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.

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