Friday, 3 July 2015

Steaming Ahead.

I did a lot of work yesterday. It's funny how the rate of progress seems to increase as the stave comes down to a more manageable size. It's mostly because there is less bulk of wood to remove and it's also easier to see what's going on. That's not to say I rush at it, some people would probably find my progress frustratingly slow.
The more I worked it, the more I realised the deflex at one end was downright ugly and being asymmetric would make the tillering tricky and bow would look odd. I thought about dry heat vs steam and opted for steam in the end. I got it done yesterday evening which gave it overnight to cool down and settle whilst still clamped up.(An hour would have done, but it's easy to mess with heat bent wood or glued wood too soon... better leave it overnight to prevent impatient fiddling!)

A good deal of care and preparation is required and even then things don't go to plan. I had about 2 1/2" of bend to take out, but I didn't want to go mad and overdo it as the other end has a slight deflex and I wanted it to match.
After half an hour of steam I could push the tip across with hand pressure, so I clamped it across and left it for another half hour (the steamer will run for about an hour before running out of water and switching itself off). I went back later to find the steam hose had come out and was lying on the floor.
Taking the clamp off, I could see I'd taken out about 1 1/2" of bend... not quite enough. So, having got it all set up it wasn't much trouble to put in some extra packing pieces to adjust it so that it could be clamped up with another inch of deflection. I gave it the full hour, and you can see the result in the final pic (the end that had the bend is at the top of the pic).
The whole episode is fairly typical of heat bending, it often takes a couple of goes, and it doesn't hurt to ease the bend in rather than trying to force a big correction in one go.

I've taken an inch off the knottiest end and filed in some nock grooves for a long string. I put it on the tiller and heaved it back to 80#. It looks pretty good, it's certainly flexing. Some people wonder why I heave it to full target draw weigh straight away.
There's a full (but possibly boring) explanation here:-

In the pic at the top of the page, you will see a round wooden disc on the floor to the left of the bench.
That's a "tuit"...
As I said,...
I'd do the bending when I got "a round to it"
(groan... sorry... having seen it in the pic I coudn't resist)

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