Thursday, 21 August 2014

An Interesting Commission

I got a message from one of the guys on an archery forum asking if I could make him an ELB (English Longbow). The interesting thing is he wants it for target use mostly so wants it fast and not too high a draw weight, 40# max at 28.5" draw. He's also had bows by some of the top names, so I'll be interested to see if I can make a bow which can hold it's head up in such company. He's a good shot too and one of the people on the forum who talks sense. All in all a good challenge.
To get a fast bow, I'll push the definition of longbow as far as I dare, I'm looking at 75" Victorian style tiller with some deflex at the grip and a long sweeping reflex out to the tips, but not so much that the string touches the limb anywhere other than the nocks. I'll keep a flattish belly and take it close to the 5/8 thickness/width ratio.
I'm going for Yew belly from spliced billets with a continuous Bamboo back for strength.
I've been busy cutting belly billets from assorted bits of Yew.
The first (on the right) was from a stave that I'd hoped to be a Warbow, but it had some awful knots at one end, unfortunately the curve in the stave resulted in sapwood showing on the left edge/side of the billet (you can see my pencil markings laying out the bow limb). I cut two more, from billets taken from the same tree over a year ago. One has a lot of curve fore and aft, but that doesn't really matter as I can heat bend it to shape before glue up, or that can become some of the reflex and the other limb steam/heat bent to match.
I'm also contemplating heat treating the Yew belly for extra performance. The problem with that is once glued up I can't heat treat as it would break down the glue, so I have to get it roughly tillered and heat treated before glue up... not an easy task on individual belly billets, basically I'll make sure I have a good even thickness taper.
Of course all this is just rough planning in my head, I haven't done a timescale or a powerpoint presentation ;-)
I have some other Yew with manky sapwood which may yield some nice heartwood belly billets, I'll have a try with that first before choosing the final pair. The pieces I don't use will bet set aside for experimental bows etc.
The blog may be a bit quiet over the next week as we have a family wedding coming up and I'm doing stuff like decorating cakes and stuff.

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