Monday, 13 June 2011

Yew Character Primitive

Blimey I'm hooked, that wood is gorgeous, there are some rings which are black, I don't know if it was just a very dry year or a sign of disease, there are loads of tiny pin knots too. In some places it looks almost like burr Walnut! It tends to tear a bit and I've been working on the belly with my spokeshave set fine and held at an angle to give a more slicing action. I've chiselled out some of the knots with an old needle file shortened, ground to a chisel point and stuck into a wooden handle. There are some longitudinal cracks in the wood and the central pith and some rings are a bit manky, but I think it will look beautiful, I'm leaving it long and wide at the moment to give me plenty to play with as I may have to work around some weird knots and grain problems. I don't think it will be a high draw weight, I'm aiming at 40-45lb at 28" with maybe a decent overdraw to 30"?
I know I was going to let it season more but I just can't keep my hands off it!
I checked the moisture content of one of the offcuts and it's still fairly high at 16%, for comparison I tested an offcut from my previous bow which was cut in Feb 2010 and that was about 12%. I don't worry too much about these figures as they aren't very accurate (the harder you push the higher the reading), but they do give an idea. I shall work it down and feel it flexing but I won't put it up on the tiller until it's dried out a bit more. Once this current cold wet snap goes it should season quite quickly as it's so much thinner now.
The pic shows it after a quick go with a file and a rub with some sand paper, when it's properly finished the contrast would be much higher and it will look even darker.
Notice the knot running across the belly at the bottom left, There is a big swell in the back of the bow behind that. I think the correct term for this stave is "Challenging" !

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