Monday, 20 August 2018

Yew Character Primitive Taking Shape

I've been doing some work on it including a bit of heat bending and it's starting to look promising, pulling about 50# @ 22"
Video here:-

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Finished my Arrows

I've got my new footed arrows done ready for a shoot on the 26th.

Been busy in the garage and the garden, my mini mill has been completely stripped and re-built, I put in new bearing while I was at it and reassembled it correctly rather than botching it together as a previous owner had done. I had to build a new drawer under the bench to accommodate the tools, but that's a good thing as it uses up some of the timber I have lying about.

Raiders of the Lost Manhole :-
Meanwhile we've been building a new compost heap and digging out the old one which was there when we moved in about 25 years ago.
According to the deeds of the house there is a man hole cover underneath it!

We have a large tree in that area and I wanted to open up the man hole and check that the tree roots aren't damaging the drains. We eventually located the manhole cover a full 8" beneath the ground level! I'll have to excavate round it, build up the brick work and re-install the cover. Maybe I'll get someone in to do it, but, that's prob' the easy bit anyhow!
Hopefully I'll be getting on with the bows soon.
Indeed I've taken the drawknife to the belly of the character Yew primitive, the wood is full of shakes... maybe it'll make a bow, maybe it won't. Once I get it on the tiller I'll have an idea how it seems to behave.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Mini Mill

The mini mill turned up and appeared to run ok, as I cleaned it up, it revealed a host of problems. The main column was cracked and the speed change was seized solid. It looked like it had never been fully stripped down cleaned oiled and adjusted... just the sort of thing I like doing.
I sourced a new column for a mere £58 including postage, mind it had two tapped holes about 3mm out of position so I had to re drill and tap them. A few other things needed a bit of sorting and it was tricky to free up the speed change selector.
I've tried it on Ali' and steel and it works nicely, I was careful to take only light cuts on the steel as the plastic drive gears can strip. I may convert it to belt drive at some point. I might even try welding up the cracked column and adding some stiffening. The design of the column is poor with a sharp change of cross section where it cracked and no radius, fillets or strengthening ribs. The new column looked to be slightly thicker section at the base.
A minor detail that irritated me, the handles on the control knobs are about 2" long, carefully design to catch in you trouser pocket and get whacked by bowstaves... I've cut 'em down by 1/2" might even take 'em down a tad more.
I think it's going to be V useful for crossbow parts etc.
It's only got a 150watt motor, but it's a DC permanent magnet motor and they are V gutsy. From the info it looks like it runs on 200v DC!! So it should have plenty of torque... doubtless more than the plastic gears can withstand!

We had a visit from my nephew and his family, after 2 months of sunshine it rained non stop. I gave 'em (him plus wife and 2 girls) a go with various bows and we had a fine time despite the rain.
I made an awning from a couple of £2.09 tarpaulins from Toolstation, this was providing some much needed shade over the last week or so. With the rain it was collecting a nice puddle and the 2 girls were enjoying swooshing the water off the tarpaulin with a walking stick... sometimes, the simple things are the most entertaining.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Inadvertent Purchase

Having been tinkering around with the x-y table and my pillar drill, I've been looking at buying a small drill/mill, the problem is the decent sized ones are just too big for my garage without some major reoganisation, but there's a little Clarke CMD10 which can be bought new at about £450. Well that's too much for something that's just for tinkering with. I saw one on an Ebay auction at £240 but there were a few days to go and often the price suddenly shoots up in the last minutes or seconds. Anyhow I kept an eye on it and no one seemed to be bidding. The problem for me is that it is in Oldham which is rather a long way off. Anyhow with just a minute to go it was still £240 and I thought, if it sells for that, I'd wish I'd stuck in a bid.... so I bid £250, fully expecting it to climb up to near £300.
I won it! I'm now in the process of sorting out a courier. It seems that UPS will be a decent price, prob' less than £50, mind it's very difficult to get a quote without providing reams of info' so I can't get an exact price until it's packed up ready for shipment.

Meanwhile I've been footing a set of arrows for the Autumn when it will be neither too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet etc and I'll get a couple of field shoots in. The two nearest venues to me are rather stony and tend to snap the points off arrows if you find a stone. (maybe I should try to hit the target more often)

I've also been tidying the garage to make room for the mill and to sort out some staves. I chucked a few weaselly limbs of Ash, Hornbeam and Hawthorn that I'd saved in a fit of optimism, but they simply weren't any good... mind I still have plenty of dodgy staves!
I came across one that Piers had given me, very thin sapwood, dark heartwood, but with a lot of shakes in it. I made him a gorgeous character Mollegabet style bow some years back ,but it eventually failed. I don't know if this bit will fare any better, I'll keep it fairly long and wide and fingers crossed. I marked it out and roughed it through the band saw. It may need some heat straightening... we'll see.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

X-Y Table

My cheapo Chinese x-y table turned up and I gave it a quick try out of the box using an 8mm ball nosed mill which I'd bought from RDG Tools.
It worked very well on a bit of old Walnut table top and managed to cut Ali' too. There is a fair amount of backlash and it was all a bit loose, with the x travel vibrating round as I wound in the y travel.
Irritatingly the mounting slots are closer together than the slots on the pillar drill table, but I bolted it down on the diagonal with just 2 bolts for a quick try
The actual tables/ beds are aluminium extrusions and the carriages are also Ali' with brass gib strips to take up the play, so, not heavy duty!

I stripped it down and fettled it to tighten it all up. The lead screws are just M10 threaded rod with the nut being a bit of brass rod of 15mm diameter drilled and tapped and rather sloppy. To take out some of the slop I dug out my old soldering iron and soldered into the last few threads at one end of the nut. I then took an M10 coach bolt and filed 3 grooves into it like a tap and took the tops off the threads with a file. Using that I cleaned the soldered threads, which resulted in a much snugger fit, I did that for both x and y travel.
On re-assembly I tightened the gib strips and also tightened the retaining nut on the end of the lead screws, which incidentally have ball bearings at either end

It now feels much smoother and tighter with much less backlash. It's fine for use on wood and Ali' and I dare say it would cut mild steel if taking fine cuts.
It is what it is and I dare say that the whole thing would wear rapidly if worked hard, but for light occasional use it is much better and less dangerous than feeding material under a mill my hand!
I recon I've had about fifteen quids worth of fun out of it already!

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Tinkering with stuff

I'm afraid I've had a spell of clicking "Buy" on E-Bay! Bought some more clamps that open up to a full 6" only £5.35 each. Bought a jeweller's loupe with x10 and x20 magnification so I can see the tips of my lathe tool... blimey it needs sharpening the tip looks like the corner of a battered old brick, a quick touch up with an oil stone and it looks much better.
I ordered some milling bits and an x-y table to go under the pillar drill (drill press) that will allow me to do some light milling of Ali' and wood for the ongoing crossbow project.

The milling Ali' thing kicked off when I modified the upper blade guide of the bandsaw to give me some extra room for cutting thick stuff. I put a rotary rasp bit in the pillar drill and fed the Ali' extrusion carefully against it to enlarge a slot down to the black line in the pic. That allows me to raise the blade guide up about another inch.

Meanwhile back at the bows, I've had a couple of people get in touch, my cousin is asking about a bow for his adult son who is getting into archery, who will be phoning me some time.
My nephew will be visiting in a few weeks with his kids and I don't have any bows light enough for kids... I found this out a while back when my niece was over with her son.
Anyhow to rectify this oversight I'm making a Bhutanese style bamboo bow light enough for kids even down to 9yrs old or so.
It's 49" nock to nock and about 6# @ 20"

Thursday, 12 July 2018

A Bit of Courtesy

A while back I had a bloke want me to make him a longbow (ELB) which I did, he came to collect it in a bit of a rush as he was passing this way on business. Ideally I like people to collect a bow so I can see them shoot it.
I said to him to let me know how he got on with it taking great care to mention that as it's custom made for him I really do want to know in case it needs any tweaking.
Did I ever hear back? No...
It only takes an E-mail. Will I ever make that bloke another bow? Will I even respond to him if he does E-mail?

Compare and contrast with Ron who contacted me recently wanting a primitive. He was willing to wait a good while, but as I looked through my staves I just happened to have one that would suit his draw length. (See previous posts)
He lives a long way off so wanted the bow shipped, I don't like shipping bows, but I sent it UPS.
Within 30 minutes of him receiving it I got the following E-mail and attached a picture.

Bow arrived 30 minutes ago. Set nock. Warmed it up . Third end 20 yards on a 40 cm face. Beautiful bow shoots like a dream. Into the woods tomorrow and some 3ds. Many thanks Derek.

I was really happy to feel my work was appreciated and being used. If in the future the bow needs any attention I'll make sure it gets it.

Some people "get it"... others must think I'm like a supermarket with stuff on the shelf.