Thursday, 19 October 2017

Sawing Some Yew

I've had two 1/4 logs on the garage floor since about January and I trimmed them down a bit the other week. I've taken them down further into 2 big slabs which are wide enough for warbows and some useful off-cuts.
The wood isn't as good as I'd hoped, there is a lot of blueish discolouration in the sapwood and the sap/heart boundary is all over the place even by my standards, I think it's just too undulating, so what I'll probably do is cut it into heartwood staves, billets and slats for use in bamboo backed Yew bows or crossbow prods or experimental work like flight bows.
I won't be too hasty as it requires some thought to make best use of the wood. I dare say plenty of usable yew gets discarded because it's not perfect... and maybe this is what some people mean when they say English Yew is no good, of course the point is I'm sure you could find similar gnarly wood from anywhere, one is simply limited by choice...
What's the best Yew? The bit that you've actually got!

One pic shows how the heart sap boundary doesn't follow the rings. This Yew was fairly large diameter (about 16") rather than the ideal pipe straight 5 or 6" diameter we'd all love to find.


  1. I've seen a fair bit of yew timber with that dark line between the heart and sap. Any idea what it is and what the implications are for making a bow with it?

    My gut tells me it's some sort of spalting.

  2. I think a little blue discolouration is ok but this has black and blue and the heart /sap boundary is just meandering all over the place with some weird wood that is neither one thing nor the other. I've discussed the discolouration on here before and some think it's ok being part of natural growth/chemical action, but I've also had it where I know it was rot. Gotta go by looking at or testing the individual bit of wood.