Friday, 31 October 2014

Bit of a Mistake

My biggest fault with bow making is impatience, now some of you may think that's odd considering the painstaking work I put in, but trust me.
I decided to put the bends in to deflex the handles... now this was always an accident waiting to happen, but I chose to ignore the warning voice in my head and plough on regardless.
Why was it an accident waiting to happen?
1. On this scaled down bow, to make the bend look noticeable it would need to be slightly exaggerated and a fairly tight bend.
2. The notches for the nocks are already cut, providing a perfect weak point for a break.

Anyhow I got the first end jigged up, steamed and bent, nicely and then thought, maybe a little more bend... the wood had cooled a bit by then and CRACK!
Not too drastic just a crack on the back in the sapwood above the nock groove where there will be little force when in use, so it can be patched.
Just to prove I'm an idiot I did the second one, impatiently, (should have given it longer in the steam) CRACK!... that's funny, the first one did that!
Rest assured, you can kick me once, you may even kick me twice, there won't be a third time.
In retrospect I should probably have done it in a pot of boiling water, before the nocks were cut, and over a gentler bend.

Anyhow, being impatient, I pressed on last light cutting two sapwood patches and getting them glued so they could cure overnight...
If  When I screw up, I like to fix it quick, I should have taken pics of the cracks really, but suffice it to say they went straight across the back, in line with the nock groove and half way through the depth of the sap wood.
All looking good this morning. Well one is a nice match where the sapwood is a bit darker at one end of the bow. The other end the patch is darker than the sapwood and I may overlay a second cosmetic patch of nice white sapwood.
I'd noticed that the string was cutting into the sapwood slightly and had wondered about a horn or antler overlay, but that would be too much of a leap from the original.

The pics show a random furry mammal inspecting the bent handles. The second pic shows a close up of the better matched one. Note the nock groove hasn't been re-cut, also the small pin knots in the patch, add a certain je ne sais quoi. You can also see I've shaped the handle a tad.
Well I'll have my tea and toast now and press on with the tillering...
(Exits left mumbling "don't screw up, don't screw up")

I've made a decent sting and shot a few arrows from almost full draw length, I've done some finishing and given it a quick wipe of Danish oil to see what it will look like.
It's gorgeous!
Pic on the left shows the end of the handle, the nock groove and the signature knot which will probably take the place of the metal nail in the original.
Pic on right shows the central pith exposed near the centre of the bow.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Hedeby Progress

It's starting to look more like a bow and make some sense!
I'm not a great fan of the design as it's bonkers to have a load of extra wood beyond the nocks, but there was presumably some sort of reasoning to it (I'll call the length beyond the nocks 'handles' for now).
I've got it to a low brace, the natural deflex helps there, and also helps to keep the bow looking reasonably fat despite the low draw weight. It's about 45# at 16" now. The excess wood beyond the nocks means the working length of the bow is a lot shorter than at first glance, so it will have a good bend on it when it's finished.
The bark is popping off nicely (see last pic) revealing a pristine surface beneath, it's a bit brown at the moment, but that will be lightly sanded to show the sapwood colour.
The big feature knot below the top nock may serve in place of the iron nail in the original, but on the other hand I may put a nail in.
I may be reluctant to heat bend too much deflex into the top handle for fear of over stressing knot.
You can see see the natural waggle in the stave too. I've very much leaving it in it's natural state as per the original. One nice thing is that this stave is a from fairly small diameter vertical shoot of Yew and has some of the central pith showing, this is just like the original!

One thing has come to light, the rudimentary nock grooves on one side of the bow seem to work rather well. The handles don't seem to aid stringing, but time may tell.
I'm going to a field shoot at Avalon on Sunday, maybe I'll have it shootable by then, and a day's shooting may reveal something about the design.
Update:- Here's a shot on the tiller about 47# at 20"
my usual style of tillering, the middle is bending, the outers need to work more, left limb a tad stiff on outer third.
A chap on one of the forums has been asking loads of questions about tillering.
This sort of pic is what he needs to study!
Does he agree with my comments?
Note how I've pulled it to full target draw weight and I'm noting the draw length. As I remove wood I'll try to get the tiller shape better and the draw length will automatically increase as the wood is removed. Eventually I'll end up at 45# at 28" (If I'm lucky!)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Lunch Break Walk

It was a lovely sunny day so I strolled out of the factory after my lunch and onto the cycle path that runs through some parkland and down to a stream. Many years ago when we first moved the Harlow it was a landfill site which was landscaped when it was finished, there are patches of old woodland and paths incorporated into it.
There's a load of big old Hazel coppice both sides of the track. One pole caught my eye, straight and vertical but appearing to spring up out of the ground on it's own rather than from the coppice stool.
I stepped up onto the bank and had a look, sure enough it didn't actually go into the ground at all! It had been sawn through and was just dangling from the canopy where it was still hung up amongst the branches. The bark seems solid and no sign of rot at the bottom.
I walked back to work and borrowed a saw. I heaved the limb down out of the canopy, it came down with dead leaves still on it, but looked good and clean. I sawed a few inches off the bottom and cut a clean 7 foot length of about 3-3.5" diameter. There were a few raised eyebows as I walked it through the factory and loaded it into the car.
A most satisfactory walk!
I've painted the ends with PVA and stored it in the garage.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Hedby Bow

I've picked up the Hedeby Bow project using a skinny Churchyard Yew stave.
I'm doing this by the seat of my pants (or experience as it's sometimes called) There is plenty of length of the stave (85") but some big knots. I though I'd run it through the bandsaw once I'd got an idea of a centre line (using string and chalk) and see how it looked.
This isn't a replica as I'm going to aim for about 45# whereas the original was probably over 100# and I'm not going to be hidebound by measurements. It's "in the style of" and will be dictated by the wood, which is, after all what making bows is about. One bow in a museum isn't an accurate representation of all the bows of that era. Just look at the variation in the Mary Rose bows.
Anyhow, I've got stuck in and run it through the bandsaw several times, homing in on what looks a sensible size and shape. I've then cleaned it up with my drawknife.
The big knot seems to sit about right for the top nock, leaving a deflexed portion above that which seems to be some sort of hand hold on the original. It's been cut down to 72" to put the knot in about the right place. (See right end of second pic). Still got plenty of length as it is to be a lady's bow.
Theories for this extra length vary from it being a lever to help stringing the bow, to it being a handle to allow the bow to be used as a ski pole. From a bowyer's perspective it doesn't make much sense (yet!) as it adds extra weight and length to that limb. I remember at one roving marks shoot being very dismissive of a bow made in that style which one of our party was shooting (me and my big mouth!)

I've left the bark on and it will pop off as it starts to flex. It's already flexing as I put one end on the floor and lean on it.
The other odd thing about the Hedeby bow is the iron (steel?) nail/rivet in the back of the bow a few inches below the top nock. Again there are theories as to what it was for.... maybe time will tell.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

DIY Bowmaking Thicknesser

I'm not into laminated and backed bows in a big way, but decent Yew is scarce so its good to make the best use of the available wood. That means using billets and backing sometimes.
The preparation in doing billets for backing by hand is fairly arduous, so I hit on the idea of using an old power plane I have to make a thicknesser.
The plane was bought years ago on special offer from one of those German supermarket chains (Aldi I think) but you can get 'em for about £25 anyway. I've only ever used it a couple of times (it's a 900watt one)

I scoured the internet taking ideas from various DIY bow lamination sanders etc. I'd been toying with how to do it for a few weeks, but it was only when I took it apart I noticed the fixing holes for the sole plate were asymmetric and there was enough room to drill 4 holes and screw a couple of 15mm plywood side cheeks onto it and then to re-fit it. That's basically the crux of the whole thing. It's then a matter of mounting it onto a base and making an adjustable platform to raise or lower the work-piece.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go.
I've tried it and it works, it needs some fiddling and fettling to improve it, but as with most things its a trade of between simplicity, versatility, complexity, reliability, cost etc. I'll play with it and let it evolve. Ideally the platform should raise and lower parallel to the sole, maybe I'll look at that.
The big pain is the interlock on the power switch trigger which means you only have one free hand to manoeuvre the wood. I'll rewire that to a nice big accessible switch.
The bottom left pic shows the adjuster, it's taken from a bolt and captive nut that was holding the feet onto our old sofa. the adjustable platform was a rail from the sofa too. Gotta recycle stuff. The 15mm plywood side cheeks are actually from a post war 'Furnikit' bureau that my Dad made about 50 years ago! Recycling at its best.
Gotta make an adaptor so I can connect it to my dust extractor to suck up the chippings.

One big reason for doing all this is that I'll be able to machine tapers on billets. How it's done is you make up a tapered sled that the billet rests on and then the pair of 'em go through the thicknesser.
It's easy to make up a sled to any taper you want.
Say I want 1.5mm every 6", I get two bits of 2"x 1" 36" long with a 9mm spacer between them at one end and no spacer at the other. Glue and screw 'em together and the job is done. Could even make an adjustable sled.
Anyhow that's the principal, it needs some more work yet, but it could be a V useful low cost addition to the workshop.

I've added a switch now, which is a big help and here's a pic of a length of cherry I ran through it, a bit ripply but not bad.

Vastly improved version built here:-

Friday, 24 October 2014


Back from a week in Crete, peace and quiet, great weather plenty of walking and good food.
Saw Swallowtail butterflies, Cretan Vultures and a huge fat Hawk moth Caterpillar of some sort. A psychotic Donkey bit my knee!
Great to get away from the TV newspapers and computer.
They baked bread in an wood fired bread oven, made cheese and even has a small still for distilling Raki...( see pic, the spout from the copper vessel goes down at an angle through the water tank and out the other end. The water is to cool the vapour and condense the alcohol). I think I'll stick to wine and cider, that Raki is powerful stuff, but was a welcome shot when we arrived at 10:30pm on the first day.
The place overlooked a gorge and we scrambled along the dry river bed on the next day.
There was loads of old machinery and equipment around, I'd love to have that press and refurbish it for my cider... bit to heavy to carry on the 'plane tho' !
Here's the place if you like the sound of it:- Enagron
The staff and other visitors were very friendly. Up in the village of Axos was a wooden sculpture museum, all the work of a charming self taught man, who was passionate about his work.
The work is more impressive when you are actually there as some of it is absolutely huge. Well worth a visit and only 5 Euros which is refreshing these days. He had some of the things he made from clay when he was a kid and was first finding his love of making things. It's now his livelihood but he doesn't sell his work. Great bloke!

I've been tinkering about bottling up some of my cider, I expect I'll be back to bows soon.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Winding Down a Tad

Got a holiday coming up soon, so I'm reluctant to start on anything new. I've been a bit jaded too of late, having made a fair few bows on the trot. the days shortening is always a bit of a downer until we get used to it. Once we get to bonfire night and have a frost we then know where we stand!
I'm still waiting for the return of the Boo backed Yew which is weighing on my mind as I like to get these things sorted and out of the way.
I needed a lift, so...

I took the Yew backed Yew up the club yesterday, it's new owner was warming up with his laminated bow (from a well known manufacturer of laminated bows) at about 30 yards on the field.
He had a look at the new bow, and we realised he wanted stringer grooves (D'oh!) No prob,' I could take it home and do 'em, (it would only take about 20 minutes) and he could then collect the bow.
I strung it and watched as he flexed it a few times nocked an arrow and...
Yup, it flew a good foot over the top of the boss and he had a big grin on his face. That was all I needed to see.

A few of us went round the 3Ds and he was slowly zoning in to the new faster, flatter trajectory. On one of the longer shots (40-45 yards?) he went back another five paces and said he wanted to try it from there.... thwack, straight in the kill!
I left after 18 targets, taking the bow with me so that I could do the stringer grooves. He stayed on shooting his old bow and then collect the new one on his way home. He usually shoots longbow and horsebow, the Yew bow was a bit of a revelation.
I think it's about 5# heavier draw weight than the laminate yet he felt it was smoother and easier to pull. He asked why this was, but I couldn't really give a very good answer. I think it's mostly down to the properties of the Yew, light yet elastic, as the bowyer, I'd love to take a little of the credit too.
I did take some video of him shooting, but the best still from the video makes the bow look awful. The camera is above the centre of the bow and the the slight cant of the bow gives a perspective that makes it look as if the top limb is about twice the length of the lower. I won't post the pic else it will be there on google images.
I've noticed that's one down side of posting pics, the early tiller stages where a bow can look awful appear on google images, and if viewed out of context look like it's a bow made by a novice. Still, hardly the end of the world is it?!

I'm spending the morning having a bit of a clean and sort out in the garage and looking out a stave for the next bow that I've been researching. A Viking style long bow based on the Hedeby bow.
Knowing me, I'll be into it before long... I'm not very good at doing nothing! Sure it's great for 30 minutes, but after that I start looking for something to do!
I've also been looking after my cider and we've picked the pears from our two cordon pear trees. I took the damaged fruit and chopped it up small, stuffed it into a demijohn with some yeasty dregs from a bottle of cider and some left over icing sugar from wedding cake making. I topped it up with warm water and bunged in an airlock. ("bunged in"... see what I did there ? :-) ).
It's started fermenting nicely. No idea how it will turn out, but worst case it will slosh into the cooking!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Yew Backed Yew Finished

I got the grip done on the Yew backed Yew today so it will be ready for Saturday.
The limbs have a gentle recurve but it's not apparent at brace or full draw.
Regarding some rules 'defining' a longbow this should comply as each limb is a continuous curve and the whole bow is a single continuous curve at full draw.
I feel this bow is pretty unambiguously a longbow. Mind someone could claim it's deflex reflex. I would argue there is no deflex curve, the limbs are just spliced at a slight straight set towards the archer and the direction of curve is always away from the archer. Overall the tips line up pretty much with the grip, so there is no overall reflex. There is about the same curve on the limbs than on the right hand one in the top pic of the last post which is a self Yew bow.

All this again shows the difficulty of interpretation. However it won't be shot BLBS anyway, it's for an NFAS member, and as such I made sure the belly is D section. Mind, even that is open to interpretation! I heard on Primitive Archer that one of the most renowned bowyers Marc St Louis once had a flight bow disqualified as the belly was "too flat", I feel he must have showed commendable restraint not to deck someone, having spent a load of time making the bow.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Nock Nock, Rules & Rules

The fast slightly deflex/reflex longbow I made a while back is being returned as it doesn't comply with BLBS or GNAS definitions of a longbow.
Now that's fair enough and I'm not complaining about that, as I basically agree, it's got too much deflex and reflex , which is still apparent at full draw.

What I'm moaning about is a couple of things.

1. BLBS definition of longbow doesn't seem to be available online, and most links I followed led to the ILAA definition (which the bow meets).
(I've E-mailed the BLBS)
2. Interpretation of one rule which states that at brace the string shall only touch the at the nock goove.

This is a well intentioned rule to prevent recurved tips, string bridges and the like.
The problem is, most strings will contact the very end of the limb at brace unless the nock is a horrible overblown thing forcing the string away from the tip of the limb. Or one with a narrow groove which forces the sting into a sharp bend.

I've seen plenty of Victorian longbows (which is what the BLBS is about) with tiny slender nocks where the string would doubtless touch the limb.
Anyhow here are some pics to to illustrate the point. The bows are all mine and only one has a slight reflex/backset in the limbs.
(Two are self Yew, one is Boo' backed Yew and the longest one is Hickory backed Yew, that's the one with a slight backset )
Of course I could make smaller loops on the strings or fatter nocks, but that's not really the point.
It's about the intention of the rule and it's interpretation.
All the bows illustrated would be compliant in every other respect and are self evidently longbows.
Maybe the rule should say the body of the string (as opposed to the "Y" of the loop?)

There is one other mind blowing bit of nonsense whereby...
Ah, first I should state that this is only the rules as have been written to me by a third party, so I can't in all fairness guarantee they are absolutely correct.
I gather that a bow from a stave or billets should have the stave in it's natural state (thus natural reflex deflex etc is allowed). Errr, so heat or steam bending isn't allowed despite being part of the bowyers armoury since Neolithic times? A laminated bow is permitted to be glued up with slight reflex or backset of course (as long as it meets the other criteria).
So If I had a Yew stave I could run it through the bandsaw, pull it to a slight reflex and glue it so that it's now a backed bow (or laminated if I ran it through the saw twice!) But I'm not allowed to achieve the same with heat!??? Bonkers!

This really illustrates why I tend to shun these societies. There must be at least 4 definitions of longbow which all differ in some respect.
It's all a bit silly really.
Sorry about that...
Rant over!

Comments welcomed (especially from representatives of the BLBS)

Monday, 6 October 2014

Final Tiller and Test Shots

The final bit of work has made a difference and the tiller looks great now, It would be interesting to get this pic and the previous one and flick between 'em rapidly to see how much change there is.
To me the left outer third is flexing a little more, the actual position of the nocks shows they are pulling down more evenly too. Some of that may be the start position of the bow on the tiller and where I'm drawing from, but this time those positions are more accurately measured , and are representative of a real draw.

I inadvertently briefly drew it to 30" as I was watching the weight rather than the draw length but it feels smooth and I'm happy it wasn't a problem. In fact it will probably just help the bow settle down. Draw lengths aren't exact on the tiller anyway, unless I've adjusted the rule to compensate for the thickness of the bow at the grip. I'd also normally test to 29" anyway, so it's not quite as drastic as it sounds at first.
I had a couple of test shots, fast as hell and it banged 'em in exactly where I was looking.
That was enough to check the position of the arrow pass so I can get the Mother of Pearl arrow plate done.
I'm looking forward to shooting it through the chrono'.

The advantage of videoing it on the tiller is I can grab the frame where it was at 30" for a brief instant. Here it is, you can see the extra tip deflection is minuscule.

Update:- I've done a lovely clean large Mother of Pearl arrow plate and tested it through the chrono'.
Not quite as fast as I'd expected but very respectable especially considering it's not bamboo backed. Average was about 157fps with the best 167 and the worst 152 from a relaxed draw.
Getting clean chrono results is harder than one would think, it's difficult to see if you are getting to full draw and it's easy to to get a slow loose where your fingers straighten by and inch or two before the string slips off.
Interestingly, that's pretty similar to the 35# deflexed reflex bow. The big difference is that one had a bamboo back and a heat treated Yew belly. It would be interesting to try 'em side by side, I expect this one would throw a slightly heavier arrow better than the 35#
I've just gone back and tried another shot with the string right on my finger tips and a good full draw... 162 fps, I think that confirms what I thought.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Dust and Detail

Dunno if I'll post final tiller pics later, I may save 'em for a big reveal when it's all finished (what a tease!) but here's an update and some chat about filling and finishing.
I've got the horn nocks done but not polished, I strung the bow and drew it in front of the patio doors so I could see the reflection. It looks great, the half inch or so off the top limb has just made a difference, along with some scraping and sanding.

As I was going over the belly there are rows of small knots going across on the upper limb (about the size of cocktail sticks, some if these are ready to just fall off the belly and leave a dark groove which could possibly be the focus for a pinch. I popped a couple of 'em out and lightly cleaned off the powdery black stuff that surrounds a knot.
I was careful not to dig into the wood or break the flow of the grain, but I did want to fill these tiny grooves. Epoxy and Yew dust is a bit crude and looks a bit like grey/brow plastic when its done (even with a fairly dry mix). On Primitive Archer I'd heard people say fill with CA and dust (CA is an abbreviation for Cyanoacrylate, (superglue)) but I wasn't quite sure how to do it, I don't think you can mix it up and apply it and you don't want it on your fingers.
Anyhow I've experimented and found a way that works for me. A drop of low viscosity CA on the area will soak in a bit but some will stay as a drop, if fine Yew dust is sprinkled onto that it will soak with the CA, you can add more CA and dust, and if you feel it's necessary it can be pressed down with a scrap of glossy paper or polythene (best not to try and then remove it as it might pull up the whole lot, and don't use paper towel, it will soak through and stick to your thumb!). Go and have a cup of your beverage of choice to give it time to cure and then rasp, file, sand it down.
When filling these tiny knots I wanted a dark colour so I used an off cut of Yew that had been used during heat treatment and was nicely scorched, filing this over a sheet of paper provided a nice pile of  fine dark Yew dust.
In the pic, it's only rough sanded with 80 grit, it will look much better when finished.
You can just see a hint of the central pith showing at the top of the pic, the filled pin knot radiates outwards from that line.

There was also a small tear in the grain by a knot at the grip, I did the same thing and it filled it almost invisibly.
By the way if you mop up excess CA with a paper towel of cloth, it can actually get hot, smoke and give off fumes which is rather alarming. I googled it to see what was going on and it's not not nasty toxic stuff, just rather unpleasant... gave me a fright the first time when I'd spilled a fair bit.

Update:- I've polished the nocks and had it up on the tiller again, almost perfect, I'd done a light touch with rasp and scraper at a couple of points on the lower limb and given it a wipe of Danish Oil. The draw weight is down just a shade with 50# being maybe 1/4" past the 28", but it's certainly within the 40#-50# brief.
Pics tomorrow.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

YBY Nearly There

Having left it overnight, I looked at the tiller again, still not quite there, but getting close.
I did a little more and took some more video. It's getting very close now, but the lower limb is still a whisker stiff. You can see the draw length and weigh is pretty much spot on. It feels very secure, I've held it at 28" draw with no qualms.
The outer 1/3 of each limb looks slightly stiff, but remember it has a slight reflex, so that is reflected in the full draw shape.
Since these pics I've taken a few more scrapes off the lower limb and reduced the tip width a bit to give the final nock alignment.
It doesn't need much, because anything that eases off the lower limb is also relieving the load on the upper limb slightly, a little off the inner third of the lower limb should do it.
I'll probably get the horn nocks glued on today, I may move the top nock down half an inch to just shift the centre point a whisker left.
With most bow making, the devil is in the detail, when in doubt leave it overnight and have another look.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Unwrapping the Bow

Got it unwrapped this morning, looks good, there's less reflex than the previous Boo' backed Yew but I wanted it definitely looking like a longbow. The back splice is really good, and I set too cleaning up the edges and rasping the corners off.
I tried it on the tiller on a string that would just slip on and it pulled back to 50# comfortably. One limb was a good bit stiffer, so I've earmarked that as the lower (left) limb.
I rasped a bit off the belly of the stiff limb, tightened the string a bit and tried it again at a 4 1/2" brace. It immediately had some sideways bend, but the string was a bit over to one side on the nocks. Forcing the string across until the bow sat true gives me a centre mark for the tips, a little extra width at the tips is always handy as longbows do have a tendency to bend sideways at first.
I then got it on the tiller and videoed it pulling back to 50# the left limb is still a bit stiff and straight but it looks pretty good for a first try (I like the curve of the right limb). There's not a huge amount of spare draw weight, but I have some spare length and I'm already at at a bit of brace.
It's mostly the outer halves of the limbs that need reducing, but that's the way I generally work, get the middle working first and then progress outwards.
Blimey, bit of a battle, I've been at it off and on all day. As I rounded the belly and tidied up the limbs I made sure I was taking more off the lower, but it still looked stiffer, that and the bow was trying to go sideways.
I kept at it slow and steady inching it back and finally just as the tiller looks good it hit 50# at 28". Most of the reflex has pulled out, but then I didn't want it looking like a recurve.
At one point I was thinking I'd take an inch off the upper limb to stiffen it, as I just couldn't seem to get the lower one to catch up.
I'll leave it now as I've done more than enough, it's beginning to look rather pretty too.
Get the nocks done tomorrow maybe.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

How to Join The Backing Strips?

This is a classic illustration of the difficulty of answering the old question "How long does it take to make a bow?"
I've been pondering all week how to do it.
There's a slight hump at the grip, and if I thin the slats enough they will bend over it easily, but I don't want them too thin.
I could steam bend them a bit to fit better over the hump. I'd pretty much decided to do a long V splice to join them, but do I cut the splice before or after steam bending? Having done the splice do I glue the slats together first to make one long strip, or do I glue them on to the bow and glue the splice all at once?

Decisions decisions!
Over the last few days I've fiddled and fettled the strips to get them a little thinner, but they still seemed a bit stiff to bend at the splice, so I made a jig steam bend a curve where the hump will be. With any steam bending preparation is the key, so I got the jig all set up so I could get the steamed strip in there and strapped down before it cooled.

Once I'd bent the two strips I cut in the long V splice, This will overlap the Z splice nicely in such a way that the joints of the two splices don't line up and the back and belly layers each strengthen the other. (see pic).
I'm hoping to get it glued up this evening so it can be curing overnight. I'll apply glue to the whole lot and strap up the central area where the splice is first to make sure that it doesn't get pulled apart as the rest is strapped down. I'll make some pencil marks on back and belly to help check alignment, then I'll bind it up with rubber strapping working out from the middle. Once it's all strapped I'll tie it into a slight reflex. More pics tomorrow! The bottom pic shows the wallpaper stripper I use to generate steam, the coil of pipe is covered with a bit of old duvet to keep the heat in, and the steam chamber is just a 5l plastic container wrapped in some polythene packing foam. You'll notice the bark is popping off the backing strips.

Update:- I've got the bow all glued up and bound with rubber strapping. It then been strapped to a long bit of 3x2 at the grip with a block under each tip pushing it into a reflex of a couple of inches.
I'll see how it looks in the morning.