Author Topic: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow  (Read 217890 times)

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Offline Gordon

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Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« on: February 11, 2012, 08:19:11 pm »
It has been a while since I have made a significant contribution to this community so I thought I would post a build-a-long of my latest winter project.  I’ve always wanted to make a yew recurve bow and I had the perfect stave that a friend had gifted to me several years ago. It is a clear piece with just the right length and width to make a short s bow.



Before I get started, here are the tools that I will use to take project from stave to floor tillered bow. From top to bottom: tape measure, chalk line, cabinet scraper, bowyer’s Edge (scraper),  #49 Nicholson rasp,  Microplane rasp, spoke shave, draw knife, hatchet.

Gordon

Offline Gordon

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2012, 08:22:34 pm »
The first thing I do is mark the high points on the crown down the length of the stave and draw a line connecting the marks.  I do this because I want the high point of the crown to align with the center of the limbs along the bow’s length.  This will help prevent the limbs from twisting to one side or the other when the finished bow is drawn.



Once I have the center line established, I use a flexible template (leather or cardboard) to mark the width of the bow. I leave it a bit wider than what I expect the maximum width of the finished bow.  In this case I mark the width at 2” for a bow that I expect will be about 1 ¾” wide at the fades.



After marking the width along the length of the stave, I draw a line connecting the dots.

Gordon

Offline Gordon

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 08:32:50 pm »
I use a hatchet to rough out the width and then a draw knife to finish the job.





And here is the stave cut to width. BTW, I can’t say enough good things about Keenan’s Stave Master bench. It is the perfect tool for doing this kind of work – thank you Keenan!


« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 08:43:44 pm by Gordon »
Gordon

Offline Gordon

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 08:34:48 pm »
The sapwood on this stave is about ½”. I’m going to use a spoke shave to reduce the sapwood to about ¼”.  Given that I’m going to back this bow, I’m not too concerned about violating rings.



After thinning the sapwood, I carefully smooth the back with 100 grit sandpaper and a block.

Gordon

Offline Gordon

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 08:38:38 pm »
Now that I have width established, I use a chalk line to mark a straight line between the center of each end of the bow. I will then use this line to help me determine the optimal placement of the handle.  The stave is not perfectly straight so ideally I want the center line to pass as close to the center of the handle as possible while naturally angling away from the arrow pass.  I find that I shoot a bow best when the string bisects the handle’s center of mass. If the string is off-center then the bow tends to torque on release and my arrow slaps the riser. Also I like to make the limbs asymmetric. When I make the top limb slightly longer (1”-2”) than the lower limb, the bow will ride perfectly level in my hand when I am carrying it around.



Afer finding finding the optimal orientation, I make the handle 4” long with 2 ½” fades.


« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 08:45:03 pm by Gordon »
Gordon

Offline Gordon

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2012, 08:42:26 pm »
Next I mark the tip width about ½” from the ends. For now, I keep them wide (~ 1”) so that I can fine tune string alignment later.



Using a pencil and my finger as a guide I draw a taper from the tips to the fades. I use my finger instead of a straight edge because the stave is not perfectly straight and I want the limbs to follow the natural line of the wood.






I find that making a bow is much easier if you keep your tools sharp. Here I am using a diamond stone to touch up my draw knife in preparation for roughing out the bow’s shape. 



Next up – roughing out a bow.

Gordon

blackhawk

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 09:07:17 pm »
i know this is gonna be a good one...ill be watching this. good to see you post a build along gordon. excellent candidate for a recurve..is it getting sinew or rawhide? :)

Offline osage outlaw

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2012, 09:21:02 pm »
I love your build-a-longs.  Thank you for taking the extra time to do this.
I started out with nothin' and I still got most of it left

Offline coaster500

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2012, 09:59:06 pm »
This looks good....  I can't wait until I get my Stave Master should be any day :)

I keep hearing different opinions about working down or thinning the sap wood with Yew. Some say with Yew ring violation on the back is not an issue others say they back it with the same treatment. I am shooting two bow were the sap wood was thinned and both are still shooting though they are fairly new bows?

What are you going to back it with?
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 10:44:05 pm by coaster500 »
Inspiration, information and instruction by the ton and it's free,,, such a deal :)

Offline adb

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2012, 10:11:34 pm »
Awesome build along, Gordon. It's always a pleasure to see your work.

Offline vinemaplebows

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2012, 10:19:47 pm »
Gordon,

                      Whats that on the floor Cascara??? Or is it hazel??? Looks like a stanley 151 spokeshave as well??? or did you get that at HF?

Brian
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 10:27:57 pm by vinemaplebows »
Debating is an intellectual exchange of differing views...with no winners.

Offline gstoneberg

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2012, 10:27:26 pm »
Is making the top limb longer a John Strunk influence?  He taught me to do that, but I'm too OCD for that. :-[  This looks like it'll be a great bow.

George
St Paul, TX

Offline Gordon

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2012, 10:45:58 pm »
Thanks Blackhawk, I'm thinking about using sinew on this bow. But I will wait to see how the recurves come out before I finalize that decision.

Coaster, it's really hard to chase a yew sapwood ring because they are paper thin. I don't worry about it too much when I make a yew self bow. And since I'm going to back this bow anyway, I'm not worried about it at all.

Brian, the stuff on the floor are actually my tipi poles - lodge pole pine. That is a Stanely spoke shave, but I trued the base and bought a better blade for it.

George, yes my bow building is very much influenced by John.
Gordon

Offline Gordon

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2012, 10:51:19 pm »
Using a sharp draw knife I trim the wood down to my lines to establish the limb taper. I then use a spoke shave to clean up my lines.





Next I use a sharp hatchet to rough out the handle area.  Make sure your stoke is always toward the handle when you are working in the fades or you will risk splintering off more wood than you planned.  I then clean up the handle area using the #49 rasp.






« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 11:17:07 pm by Gordon »
Gordon

Offline Gordon

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Re: Winter project - Yew Recurve bow
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2012, 10:57:26 pm »
Now I’m going to work on roughing out the thickness taper for the limbs. I start by making a mark at about 1 inch at each fade. I have a little tool that I built for accurately measuring thickness from the back of the bow. I then make a mark at about ¾” thickness at the tips.





Using my fingers as a guide I draw a line that gradually tapers from the fade to the tips. I do this on each side of both limbs. When I am done I will have lines on each limb that will guide my wood removal as I rough out the thickness taper.




Gordon