Monday, 22 October 2012

Splicing Yew Billets

I'm back to my Yew, I've got an exciting commission from a tall chap who wants a Yew longbow with a 31" draw at about 45# to 50# .
That will be great as it will give me a chance to shoot "in the bow" at a full medieval type draw with a manageable weight.
I'm also splicing up the Oregon Yew from which I've removed the bug eaten sapwood ready for a bamboo backing.

There is an interesting comparison between the ease of splicing the two.
The Oregon Yew has been more carefully prepared and is sawn more square where the sapwood has been sawn off. The other Yew has been cut from a nice half a log which I've had for ages, and being much thicker and not trimmed square was much trickier to mark out and saw accurately.
The wood has some odd features where changes back and forth from heartwood to sapwood. Being cut from the same log you'd think the heart/sap boundary would be consistent and match perfectly, but that's just not the case, as wood doesn't behave in a consistent convenient manner. (See pic bottom left)
In the picture of the log the tape measure is opened out to 36" so you can see I had plenty of length to play with.
Now the splices are cut I've trimmed both staves down to 78" which still gives me plenty of length.

The picture of the marking out of the Oregon billets shows the value of this blog in stopping me making mistakes. I thought "I'll take a pic of that", then as I looked I noticed the marking out on the left billet was wrong, it would have been a right pain if I'd just sawn it out wrong, as it would have been difficult to saw out two very thin slivers to correct it. The splices are 4" long and 30mm wide at the widest point (but I'd marked one as only 20mm wide!). The odd mix of metric and imperial is simply because I find it convenient, (imperial for long measurements, metric for small).
I'll get 'em glued up this afternoon.

On the chunky English Yew billet you can see how I've just run a string line straightening it out to give me a reference line for marking out the splice. Those billets being much thicker required a fair bit of adjustment to get the splice to mate up nicely, whereas the thinner Oregon billets went together with just a little trimming of the tip of the pointed end.

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