Monday, 5 November 2012

Fancy Knot Filling and Flexing the Longer Bow

I've been working hard all weekend and even put up some shelves, I need to go to work tomorrow for a rest.
The shorter longbow had one final knot to fill, I thought it went across the corner of the bow in the heartwood, but then I realised it went towards the back of the bow and disappeared into the sapwood showing as a bulge and a tiny hole. I cleaned it out and tried a new trick for plugging it, I used the heart wood from Yew twig (from the branch I cut at the churchyard) which has circular grain and so looks like the original knot, except now it's firmly glued in place with no powdery stuff round it making it loose.
Although the Yew for the plug was only cut a few days ago it has effectively seasoned by being rasped down to a few mm diameter and left on a hot water pipe.

The longer bow has had about an inch cut off each end making it about 75" now, I've re-drawn the centre line and narrowed it slightly over the last third to make it straight and true. The belly has been reduced, but it is still only flexing a few inches at 45#.
The video is the longer of the two bows being flexed.
I don't want to remove too much heartwood, so I've been carefully going over the sapwood back tidying it up, reducing it a little and bringing it down to follow a growth ring where possible. It certainly is beginning to feel like a bow now. This is the point where it's tempting to rush ahead and try and get it braced, but it's really the time to take stock, make sure it's a nice even taper and ready for the serious work. I like to be able to see a little flexing down somewhere near the grip when the full draw weight is applied, this shows that when it's finished the whole bow will be working to some extent.
I can now slowly get the rest of the limbs working more and the tips slowly working back to brace height. Then its time to shorten the string and slowly tease it back to full draw by slowly removing wood from the belly.

I've done a bit more on both bows, reducing the sapwood  to a more even layer and following a ring, they are slowly becoming more handsome and elegant. The shorter one has a bit more character, the undulations are beginning to show nicely on both bows and some of the problem knots are falling off the side of the bows as I slim them down..

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