Thursday, 8 January 2015

Bending and a Cherry Slice

My Laser Rangefinder arrived, and once I'd read the instructions it worked great (You press the power on button and then dab it again to actually take the reading... I knew that really ;-) )
I'd tried it on a van at the end of the road, about 100yds away... turns out it was only 97.

I've done some on the primitive Yew narrowing the grip area V slighty and bending some deflex into it. I'm going for a reflex deflex shape, but not a lot of bend.

The handle area isn't really thick enough for the finished bow, so I'll be glueing another piece of Yew onto the belly side to build it up like a riser.

I took a different approach to the bend this time, hanging a weight (small anvil and 2 lump hammers) onto it while heating the belly with the hot air gun.
the advantage with this method is you can see it starting to move and you are less likely to overstrain the wood by being over zealous with the clamps.
I took about 25 minutes heating it and got a slight colour change on the wood, this will have hardened it a tad, which is a good thing as the grip will be quite narrow in the finished bow.
I'm going to try the same technique on my Hazel warbow stave but I'll need a heavier weight. My mate Mick the blacksmith is going to lend me a 56lb weight which should do the job. The warbow will also have a slight reflex deflex thing going on.
You'll see that's my theme for this this year, it's all building up expertise for a flight bow or two.

The picture of the knot shows an apparently good solid knot. I gently tapped it out and cleaned it up removing all the trapped bark. It shows how much soft manky worthless material is in there. A drop of superglue just isn't going to soak right in and strengthen all the black stuff, it is just asking for it to compact and become a pinch. I whittled a plug and glued in to fill the hole.

The cherry slice was spotted by my Daughter in the town park where they'd been taking down some old trees. By counting the rings we could see it must have been planted when the fist laid out the town park in the mid 60's. She'd rolled it down the hill to her trusty van 'Binky' but couldn't lift it in.
She collected me so I could give her a hand, My wife fancies having a go carving it or using in the garden in some way... it was too handsome a slab of wood to leave to rot.

In the background there is a skinny Yew stick from the Yew tree in our garden. We'd cut off that branch as it was overhanging the path to the patio. It might make a fun stick bow, just chop away some of the belly and slap a string on it to see what it will do.


  1. Hi Del
    I use a similar method for bending, but for my weights I use 2L bottles of soft drinks..
    The store for fizzy drinks is in the corner of my workshop , so I tie a string between the tops of two bottles and hang them over bow where I want it to bend
    Each pair of bottles are approx 4kg , so its a nice way of increasing the weight in a linear way
    I also just got delivery of a cherry tree ( in two parts, approx 20 years old ) Hopefully I'll get a couple of bows out of it - its allegedly quite a good wood :-)
    Thanks for the blog

  2. Cheers.
    Drink bottles, good idea, I have several of the big 5L ones. Mind Mick's brought round the 56lb weight now :-)

  3. My wife keeps bringing home tree slices like that one. They all crack when they dry. But they look good, even when left to rot in some corner of the garden. I love them to dry pottery on, cause they let moisture pass through real well. And the Kids use them in all conceivable ways, too...

    I'm about to work a piece of yew with a similar branch on the belly just now, also with quite a bit of old bark inside the wood. I was planning to just soak it whith Acryl. Good idea?

  4. I always pick at any black stuff round a know with an old needle file ground to a point. If it's soft and loose keep digging, if it's sold then fill any small gaps with epoxy/Yew dust mix. When in doubt I dig it out! I've been caught out with buried knots before... It looks ok and then when you pick at it you discover a pocket of rot inside the stave.