Monday, 17 January 2022

Yew Logs & Re-backing a Bow

 I got a message from one of the guys at the club, he'd aquired two yew logs (he'd put the word out amongs his various friends/contacts etc). They'd only been cut two days ago so were in good condition. It was a right struggle running them through the bandsaw as they were very heavy and full of sap.
I modified my 'A' frame roller support, to make it more stable which helped a bit, and I ended up having to fiddle around cleaning and adjusting the bandsaw a few

times. I got through about half way with the shorter fatter log and had to finish it off splitting it with wedges. The big problem with logs is that being round they can try to rotate and push the blade off line and make the cut wander.
One of the other guys from the club had a bamboo backed bow where the boo was lifting as a big wide splinter, it was also showing roughness and tiny cracks at every node where the bamboo had been takn down too much in my opinion.

It was an odd bow Bamboo, Ipe and Lemonwood, why have Ipe as a core wood? It is very heavy and works best in compression and as such should IMO be on the belly. The bow was about 60#@30" and the guy wanted it to be increased by 5-10# if possible. Another quirk of this bow was that the bamboo was very thick and rather rounded on the back. In fact the cross section of the bow was rather oval. I decided the best way to reback it was to remove most of the bamboo, but don't go right down to the Ipe, this saves me having to clean up past the old glue line. It also allows an increase of draw weight. I got the new backing done and glued up, clamping the bow down onto one of my forms that has a hint of reflex at each tip. The result was pretty good, with a little spare draw weight allowing me to re-tiller, I got it to 72#@29" then cleaned it up and called it done. The bow was now pretty much straight where it had some set before, it was also about 2.5mm narrower at the grip which sholud make it shoot better. the cross section is a bit more like an inflated square now with a lightly rounded belly. I took a good deal of lemonwood off the belly, which would have exposed nice fresh wood and also brought the Ipe nearer to the belly where it could be more effective. There is very little lemonwood left near the tips. The bow was returned to its owner in time for a rove on Sunday and he was very pleased with the result.
The arrow on the left edge of the picture shows the line between the old bamboo and the new backing (the white string rather confuses the image as it runs along the lemonwood belly)

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Random New Year Stuff

 I seem to have loads of projects on the go all at once. I'm working on a Elm Bow, but first I had to replace a corroded and leaky mixer tap in the kitchen which is always a longwinded job.
Quiz question for the viewers at home. Do the flexible hose tails on a new tap have compatable fittings with where the old ones connected?
(spoiler alert... no they don't)

Having done that I'm trying to make space in the garage for my nice new blue MIG welder that I got for Christmas, it works a treat and is nice and light. I'll be scrapping the old stick welder, that my brother gave me years ago, which he'd been given in turn, which weighs a ton (no one I know wants it... If you are close to Harlow it's free to anyone who turns up!). The welder came in a nice box made of stiff board which was made of two sheets of card with cardboard honey comb inbetween. The base of the box being thin ply. I'm cutting the box down to a better size as it no longer needs loads of packing foam. I could have made a new box, but it's interesting material to work with. I'm just butt joining everything together then wrapping the edges/corners with 2 layers off stiff paper (from inside a roll of Christmas wrapping paper) applied with pva glue, it may seem a bit perverse, but it's rather fun... a bit like the papier mache you did as kids, but this actually works 'cos it's decent paper, decent glue and I now have the skill and patience. Also I'm no longer the youngest in a troupe of siblings who has no idea what's going on!

I've got a few projects line up for the mig welder, one of which is to extend the roller support that I use whe running logs through the bandsaw. It's not quite tall enough or stable enough and rather than supporting the end of the log it usually ends up falling over. It's basically an "A "frame and I'll extend the legs to give it a wider base and raise the apex.
The garage is cluttered up with the TV that conked out, the old welder and a load of scrap that needs to go to the tip. I need to go to a carpet shop and get a cardboard tube in which to pack the wonky Yew ELB which has found a new home... at least that pays for the new TV.
So I'm keeping busy.
My new years resolution is to protect my metal health by leaving forums that are full of people on the front end of the Dunning Kruger curve (you may wish to Google it) and are incapable of understanding or appreciating sound helpful advice. I'll also try and avoid Facebook trolls... put your hands in the air and step away from the keyboard.  

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Review of 2021

Been a funny old year, I seem to have done a lot of repairs, blown up a good few bows, made a few and done a fair bit of non bow related work.
The biggest project was the lever bow saga which taught me a lot about the geometry and eventually became a shootable bow, it was rather twitchy and would need carefull checking if I was to shoot it again. Maybe I'll try it with a flight arrow next year. (The project started in March and finished in July, so you can see it was a bit of a saga!)
My biggest disappointment was the gorgeous Yew character ELB that exploded after a couple of hundred shots, that came from a batch of 3 Yew staves which were full of splits.
The year started making a couple of bows from the Walnut I'd cut with my brother the year before, it was all sapwood and rather odd to work as it seasoned in a huge reflex, it made a couple of snappy bows... one of which literally snapped!
One of my successes was a nice 110# Yew warbow from a challenging stave. I think that particular bow will have a fairly easy life as the owner doesn't quite get to that full 31" draw so hopefully it won't explode!

I've done some useful stuff too, re-roofing and insulating the porch, which had been on the to-do list for about 20 years. I'm hoping to do some more much needed maintenance on eth house and garden, but fear not readers, I've already started on a Elm bow, looking for 90# @ 31"
I'll doubtless be posting plenty of youtube videos too.
So here's wishing you all the very best in 2022 and hopefully the horrid pandemic will be slowly burning itself out into some sort of milder but endemic strain and we can all get back to some sort of normality.

Friday, 17 December 2021

Elm Staves and some tidying

 I've been having a bit of a sort out and used the old cedar cladding to make some more storage boxes so my met raw material is now separated into ferrous, non ferrous round and flat. Another job was to saw my target boss in half and glue it back together with the outsides to the middle. I had some contact adhesive left over from my roofing, which seems to have worked well (I use the blank side of the boss normally, but the roundel side shows what I did).
I've also started to have a look at two Elm staves from a fairly small diameter trunk. I'm looking to make  90# @ 31" ELB, the skinnier stave may not be quite big enough, but it will let me gauge how the timber performs.

That's probably my lot for now until my end of year review. 
Seasons geetings to one and all. I do like to get past the winter Solstice, even though the coldest weather is still to come.

Saturday, 11 December 2021

Wonky Yew English Longbow

 This is the last bow I'll complete this year and I'll shoot it tomorrow on a rove with the lads as the weather is due to be mild. It's one of two I started as potential replacements for the gorgeous character ELB that exploded. The bloke I'd made the character bow for chose the other, so this has been languishing unfinished for about a month.
Here's a composite photo showing unstrung, braced and full draw in one picture. Plus a couple of detail pics.

The bottom nock has a filled knot just below it which I think looks rather nice.

Just back from a glorious morning roving with the bow and some good mates. Sunshine, blue sky, good company, a tot of Walnut Brandy... bliss.
The bow out performed my expectations shooting about 200yards on one mark (slight tail wind). I used my regular field arrows (5/16" shaft) which are maybe a tad light for the bow at 400 gn. The 11/32" may have been better suited.
I'll add a pic of me at full draw later.

Monday, 6 December 2021

Test Bow from old Cedar Cladding

 I made up a pyrimid style bow (constant thickness, width tapered to a point) from a piece of the old cedar cladding. First try it drew to about 30# and the tip sheared off (there was a split in the wood there which I'd glued up. I spliced on a new tip and took 1.5" off each end and tried again.
It came back to about 26" (un-braced) at 32# before breaking at the same end. I videoed it all and it 's on my Youtube chanel.
Heres a pic of it alongside a wonky English Yew longbow that's just about ready for horn nocks. I'll get it up on tiller and check how it look first as its not bee
n worked on for over a month.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Soon be back!


I've got the re-roofing and cladding work done. Of courese there is loads of cleaning up to be done and whilst I've been doing that project other things have needed work.
Transformer for 12v lighting in the shower has failed. One sticking and one leaking tap. Flush in the upstairs loo was running non stop.... <sigh>
I've just tackled that last job. It's a flawed design which relies on the weight of water in the cistern to press the valve tightly sealed, but after a flush, there isn't enough weight to give a good seal and it leaks at the same rate as it's trying to fill. I took it apart and added a length of brass rod down the convenient tub that comes up the centre... that helps the initial seal and fixes it (for now).
I'm stacking all the old cladding round the back of the house and I can at last see the workshop floor.
The old cladding may be handy for bow experiments for light bows or maybe as a core wood. Failing that I'll make some planters.