Author Topic: My First Bow (Build-a-long)  (Read 9920 times)

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Varik

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My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« on: March 03, 2008, 07:40:11 pm »
You take a compound bow shooter, with mediocre recurve shooting ability, with a huge urge to make his own longbow.  Only problem is, I have no woodworking skills or experience.  This IS my first bow.  I have seen my mom's fiance make his first bow, but it didn't turn out, and it was a board bow.  So, here we go.

___


So, I take a walk up the hill, to try and a suitable tree or limb.  I figure it needs to be a small tree, because I am not using power tools, and it is much easier to bring down.  So, I see a skinny little tree, about 9 feet tall, that I figure looks suitable for a bow.  Keep in mind I have no skill at all, so I don't know what type of wood it is.  I could tell it wasn't hickory, that's about it.



So, I take my handsaw, that my girlfriend so graciously bought me for valentines day, and cut it down, and roughly to length.




Then I carried it back home, and started on the rest.  I used a hammer and an old hatchet to split the wood in half.  It sounds like an easy job, but you have to make sure that you are splitting it even and straight, and it takes a while, or at least it did for me.  I occasionally used a crowbar to help split in places that the hammer couldn't reach the hatchet.



After the tedious task of splitting the wood, I am left with two crooked staves.  I picked the wider and straigher of the two to continue on with.  So, with a draw knife, I slowly peeled of the bark.



Once the bark was off, I have a crooked raggy-tag crappy looking stave.
I next put it behind my old woodstove in an attempt to rapidly season it.  I will start with the tapering in a few weeks.  Here is my stave.



I will continue when seasoning is done.

Offline david w.

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2008, 08:51:03 pm »
that always happens to me when i cut a stave and it never seems as good when i get it home.

Did you seal the ends? you probbably wouldnt need to if it is 9 ft.

youre at the right place everyone here is so knowledgeable and helpful
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Offline cowboy

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  • Paul Wolfe. Springtown, TX
Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2008, 08:55:36 pm »
Varik: Be careful with drying this stave too fast. Did you seal the ends and the back? If you didn't It'll probably check and crack all over, especially if you put it in a hot dry place. Best thing I've found is seal everything good and store in my shop for a few months. Then I take em down to roughly a bow and season em a few more months in the house. Central heat/air - dry..
When you come upon a track or trail you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing.

Varik

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2008, 09:33:15 pm »
What do you mean by "sealing" the ends?

Offline cowboy

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  • Paul Wolfe. Springtown, TX
Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2008, 09:48:52 pm »
Good question: You have to seal the ends on a green tree you cut down for staves, as soon as the tree is cut it's starts loosing moisture - kinda like you just cut an artery. I generally use some type of white glue (whatever's cheapest) I can't go into detail on why it splits and cracks, but it will. If you take the bark off the back - same deal, your essentially taking away it's natural seal and need to replace it with something else - like glue. I guess the only reason to take the bark off early is to keep bugs from eating your wood and it's easier to debark when it's fresh.
 Some others will chime in with the scientific explanation why it cracks :).
When you come upon a track or trail you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing.

Offline DanaM

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2008, 08:46:04 am »
If the moisture escapes to fast you can get drying checks, if its 9' long don'y know that ya
need to seal the ends, as for sealing the back that also may not be necessary if you keep it somewhere cool
but it certaily won'y hurt to seal it. You can use shellac, wheap white(elmers) glue, poly, varnish any of them will work as a sealant.
Can't say for sure but that looks like it might be a small maple tree. Good luck and ask questions.
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Offline Pappy

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2008, 10:45:01 am »
Good luck ,looks like you got a good start.The first picture with the saw sitting at the end looks like Hickory but the other looks like Maple.did you cut 2 down ? Nice project. :)
   Pappy
   
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Offline The Burnt Hill Archer

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2008, 05:17:22 pm »
   My standard disclamer:  there are thoes here much more knowledgable than me. if they tell you something else go with them.   

     You could theoreticaly get it to floor tiller right now, that would save on the checks on the back. the reason it checks is that the outer wood is drying faster than the inner wood, and it causes it so shrink against that tension, and pull it apart. if you reduce the side profile, (the thickness) you are in a sence taking away that inner wood. so it has nothing to pull against. (im not very good at explaining things.)

       just reduce it to general dimentions, full width the whole lenght. AKA dont reduce the front profile on the handle and at the tips. This will reduce the chance for it to warp. You can also clamp it to a board or something strait to help with that too. wait a fiew days and it should be prety close to the right moisture content to work. It is also a whole lot easier to work green wood than seasoned wood. especially if your just using hand tools. 
      i did this with a hickory sapling about the same size of yours last summer. had it from living tree to shooting bow in about a week. Tim Baker used this quick drying method to make his stone age bow in the third Traditional Bowyers Bible.

Phil
« Last Edit: March 04, 2008, 05:26:50 pm by The Burnt Hill Archer »
stalk softly, and carry a bent stick.

Offline DanaM

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2008, 05:28:04 pm »
See TBB 4 Tim Bakers chapter, most excellent ;D
"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."

Manistique, MI

Offline cowboy

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2008, 06:19:16 pm »
That looks like some sound advice Phil :), haven't tried any quick cures yet. TBB4? I gotta break down and order that one I reckon ;D.
When you come upon a track or trail you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing.

Offline Kegan

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2008, 05:17:53 pm »
I've never sealed a bow, and have roughed a just cut tree into a bow to dry in the same day. The only checks I've gotten were with some oaks and a locust, and they were just superficial. As Tim Baker says, the thinned piece of wood has very little "inside". This helps deter checks and cracks. You might run across them if you leave it as a full stave, but not so much if you work it down.

Varik

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2008, 05:44:27 pm »
Good luck ,looks like you got a good start.The first picture with the saw sitting at the end looks like Hickory but the other looks like Maple.did you cut 2 down ? Nice project. :)
   Pappy
   

Oops, I may have put the wrong picture up.  I cut a hickory branch down that was just too crooked.  That must have been it.

It's been drying for almost a week, if it isn't checked all over, I am going to rough it out soon.  I'll be back then.  ^_^

Varik

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2008, 08:31:24 am »
I had to cancel that stave, it twisted during seasoning, and is just too brittle to make a bow, if you barely bend it it makes vicious cracking noises.

Online Pat B

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Re: My First Bow (Build-a-long)
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2008, 11:15:16 am »
Looks like you scraped the bark but not the cambium layer under it. That could be what you hear cracking. Scrape the stave down to the white wood, seal it as stated above, clamp(or tie) it to a 2x4 and let it sit for a few weeks. Then take it down to almost bow size(at floor tiller stage) and let it cure a few more weeks. You want to put it in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight and out of drafts so it will cure slowly and evenly.   Pat
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC