Author Topic: Backing my first stave --> Help?  (Read 715 times)

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Offline Jon_W

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Backing my first stave --> Help?
« on: March 04, 2021, 03:43:19 pm »
So I am working on my first bow, it is hop hornbeam and I need some help with the backing. I know that for white woods I am supposed to remove the cambium and be good to go for the back. Where does the cambium end? On this stave, I have gone through some of the dark section of the bark and encountered lighter wood. The picture might not do it justice but this light color wood has a lot of grain splitting vertically - it isn't smooth at all. Do I go through this? Or is this as far as I go? Thanks for any advice!
"So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold in the hearts of men"   ~ Maurice Thompson

Offline Del the cat

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2021, 04:24:57 pm »
Just leave it alone, the cambium (dark slightly hairy stuff) will crack off or just peel off one the bow is being flexed... that sort of thing is done in the finishing stage which is strangely enough doe at the finish... ;).
Don't waste effort and risk damaging the back when it will probably just fall off, rub off or scrape off later.
And also if the bow breaks.. you haven't wasted that time...
Del
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Offline Jon_W

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2021, 04:46:47 pm »
Thanks Del, first bow has got me nervous! )-w(
So some popping noises and flaking might happen with the cambium on the back?
"So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold in the hearts of men"   ~ Maurice Thompson

Offline bownarra

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2021, 02:51:16 am »
I'd mark out the width profile, slightly oversize.
Then remove the bark to the cambium. At least on the egdes of the stave, this will allow you to get a good read on thickness taper. If left on the bark can hide some nasty surprises.
Once you know what you are doing and have a feel for it removing bark to cambium shouldn't take more than a few minutes. Removing all the cambium can be a different story!

Offline Del the cat

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2021, 04:15:09 am »
Thanks Del, first bow has got me nervous! )-w(
So some popping noises and flaking might happen with the cambium on the back?
Yes indeed.. but it's a good cardio vascular work out  ::) >:D
Good points from Bownarra too... there's a lot less to remove on the finished bow than on the entire stave!
My Brother says that if necessity is the Mother of invention then laziness is probably the Father! ;D
Del
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Offline PatM

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2021, 07:56:14 am »
You should  thin and wet scrape the inner bark with a spoon tip.  The outer ring of HHB is not smooth at all.  It's all little ridges and furrows.  Practice on a scrap piece and take a close look at some finished bows on here with the bark properly removed.

Offline Jon_W

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2021, 11:47:59 am »
You should  thin and wet scrape the inner bark with a spoon tip.  The outer ring of HHB is not smooth at all.  It's all little ridges and furrows.  Practice on a scrap piece and take a close look at some finished bows on here with the bark properly removed.

Those ridges and furrows are what I was concerned most about. I'm seeing other finished HHB bows look smooth, that probably from the sanding on the back?
Thanks for the replies everyone! It's my first attempt at a bow, but I have 9 other staves drying so if I mess this one up I guess I'll have learned a lot and can move on!
"So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold in the hearts of men"   ~ Maurice Thompson

Offline bownarra

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2021, 02:41:14 pm »
It will be 'smooth' but have ripples in the surface. You should not remove the tops of the ridges.

Offline PatM

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2021, 04:59:23 pm »
You'll see a lot of HHB bows with less than perfect bark removal and it  can be quite tolerant of ridge violations but it's best to try to get the bark off as if it was spring cut and peeled with the sap up.

Offline bjrogg

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2021, 05:32:46 pm »
If you harvest during growing season when sap is flowing the bark and cambium will peal right off easily leaving you a pristine back. Disadvantage is it will be much more susceptible to drying check so reduce closer to bow dimensions and seal back and end with a couple coats of something.

If you have access to a good power washer. Especially one that has hot water. I use it to clean up all my HHB. It works really good. I posted a thread here once before. I think it was titled “removing bark and cambium with a power washer”

It still helps to take some of the bark but leave the cambium for the power washer.

I agree with Pat. HHB does seem to be able to handle a bit of grain violations but I like a perfect back so I use the power washer method.

Bjrogg

PS the brown fuzzy stuff is the cambium. You can leave spots of it on and it makes kinda a camouflage pattern.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2021, 05:35:54 pm by bjrogg »
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Offline Jon_W

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2021, 07:06:54 pm »
Thanks for all your replies! @bjrogg, I see you earlier post and the pictures are superb. Can anyone tell if I messed up this back or does it kind of look good? I know the picture isn't great. Again, it's really nice that y'all are giving me this advice!
"So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold in the hearts of men"   ~ Maurice Thompson

Offline bjrogg

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2021, 07:16:11 pm »
Jon it’s hard to say for sure from picture, but not that I can see. Like Pat said. HHB can take a little grain violation better than most woods.

You can see by the pictures in the other thread. HHB is pretty bumpy. If you get to White. Don’t go any deeper. White is going to be your first ring. Leave the fuzzy brown cambium in the low spots if you have to. It does make a camouflage pattern that looks kinda cool.
Bjrogg
A hot cup of coffee and a beautiful sunrise

Offline Jon_W

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Re: Backing my first stave --> Help?
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2021, 10:14:54 pm »
I did some testing on a scrap piece of my HHB (I had an 80 inch stave, only looking to make a 68 inch bow). I am seeing the dark cambium, the ridged white, and then smoother, whiter wood beneath that. I think the ridged white is the back that everyone is talking about! Which I still have on my stave!

Here is my stave before roughing out and after getting the top limb bending on the floor. I picked a tough stave to try as it had the least wood total and I needed it to dry quickly!
"So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold in the hearts of men"   ~ Maurice Thompson