Friday, 16 February 2018

Catching up after a Busy week

Forgive the positioning of the pics in this post... the editing software won't let them be moved around sensibly (Grrr)

A couple came over to collect the lighter Hazel primitive last week, we had a fine time and had a go with all my crossbows as they'd not shot one before. The Chinese repeater was greatly enjoyed and I even had a shot with my 275# repro medieval "light sporting crossbow" which is pretty spectacular in a confined space like my garage.
The larger primitive (see previous post for pics) was shipped off and the recipient said:-
"Wow, it looks absolutely gorgeous!!!! Really striking & beautiful bow"... "Draws up lovely. Really smooth. It feels much smoother than my Ash bow despite the fact that it's higher poundage and shorter length. Nice one Del! Thank you".

I've been working off and on with the Yew flight bow for this season and flight arrows too of course. The constant striving for an arrow of small diameter for minimum drag yet stiff enough to withstand the acceleration and flexing. I fancied trying Ipe as an arrow wood and remembered that my mate Matt (of Cambridge Longbows) had been recently using some. He very kindly sent some off-cuts in the post for me to play with.
The first Ipe shaft I made was slightly smaller diameter than my reference shaft  at about the same stiffness ("reference shaft" sounds a tad grand, it's really just one that had snapped off it's point), the bad news was that it was about 25% heavier! My next idea is top secret, so don't tell anyone, I cut a thin slat of Ipe and glued it up between two bits of straight grained pine, so it looks like a jam sandwich. This gives it more stiffness especially sideways without too much weight increase. I made a shooting board so I could plane the corners off to get it roughly round, I then turned it on my lathe. I also grooved a couple of bits or board to use with sandpaper as sanding blocks for smoothing shafts.

I had a couple of visitors with a yew stave that they wanted turning into a bow, then the next thing I get is an E-mail from a chap for whom I'd made arguably the best looking character I've ever made. It's a Mollegabet style from very marginal Yew with lovely  sharp ridges down the back and knots like eyes near the levers.It had started to lift a splinter on the back (shown by red arrow in the pic). He arranged to bring the bow over to me mid week and it was good to see both him and the bow again.
I haven't started work on that repair yet as I'm in the middle of some other stuff.

Meanwhile I've been working with and guiding my mate JT while he makes his first ever bow (a Hazel ELB), it's coming along and is ready to brace. It's a very wonky stave, but that's ok as it teaches how to cope with the problems. It's very different to working a clean flat even laminated stave.
It was a pleasure to have JT working the garage and to see the progress, his first use of the spokeshave was rather tentative, but after a few hours, he was taking off long shavings with confidence to get the left limb flexing to match the right, and the bow was beginning to flex evenly, ready to be braced.

Just to round off the week I saw a nice old draw knife on Ebay, the handles were split, but the blade looked like it had never (or hardly ever) been sharpened. I stuck in a bid for £16 max and won it! I'll clean it up and sharpen it later.
Throw in some work tuning up the lathe, a visit from my brother and an Indian take away... great week!
Just noticed three frogs in a clinch at the bottom of the pond... spring is on the way!

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