Author Topic: Maple backed maple board bow.  (Read 850 times)

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Offline emd023

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Maple backed maple board bow.
« on: May 13, 2019, 02:08:19 pm »
Hello. I purchased two maple .75 x 1.5 inch boards for an english longbow build. I planned on using a portion of one of the boards as a backing. After doing some research I found that most ELB are about 1 1/8 inches wide. If I use the entire width of board #1 as my belly, this would leave around a quarter inch of backing with board #2. Is this too much backing? If so, how much should I remove?

Also, I am building this without any power tools. It has been hell. I used a handsaw to cut the backing in half. Because of this, the surface is not completely flat. If I have to remove more, I will likely have to use a rasp and try to smooth it out with my plane. Is this feasible? Or am I screwed?

Offline Deerhunter21

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2019, 02:10:23 pm »
Before anything else... IS THE GRAIN STRAIGHT. I thought that I could skip out on straight grain or grain run ins or offs. now I have a scar on my chest from when a bow broke in my hand. if its not straight, don't bother. I know maple can have wavy grain
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 02:31:16 pm by Deerhunter21 »
"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." Cree Native-American Proverb

A amature practices untill he gets it right. A master practices untill he never gets it wrong.

Russell - 15 years

Offline emd023

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2019, 02:29:34 pm »
Before anything else... IS THE GRAIN STRAIGHT. I thought that I could skip out on straight grain. now I have a scar on my chest from when a bow broke in my hand.

Yes, the grain is straight on both boards.

Offline Deerhunter21

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2019, 02:33:48 pm »
good, now about backing maple with maple. It won't be any better than if you just used one board and didn't back it. it might help keep it together but nothing else. if the grain is straight you wont need a back.
"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." Cree Native-American Proverb

A amature practices untill he gets it right. A master practices untill he never gets it wrong.

Russell - 15 years

Offline paulsemp

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2019, 03:12:39 pm »
good, now about backing maple with maple. It won't be any better than if you just used one board and didn't back it. it might help keep it together but nothing else. if the grain is straight you wont need a back.


Not true. Reflex or other styles can be glued in which will help performance. I've made a few Maple backed Maple and Hickory backed Hickory and in my experience any one of them would outshoot a one piece board bow that I've made.  I'm not saying you'll see major benefits like you would with other combos but it's a great way to get your feet wet and practice your glue lines and increase the likelihood that you'll end up with a bow in one piece at the end

Offline emd023

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2019, 03:36:40 pm »
Thoughts on how thick I should make the back? Will I have any issues rasping/planing until I reach this?

Offline paulsemp

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2019, 03:39:21 pm »
  1/16 to 1/8

Offline Deerhunter21

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2019, 06:56:24 pm »
good, now about backing maple with maple. It won't be any better than if you just used one board and didn't back it. it might help keep it together but nothing else. if the grain is straight you wont need a back.

Oh forgot about that. You could try the perry reflex.
Thanks paul, ill put that in my book!
"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." Cree Native-American Proverb

A amature practices untill he gets it right. A master practices untill he never gets it wrong.

Russell - 15 years

Offline Woodely

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2019, 07:44:10 pm »
I have done a few MBM and the good thing about doing it that way is both pieces are homologous to each other.  When you glue them up you keep them opposite so the grain is opposite from end to end.  I believe this eliminates twist issues after the glue up and keeps the stress and tiller more even. A single board can have slightly different grain from end to end.  Glued lams are also stronger than a single board and helps eliminate splinters and in some cases there is no need to use a backing.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2019, 07:47:51 pm by Woodely »
"Doing bad work is an exercise in futility, but honestly making mistakes is trying your best."

Offline bassman

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2019, 10:52:19 am »
I have built Bamboo backed Bamboo, and Hickory backed Hickory that worked out ok.

Offline emd023

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2019, 12:17:02 pm »
Well, I took my backing down to around 1/8 last night and noticed some runoffs. I know the belly has very straight grain. Do you think could be a problem? Looks like two runoffs about 4 inches apart on the lower limb. I can post a picture when I get home.

Offline MattZA

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2019, 03:37:51 am »
We like pictures, that'd really help us :)

Is there a reason you're so set on backing it in the first place? If your belly already has a perfectly straight grain then why not leave it unbacked?

If you're worried about it breaking, you could always back it with an alternative material like rawhide or silk? That way you end up with a straight grained wooden belly and a rawhide back - a great recipe for a very safe bow.
Unprofessional bowyer. Johannesburg, South Africa.

Offline emd023

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2019, 11:45:57 am »
We like pictures, that'd really help us :)

Is there a reason you're so set on backing it in the first place? If your belly already has a perfectly straight grain then why not leave it unbacked?

If you're worried about it breaking, you could always back it with an alternative material like rawhide or silk? That way you end up with a straight grained wooden belly and a rawhide back - a great recipe for a very safe bow.

Well, one board is only .75 which is pretty thin so I figured I would back it. Here are some pics:

Here you can see a runoff on the side of the bow:
https://imgur.com/FxchI23

Here is a view of the backing with the runoffs:
https://imgur.com/CcSha36

Offline Deerhunter21

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Re: Maple backed maple board bow.
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2019, 12:02:20 pm »
make your belly your back! best part about boards! 8)
"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." Cree Native-American Proverb

A amature practices untill he gets it right. A master practices untill he never gets it wrong.

Russell - 15 years