Tuesday, 7 July 2020

35# Boo/Yew Finished

I did the arrow plate with Mother of Pearl and a nice black leather grip from a bit of old motorcycle jacket which is lovely leather.

I used a new leather working knife which my son had given me for my birthday, it's really good, razor sharp and the solid grip allows a good pressure for a clean cut. The curved blade makes it easy to cut curves and also great for skiving the leather to a thin feathered edge to fold it over and glue (with UHU glue) for a neat rolled edge. The pic shows the skived edge and the thin card template I used to get the size and shape of the leather. The edges of the bamboo back felt a bit uncomfortable so I glued some thick leather to the back and pared it down to give a more rounded contour, the leather grip was then fitted over that.

PS. I've gone back to the old "classic" blogger, it wasn't perfect, but it was much better than the "new" version which wouldn't let me move pics within the text.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

35# Boo Yew Virtually Finished

It just needs a leather grip, an arrow plate, another couple of coats of danish oil and some beeswax polish.
I've shot about 60 arrows through it and rounded the belly a tad more to get the draw weight down to just a whisker over 35# which will allow for some settling.
The two pics show the hint of reflex at the tips and the slim patch added to the core before the bamboo back was glued on, it was to allow for a tear out in the wood where the knotty area is. those knots and swirls look rather nice now it's sanded and had a wipe of Danish.

There was some discussion following my last Youtube video where I was measuring the draw weight. Someone had posted a video showing that brace height doesn't change draw weight, and that it's a myth. Another person disagreed and posted a counter video and asked my opinion....
Well, I thought it would change draw weight, but not by much... the first video was all done with glass faced deflex

reflex bows which have force draw curves which  are less linear than a longbow, they are also capable of substantial overdraw and have high brace height.... not my thing.

He was also only changing the brace height by a couple of inches.
Anyhow I did a test with a Hickory backed Yew bow which will take a 32" draw. I tested with the brace height at 1.5" and 6.26" pulling the bow to 26" (to avoid over stressing it)... I couldn't see any difference in draw weight.
Then I repeated the test pulling to 30" and could measure a small but definite difference.
1.5"   brace height 54# @30"
6.25" brace height 55.5# @30"

You can draw your own conclusions and do your own experiments if you like.
My personal view is that realistic changes in brace height make very little difference to draw weight.
Mind, they do change the length of the power stroke.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Boo Backed Yew Bows

I went out for a bit of roving which was most refreshing, not too hot and a pleasantly brisk wind.
I took the much repaired boo/Yew primitive to return to my mate JT who used for the rove. He felt it hadn't lost much weight and when we shot at the 240 yard mark (albeit with a stiff tail wind) he used some flight arrows and sailed about 60 yards past! So that proves the Titebond III word fine.
I shot My Ash backed Yew which is comfortable to shoot and makes a decent distance.

Meanwhile I've been making a 35# Boo Yew ELB for an old friend, it's at about the lowest weight I like to make as they are getting a bit skinny and twitchy if you go much lower. As it is I miss-read my scale and was pulling it to 45#, mind it was on a slack string, so no harm done. It's braced now and ready for the horn nocks and narrowing the tips.
I've done a couple of videos:-

Thursday, 18 June 2020

The Cascamite Saga

To cut a long story short, I received a replacement 1.5 kg tub from Polyvine who make it, they are a small family concern who bought the rights back in the 50' from the American company who invented it in the 30's. I'm just recalling the phone conversation I had with their guy who was very knowledgeable and helpful so the details may be slightly out.
He said that the failure was probably due to storage at elevated temperature in the distribution chain degrading the product (it's comprised of 3 components, all white powder, and the hardener/activator part can degrade)... he guessed that the hot weather we had earlier in the year could be the culprit and said it had happened once before in their history.
Anyway, while I was waiting for the the response from Polyvine I also bought a small tub of Cascamite from Axminster and some Titebond III from RDG Tools.
I re-backed the boo/Yew primitive using the TitebondIII having first cleaned up the mating surfaces on the belt sander. Of course the belt sander removed some material which means the bow is now more like 100# rather than the projected 115# from the first re-backing.

The small tub from Axminster actually arrived before the stuff from Polyvine and when I mixed a test batch it seemed the same whitish colour as the bad stuff (I also mixed a test sample of that to compare). I was getting pretty frustrated by now but resolved to be patient and wait for the stuff from Polyvine.
When that arrived I mixed two identical test batches. It confirmed what I'd suspected. The good stuff is beige, the bad stuff is near white. I sent the picture to Axminster who agreed a "non return refund" as I said I didn't want the cost or inconvenience of returning the product. The next day I broke the cured test sample in half to show the how it looked, you can see it has separated into two layers, the bulk having a chalky appearance. The good stuff is homogeneous and beige.
I'd suggest anyone buying Cascamite order it direct from Polyvine.com 

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Yew Flight Bow

Whilst waiting for two lots of glue to arrive, some more Cascamite (which I shall send back if it mixes up white) and some Titebond III. I looked through my staves, there's what I though was a perfect half log which had revealed a diseased ring when inspected some time back. I had a good look at that and decided it maybe had the makings of a good self Yew flight bow.
I've been working on that, got it rough tillered to about 20" on a taut string and I've been heat treating it.
It's all been videoed, 3 parts so far, probably another today.
Ah, I've found how to change the size of pictures in the new blogger... guess what Icon I have to click ! It's an image of a pencil (eh? What genius thought of that... and if I click on the icon it says change.. there is an icon to add a caption... but that is two short horizontal lines... eh? Slaps forehead in despair)
Part 1

Friday, 5 June 2020


I'm rather annoyed I've spent a couple of days re-backing the 120# Boo/Yew primitive. Got it on the tiller and the glue line just popped!I've always used Cascamite for gluing backings and laminations and never had a problem. I started a new tub to glue for this bamboo back. It normally mixes to a beige creamy consistency... this was white, it also didn't seem to spread or wet the surface very well leaving an orange peel effect. It did seem to gel and harden correctly.... As I'm flexing the bow on the tiller I hear a "crack" and the glue line opened up on the grip... I stuck a pallet knife in the gap and waggled it around, giving it a light tap with a hammer. It just split off easily with the glue line parting leaving a chalky surface! Normally the glue line is stronger than the wood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7B960-IA1U&t=10s
I've ordered some more from Axminster as I no longer trust the previous supplier. There are other glues of course but I'm averse to unnecessary change... a month or so back I was invited (online) to have my NHS repeat prescription automatically delivered by post from the company that runs the chemist that I go to... I thought I'd have a look... once I started the process, it turned out that they couldn't do my wife's medication at the same time (saving postage etc) but they were hoping to provide this service later. I added a note saying that, in that case I wouldn't bother with the service. Of course they ignored my note and my medication arrived in plenty of time... Great... why was I annoyed you ask? Because next month it didn't arrive... despite their website saying it was "posted" (but with no date). I ended up phoning the chemist and they got everything back on track, restoring it to the old system... I take in the prescriptions in plenty of time and collect them a week later. Do you want us to text you when it's ready for collection? NO! I don't want to add another layer of unnecessary complexity, creating extra work and the potential for cock-ups thank you very much.... STOP CHANGING STUFF THAT WORKS FINE!
Calm calm... Then the fecking garlic press broke... FFS... maybe I'll machine one from solid. Whadda ya mean I'm going lockdown crazy? I'm not the only one.... I was in the garage and I heard some very loud f'ing and blinding outside as a neighbour was having a face off with a UPS driver who had bumped into his car. So I loaded up the Chinese repeating crossbow, lifted the garage door stepped out and asked "Punk, do you want to make my day?" Ok the last bit's a lie. Even Emily cat is getting stressed and over grooming again ..... it's Hitler Cat encroaching on her territory. Other than that all is quiet and peaceful here.
UPDATE:- I got a phone call from Polyvine who make Cascamite and they suggested that the glue may have spoiled due to being stored at high temperature in a distribution warehouse. It's basically made of 3 components, all being fine white powder and apparently the hardener component can deteriorate. They will send me out a new tub. In future I will buy direct from them (Polyvine.com) not a distributor. Mind I will still do a test batch when it arrives.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Some You Win, Some You Loose

Took the two repaired bows out to where we shoot near Chelmsford.
The bamboo repair failed, starting to lift with a bit of a cracking sound as my mate JT neared full draw... never mind, I'll take the back off and re-back it.

The re-repaired yew faired better, I'd left a little extra thickness on the new patch and it looked fine at full draw, it's good to keep the old work horse going.
It was very hot over there and my bow seemed to have relaxed a fair bit in the heat. I'd made up a flight arrow from one of my early ones with the front end tapered a lot more and a lighter brass point from a broken flight arrow fitted, and that flew nicely a good 30 yards or so further than the other arrows.