Monday, 2 February 2015

Flight Bow Riser

Bearing in mind I had no idea what I was doing, I asked that nice Mr Google about riser dimensions, limb angles and such like. It turned out I pretty much had the limbs angled back same as a modern olympic recurve riser.
The limbs will sort of scarf/dovetail into the riser and be glued in, I'm not making it a take down as that would have metal bolts and stuff which would seem odd with Hazel limbs.
The riser is from a couple of bits of  "mahogany" (I put inverted commas as Mahogany has sort of become a generic name for all sorts of random tropical hardwood). I was given a huge length of the stuff about 12' x 3' x 1" by the guy next door who was reluctantly throwing it out when his garage was getting turned into a dining room. (The things we men do to keep our other halves happy! ).
The sight window is much shorter than on a target bow, as a) It's for flight and b) If I use it for field I'll be canting the bow at an angle so I won't need a huge cutaway to let me see the target.
The Hazel limbs have been back on the former and had their bellies lightly heat treated and the reflex restored as some of the curve had pulled out during the tillering. Because of that, I have slightly increased the deflex angle of the limb mounting. E.G they are angled towards the archer a little more. This is mainly a precaution to hopefully ensure I end up with a working bow. It may not end up bing very reflexed, but I hope it will be a useful reference for future bows.

Mean while I got chatting to a bloke on one of the archery forums who was thinking of going from recurve (barebow) to longbow. He didn't live too far from me and came over to try a few bows to see what poundage suited him. He shot all my longbows including the 70# at 28" but felt 50# was probably about right.
I'll make him a bow and I can always take 5# off it if he wants once he's had a good go with it. I've already started looking out suitable Yew heartwood billets for a bamboo backed Yew bow for him. I've got 5 sorted out and I'll pick the best matched pair with enough thickness to get 50# (I'll judge that from my existing boo backed Yew bows with a bit of guess work thrown in)

He had a go with my only bow that will take a 32" draw and got it to about 30". He hadn't been shooting that long but seemed to have a nice smooth easy action. He wasn't used to shooting at such short range and took a while to zone in. We had a go with the Chinese repeater and my all wood crossbow too, it's always fun.
What I really liked is the way he asked what days were good to visit and when I told him, he suggested "Is tomorrow too soon?" Brilliant! I like action rather than endless dithering. A lot of people threaten to visit, or say they want bows and then the communication fizzles out ...
I've learned to shrug, but personally, if I want something I'd rather get stuck in and get it started.

Many many years ago a primary school teacher said I was "neck or nothing"... meaning I'd go all out to the point of risking my neck or I wasn't interested at all. It amuses me that he could see that in me at about 10years old.

Stiff Limb Mystery:-
In going through my billets I found a skinny scrap of Hazel which would make a stick bow. I ran it through the band saw and set to with draw knife and spokeshave to make a quick fun bow. One limb was far too stiff despite being about the same thickness or slimmer than the other. There was a thin dark streak on the belly and a corresponding small bulge/knot on the back at mid limb. It was this spot that seemed stiff. As I carefully reduced the belly, it started buckle at the dark streak, I picked away at it with a tiny chisel and splinter/strip of wood about 2" x 1/4" and about 1/16" thick lifted revealing a black shiny surface that looked almost like rust. Of course once this layer was removed the limb became weak as hell with a huge hinge at that point. I gave it a damn good bend, but it didn't want to break. Maybe I'll patch it for the heck of it. It just goes to show that internal features that you can't see can make a huge difference, and the physical dimensions don't always relate to the amount of bend.