Sunday, 18 August 2013

Skinny Yew Belly Spliced

The skinny Oregon Yew billets are spliced up and roughed down to shape with a fairly even thickness taper of about 1.5mm every 6 inches. There are still some rather narrow areas but I think I have enough thickness.

The splice is ugly as it's been patched a bit to maximise the available wood, there are still gaps visible on the belly side of the splice. I may add a slice of Yew over the belly at the grip, this will hide the ugly splice, allow me to fill the gaps and add a little extra bulk at the grip.
On the other hand I  might not do it as the gaps may well disappear as the bow is worked down. It's easier to add a patch while there is some wood there and it's still a relatively square/flat stave. Trying to patch a little dip in the surface of the finished bow would be trickier. The bow is going to have a leather grip (veg tan?) so strength, stability and comfort of the grip area are of more concern than the look of the splice.
I'm not deliberately 'botching' this together, it's a matter of only having limited wood available to work with. I still expect the finished bow to be of a very high standard.
I'm looking for 55# at 26" but it's going to be compared with a rather nice slim Hilary Greenland bamboo backed bow so I'm going have to work hard to beat that!
You can see from the pics the stave is beginning to look ok. It has some deflex in one limb, but that's no problem as it will be reflexed and inch or so when it's glued up with it's bamboo backing. That's one reason for getting a reasonably good taper on the thickness. I won't glue it up against a former, I'll just glue it straight then flex it a bit and strap it up with a block under each tip and the grip pulled down allowing the taper to produce the reflex curve.
You can also see one of the narrow areas where the bandsaw marks are still showing on the sides and there is a small knot to be plugged.


  1. Is there any reason that the splice has to be oriented that way? Could the fingers be turned 90 degrees?

  2. I think it may be stronger this way, never seen it done the other way.
    I've done belly patches and back patches which ran in the opposite plane and they were fine.
    So I can't really see why not.
    On most bows there is more width than depth so you have more wood to cut the splice into, but conversely on an AFB (American flatbow) they are often narrow and deep at the grip for the arrow pass!.
    Bottom line is try it and see. I can't really see much advantage to going either way.