Sunday, 13 June 2010

Steam Bending the Yew

I did the bending last Wednesday which gave the wood all weekend to dry out again while I was away for a few days.
The straight limb has been steam bent to match the curve of the naturally deflex/reflex limb.

First I traced the curve of the limbs onto a sheet of paper.

Then I sketched the curve I wanted for the wooden former that I would clamp the limb to. You have to put in a bit of extra bend as the limb will recover slightly. The former is an chunk of old rough sawn pine, I traced the curve onto it and cut it on my band saw, a scrap of sheet steel acts as a strap to hold the tip of the bow down as it is clamped .

When I did the bend (30mins steaming, clamp to the form then 1 hour to cool) I found the bend at the tip was a bit severe. Hmm, should I leave it or tinker with it? Eventually I decided to put it back into the steamer to relax a bit for 15 minutes.
Good decision, it came out with a smoother bend which is a pretty good match to the naturally curved limb.
Well it's certainly close enough for a 'primitive' !

When it's hot the wood bends easilly, I put the tip under the metal band and just bent it over with a little hand pressure, the clamps held it down into the concave section of the former, note the strip of wood between the metal clamp and the bow, it's there to spread the load and avoid damaging the wood.
Next job is to cut some shallow nocks and to start drawing it back a bit.

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