Saturday, 13 April 2019

Boyton Bow Repair Completed

I completed the repair on Piers' Chris Boyton bow, the patch extended well under the grip which then had to be rebuilt.
I used a piece of cork sanding block to rebuild the cork grip, it shaped nicely on the belt sander, but the first attempt snatched out of my hand, jammed down the back of the belt sander dancing about as it got ground down to nothing and swallowed! The trusty UHU glue worked well on the cork and leather. A bit of brown boot polish brought the grip back to a lovely finish.
I gave the bow a good flexing on the tiller and  the patch seemed good and sound.
Piers came over to collect it this morning and brought some Easter eggs for Mr Hare, he had a few shots with the bow and was delighted to have it shooting again.

I've done a bit more steaming on Jeff's stave and glued the bamboo back on my mkII Boo/Yew 50# flight bow. Plenty to keep me busy. I may get to shoot the Hickory flight bow against the mkI Boo/Yew tomorrow weather permitting.

On his way out Piers spotted the missing nock from the exploded warbow... a mystery solved.

PS:- Picture of the bow before repair here:-

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Tired Warbow Result etc

I didn't feel like making a string for the rebuilt warbow, so I waited until my make JT came over so we could test it further on an adjustable sting.

We strung it at full brace, well, he strung it and could feel the power of it.
Partially drawing it he could feel the early weight, said it felt like  about 140# and fancied trying it as a flight bow!

I didn't want to risk it exploding in his face, so we put it on the tiller.... same as before 90# at 24" ... 100# at 26" ...and bang on 28"... went BANG!
Absolutely exploded into shards!
Examining it, the dreaded blue/black discolouration was visible along most of where it split. It had withstood a bit over 100# before, but the bow had about 1" off each end where the nocks were removed. The belly being heat treated and the slight reflex added was also putting a huge extra strain on the back, which just couldn't take it. Once the back gave way the stress just shredded the rest of the bow.
The good thing is that the glue line didn't give way at all.

JT had provided the old worn out bow and I'd put in the work, it was an interesting experiment, and tends to confirm my view that for heavy bows or highly stressed ones , you want a perfect back.
(I have no idea where the other nock ended up!)

Meanwhile I've done the basic repair on the Chris Boyton bow, the patch is glued now. It needs blending in and the handle/grip rebuilding.
There was a lot of work getting a sliver of single growth ring Ash, I ended up sawing a 1/2" slice off the edge of a huge 1/4 log which was at the bottom of my stash of logs.

JT was using my lathe to turn up some antler points to go on the end of blunt arrow heads. While he was doing that I did some preparation of the bamboo back for the mkII Boo Yew 50# flight bow. Then once JT had gone (and I'd had my cat nap!) I set up Jeff's bow to steam out some twist from one end and also pull that end into line. There is a longitudinal crack in the sapwood at that end, and there was no point gluing it until I'd done the steaming. I'll unclamp it last thing tonight and see how it looks in the morning, leaving it to thoroughly settle before gluing the crack.

It's hard to see what's going on with the steaming! There I a length of square plastic drain pipe acting as a steam chest over the end of the bow. My wooden bow spanner is twisting the tip anticlockwise, (the end being held down in tension by some rubber strapping tied to a log) the vertical piece of timber under the tip of the bow is there to stop the tip being pulled down too much.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Busy Time

My mate Rob came over last week Thurs' and gave me a couple of Yew logs and a couple of Elm, he brought a couple of lengths of timber and a broken bow for an autopsy too. There was some confusion regarding the timber identification... it's tricky at the best of times. I think he had the right species, but not necessarily in the right order! I think the broken bow was Lemon wood and it had only broken due to the grain running diagonally back to belly on one limb. I clamped the other limb in the vice and heaved mightily on the tip, it bent in a lovely curve showing his tiller was ok. Generally lemonwood is used on the belly of backed bows (Hickory backed Lemonwood being a common combo). The two lengths of 2x2 were Ash and Hickory, so we got 'em roughed out on the bandsaw with the grain running back to belly as if quarter sawn  like this ||||||||||||.
The Ash was roughed out to be a heavy bow ~90# and the Hickory as a light ladies bow.
Rob pretty much had the Ash bow back to full draw the next day!

Next day I was doing some more on my Hickory flight bow and tidying up. At the weekend I got the Yew and Em run through the bandsaw, the ends painted and up onto the shelving.

On Monday Jeff came up from Folkestone with a half a Yew log that he'd cut himself some years back. We got it roughed out and flexing on the tiller, it was a lot of work crammed into 4 hours with me demonstrating and Jeff doing some of the work too. In the end we had it pulling 60# @ 14 1/2 " on a string that would just slip onto the bow. There are a couple of knots to fill and maybe a little twist to take out of one tip, then another session should get it finished.
While we  were working another friend Piers turned up with a bow that he wanted me to see if I could repair. It was a Chris Boyton bow, two laminations of Yew with a back of a single growth ring of Ash. The was a crack on the back by a couple of tiny pin knots near the handle. I had a quick look and said I'd have a good look and evaluate it later.
That night I had trouble sleeping as my shoulders and elbows were aching!

I decided to take it easy today, but I still had a tinker with the Hickory flight bow, finally getting it to about 50# at 28".

I also had a look at Piers' Boyton Bow. I pulled it to about 26" on the tiller and could see the crack opening a whisker, so it needed repair. I unwrapped the grip and rasped out the cracked area to see how extensive was (not too bad, mostly on the corner) and found some Ash I could patch it with. The crack extends under the grip which makes it a tad tricky, but I'm optimistic.
You can see the two little pin knot where it is rasped out, I've allowed for a long thin patch to give a nice long glue line. Because it's only a about 1/4 of the width of the backing and on the corner it shouldn't be under too much stress. Hopefully it's more prevention than cure.
Whew! I need a bit of a rest! I have lots of projects on the go, but it's better to be busy than bored.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Tired Warbow Lives!

The warbow has had the horn nocks fitted and I tried it on the tiller with a string that I could just slip on. It looked ok and I pulled it to about 90#.
I shortened the string but couldn't initially brace it. I enlisted some help to get the string onto the nock while I heaved with both hands while I had two feet on the string. Pulling it on the tiller looked pretty good and I took it to 90# at 24", I found a string with smaller loop which sat better in the nocks, did a bit of adjustment of the string grooves and then took it to 100# at about 28".
That interpolates to 114# which is pretty good, it was 100# originally. Assuming it doesn't explode it should be a bit punchier.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Tired Old Warbow Experiment

My mate JT brought over a tired old warbow with a ton of set, the belly was very clean but the back had some blue staining which could be rot or the natural discolouration that you sometimes get between heart and sap. It was always a funny bow that looked like a 150# but was only about 100# it was bought as a used bow in the first place. He originally suggested ripping off the sapwood and replacing it with a boo back.
I sawed off the nocks and ran it through the bandsaw while JT was beavering away turning some blunts on the lathe. It was obvious that both back and belly had taken some set, but the belly having taken more. I set too heat treating and straightening the belly, doing one end at a time.

Having heat treated and straightened the belly, I suggested we just re-fit the back, gluing it up with a hint of reflex. This was thought to be a wizard wheeze, so I went ahead after JT had gone and finished the job. I did a little tentative gentle heat straightening of the back, heating only the belly side of it. The glue up went ok, but due to the change in curvature the back slat overhung by 1/8" at either end! That 1/4" change in length gives some idea of the extra tension that will be in the bow, mind we've lost the thickness of the coarse saw cut (3 teeth per inch alternate set blade!)

It glued up nicely, but the bow had a bit of a sideways curve, however was very wide in the centre (about 42mm) and the tips were about 13mm where I'd sawn off the nocks. This allowed me to rasp some off one side in the central section and some off the opposite side at the tips, which straightened it out somewhat. A little remaining curve doesn't matter as it puts the string line closer to the arrow pass for a right handed archer. The width is now about 38-39mm at the grip which is good.
I gave it a good scraping and sanding so that I could see how the glue line looks, it's pretty good and hard to spot generally. Before working on it you could get a full 4 fingers between grip and floor with the tips on the floor and the back uppermost.
Now with the belly on the floor you can get 2 fingers under each tip!

Note:- I flipped one of the pics so that the bow is the same way round in all the pics for ease of comparison.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Mr Hare Tours Harlow

I got Mr Hare finished and as it happens the Gibber Gallery is calling for entries for an exhibition of things juxtaposed with landmarks/sculptures/etc from around the town.
I set off with Mr Hare in a carrier bag to get some pics.

Obviously he liked the pub best, but I was rather pleased that I managed to sneak a shot of him in a cheeky pose on Henry Moore's Family Group.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Random Ramblings

Lots of odds n ends have happened.
I was checking an old bow from 2011, the first Osage bow I ever made to see if it was a suitable weight to lend out to someone wanting to try field archery. The bandsaw was in the way of the tiller and rather than move it, I kept one hand on the bow, bend down to look at the scale and heave on the rope... about 40# .. pull again.... 45 at 28"...  BANG being Osage it broke into nasty splinters and one contrived to give a nasty cut on my finger.
I was a bit miffed and realised it was silly to make a primitive for someone who might not like field. I had a shufti on line and found perfectly good Flat Bows starting at just over £90 in 5# increments from 35# to 50#. Just the job, perfect for field, faster and cheaper than I could make with no waiting time. I sent him a link, which he was pleased with.

I've been making more flight arrows and getting in a bit of a muddle, so I made a new storage box from odd bits of ply and pine that I had lying around. It has compartments for length 24, 26, 28, 30 & 32" arrows. I sorted out my other arrows and shafts too, so I can now see the wood for the trees. I may need to sub divide it for 1" increments... I think flight arrows could easily become a life's work!

Been buying stuff online too, I got some carving chisels, a set of 12 Clarke ones, with a small set of 6 and two others as a job lot. They seem to be pretty good and I've been watching Youtube vids on chisel sharpening, as the curved and V ones are a bit tricky to sharpen. That then led me on to making a strop for honing the edges. It's one of those things I've been meaning to get round to for ages, easy enough to make with an off cut of MDF (which is flat and stable) and some leather from an old sofa that I rescued as it was going to the council tip (it was a hideous colour, so no good for bow grips). I glued the leather down with UHU glue and gently rolled it down with a length of steel bar (rolling pin would do) to remove any air bubbles. I've bought some green honing compound (E-bay) to load up the leather but it's not arrived yet. There is some discussion on line about which side of the leather to have upper most. Consensus is either works and the flesh side hold the compound better for a coarser compound, smooth side for really fine finish. I'll let you know how I get on.
(The strop is in the top pic, the block with the pinkish leather on it just above the box of small chisels. It's 8" x 3" so it's big enough to do a plane blade).
The chisels are really for the Hare project and other potential work, also for other family members to use. The Hare is coming along nicely with the limbs all roughly made but not fitted yet, I'll be able to start working on the detail soon and deciding on the degree of articulation I want, simple pivots or a hint of a ball joint for a bit more movement?

The bow making it taking a back seat at the mo' having made a few pretty rapidly, although I have had some enquiries. Someone has asked for a laminate, I suggested Boo/Yew but for some reason totally beyond me they don't want Yew on the belly??? It seems a bit like wanting to put tractor wheels on a sports car, but I may do something eventually if some suitable exotic wood turns up... maybe Boo/Yew/Ipe.
I only do stuff when I feel like or am inspired (or the missus asks me ;-) )