Friday, 22 November 2013

Winter's Yew Review

I've got a few bows to make but my stash of seasoned yew leaves something to be desired.
Two long staves both with some big knots going right through.
One has a beautiful untouched back with the bark still on but has very poor heart/sap distinction. I've made bows from similar before and the wood was fine, but it didn't have the nice look of clean heart and sap wood. I also needed to heat treat the belly.
The other piece from the other side of the same log has a better distinction between heart and sap but has an area of sapwood which would need patching due to an up-swelling of heartwood from a knot which is slightly discoloured.
I'm not really sure what to do with each stave. Maybe the one with poor heart/sap would be better sawn into two belly pieces for backed bows.... I have 'boo and Hickory I could back 'em with, but that seems almost sacrilegious with a bit of Yew...
Dunno, and that's the thing to consider when people ask "how long does it take to make a bow".... Errrr about 50 hours if you ignore the years to find the Yew, a day or so to get it cut and sawn, a year to season and ages deciding what to do with it!

The other two pieces are skinny churchyard Yew branches, with nice thin sapwood. Now these may make great 'stick bows', they will still get to heavy draw weight but are full of character, knots and one has the the bark worn away and weathered at one end.
I think I'll make a start on one of those, just to see what it might do.

I also have two lovely lengths (half logs) which are a tad short for even flatbows, but would maybe splice to make a great flatbow or longbow. Maybe the longest would make a great bend in the handle primitive flatbow, so I don't want to rush in and splice 'em, especially as I'll have loads of billets seasoned in the summer.
It's a bit cold outside, which is why I'm indoors with a cuppa writing this.
Oh yes, I also have one gorgeous stave which belongs to a guy who wants it turning into a bow in January by which time it will be seasoned. That will be a pleasant change from the tricky staves pictured here., mind working any Yew is a pleasure, but it can still be quite nerve wracking and stressful in an exciting sort of way... that 130# Warbow certainly had me scrathing my head.
I have more people who want bows than I have wood, so if any of you are reading this, I'm doing my best, but I cannae use wha' I dinnae have!

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