Thursday, 26 June 2014

Looking Good

I've heat treated a couple of slight deflex areas out of each limb. I hadn't intended to, but I though it would look so much better with straighter limbs. This effectively gave it about an inch or two of reflex compared to how it was and so the draw length at 60# dropped back to 23" .
I also took about 3/8" off the top limb when I added the tip overlay, I did this to match up the limb length a bit better.
If you compare it with the full draw pic in the previous post, it just looks more even, especially when you consider it's coming back one more inch.
The tips seemed to be working too hard now, so I carefully rasped off a little here and there with the cabinet rasp to even up the tiller.
It's looking great now and is back to about 24" at 60# I've shot a few arrow from it and exercised it a good deal. I'll continue cleaning up the back and easing off the belly to creep it back to 28"
The pics give an idea of how it coming on. The grip shows the central pith line of the log up it's centre, this may open slightly as the freshly exposed wood dries. Tiny cracks always radiate from that centre, so in some ways it's good to expose it so the pith itself will just expand fractionally rather than forcing the wood to crack. the picture of the back or the grip shows how I've left extra thickness of the sapwood, this is both decorative and functional. It adds strength where the grip is narrowed and makes it more comfortable too.

The Waterbuffalo horn tip overlays are just roughed out, not polished yet. I'm working with cabinet rasp and scraper mostly now, but I'm also cleaning up the edges of the bow and the grip rounding and smoothing with 80 grit paper diabolo fashion. I'm more cautious on the back and I'm still carefully scraping here and there to follow a ring where possible and ease off around the knots to leave a little extra sapwood but not so much that it's carrying excess weight. It's all just look and feel now, running the finger and thumb along to feel the thickness of the limb checking for any thick spots or dips. Of course the thick spots tend to be where the knots are but it's a tricky compromise, leave 'em too thick and you have a weak spot between the knots. I've found that sound knots on the belly can actually be stiffer than the surrounding wood and need no extra thickness. It's the knots protruding through to the back where you need maybe a hint of extra width or thickness.
It's called experience, with a smattering of good fortune. Yew is pretty forgiving stuff as long as you don't do anything too silly. Care and patience is generally rewarded. But any bow is still a whisker away from breaking at full draw.

Update:- As I eased down the belly it became obvious that a small knot running across the belly wasn't solid, so I picked out the loose stuff and filled it with epoxy/Yew dust mix. It's back to 60# at 26" now, so that's about it as some finishing and shooting in will settle it those last couple of inches.
I had a test shot using one of my heaviest arrows which I shoot from the warbows. i used that to give the bow something to work against and to keep the speed down as the string still has the aluminium adjuster on it. From 10 yards, it smacked home dead centre
in a very satisfactory manner knocking the boss over!
It's down to scraping, sanding, fiddling and fettling now.
It will be very handsome when it's cleaned up and given a wipe of Danish Oil. I'll take it up the club for some shooting on Sunday, then add the arrow plate an fine tune it.


  1. Looking good! I like all those knots showing on both the belly and the back.
    I'm surprised the sapwood has that many rings. All the yew I've ever worked with consisted of 12 to 19 sapwood rings. Regardless of the thickness of the rings. The layer of extra sapwood on top of the back of the handle is already clearly more than 20 rings. How many rings of sapwood do you have in total?

    Jorik a.k.a. DarkSoul

  2. Hi, I count about 25-30, I'll post a pic of an off cut when I next post (prob later today), The sapwood thickness varies hugely, but generally I have to take it down a bit. The thinnest I ever had was about 2 rings, very thin.