Primitive Archer

Main Discussion Area => Bows => Topic started by: hartj57 on November 17, 2015, 10:02:12 am

Title: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: hartj57 on November 17, 2015, 10:02:12 am
I've been working on this bow made out of Walnut for my friend as a Christmas present.  I went to the lumber store, since I have no way of getting staves around here without spending a fortune.  The man was really nice and helpful, but I still ended up coming home with a board that had some snake in the grain.  I decided to try following the deviations in the grain as far as the board would allow and now I have this
(http://i.imgur.com/4NOPxyV.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/RPQcwKb.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/c00wTBy.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/vJbkHnm.jpg)

I was wondering, which direction should I cut the nock into the end with the snakes.  Should I cut it perpendicular to the end of the limb, or should I cut it perpendicular to the rest of the limb?
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: PEARL DRUMS/PEARLY/PD/DRUMS on November 17, 2015, 10:22:56 am
That board isn't any good to you, I'm sorry to tell you that. Board grain MUST be dead straight all around, a run out or two in certain areas can be tolerated. Your blank is a time bomb in disguise. Again, sorry to tell you that.
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: sleek on November 17, 2015, 10:40:02 am
I cant see the pics right now on the computer I am on but I just wanted to argue a point with Pearl. I have made very nice snake bows from boards. But the grain was perfectly flat going from the side. Only wavy grain acceptable is on the part that will be the back and belly, not the sides. Grain that raises and lowers through the back and belly=dead bow.
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: Josh B on November 17, 2015, 12:57:43 pm
I don't have to see a pic of the side grain to tell you that board won't work.  Do you see how the growth rings are getting wider at some points and narrow in others?  That's a sure sign that you have grain run out all over.  That's a straight board milled out of a crooked tree.  Sorry for the bad news, but it is what it is.  Josh
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: bradsmith2010 on November 17, 2015, 01:29:34 pm
Ok I agree in the current state,, but there are other options,, i think if the bow is made in lower weight 30ish,, it might hold with rawhide backing,,(the rawhide would need to overlap the edges)
if you sinew back it,, your odds of success increase dramatically,,, your glued on handle and overlays are making things more complicated,, you are starting with odds against you with the runout,, depending on your experience level,, there may be a bow in there,, but as stated,, it is an iffy project,,if the bow was for your own  personal use ok if it blows,, but as a gift,, I would get a better piece of wood to start with,,  :)
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: hartj57 on November 17, 2015, 02:26:42 pm
Okay, that's a disappointment. I looked for a suitable board, but couldn't find any.  I think I'll head up to the Home Depot and pick up a couple axe handles or something.  What should I look for in an ash or hickory handle to make into a bow?
But for future reference, since I'm sure I'll attempt another snake bow eventually, which way would you file to nocks? 

It's actually a ridiculously long bow.  It's 76" with like a 10" stiff riser section.  He wanted like a 55lb bow, but I can live with less.  I was planning on backing it with denim or paper.  I'll probably see how it goes after Christmas and keep it for myself if it survives.
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: PEARL DRUMS/PEARLY/PD/DRUMS on November 17, 2015, 02:33:49 pm
String grooves are always on the sides of the limbs. When you go to Home Depot look for hickory boards, if you cant find any, look for good maple. Remember, grain, grain, grain. No such thing as good enough with slat bows.
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: hartj57 on November 17, 2015, 02:44:05 pm
I was actually just there and dug through their whole stack (all they had was red oak) and didn't find any usable pieces.  That's why I asked about using a couple ash handles or hickory handles and splicing them together to make into a stave bow, but I'm not sure what to look for in a broom/axe/sledgehammer handle.  I can stop by the store again on my way home this afternoon.

By the way,  thanks for all your helpful responses, this was a lot more feedback than I expected!  You guys are really great!
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: PEARL DRUMS/PEARLY/PD/DRUMS on November 17, 2015, 02:50:20 pm
Red oak is my last choice, but those who know me know that :) Do you have a Menards near by? They have the best hardwood board selection of all the big box joints.

Axe handles are fine to. Look at them the same as a board. The grain must run down the handle from end to end. Of course you would have to finger splice them together.
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: hartj57 on November 17, 2015, 03:01:58 pm
So with an ax handle you wouldn't work it down to a growth ring, but just use it like a board?
No, but there is a good lumberyard about 20 min away from my house, but I always end up feeling guilty when they try to help me out and take home some random piece of wood like the one above.  I once went there intending to get a nice piece of hickory, but came home with a piece of Sapele!  They have a great selection of wood, but they don't like you to just look through their stacks.  :-\
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: PEARL DRUMS/PEARLY/PD/DRUMS on November 17, 2015, 03:16:57 pm
You would have to find some primo handles to be able to chase rings on them. What state are you in?
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: hartj57 on November 17, 2015, 03:19:52 pm
I'm in Florida.  I live in Citrus county, but routinely commute to Marion county for school.
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: PEARL DRUMS/PEARLY/PD/DRUMS on November 17, 2015, 03:26:17 pm
You're right, not a good bow wood area down there. Pecan is good stuff to, maybe you can get that nearby.
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: bubby on November 17, 2015, 03:43:13 pm
My suggestion is to buy some from a guy that sells boards for bows or go to the trade page and try and get a stave, nothing like a nice osage stave to put a smile on your face😜
Title: Re: Cutting nocks into a snakey bow?
Post by: Springbuck on November 19, 2015, 07:35:10 pm
  So, two pickaxe handles or shovel handles will work, but be just as picky as you would with a board!!!!

 The trick is that the grain needs to run straight, end to end, in both directions.  The rings are easy to see, so start there.

 On any handle, look at one end.  Pick the middle growth ring, and follow it visually from one end to the other; from grip end to head end, or whatever.  That ring MUST stay basically in the middle, all the way down.  If you split it in half it would follow that ring all the way from end to end.  Got it?

 But, here is the kicker!  Look at the end again, and pick that middle growth ring.  If you split the pick handle again, in your mind, exactly 90 degrees to that middle growth ring, it MUST still split into two almost exactly equal halves lengthwise.   Get it?  The PROPER stave for you could be split lengthwise no matter how you split it, no matter the angle, or the orientation of rings vs the splitting wedge.

  Both the GRAIN and the RINGS have to run long enough to make a bow limb. Using two shovel handles, it can curl a bit or run off at the very tips, because you can cut several inches off the ends.  But, be picky, picky picky.  The last one I made, I went to three different stores and ended up with a pitchfork handle and a posthole digger handle.  Get something with the nice thick bulge from middle to head end.  You need that width.

Now, if the grain is straight in all directions, ring orientation doesn't matter too much, BUT, you are doing yourself a favor if you choose pick handles that have similar ring orientation.  Pick handles have oval cross sections right?  So, buy two that both have the rings running either longwise in the oval, or exactly crosswise to the oval.  Almost like it is a flat sawn or a quarter sawn board. You want to take your bow limbs out of the widest part of the oval.

Shovel handles are straight and round, so you can rotate them to match up, but be super picky about the grain.  Just because the rings run the length doesn't mean the grain does.  Cut off the parts you can't use and decide how you are going to splice the handle.  I recommend a W splice on a pick handle, but a shovel handle will be easier if you do a "pipe splice" by socketing them into a section of round or square stock, maybe with a diagonal cut so they match up deep in the socket. A straight front to back angled splice that good, too, but it should be pinned, doweled, or screwed, and then glued, and finally wrapped with wire, strong cord, fiberglass tape, rawhide, etc.  The splice MUST stay wellell away from the fades like a 4" splice and a 9" fade to fade riser. It needs to begin and end in the thickest part of the handle.

Finally, if you get lucky, you will find two handles that also weigh about the same, and have similar growth ring thickness.  Chasing a ring on ash is so easy it is almost fun, but just go down far enough to remove the roundness and the already cut through rings. Don't go halfway down into the stave unless you have to.

Now, caveats.  Cheap shovel handles are much more likely to have grain run off that is harder to see, so by the time you find and pay for two suitable handles, you may have been better off just buying a stave or driving far enough to cut one.  You are going to spend a minimum of $16.00 in my neck of the woods, and it could be $15.00 per handle.  The small technical aspects of this are the hardest part; stuff like getting a good splice (which can take a lot of practice in and of itself) and navigating the shaping of a handle and fades around two long not-yet-spliced pieces. Think ahead.   It hurts to ruin expensive, hard to find wood.

Also, all hickory is tough, but if you end up with all heartwood in one limb and all sapwood in the other, or one limb with four rings and the other with twenty, you may have some disparity between limbs, regarding hardness and weight.  Likewise, if the ash has a lot of difference in the ratios of spring to winter in the growth rings, the woods will act differently, and you don't have the luxury of widening the stave to compensate.  I would put the weaker wood on the top limb and make it longer, with positive tiller, if you can determine that ahead of time.

So, that's everything I can help you with.  Good luck.  Keep exploring options to find a better source of wood, and come back if you have any more specific questions.