Author Topic: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure  (Read 29392 times)

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Offline swamp monkey

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2013, 10:14:15 am »
Dubois,  Thanks for the kind words. 

I cut base to tip, but it really wouldn't matter so long as you cut along your outlines.  Hamm's book said he did flat butt to butt splices.  He mentioned an overlap experiment he did, and if memory serves that did not work out. for him 

Not complicated stuff.  Just a lot of work.  This is by far the most complicated bow I have ever attempted.  Which explains my exhilaration.

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2013, 08:19:12 pm »
Here are the stats for the First bison horn/ Osage composite (sawn, laminated, sinewed, then tillered):

•   NTN:  35 ½”
•   TL: 37
•   handle width:  7/8”
•   Handle thickness: ½”
•   Nock width: 3/8”
•   Pull 45# @ 22”

Here is the F/D data:
Draw is in inches and Pull (force) is in pounds
draw   pull
8            7
10           14
12           19
14           24
16           29
18           36
20             40
22           46

pic is below to refresh your memory.  Tips are a bit stiffer than I care for but I didn't want to sacrifice power so I stopped.

Now to put the finishing touches on it and move forward on the second horn bow.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 04:48:11 pm by swamp monkey »

Online Pat B

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #32 on: May 20, 2013, 12:21:29 am »
Thanks for posting this, Swamp Monkey. This is another project in my future. I'll be referencing this thread when I get ready to start.  8)
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline bowsandroses

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2013, 01:12:56 am »
good job on bow & post. I've been wanting to try an Elk horn composite but every time I think I got the nerve to try I run and sale my sheds :o. Guess I just got no nerve :'( ;D
My two cents worth of wisdom
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Offline DuBois

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2013, 03:25:14 am »
Nice bow! Must be an awesome feeling to make and shoot a bow like that. When I learn a lot more I amy attempt it :)

Offline IndianGuy

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2013, 11:09:10 am »
I've made many of these bows and may offer up some suggestions, the first bow like this I posted here won me bow of the month and I have helped several people make them successfully.
The bison horn can withstand an extreme amount of compression just like their cousins the Asian waterbuffalo which is the favorite material of the Asian and European horn bow makers.
You did a pretty good job making this bow but it seems you went about it the hard way!
 I have found after making about two dozen of these bows that boiling or heating the horn is unnecessary. You should start by making the bow completely finished and tillered to about half the poundage you want the finished bow to be...for example if you want a 50# finished bow make your bow 25#. The horn and sinew will double the weight in most of the bows.
I always make the belly as flat as possible but if it is not perfect that's okay as long as it is close.
Cut your horn strips and flatten them to an even thickness on a belt sander, take your time and thin them until each section of horn is flexible.
I then glue the pieces to the belly of the bow which has been scored with cross hatch patterns, I usually start with the longest piece of my horn section and put it in the middle part of the bow, each piece is then clamped down with "C" clamps as many as you can get on the section of horn. I continue the process until the entire belly is covered with horn.
After clamped up the glue needs to set for 3 days until it has set enough to remove the clamps.
At this point I take a file and round off the sides of the horns on the edges of the bow and take hide glue and make sure any gaps are filled that might not have got enough glue.
I then sand and score the back of the bow and sinew back it.
I then let the bow cure for about 10 days before stringing it. I do not pull it but let the string settle and check the tiller, Usually it will be close to spot on at brace height if you have taken the time to make your horn pieces even thickness.  If the bow is out of tiller you can lightly scrape the horn belly to bring tiller to where it needs to be. I then wrap each horn joint (butt joint) with reinforced sinew wrappings.
This will take several days to cure good enough to string the bow, I usually wait two more weeks before stringing and shooting, the bows take a while to reach their potential and get better the more you shoot it.
The Sinew backed bison horn bow pictured below is seventy pounds and cast an arrow a tad bit over 200 yards, it is the best one I have made performance wise and now lives overseas!  :-\
Bows like this are not documented with a physical specimen surviving that I'm aware of but have been written about by early explorers.

Good job and thanks for taking the time to post this thread.

Eric

Offline Trapper Rob

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #36 on: May 25, 2013, 11:20:35 am »
That is a sweet bow love the horn.

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #37 on: May 25, 2013, 03:52:48 pm »
Eric,

Those are very helpful tips.  Now that I have been through all of this I appreciate your advice all the more.  You were helpful up front and now that I have one almost under my belt as well.

Of the two methods I have tried, the one where I tiller the bow first then add the scales is preferred.  That seems more in line with your process. 

When I make a third horn bow it will be a bit longer, use one more horn scale and I plan to use the tips you have provided here.   thank you.

Attached are some updated pics with some artful touches.

« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 04:15:30 pm by swamp monkey »

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #38 on: May 25, 2013, 04:21:54 pm »
Eric, your stuff is so classy.  I am in awe.  Thanks for sharing that pic. It is a nice ensemble. 

I am working on placing a tassel on this bow and then stringing it again.  This time with a sinew string.  I will post pics when done.  No rush though.  I am enjoying the ride. 

The only thing on this bow that is not in line with an authentic plains bow is the thread.  I used synthetic thread for wraps. 

Next step on the "tiller first and apply scales later bow" is to apply sinew.  I have been pounding leg tendons and will have more to report in a little while.  Again - not rushing.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 04:51:17 pm by swamp monkey »

Offline Matt A

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2013, 12:57:27 pm »
can't you spiral cut horn and steam it flat so you can use just 2 horns for one bow and not have to monkey with all the trouble you had to go through??

Offline Oglala Bowyer

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2013, 01:54:54 pm »
I'd take Eric's advice and not over complicate the process. This is valuable information. Thanks Eric.

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #41 on: May 26, 2013, 04:43:00 pm »
Tails it is: 

I attached the tassel with sinew and hide glue.  I want things to cure up really well before I string it again.  the red on the sinew is from the dye.  The pix were taken minutes after i wrapped it. 

As for the spiral cut on the horn.  Yes you can.  Tim-O generated a post a while back that showed how this is accomplished.  I think he even won BOM once with a bow like that. 

The two bows I am making simulate what the plains people most likely would have made.  As best I can tell they did not cut spirals.   They cut strips off the outside bend of the horn and used that.  I am not saying the spiral way is wrong.  It just isn’t what the native people did and not what I was attempting to recreate.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2013, 04:47:34 pm by swamp monkey »

Offline uncleduck

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #42 on: May 30, 2013, 12:27:27 pm »
When cutting your strip from the outside curve of the horn and not heating them flat, which way are you glueing them onto your core? Would you glue them so that what was once the outside of the horn is now the exposed part of your belly, or is the outside of the horn the side glued to your core? Thanks.

Offline swamp monkey

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Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #43 on: May 30, 2013, 01:02:08 pm »
The part of the horn that was on the in side of the horn is the part I glue to the wood.  The out side of the horn becomes the the outside of the belly.

Offline uncleduck

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  • Dave W
Re: Bison Horn Composite Bow Adventure
« Reply #44 on: May 30, 2013, 01:23:04 pm »
Thats what i figured, thanks.  Bow looks awesome!