Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Back Patch for a Friend

One of my friends came over the other day with a yew limb which will make a nice stick bow or primitive.
He shoots warbow mostly but brought along his old Bickerstaffe which he'd overdrawn and it had a crack/splinter raised on the Hickory back. They wanted £100 to put a new back on, which is pretty reasonable, but I said I'd do him a back patch while he waited as I happened to have some of a Hickory backing strip left over !
Well it was glued on and strapped up while he waited and we chatted.
This evening I took off the rubber strapping and cleaned it up... I haven't shot it yet though!
You'll have to look closely to see where the patch is. It doesn't quite extend full width or full depth, as it's good to maintain some continuity of the original back. But I took care to make sure I'd rasped down past the depth of the crack.
Note:- The superglue bottle is there as I used the low viscosity superglue to help show up the crack, it soaks in and you can see it better. I used my usual Resintite for gluing the patch.

I also cut some more Hazel at lunchtime from along the cycle track behind the factories where I work. I'll get it roughed out for thickness with plenty of spare width and see if I can get it seasoned in a couple of months.
I'm on a roll this evening so I put a coarse blade on the bandsaw and ran the Hazel through it. Gorgeous clean white wood... no nasty streaks of grey. I sealed the ends with PVA, did the Yew limb too. I'll probably leave the hazel for a week or two up on my shelves, but I might open up above the back door of the garage to get more air through. After a week or so I might bring it indoors or see about some heat/forced draught and maybe strap it to a former... who knows. Good to be getting back on track as the Hazel warbow had fired my imagination.


  1. Hi Derek,

    Would you be able to do a blog post like your 8th March 2012 one explaining how you rough out a hazel self bow (or if you've already done one, point me to it) please?

    I have obtained some hazel staves (probably not much good, but then it's a first go, so nothing to lose).. From your other posts, I believe that I should split the staves and cover the ends with PVA glue, and then leave them to dry. I don't fancy having a go with an axe, so I guess that I will have to saw them. Are there any tips on doing this? avoiding where the branches were? going through them? or anything?

    Thanks in advance,


  2. Hi, This post my help:- http://bowyersdiary.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/marking-out-and-retail-therapy.html
    Hazel splits easily but can split on the twist. Have a go with a scrap piece, wooden wedges will be tough enough to continue the split once it's started. Trust me it's fun, quick and easy.
    The search engine on the blog is pretty good for finding stuff, so try a few searches. 'Hazel Bow' brings up a good few posts.Main tips, keep it long and wide, leave the handle thick and don't narrow it too much until the bow nearing full draw. That way you can line the handle up to the string, which is easier than vice versa.
    If you have to saw it by hand, do it short burst, take your time, it cuts fairly easy.
    Good luck and have fun.

    1. Derek,

      Thank you, I'll have a think about splitting one. A bit of a search as you advise tells me that I will need to decrown, and from http://bowyersdiary.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/hazel-primitive.html, I'm looking at a width tapering from 2" to 1" and a thickness of 17mm - 12mm (interesting how we mix imperial and metric units)?



  3. Sounds about right, you may not necessarily have to de-crown, depends on the diameter of the log and if it maybe has a flattish face (often they are not actually circular cross section), see how it feels when roughed out. If you can preserve the back as the natural surface it does save some work. I just find mm v convenient for thickness of bows rather than 1/16" etc