Author Topic: Suitable wood for a self bow  (Read 9180 times)

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Offline bluegill

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Suitable wood for a self bow
« on: September 13, 2007, 10:59:24 am »
It has been impossible to find any suitable osage for a self bow in my area(east Texas). What other kinds of wood are good for building a bow. I have access to species such as red maple, hackberry, mulberry, a few hickory's, and plenty of elm. Are there any limitations with these species?

Offline Justin Snyder

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2007, 11:13:15 am »
Red Mulberry is as close to osage as you can get.  It is the same family.  You can make a bow from any of those woods.  As for limitations, you will have more limitations because of flaws in the wood than from the species.  Go cut a mulberry, and a hickory and split them up to dry.  You can never have too much wood drying.  ;) Justin
Everything happens for a reason, sometimes the reason is you made a bad decision.


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Offline DanaM

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2007, 12:17:12 pm »
Don't forget the elm its a good tough wood and you don't have to chase a ring.
"Prosperity is a way of living and thinking, and not just money or things. Poverty is a way of living and thinking, and not just a lack of money or things."

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Offline TRACY

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2007, 07:57:27 pm »
I agree with the previous comments. Hickory and mulberry are excellent woods as is the elm, but a lot tougher to split by hand. I treat mulberry the same as osage and remove the sapwood and find a good ring to follow.
It is what it is - make the most of it!    PN500956

Online Hrothgar

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2007, 09:09:53 pm »
Hickory is about indestructable but has been known to wear out a a draw knife. One of the smoothest, lightest longbows I ever made was red mulberry, nice thick growth rings too.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
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Offline George Tsoukalas

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2007, 09:27:44 pm »
Osage, hickory, elm, hop hornbeam, yew, the oaks, maple, ash, sassafras, hackberry, mulberry, etc. The list is almost endless. Each wood has its advantages and disadvantages. The magic is not in the wood. It's cradled in the arms of the bowyer. Jawge
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If you ain't breakin' you ain't makin!

Offline bluegill

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2007, 12:28:44 pm »
Thanks for all the replies. As of right now I have split a small mulberry and will most likely go out again this weekend and try to find more bow wood.

Offline gpw

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2007, 01:07:12 pm »
Mulberry should be easily available in your area, we like hackberry too.... as it was said "most any fruit or nut tree will make a bow "... We try everything that grows around here... the wood dictating the kind of bow we make ...
 We even have a dogwood stave ready .... know how you can tell Dogwood????.... by the "bark"....  ::)

Beleg813

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2007, 02:57:52 pm »
It has been impossible to find any suitable osage for a self bow in my area(east Texas). What other kinds of wood are good for building a bow. I have access to species such as red maple, hackberry, mulberry, a few hickory's, and plenty of elm. Are there any limitations with these species?

I can't remember who posted this link, but credit should go to them. The author of this list is Tim Baker (one of the influential people to help make TBB volumes, I believe). I hope it helps!

http://onemississipp.googlepages.com/bowwoods


Offline Kjikakakuj

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Re: Suitable wood for a self bow
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2007, 04:55:49 pm »
   If there is any white ash in your area, I have found it to be a good springy wood that splits easily with, usually, straight grain and smooth surface. Probably the ideal wood for someone starting bowyery. It has distinct layers, alot like hickory, that make it easy to tiller correctly. You can probably find boards in a building supply store suitable for making bows with. White oak is also a good choice. Red oak is not as dense but is alot like the ash except for a tendency for having a wrinkled surface. Not  a big deal.  If you're near a library, and they have it check out "The Traditional Bowyers Bibles. Vol's 1-3" as well as Paul Comstocks "The Bent Stick".

Hope this helps.... Sean C.