Everything an amateur bowyer does to turn a log into a bow throughout the year.
Making bows, longbows and primitive bows with all the tips, tricks and problems.
Monday, 8 October 2012
Speeding Up Again! Sorting my Staves
Shaken off most of this cold at last and my energy level has shot back up.
I've worked the Maple back some more and it's beginning to get close about 20" at 45# from a low brace.
My stash of staves has been taken down for a review, my Yew was a bit disappointing at first glance, but I ran a string line down some of them and trimmed them on the bandsaw, I'm a bit more optimistic now.
One stave belongs to a guy at the club, he cut it during some landscape gardening and it's fairly small diameter with not much heart wood. It had the bad side sawn off the log back in January so now I trimmed down the edges, barely touching the heartwood. It looks to have a bow in there and has the virtue of some spare length. I only have about 3 sound longbow staves, one with a huge wiggle in it (going front to back rather than sideways, which is ok). I had a good half log about 50" long which I'd been toying with for ages, that's now been run lengthways through the bandsaw to give a pair of 1/4 log matched billets. I have one other skinny top off a log which I've also sawn to give two 1/2 log billets.
So that's only about 5 longbows.
There is one other full length piece which is wide but thin which has the makings of a really good Yew primitive. The wide bit and two of the staves were from the Yew I cut last year, there's a pic of me leaning on it while it is still growing, here. http://bowyersdiary.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/yew-staves-in-tree.html
This blog entry show when it was harvested. http://bowyersdiary.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/yew-log.html
Notice the several months between the posts, it's a slow job getting Yew! When I'd first run that log through the bandsaw for seasoning I was worried I'd ruined it, but after all this time, I've stopped panicking and it's fine.
Looking at my Hazel was again a tad disappointing but one piece jumped out at me shouting 'make me into a bow!' Just as well, as a guy has just contacted me asking after a 'bark on' Hazel primitive. I can't keep my hands off the Hazel and it's already roughed out, there are a couple of nice features and one small knot which shows on the back as a deep groove, when cleaned out this might end up as a much sought after feature... a hole through the limb! On the other hand it may get filled or left alone.
The 'bark on' is a bit of a lottery, I'll rub it over and wax it, but how long it stays on will be down to the spirits of the woods. The great thing about leaving the bark is it offers some protection from damage and the tools of the well meaning bowyer.
My big worry is I've got no Yew seasoning for 2014, now that seems a long way off at the moment, but I need to cut some over the Winter.
I've not had much luck getting permission to cut Yew this year, but I have my eye on 3 or 4 potential pieces.
Last week I had a contact from a guy asking if I sell Yew staves. I gave him the short answer 'no' but went on to offer some advice on where to find it. Basically the advice is, make it your business to get to know every Yew tree in a 2 mile radius of where you live. If you inspect 'em all, you should find a stave or two, it takes a while to get your eye in and even when you do find some there's the issue of getting permission.
Anyhow, I spotted a Yew which had been heavily trimmed in order to make room for an extension at the back of a commercial premises (I'm not even sure the poor tree will survive much longer). I shall go and have another look and see if they'll let me trim a limb for some small pecuniary remuneration.