Saturday, 28 January 2017

Detail Pics

I've made a new string, done the grip and started applying the Danish oil, another coat of that, then singn it and wax it and she's good to go.
I'd like to get some more arrows shot through it, but I'll try to get it ready for collection Sunday evening.
The nocks are covered with masking tape at the mo' to keep the Danish oil off them and the arrow pass isn't buffed up. The pics show some of the detail.
Bottom pic shows what was a large and worrying knot, it has largely disappeared leaving a nice feature, a good deal of care is needed to try and work out how much can be removed without weakening the limb, or converesly how much to leave without making that area over stiff... it's all very subjective.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Minor Adjustments Needed

I inlaid an arrow plate this afternoon. Brian came over to try the bow, we'd thought 45# would be about right, but I went over rather than under as it's easier to take weight off than to add it.
He had about 8 test shots and thought it should come down a tad from the 50#. He also chose some nice leather for a grip, so I can take 5# off it (I'll get the outer limbs working more especially on the lower), fit the grip and then get the Danish oil on it.
Should be ready for the weekend.
Once it's all finally finished I'll take some decent pics.

Monday, 23 January 2017

50# at 30"

Woo the Yew longbow is almost there!
I've got the horn nocks on and roughed out for testing and I've had it back to 50# at 30". The outer 1/3 of the left (lower limb still needs to flex a tad more. the tool marks have all been take out with a scraper so it's V close to finished.
It's a bit of a relief as it's a relatively long draw and there is still one small knot that gows right through the back.
Next step is get it all finished up and take some test shots and some pics of course.
It will need a string making, the one I'm using is almost the right length but I've had to twist it up a lot and the brace is still 1/2" low.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Two Bows on the Go

The 50# @ 30" longbow is feeling much more stable now, I've shifted the nocks across and narrowed the tips to get the stringline more central . The bow thickness has been reduced and brace height increased it has now stopped trying to bend sideways. It's starting to look good now and is back to about 26" at 50# from nearly a full brace height. You can see from the pic the left (lower) limb is stiffer than the right, by the time that is evened up it will close to full draw.
I'm cleaning up the back and tidying up the width now. I'm tempted to steam the left tip a tad as there is a hint of deflex there and it would look much better with a hint of reflex. Not sure if I'll do it or not, it depends how it looks when the left limb is working a bit harder.
It will soon be ready for horn nocks.
Meanwhile the wonky warbow is coming back a good way now and looks completely bonkers. The big decision with that on is do I reflex the tips a bit?

Friday, 20 January 2017

Two Part Knot Patch

This knot looked very dry and ugly, it also runs through the bow at a rather shallow angle. It looks sound enough on the belly, but how deep does the dry loose portion go? You can also see the heart wood swelling up through the sapwood on the back of the bow.

I was keen to have a good solid clean sapwood back on this bow. No point doing a load of work making a bow only to have it explode and to then look at it and say "Ah yes I see why it broke there!"
Click on the pics to see 'em full size for detail.

First stage was to rasp off the corner of the bow in a gentle scoop, this is where the patch will be, this exposes more of the dry loose knot and more heartwood. I don't want to take the scoop out much deeper, so I make a V groove into the dry knot and heart wood which I can fill with a wedge of sapwood. This groove still leaves some of the dry loose knot, which I dig out and fill with epoxy and Yew dust mix.

I view the bow as almost 3 layers 1/3 is belly which is in compression, and in this case has a good sound knot. The central third is pretty much neutral and not under so much strain so I don't mind filling it with Yew dust/Epoxy, but I certainly don't want a cavity or unsound wood. the outer 1/3 is IMO the most important and I want that to be good sound sapwood.
Having filled the little bit of remaining cavity, I then shaped a curved V of sapwood (a bit like a boat) and glued this into the V bound tight with rubber strapping. This was left overnight and then cleaned up to recreate the original gentle scoop. An off cut of sapwood was cut to fill the scoop keeing the growth rings in correct alignment and making it thin enough to flex and conform to the shape of the scoop. More rubber strapping and an overnight wait (the bow being brought indoors into the warm) and it was ready to be cleaned up.

The back of the bow will have more work to follow the growth rings and by the time it is finished the patch will be difficult to spot hopefully.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Wonky Warbow

I've been working on a knot on the 50# @ 30" longbow and while the glue is curing I've roughed out one of the other glued up staves.

It has a load of deflex near the grip and then reflex kinks in the limbs, it also has a good bit of sideways waggle.
I'm hoping to make it into a character 100# warbow just for a laugh. Might eventually reflex the tips. Anyhow here are two pics, one at very low brace with almost no string tension due to the dflex aand then it pulled to 100#. If you flip between the pics you can see how it's moving. the inner limbs are moving quite well, I need to get the outers coming round, but that's how I tend to work anyway.Not sure if the splice will hold at 100# as it's only the length of a regular splice, where I'd like to have am extra inch or so on a warbow splice... maybe if I make it 99# instead of 100# it will be fine? ;-)
I'll prob' post pics of how I've filled the knot on the other bow tomorrow. I couldn't resist posting this 'cos it's so bonkers.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Longbow Work

The longbow has a bit of a dogleg in it with a sharp reflex and a slight deflex at the tip on one limb. I've steamed it a bit to take out a little of that, it's reduced the reflex from 3 3/4" to 2 3/4" some more of this will pull out during tillering. (Compare the pic on the left with the one in the previous post.)
This deflex and the sideways waggle in the stave makes it a pig to get braced and gives it a tendency to try and bend sideways.
I've teased it slowly back to get it to a decent brace and pulled it to about 22" at 50# so it's well on the way, as I'm working it down I'm taking care to improve the string line and increase the lateral stability*. I haven't really decided which is the upper limb yet as both have features, the lateral waggle, a cluster of pin knots, a small but very dead knot through back and one big knot coming therough the side. The big knot looked very worrying, but as the belly has been worked down it is slowly disappearing leaving a nice swirl of grain and a dip in the heart wood.
I think it will need a lot exercising and slowly teasing it back to full draw, but it should maybe be ready for a test shot by the weekend assuming it doesn't explode!

* As the bows thickness is reduced but it's width satys much the same it becomes increasingly easy to bend towards the belly rather than sideways. I have some extra tip width which allows me to remove wood from one side or other of the tip to adjust the string line to help avoid any tendency to bend sideways. Once the bow is nearing completion the tips get narrowed to fit the horn nocks.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

A Visitor and Some Staves

I had a visit from Brian who is fairly local to me, it was a bit of a shock as he's 6'4" with a 30" (approx) draw. The Laburnum I'd hoped to use for a longbow for him doesn't have enough length so I took down the spliced billets from my shelf which I'd done last February (so the glue should be dry by now ;-) )
We had a good chat and a try out with a couple of bows measuring his draw length as about 29.5" I sorted out 3 of the spliced staves which might suit a 50# @ 30" bow, I'll work each one down a bit to see how they feel.
The first has a good deal of natural reflex and has been roughed down with bandsaw and drawknife, it's begining to flex already. It's quite a good stave but there are a few tricky areas, but it is promising.
It's good to get back to feeling wood under the drawknife again. I've got it 74" long at the moment and with 30" draw and that reflex, the wood will be working fairly hard, although 50# isn't too much strain.
He's currently shooting a worn out old club bow that's only about 30# but he seemed comfortable pulling Twister (only to 28" on strict orders and with my arrows) He felt 45# would probably do, but I said if we aim for 50# maximum, I can always loose 5 or 10# but it's much harder to put it back on if he'd wished for more.
I'm sure I can find a bit more cast that the soft old club bow.
Now I've got the bit between the teeth I'll press on!

I reviewed some of my other staves too, but the best of the ones which will suit primitives aren't seasoned yet, but could maybe be roughed down a bit to hasten the seasoning.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Shooting Down an Idiot!

I just stumbled across this old video and I though it might tickle you guys. 
On an archery forum back in 2013 someone asked if spine was important when sourcing material for crossbow bolts. 
I said no, as there is no sideways force to flex the bolt.
Some know-it-all bawled me out for giving "dangerous advice" and said a bolt could buckle under the force. 

So, I said I reckoned I could make a bolt out of paper that would shoot from my 50# @ ~6"bow pistol.
Was I right, did it work?
I've just put it up on Youtube:-

Monday, 9 January 2017

Cooee Folks

Just to let you all know I haven't fallen off the planet, I'm just a bit busy with decorating the kitchen... It's that time of year when wives get fed up with the dull weather and being stuck in doors, so they get their husbands to decorate! To be fair I've been putting it off for a good few years and I get off fairly lightly so I shouldn't complain, and to be honest I enjoy it once I get started. I s'pose that's one of life's secrets, if you've got to do something you may as well do the best you can and try to enjoy it. I s'pose I was fairly lucky in my working life insofaras I enjoyed it, though it's better being retired.

I haven't stopped thinking about bows and I've been writing up pieces for the Field Archery News UK online magazine, the next bit is about heat bending and heat treating, I'll take some pics off this blog to be included.
I've also been planning some projects, I have some Laburnum which is a bit curved, maybe I'll make a pair of billets and do a boo backed Laburnum or even Yew backed as I have some good strips of Yew sapwood.

The garage is pretty much unusable for bowmaking at the moment as I'm making a couple of tall  broom-cupboard doors out of MDF and they take up a lot of room, the MDF makes a horrendous amount of dust too, it's horrid stuff compared with real wood, but is quick and stable and flat. I found I have a router bit which has give them nice rounded edges which will look good. They will be painted with white emulsion to blend in with the walls which is a blessing as it's quick and easy.
The bit I'm dreading is washing down the walls which are a bit yellowed and greasy up near the cooker hood, I did a try out with sugar soap which is usually pretty good but didn't shift it, maybe I'll try oneof these fancy new products, I don't hold out much hope as generally they are just flim flam. I bought some "stain block" spray once to cover a watermark on a ceiling, totally useless, used some old gloss paint in the end and that did the job... maybe that's where the expression gloss over it comes from?... Probably just no substitute for hard work I'm afraid.
tried some Cilit Bang that was lurking in the cupboard under the sink, that seemed to cut through it, I'll probably buy a commercial equivalent from screwfix or Toolstation (doubtless cheaper).
I'll be chomping at the bit to get back to some real wood soon.
Anyhow, I've just rubbed down one door and dusted it off, the dust should have settled by now, so I can go and give it a lick of paint.
Then it's tea and toast.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Festive Harvest

I got an E-mail from my mate Stuart suggesting some Hazel Harvesting over the holiday as an excuse to get out doors and into the woods. It was a well needed breath of fresh air, he got a nice haul of Hazel shoots for arrows and a few staves for Native American style bows and primitives. I cut a nice length of Elder that I've had my eye on for a while as maybe a flight bow or a primitive.

I've added a point to the Archer Automaton's arrow so he can shoot at longer ranges (up to 10 yards so far!) and have the arrow stick in nicely. I drilled a hole in the end of the arrow using my lathe and inserted a cut off length of panel pin.
I've also fine tuned his free pivoting elbow joint for a more reliable catch of the string.

Mean while I've been reliably informed that I should make some cupboard doors for an alcove in the kitchen and re decorate it too. S'pose I shouldn't grumble as I've been manging to stall on this for about 2 years!

Hey happy 2017 to one and all, maybe if we are lucky we'll avoid WWIII