Sunday, 28 September 2014

Yew Backed Yew Bow

Having seen the bamboo backed longbow, a guy at the club asked if I could make him something similar but maybe backed in wood 40-50# conforming to the NFAS definition of Longbow, which includes a D shape or oval cross section, it also allows the limbs to curve in one direction from the riser (e.g reflex).
It's an interesting project, and that's just what I like.
I'm using the first pair of billets I cut for the previous bow, shown here:-
I've steamed and heated the billets into a slight reflex and rasped/sanded them to a reasonably matched thickness taper. They've now been Z spliced and glued.
They will have a substantial riser section glued to the belly which will remove the appearance of deflex, especially after it's been pulled into reflex when the backing is glued on.
Tricky to explain what I mean but it will hopefully be obvious when it's finished.

The next question is, have I got suitable Yew sapwood offcuts to become the back of the bow? I think so, but my fall back position will be to cut some strips of Hazel from a long log I have seasoning. Hazel backed Yew could be very interesting, would look great too. Another Q, do I heat treat this Yew? Probably not, for fear of spoiling the shape of the billets.

The shot with the arrows across the limbs is to show if they are parallel.


  1. I noticed that the outside leg of you Z splice is longer than the inside leg. Why did you do it that way?

  2. Yes, that's 'cos it's laid out assuming a final width of say 25mm, at which the legs are equal length. I started off at over 30mm wide and the Z sort of carries on along the edges. If you look at the pic you can see, that as I narrow the bow the outside leg will get shorter. I made a mistake on early splices of not allowing for that and ended up with the opposite effect where on the finished bow the outer legs were short and it was more like a V splice than a Z.
    Hope that makes sense? I can do a sketch if you like.

    1. I have been doing the same as you were. I knew there was something wrong but I couldn't put my finger on it. You've got me sorted out now! Thanks Del