I also wonder if this is really the best practice for a tension weak wood with a high rate of tension failures. Maybe this treatment has something to do with the tricky reputation this wood has for unbacked bows. Personally Iím more inclined to try chasing a growth ring. On the other hand user  peacefullymadewarbows and others have made some monster ERC warbows with violated backs that definitely go against my gut feeling.  How do you all approach the backs on your cedar bows?

« Last Edit: October 17, 2020, 12:55:49 pm by Santanasaur »

Offline bradsmith2010

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2020, 12:53:14 pm »
I have never made one,, given the info, I would sinew back

Offline Hamish

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2020, 05:31:08 pm »
I haven't used ERC either. I remember quite a few over the years that have been successful.  I wouldn't go too highly stressed, unbacked as they can blow.  Make it a bit longer than your usual draw.

As for violating rings, I would suspect you would have more success if the stave has fine growth rings. As ERC tends to break in tension rather than compression, I would be careful. For an ELB I would back it with rawhide just to be extra sure.

You could also try Saxton Pope's recommendation of a hickory backing, for a longbow. He rated that combination highly.

Offline Beba

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2020, 10:09:29 am »
Thank you for the replies. Been doing a little research. Marc StLuis mare a 120# @ 31Ē warbow, self backed out of ERC. Marc also claims the sap wood is elastic in tension.
The quarters have only been seasoning for 10 months now. Iíd like to rough out 2 staves at full with for the length to speed up the curing process.  Any known problems known problems on ERC with this?

Offline Pat B

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2020, 12:19:36 pm »
ERC sapwood seems to be good in tension and in compression somewhat too and the heartwood is good in compression. I think the problem with it is when knots are involved. Most ERC bows I've seen blow were at knots. Finding clear ERC can be difficult. I do think ERC can be a good candidate for an ELB but try to stay away from knots on the back or at least keep them in the center of the limb and do a good job of not violating the grain near a knot.   
From what I've heard, ERC heartwood and sinew backing seem to be a very good combo. ERC sapwood alone makes a pretty good ELB style bow, at least in the under 50# range.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline bassman

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2020, 07:10:05 pm »
ERC is in the Juniper family. When our natives used it they sinew backed it for a reason I believe. Their is a guy from Texas on Leather wall that has posted Texas Juniper self bows  that looked like good bows. knots can be a problem with all bow woods. I have never built one ,but from what I have read I would sinew back it.

Offline willie

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2020, 07:38:25 pm »
erc heartwood may not  follow the growth rings, so a self bow with a even sapwood back without violated rings might be a challenge. a more consistent backing might be in order

Offline dylanholderman

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2020, 08:36:00 am »
Iíve never worked it but from what Iíve read I would either sinew back it or puta hard backing on it

Offline gutpile

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2020, 12:26:19 pm »
sinew and ERC are like peas and carrots.. back it either sinew or rawhide.. tension is not good on ERC... when it blows it blows violently... gut
to take from nature the materials needed to take from nature the meat needed...they all die from natural causes osage, rivercane, stone points,...

Offline Beba

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2020, 03:03:00 pm »
A lot of good information, thank you all.

Anyone ever tried to speed up the curing process on ERC by reducing the staves closer to bow dimensions? I can get 1 ELB stave from each log that are not free and Iíd like to start on them sooner than later. Just concerned they may twist up like an elm stave did to once.

Offline Santanasaur

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2020, 03:28:59 pm »
Iíve never quick dried it but I think it would be fine. Itís riskier of course, but not a bad idea to risk one or two staves while the others slow dry. If you can find dead standing ERC itíll often be pretty dry. The heartwood is very rot resistant, there  are 50 year old fence posts on the farm here with intact heartwood. Once I made a  a dead standing ERC shortbow on the same day I cut it https://youtu.be/7EAZliwCnrs. It was short and knotty piece and I wasnít able to get more than 20 lbs out of it unbacked. I think that was a good candidate for sinew or rawhide backing if I wanted more weight.

Offline Pat B

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2020, 03:31:31 pm »
Speed drying could lead to more problems. I'd give that ERC at least a year of drying time and 2 would be better for best results.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Online Eric Krewson

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Re: Help with ERC.
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2020, 07:44:15 am »
Strangely bamboo back and ERC work together well, I know a serious bow maker who has made a pile of them with good results.