Friday, 4 September 2015

Old Friends with Old Friends

I had a great visit yesterday, three people, which is a bit of a garage full! A couple of bows I made back in 2011 we being returned for inspection, both have slight pinches at pin knots. The bows were made from sister staves of very nice Yew.
You can see 'em in this post:-

The ladies bow was the "recalcitrant Yew"
I'm pretty sure the pinch had always been there and it was on a pin knot that goes diagonally from the edge of the belly and out to the side. I don't think it was going to close up any more.
In fact you can see the pin knot where the pinch is in the bottom right pic on that previous post/link. The shakes you can also see in that pic' (fine splits running along the grain) are still there and haven't moved at all.

The gents bow had previously had a patch on the back near one of the tips when it was first made. We had trouble locating where it was as it was all but invisible. See this post:-
It was interesting to look over my previous work. I was pretty happy with my workmanship and pleased that the bows were still being used.
The pinch on the gents bow was very small and central on the belly, I don't think it was a problem, but he was keen to be safe rather than sorry.
I've rasped out a small scoop to see how deep the pinch went and to expose more of the pin knot. It only went down about a mm or two but the knot was a bit loose, so I've cleaned that out, filled it and patched over the top.
The bow had taken a bit of set in the lower limb, so I strapped it up a bit straighter for the glue to cure, and I gave the belly some heat to. I'll see how it looks this morning when I unwrap the strapping.

Anyhow, back to the visit, the other chap brought along 3 yew boughs to be made into a couple of bows. One bough was very good and probably has a good longbow and maybe a primitive in it.
The others were a bit scruffy, but he fancied a Molle' made from one of 'em. That appealed to me as it's on my to do list anyway, I'll have to sort out draw weight etc and remember he's left handed when I start on it!

We had a go with various bows and the Chinese Repeater of course.
The lady was very impressed with the little Hazel neolithic style bow that Ruth Goodman shot on the Tudor Monastery Farm TV show and asked if I'd make her one.
Maybe I should call it "Near-lithic" rather than Neolithic? Now't like a little pun...
Fortunately I happen to have a stave of seasoned Hazel that I'd been working down at a village fete, so I've been worked on that yesterday evening to get it somewhere near size and weight so I can start decent tillering. It won't be a pretty as the Ruth Goodman bow as the bark is already off it. It came off in one almost continuous sheet when the stave got soaked in a down pour at a show.

A good day all round that rather left my head buzzing and last night I ended up dreaming of sorting through staves of weird exotic wood whilst helping to set up a circus!

Enough for now, tea and toast are calling and I want to look at that patch...
I've got the wraps off, the patch looks good, but ironically, as I rasped it down it revealed a tiny pin in the patch! Too small to be an issue, but it rather amused me.
The heat treating and strapping up has worked very nicely it's taken out maybe 1/2" of set leaving the lower limb much better matched to the upper.
Where I've had to sand down the patch it's removed some of the nice dark colour of the wood, but then I've also removed the leather grip (as requested) which reveals paler wood underneath. To try and blend this in a bit I've gone over the whole bow lightly with wire wool soaked in white spirit, this is also necessary to remove any wax allowing me to re-apply Danish oil. I've done a few other cosmetic things, filled another tiny pin knot and rounded the edges of the back near the nocks and cleaning up the arrow plate where the wood had shrunk back slightly from the back edge of it..

Later today I'll pop it up on the tiller, exercise it a bit and check the curve. Once I'm happy with it I'll Danish Oil it. The pic of the garage is just to give you an idea of the chaos. You can see the Yew boughs on the floor, the Yew bow on the bench and the Hazel leaning up against the shelving on the left. We did very well with four of us in there, that's gotta be a record... we were all very well behaved of course.
Update:- I put the bow on the tiller, it still looks gorgeous and the draw weight was 60# at 28". I think the bit of work on the lower limb has done a good job.

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