Friday, 29 March 2013

Big Bow Detail and a Hickory Challenge

The big bow got a bit of a work out this morning, I reckon I got it back to about 31" with some 11/32" arrows with 150gn points which I made up the night before. It's going to be left simple, no grip or arrow plate, instead a bowyer's mark, incised and the blackened with a soldering iron. It's a play on my initials (DH).
It will get a handed over on Sunday and a good work out with some clout shooting. I'll post some more pics then.

I tidied up my garage and came across a tatty Hickory bow. Mick the blacksmith gave it to me to play with as an experiment. He'd bought it V cheap as a first bow, just to get into shooting longbow. A guy at the club buys 'em in from the USA. They are cheap and cheerful, fine for getting started but not great quality.
This one had a bit of a grain run off on the edge of the back, which was begining to lift off as a splinter. I'd recommended gluing it and binding with linen thread.
My challenge is to take this rather sad bow and see if I can speed it up. I'll post it's stat's now so that I can't cheat later when I've worked on it!
I've clamped it up and heat treated one limb to remove the set, put in a whisker of reflex and harden the belly. Theoretically, once a bow has taken set the cells of the belly have deformed (crushed ) and you can't get 'em back to their original strength.
Hopefully, tempering the belly may gain some extra draw weight so I can then remove a little off the belly getting rid of some of the compressed cells and effectively letting some fresh wood which was nearer the centre of the bow do some work. I'm aiming to get the tips working a bit more too. I'm expecting to perhaps lose a few pounds in draw weight but gain some speed. I can loses some mass off the ugly tips too.
It's rather a tough challenge to set myself, but it will be a learning exercise. I've not used Hickory before (except as the backing of a hickory/Lemonwood stave I was given). I've  read plenty about it on Primitive Archer and it's supposed to respond well to heat treatment. It is supposed to not like high humidity, so I'll keep it warm and dry and varnish it.
I don't know when I'll get it finished as it's just a bit of fun, but I'll be sure to post the progress and results.

Hickory Longbow. Starting statistics.
69 1/2" nock to nock
6" brace height
Draw weight 52# at 28"
3" set, (e.g with tips touching a straight edge, the belly is 3" away from the straight edge)
Arrow speed (fps) 3 measurements with my 'standard' arrow (5/16, 28" 100gn point)

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