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Workbench Creations

Workbench Creations is the place for conversation and discussion about do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. This DIY blog will feature projects completed by its owner as well as projects completed by other do-it-yourselfers. Workbench Creations is the place where DIYers can discuss ideas, learn about what others have done, and share their expertise.

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11 comments

Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

Posted December 15, 2008 3:00 PM by Del the cat

I gathered the ash log (image 1, below) many years ago when doing some coppicing. It was split into two billets. I made one half into a light bow in the style of a Native American bow (flattish elliptical section to the limbs).This shot smoothly and could be drawn back a long way, but was rather weak. So, I decided to make a more powerful version backed with sinew. This was something I'd wanted to try out for ages. I also wanted to try some steam bending.

The bulk of the work is done with an axe (image 2, below). There were a few small knots to work around, but I tried to keep these in the centre of the limbs (image 3, below).

I tillered the bow (image 4, below), slowly pulling it back further each time, reducing the draw weight, and trying to keep an even bend on the limbs. Image 5 shows it at 25" draw with a slightly over-length string. This illustrates the ludicrous draw I was going for at 28". It also shows that the left limb needs taking down a tad.

I made a steam chest from some aluminium-clad foam insulation board which I had spare and generated steam using a wallpaper stripper (image 6, below). This is where the problems and mistakes started creeping in. Basically, the bow is too short for the poundage and amount of recurve I tried to get out of it. Much of the recurve was just bent out of the bow when I pulled it back. I also didn't let it dry out enough after the steaming.

When I steam-bent one of the limbs, it took a slight kink (just visible in image 7, below) where there was a knot, and the tip of the limb felt very soft and puddingy. I recovered the situation by applying some Araldite and using a hot air gun to turn it runny and let it soak in. This was very successful and a good lesson learned.

I sinew-backed the bow, as this would make it smash-proof, and helped it to withstand the huge bend I was asking of it. I used modern glue Titebond III (image 8, below), which can be applied cold as opposed to the traditional hide glue. I had some excellent discussion as to the merits of each on Archery Interchange, an excellent Web site

There appears to be a bloke called Del the Cat on there, too. How strange!

Del

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank Del the Cat for contributing this story. Cheers, Del! Click here for Part 2.

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Guru

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#1

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/16/2008 2:26 AM

Good one Del.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/16/2008 2:47 AM

Ta... I'll be doing some armchair bowmaking over the holiday as FC is getting me the Bowmakers Bible vol 1 (only 3 more to go after that 1)

Del

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/16/2008 2:54 AM

I have a couple of workshop creations that need posting, I just need to to finish bloody renovating first.

Some of our timbers like Wilga and some of the ones naturalised like Osage Orange are supposed to be good for bow making, but I don't know for sure. I have a small piece of Osaga Orange (way too small for a bow) but I haven't worked out what to make from it.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/16/2008 2:59 AM

Osage Orange is used a great deal for bows, often backed with Hickory or Bamboo to make a 'longbow' as it's very difficult to get Yew these days.
(I've not used or seen any myself)

Del

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#5
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Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/16/2008 3:50 AM

Laminated Hickory and Osage Orange would be so nice you'd almost want to eat it. As I'm sure you know hickory makes great tool handles and drumsticks. We use Spotted Gum for tool handles a lot in OZ so I tried making some Spotty into drumsticks for a lad I know who is a drummer in a local band. The result was quite disappointing. They shattered much more readily than the Hickory despite being somewhat harder. I'll have to try some different eucalypts and acacias one day for your type of exploits. Do you think a ballista would be a good test rig?

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/16/2008 4:58 AM

Do you think a ballista would be a good test rig?

Yes! Deffinitely...I made a nice arm for a model seige engine out of pear wood with a nice carved 'spoon' end for putting the projectile in... it snapped first shot. I made an Elm replacement, it was fine

Del

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/18/2008 9:21 PM

So the Pear paired but the Elm excelled It was not a Cat a pelt so pray tell what was the projectile? Or should I be asking what was the target?

Brad

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#8
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Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/19/2008 5:32 AM

The projectile was a marble.
This shows it with a sling type arm, which is far more efficient than the 'spoon' type.

Del (I had to be reall quick with that camera shutter )

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#9

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/21/2008 8:58 PM

Sweet!

Not sure that the sneakers while using an axe is "best practice" but this was a great blog entry.

milo

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/22/2008 4:11 AM

Yeah...you can see the axe slipped and took a chunk of hair off my head.

Del

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Bow Making Exploits (Part 1)

12/24/2008 1:16 PM

Odd I thought it was a solar powered innovation actuator.

Brad

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