Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Yew ELB Close to Finished

I've done some more heat correction on the bow to make it overall straight. Although it still has the slight kink it looks much more symmetrical. The horn nocks are done too but not polished up.

I went to a med' soc' 3D shoot in Kent on Sunday, great fun but rather tiring. I shot round with some friends ( in a group of 4) and had a good natter with some of the other folk at lunch time whilst enjoying an excellent Chicken casserole. My shoulder was giving me some gyp, so I dropped down from Twister to my little Hazel bow after lunch. My shooting was the usual inconsistent mix of abysmal and brilliant.
Shot of the day for me was 20yards at a boar which was behind tow trees. From the red peg only about a 1 foot section of it was showing, centred on the kill. No one else had hit it first arrow. I stood and stared at the centre of the kill... and stared some more... then drew and loosed. Plum centre of the inner kill 24 !
The drive back was a bit of crawl with the Sunday traffic and Brands Hatch traffic, but a shower, roast dinner and a glass of beer soon restored my equilibrium.

I also picked up some handy exercise tips and a recommendation of a Thera-Bar flex bar which is apparently V good for curing tennis elbow. I've ordered one from the interweb and I'll report back on how I get on with it.

Thursday, 5 April 2018


I haven't actually made a bow for a while, been busy refurbing arrows for a 3D shoot on Sunday, tinkering with the lathe, making flight arrows etc.
I've a few bows on the book and thought I'd better get on with one of 'em. These days I find most of my staves are nice quality ones that people have sourced for themselves and have brought along to be made into bows. This arrangement suits me fine as long as I don't get a lorry turn up with a load of staves that someone expects me to turn into bows! I very much pick and choose what I do, mainly because I have my own projects to get on with too.

Anyhow, I was feeling a bit cocky and picked up the Yew stave (Pacific Yew?) and ran it through the bandsaw in short order. I cut it pretty close to my guestimated final size and at one point thought I'd maybe taken off too much. It's fine and has been quick and easy to get back to near final weight. Of course nothing is too easy when you have a rather perfectionist streak. The bow has a couple of deflex dips, the worst being in the lower limb gave it the appearance of an ugly hinge, so I got it jigged up, applied some heat and pulled some of it out. It's virtually impossible to actually completely straighten a dip if it is more like a kink or is concentrated over just an inch or two, but it can be smoothed out to give the limb an overall straight line with the odd undulation. In other words the tips and grip are pretty much in line, which is almost what I achieve. Mind, I may correct it a tad more and induce the merest hint of back set/reflex. We'll see.
I s'pose I should say what I'm aiming for 50-55# at 28" . The draw length will only be 26" but it's wise to take it back to 282 as this will be used for roving where it's easy to stretch for a little extra.
The guy I'm making it for is about my height or a whisker less (5'10") so I'm making it about 70" nock to nock, although it may loose an inch when I put the horn nocks on.
It's a nice clean stave which only had one knot which was on one edge and disappeared as I roughed out the bow. The few dips and undulations still give it some character.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Flight Shooting PBs

Had another go on Sunday, managed 341yards with the Osage bow shooting off the fingers this time (so it's a genuine PB).
The Yew ELB flight bow was still too much for me and even JT my trusty test pilot struggled, slapping his bicep painfully with the string on one shot.
The Yew bow just isn't controllable with confidence so I've reviewed the tiller and draw weight with a view to improving the tiller and bringing down a whisker from 95-100# to 90-95# I don't put an exact weight because I'm not going to hold it at full draw long enough to read the scale accurately, an by sod's law the scale was out of picture at full draw in the video! (See link below for video)

JT was a bit put off* having whacked his bicep, but he stepped up and had a go with the Osage (80#) which he controlled and shot with confidence bagging himself a new PB of 324yards. I'm guessing he shot a tad shorter than me due to his not being used to a 28" draw and anchoring at that length. The shots looked good enough and I was half expecting that he'd out shot me.
I'm sure once the Yew is tweaked he'll master it, can't guarantee it will shoot as far as the Osage though!
Interesting to compare the tip width of the two bows

and to look at the marks on the arrow shelf /arrow pass of the Osage which show where the arrow was rubbing, maybe I'll tweak that a bit to make it easier on the arrow.

* I think that's a bit of British understatement. I think that it hurt like hell, but as he's not a cheating Australian cricketer, he refrained from calling a press conference and bursting into tears. ;-)

Monday, 26 March 2018

New PB For Distance!

Had a good time shooting on Sunday, mostly flight testing 4 new flight arrows. I tried 'em from my Osage flight bow first but struggled to reach full draw and they were going about 280 yards. I took the one that went the furthest and tried it from the shooting machine (26 3/4" draw) ... I didn't see it go, we walked up the field to pick up some other arrows and I couldn't find it, then I spotted it about 40 yards further on, obviously well past 300, I got out the laser rangefinder and sighted back to JT's landrover, then subracted 10 yards as we'd paced that far out onto the field  345yards! That smashed my previous best which was from the same bow at a 24" draw.
My mate JT then tried 'em out of the Yew ELB flight bow, but struggled to get a controlled full draw due to the short draw length not giving a convenient anchor as he's used to shooting 32" draw.
Back at home I've confirmed the draw weight at 26 3/4" to be about 80# so I should be able to mange that with a bit of practice.
I don't want to wear out the bows so I'll refurb' last years quick try out Yew flight bow for training purposes, I'll have to repair one of the flight arrows as the tip fractured just behind the pile.
The solid Ipe arrow was seemed to fly shorter than the footed arrows, but they all came off the bow fairly cleanly. Ideally I'd have tried then all from the shooting machine but there was a lot of other shooting going on and the lure of a pint and a bowl of chips at the Rainbow and Dove was hard to resist.
It was my arrow number two that subjectively seemed to fly best and made the 345yard shot.

A request for more arrow info :-
Arrows 1 and 2 seemed to fly furthest, they are lightest and have similar FOC balance point, they all have similar spine.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Belt Sander Fixed

I've got it rebuilt with the fully sealed bearings and it runs sweetly. I've vastly improved the dust collection and made it so I can change belts without using any tools (bliss!). I just lift the wooden catch, slide out the dust box and I can change the belt.
The metal tray that was fitted beneath the belt was held on with 4 fiddly little M4 screws and the dust extractor spigot was pointing down wards from that, virtually inaccessible.
The new arrangement seems to catch the dust better, although some overshoots, as the shield doesn't protrude above the level of the belt (that's another modification I made, allowing long items to run over the sander without fouling).
It's much more convenient having the on/off switch accessible too. (The pics are taken from the other side to the on off switch).

Meanwhile a friend asked if I could have a try at fixing a flight bow of his which has taken on some twist/ sideways bend when braced. I'ts by a reputable well known American Bowyer who has told him how to do the fix as shipping it back and forth to the US is impractical.
It's a very deep, narrow ELB flight bow, Hickory back Osage belly with some other core wood.
The technique suggested is to force the string over while braced and heat the side/belly (on the outside of the bend, see pics). This has needed a couple of 20 minute heat sessions, taking care not to get it too hot. After the first session it was back in line but crept back some way over night.
The friend in question has given me some carbon fibre tow which I will use wrapped round the nocks of the next crossbow prod... that should stop the bugger splitting!

The second session I got it a little hotter and pulled it another inch over. It seemed ok the next morning, but I'll leave it a few days before declaring it good.

My only reservations about the method are the ability of the Resorcinol glue to withstand the heat (but the glue line is for the most part, deep withing the limb).
Secondly, is heating it whilst braced going to introduce set? The bow did have some set to start with.
Anyhow, it's a no-lose scenario as the bow would become fire wood if it isn't fixed

Monday, 19 March 2018

Belt Sander Refurb

My cheapo belt sander has been getting sluggish recently so I stripped it down to find out why.
The bearings had pretty much seized up and one was rattling about on the shaft, having worn it down (e.g The shaft was rotating loose in the inner race of the bearing).
Fortunately the outer portion of the shaft is smaller diameter (11mm) where the pulley fits. The bearing inner diameter is 12mm and the shaft had worn down to a whisker over 11mm.
So I was able to turn the whole shaft down to 11mm , I then turned a bush with an inner bore of 11mm, pushed that over the shaft (with some epoxy for good measure) and then turned it down to 12mm.
That repair went well so I've ordered new bearings, good quality sealed ones, the old ones were "shielded" which keeps out big bits of crud but aren't good for dust. Mind I've cleaned out the old ones and they are ok, but for a few quid, I'm happier not to have to repeat the strip down every few years.
While I'm waiting for the bearings I thought I'd make some other improvements, like moving the on/off switch to an accessible location, improving the dust extraction and making belt changing easier.

Last pic shows work in progress, you can see where I've moved the power switch. I'll blank off the hole with some sheet aluminium or a bit of 1/8" ply.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Close But No Cigar

I'd had a good day helping my mate JT work on the Hazel longbow, the belly patch was worked down to blend in to the bow, but left a whisker plump, the horn nocks were roughed out enough to fit the string at a low brace and flex it, pulling it to 45# at about 22". It looked much better and the right limb which had chrysalled and gone weak now looked a hint stiff with the tiller restored to a reasonable shape. We quit there as we'd had a good session and didn't want to spoil the work by rushing.

By teatime I couldn't resist testing the crossbow and it worked nicely  201.1fps first shot, but then 200.5fps on the second and it then went on to loose about 2 fps of speed with each shot!
After 7 shots it was down to 188.8fps, I was just pushing it too hard, I'd taken a few turns out of the string to lower the brace height a whisker and take some strain off it to no avail.

Bang! The string cut deep into the nock on the left limb splitting down along the loser edge, this made the string slack and allowed the limbs to flex past their unbraced position splitting the belly lams away from the core.

If only I'd double served the loops or bound below the nock with linen thread soaked in superglue. Easy to be wise after the event, but even if I'd done those things, it may well have lost speed.
I've proved some aspects of the design, the bow mount, the Boo/Yew /Ipe combination, the 120# draw weight. The nock failure was at least different to the last one which virtually snapped off.
Am I down? Of course I'm not (well just a tad) I could buy a crossbow, but what would I learn from that. I'm hedging my bets, I've seen some nice maple slats on E-bay which I've ordered, these can be used with Boo/Ipe, or maybe I'll succumb to the lure of glassfibre laminations.
I'll probably have another go with the natural materials but with an extra inch on each limb, and better nock design. The belly lams will go right into the mounting/riser block this time so they won't simply split off if the bow flexes beyond it's rest position.