Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Rapid Progress on the Hazel Primitive

Seeing as how JT's bow that he's doing under my watchful eye is Hazel, it seemed appropriate that I should be working some too.
I was soon was reminded of it's propensity to tear out when using a draw knife if not used with caution. I also realized that the draw knife needed sharpening.
What the wood can do is to take off a nice long wide sliver, but the sliver will also pull out a narrow strip underneath it too which isn't apparent immediately! It looks a bit like a tongue or groove on a T&G board. (Note:- this is very well seasoned Hazel see pic)

Of course I panicked but I was relatively sure that I'd left enough wood to get away with it... I moved to the spoke shave after that which took off much more even shavings with no tearing.
As I was tillering the bow it was evident that there was a weak area on the lower limb, so I reversed the bow making that the upper limb. That's why one should never cut out too much from the grip early in the process, it gives you room to shift the grip and limb positions slightly to suit the wood and ones impetuous use of the drawknife!
A bit of adjustment including an inch off one limb tip (yup, that's why you always make 'em an inch too long) and the tiller was looking good.
The draw weight is a little lower than I wanted, so I strapped it up and heat treated the belly, which give the Hazel a nice colour and hardens it a little. The heating also allowed me to pull out a tiny little deflex bend at one tip.
As I flexed the bow the bark was cracking, I picked it off to reveal some nice clusters of feature pin knots.
The target weight for the bow was  40-45#, it may come in a whisker under, but it's better to have a fast well tillered bow than an uneven over-stressed slow one that's 5# heavier.
Anyhow, the guy who wants the bow is getting back into shooting after some health prob's so a pound or two under is probably a good thing.
We'd been discussing "authenticity" as he wants to use the bow for target and reenactment in an Anglo Saxon setting and apparently there are "authenticity Guidelines"... I'm sure you can imagine my reaction to that concept! I don't believe there are any surviving Anglo Saxon bows so I'm assuming anything from the Meare Heath to the Hedeby style would be appropriate, but quite how anyone can pontificate about nock styles is beyond me!
Anyhow I'm going self nock, big one at the bottom that can also accommodate a stringer with a rounded end to take the inevitable contact with the ground (see pic) and a long pin nock on the top with a binding of linen & glue to form a ridge that a stringer can sit on.
Should look good. I'm making my usual modern continuous loop string for reliability and a consistent brace height and he can get a linen string from Hilary Greenland, which will be better and cheaper than I could make as I'd have to buy in the materials.
The bow is at a low brace and is coming along nicely... oh yes, the other detail is a veg tan grip. I'll see how I think that will look before cutting leather, but it could look good.

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