Monday, 7 February 2011

Next Yew Longbow

Another bow already?!
Because I've been slowly de-barking and roughing out last years Yew staves over the last few months, I have a couple which are coming on quite nicely. The pics show marking a straight line down the stave with a string line, the dilema is do you straighten the stave with steam bending or just mark a straight line down a crooked stave? Well, you will rarely find a dead straight stave and a bit of compromise in fitting a straight line is no problem especially with Yew.
One of the later pics shows the bends in the other plane, which don't matter so much, a bit of recurve is a good thing, as one expects the bow to take a few inches of set during tillering.
I don't much like the little bit of deflex near my hand, I may consider steaming that back to match the other limb, or just making that the lower limb.
With a self bow I don't want to steam out all the character, if you want a perfectly uniform straight bow, then you can buy or make a laminated one. I'll see how it comes along during the early stages of tillering before I decide.
The shot of the end grain shows how I've reduced the sapwood thickness to just 3 growth rings(that's an offcut from the stave, where I've reduced it to about 6') . I've followed the growth rings along the whole length of the bow, this is a painstaking process which needs a bit of practice, but these rings are fairly thick and as you remove the last vestiges of the ring the wood is white and slightly crumbly a bit like cooked chicken breast meat and it scrapes or rasps off fairly easilly, the trick is getting good illumination at the right angle to show the change in colour, also do a little and often (a touch of the hare and tortoise!)
If I was after maximum performance I'd probably steam in a couple of inches of reflex, aiming for a straight bow when finished, it doesn't make that much difference though. My 75lb Yew bow has a fair bit of set in it and a bit of reflex in one limb and deflex in the other, and shoots beautifully.

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