Author Topic: hickory in high humidity  (Read 701 times)

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Offline WhistlingBadger

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hickory in high humidity
« on: May 26, 2023, 12:54:36 pm »
Hey, all.  I'm going to be traveling to Nebraska and Michigan next month, and I'll be bringing one or two of my hickory flatbows to sample the local 3d ranges.  I'm a little worried about the bows turning into wet noodles with all the humidity.  Any tips to prevent this? 

I waterproof my bows with a lard/beeswax/pine pitch mixture, and I'll keep them in air conditioned spaces as much as possible...but we're tent camping for much of the trip, so that won't be an option.
Thomas
Lander, Wyoming
"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for."
~Louis L'Amour

Offline Aaron1726

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2023, 11:22:16 pm »
I'm definately not an expert here, and working with hickory for the first time I am understanding your fears about the winpiness of it in high humidity.  That said, if you are tent camping, do you keep a fire going, or at least coals through the night?  If so, maybe a rack near the fire might be the best bet, something in the smoke but not necessarily the heat.  I've read that native Americans would do this, thought I've never tried it myself.  Hope you have a great trip, though!   Sounds like a good time.

Offline superdav95

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2023, 11:43:28 pm »
Yes Iíve heard this too about the native Americans keeping their bows dry.  Iíve noticed with my heat treated hickory bows that are sealed well still lose a little speed in high humidity.  Not nearly as bad as non heat treated bows but still some.   There is only so much that can be done to combat moisture.  I think that the heat treatment does make the bow less susceptible to moisture but still has an affect.  The other thing Iím gonna try this year is a 2 part epoxy coating on my hickory bows to see the difference.  Even if itís marginal improvement over other sealants and waterproofing methods it would be worth it. 
Sticks and stones and other poky stabby things.

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Offline WhistlingBadger

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2023, 09:56:07 am »
I'm definately not an expert here, and working with hickory for the first time I am understanding your fears about the winpiness of it in high humidity.  That said, if you are tent camping, do you keep a fire going, or at least coals through the night?  If so, maybe a rack near the fire might be the best bet, something in the smoke but not necessarily the heat.  I've read that native Americans would do this, thought I've never tried it myself.  Hope you have a great trip, though!   Sounds like a good time.

We're staying at KOA campgrounds and such, so keeping a fire going through the night won't be an option, either.  I guess I'll just seal it the best I can and hope for the best...
Thomas
Lander, Wyoming
"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for."
~Louis L'Amour

Offline Pat B

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2023, 10:00:53 am »
It takes a few days for moisture to overtake a hickory bow. I think heat treating helps but even that will only be temporary. I've hunted in rain with a hickory bow here in the southeast with little or no bad affects. Maybe wipe down with your grease/bees wax/pitch before and after use and keep it is as dry an area as possible.
 One of the main bow woods of the Eastern Woodland culture was hickory and the eastern woodlands were quite humid in the summers. Somehow hickory worked quite well for them.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline bassman211

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2023, 10:28:53 am »
I would bring 1 good Osage bow for back up just in case.

Offline willie

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2023, 05:45:32 pm »
plastic tube for a case with silica gel desiccant packs

Offline superdav95

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2023, 09:04:06 pm »
plastic tube for a case with silica gel desiccant packs

Interesting idea.  I may have to try this. 
Sticks and stones and other poky stabby things.

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Offline Pat B

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2023, 11:17:03 pm »
When I went to Colorado, Kenneth(Little John) and I stored the bows we weren't using in a 4" PVC tube with a screw top and uncooked rice in it as a desiccant. It worked quite well.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline superdav95

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2023, 04:26:15 pm »
When I went to Colorado, Kenneth(Little John) and I stored the bows we weren't using in a 4" PVC tube with a screw top and uncooked rice in it as a desiccant. It worked quite well.

Another great idea.  It works for cell phones!
Sticks and stones and other poky stabby things.

superdav95@gmail.com

Offline WhistlingBadger

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2023, 07:08:00 pm »
I would bring 1 good Osage bow for back up just in case.
If only I had one!  Osage is even harder to get than hickory around here.

The desiccant pack idea is interesting.  Might look into that.   Thanks, guys!
Thomas
Lander, Wyoming
"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for."
~Louis L'Amour

Offline bradsmith2010

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2023, 08:51:26 pm »
i read Jay Massey would keep bows in tube as suggested,,
Im sure you could trade for osage stave in the future,,
maybe a candle in a small heat box,,???

Offline WhistlingBadger

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2023, 09:04:29 am »
So, are all white woods affected thus by moisture, or is hickory unique?  I'm thinking of making a chokecherry bow eventually, and I'm also interested in trying birch and ash.  (that's about it for local bow woods)
Thomas
Lander, Wyoming
"The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail.
Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for."
~Louis L'Amour

Offline superdav95

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2023, 11:16:10 am »
So, are all white woods affected thus by moisture, or is hickory unique?  I'm thinking of making a chokecherry bow eventually, and I'm also interested in trying birch and ash.  (that's about it for local bow woods)

WB,  I would think so.  Itís been my experience anyway with the white woods Iíve used.  This being said I have not made a bow from chokecherry yet.  I think I have some black cherry on my property and cut a sapling of it to dry for a hollow limb bow down the road when I get brave.  Not sure how close black cherry is to yours but I would treat it like a white wood build.  Hickory does seem to take on moisture a bit more then others I think.  Iíve made a number of heat treated and non heat treated hickory bows and itís all the difference.  A deep heat treatment on hickory will not just be a good bow but a great bow.  As far as moisture absorption itís minimal after heat treating properly.  I feel that heat gun can get fairly good results if done right and the set up is good and consistent but can be more shallow of a treatment.  The deep heat treatment from a bed of coals of radiant heat is the ticket.  Moisture is still going to happen but to much less degree this way.  I donít worry about it after I seal them up as they donít lose much weight and still shoot good.  I would suspect most white woods are gonna have similar heat treatment results to varying degrees.  I hear guys do make wonderful bow out though. I would probably make it fairly long say around 66-69Ē and go 1 3/4Ē at widest for half the limb length then narrow to tips.  If it was me I would do a heat treat too but would not do as deep a treatment like I would hickory.  I have a buddy that has some ash for me the was just felled.  Iím excited about it actually as it looks like great stuff.  I hear ash is great bow wood.  Iím looking forward to getting my hands on some.  :)
Keep us posted.  Cheers
Sticks and stones and other poky stabby things.

superdav95@gmail.com

Offline Pat B

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Re: hickory in high humidity
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2023, 11:45:51 am »
I believe that hickory is one of the most hygroscopic woods meaning it readily takes on moisture but slowly releases it.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC