Saturday, 15 October 2011

Longbow Fever

The other night I couldn't get off to sleep, longbows were going round in my head.
One of the guys I made a 60# bow for last year wants one of 90#. This could be really nice for me as 90# is probably about the most I'm going to manage to draw.
The Yew which was cut last November (From Audley End House by a tree surgeon) has been reduced to staves. I've picked out the longest 7'1" which gives me a bit of elbow room to find a decent bow in there, I've reduced it's dimensions a bit more and a couple of knots on the edge have been cut away now, so it's looking good.
I get a few people asking how long to season staves, so these pics will help show how work down a stave as the seasoning progresses.
Originally the log was quartered, a month or so ago it was debarked (that is somewhere in the blog). Now I'm reducing it further, including chopping away some of the excess sapwood, the pictures will give some idea of the size at this stage. The chippings on the floor give you an idea of how much I've removed, a bit at a time, with plenty of thinking in between is the way to work on bows. I'm sometimes aghast by beginners diving in and working too fast at the critical part of the process (the tillering)
I'm not sure when I'll start serious work on it but it almost certainly won't get any real flexing until the new year. This stave has a bit of natural deflex which I may possibly take out and heat treat the belly at the same time, although I might just leave it as is.
The guy who wants the bow isn't very tall and a 90# bow needs a reasonable length, I'll read up on the dimensions of the Mary Rose bows and make it about the length of the shortest of those. I don't like bows looking too tall for the archer, but conversely I don't want to over stress the bow and end up with a lot of set (permanent bend) in the bow, that's why I'm toying with the idea of the heat treatment. You can see I've still left plenty of sapwood which will stay on there if I do any heat treatment, as it will protect the actual layer of sapwood which will eventually become the back of the bow. the Yew is a good colour with clearly defined heart/sap wood, the rings aren't particularly tight, but it's similar to the Yew I was using at the start of this year which yielded some lovely bows.
I also need to be thinking about cutting a Yew limb for 2013, I have permission to cut it, but the paperwork hasn't come through yet.

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