Monday, 23 April 2012

Weird Heart/Sap Boundary (& Emails)

I've been reducing the sapwood to pretty much follow a growth ring, but came to a point where I'd pencilled 'LEAVE' on the sapwood.
There was a faint dark strip showing along the length of the back as if the heartwood was peeking through.
Weird, as there is plenty of sapwood when viewed from the sides (see pics).
Hmmm, You can only work with what you can see so I sawed it in half! (No! just kidding!).
I thought there is no point just thinking there is heartwood there, I need to know (on the 'better the devil you know principal).
I continued working down to the sapwood ring I was chasing, but allowed the back to crown up a tad towards the dark streak which slowly became exposed. The sketch show what I think is going on inside the wood, the heart sap boundary doesn't always follow round a growth ring as you might expect (and as you will see in many illustrations).
Yes it looks like heartwood, but as it's running along the length of the bow it shouldn't be a problem. It will be become a 'feature' and maybe the bow will aquire a name from it like Ridgeback or some such. Let's just hope it's not 'heartbreak ridge'.
I've been at it all morning now and the back is looking clean, the sapwood is pretty thin in places along one edge and rather thick in places along the other edge, but overall it's looking like a decent bow and will soon be ready for flexing with a long string on the tiller, once I've been along it getting the thickness to a fairly even taper.
It will doubtless be way over weight but it will be good to see how it bends. Don't expect I'll get that far today. Slow and steady wins the day (other platitudes are also available).
Update:- The taper wasn't far off so it didn't take long to get it done and pop it up un the tiller on a string just long enough to slip onto the bow. I winched it back to 50# and tips just came back about 4". It looks quite pretty with a hint of reflex to the stave, which will doubtless pull out during tillering. There's plenty of wood to take off belly and sides* now, but at least it's roughed out to a decent starting point. That's my lot for today, I accomplished more than I expected and hopefully I've overcome the tricky sapwood issues.
Leaving it a bit wide at the tips will allow me to adjust for any twist induced by the uneven sap/heart wood.

I'm one of those Email addicts who checks every 10 minutes, but I've recently been trying to contact a couple of guys with no luck. (I've finished a bow for one of 'em).
If someone doesn't want a bow or has some more urgent business, that's fine. You don't get to 60years old without realising that there are more important things than bows and E-mails.
It's not a problem for me as I'm happy to hang onto a bow for myself, or if it's still unclaimed in 6 months I will have no trouble finding it a home.
The real point is I don't want anyone stressing out, least of all myself! I won't start a bow until I make contact. But if someone no longer wants a bow, just let me know... not a prob' at all.
I just make 'em for fun.


  1. The one I'm working on at the moment has something similar actually, across on one side. Like you say though doesn't make much difference to performance and maybe adds a little something to the final piece..


    1. Thanks for that, it's reassuring