Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Finishing off A Part Made Bow

Finishing someone else's work is always interesting, it's nice to see the job completed, but on the other hand it can be slightly frustrating.
Mind it saves time as the mistakes have already been made for you and all that's left to do is to correct them ;-)
This stave is handsome Yew, nice colour, fine grain, sapwood thin enough so that it doesn't need reducing.
The problems are:-
1. Some slight lateral bend which has one edge dead straight and all the width taper on the other side. Fortunately there is just about enough tip width to rasp away the straight side to improve the alignment.
2. There are some seriously thin spots where the belly seems to have been taken down even and straight ignoring dips in the back. One of these near the grip is thinner than much of the mid limb section!
3. The belly has been shaped to almost a semicircle... people make the mistake of thinking a "D" is like a Norman arch or a semi circle. If you look at this actual "D" as if it's a bow the sides of it are flat. If a bow is shaped rectangular section and the corners taken off you are pretty much there, it also leaves room for some minor adjustment. A little cosmetic rounding can be done as part of the finishing.
4. There are tears and gouges at various points where an edged tool has dug in against the grain.

Basically the overall effect is a bow that, at a quick glance looks basically ok on the tiller but I was only happy to draw to about 24", it's bending relatively evenly on each limb but most of the bend in in the middle. That's fine by me 'cos that's how I start the tillering process, however I think this bow was seen as being nearer the end of the process.
First job, was to rasp the tips to improve the string line (I did this before even putting it on the tiller).
next I marked all the thin areas with a big "L" for leave, then it was reducing all the thick areas and getting the limbs tapering down from the thin point near the grip.
I've put horn nocks on now and it's looking good now but isn't going to make the 100# initially requested. Mind when I first put a low brace string on it, I immediately commented "That won't make 100 pounds ", because there's no way I can string a 100# bow even at low brace.
I've got it back to 30" at full brace now and it's about 70# (allowing for the scale being about 1/2" out)
The right (upper limb) is stiff, so I have reshaped the nocks and reversed it having the stiffer limb as the lower now.
The nocks are a nice chocolate colour with pale streaks.
Video here:-

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