Saturday, 19 September 2015

Heat Bend/Treat & Yew Log

I was a bit ambivalent about the Yew longbow... it was fine, but I want better than fine... it all seemed a bit too quick and easy.

So I've heat treated the belly and pulled the right limb into a tiny hint of reflex to match the left. I didn't over do it or go mad with the heat treatment. Being more symmetrical I should be able to get the braced shape and full draw tiller much nicer, it should also improve the performance and give me maybe an extra 10# to allow for fine tuning the tiller.
I did it this morning so that it can rest tomorrow while I'm off to a shoot. I'm very pleased with the result, but I won't really know how it is until I get it back on the tiller.

Meanwhile I've been looking at the bough from which I'm hoping to make the Molle'. Hmm it's rather scruffy and looks like it's maybe been standing half dead or very slow growing. The sapwood is very thin and there is a variety of problem knots, missing sapwood and bruises to the wood...
But, I've used similar before and "Dogleg" a trusty warbow was from a similar stave with wafer thin sapwood.
One advantage of the Molle' is that I only need a relatively short section of good clean wood near the middle, the levers can be a bit scruffy, it doesn't matter as they don't have to bend. They can also be misaligned, as being narrow they will be easy to heat correct.
Anyhow I've sawn some of the really scrappy stuff off each end to see what the wood looks like. It's fairly promising and a lovely colour. There are a fair few radial cracks, mind these don't matter too much, but it illustrates why it's better to split or saw a log into halves before seasoning to relieve some of that internal stress by exposing the centre of the log.

I'll get out my chalk, a length of string and a tape measure to see if I can lay out the bow.
I'll base the bending sections roughly on Twister which has a wideish flat limb. I'll scale up the overall size from the Yew backed Cherry Molle'. I'll leave some extra length on the levers, which can always be reduced later, basically let caution be my guide. Also remember the guy I'm making it for is left handed, this may be important when thinking about the natural curve of the log.


  1. Hi,

    First of all, I wanted to thank you for your blog which is,from far, my main source of informations on bowmaking.

    Since my latest ash bow ended with too much set for me, I'd like to heat treat the next one.But I'd like to know if the brown color of heat treated bow can be removed when the bow is finished.

    Ben, from France

  2. Hi, heat treating will change the colour of the wood making it darker, a bit of sanding or scraping will remove some surface scorching if it has got a bit black, but the golden brown colour will still be there. If the colour comes off then it hasn't been heated long enough or hot enough. Most woods darken a bit with age anyway. I don't know if bleaching or some suck will remove it without damaging the structure.
    On Primitive Archer there has been discussion of fuming wood with Ammonia fumes to darken it, I don't know if anything will lighten it.