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Grow a Bow?

06/29/2019 4:35 AM

There is a surplus of China Berry trees on my property.They grow fast,and are very easy to train.What is the possibility of making a bow from this wood?I was thinking of training a small green limb into the shape of a recurve and let it grow to the proper size in that shape.

All grain would naturally conform to that shape.I know absolutely nothing about bows,and this is just a wild arse thought,but,as my grandpa used to say "Once in a while even a blind pig will root up an acorn."

All constructive criticism is welcome.

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#1

Re: Grow a bow?

06/29/2019 5:54 AM

Give it a try :) ... but quicker would be to cut a length of say 1" diameter 3' long, let it dry, and whittle away one side of it to make a little try out bow (say 10-12" draw). It will give you an idea of how the wood performs.
Personally I wouldn't bother with recurve shape, it just makes it a lot harder to see the curve of the bow as it is being drawn during the making. Also most woods can't take the extra strain of being reflexed, unless you have a short draw.
Even the most unlikely fast growing wood can make a bow, E.G Elder.
Mind, it's easy to make a bow... it's hard to make a good bow :)
Del

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Grow a bow?

06/29/2019 3:42 PM

Thanks Dell.You are the Bow Master,and your opinion is highly regarded.

I am a patient man,and can wait for the bow to grow.It would seem to an non familiar person,that with the grain flowing with the bow it would be less apt to break,even in a recurve shape.

I also have some Hickory trees that I intend to cut.Are they good candidates for a bow?I know it is a very hard wood,similar to pecan,and hard to tell the difference when milled and dried.

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#3

Re: Grow a Bow?

06/29/2019 3:58 PM

Hickory is good for bows. It's a bit hard to work, but is tough.
Yes, you can train a tree to grow to shape, but you can also steam wood to shape easily which also maintains the flow of the grain.
Del

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#4

Re: Grow a Bow?

06/29/2019 4:43 PM

Good for furniture....and fishing...but don't eat the berries use them for slingshot ammo...

https://www.woodmagazine.com/materials-guide/lumber/wood-species-1/chinaberry

http://www.thesurvivalgardener.com/chinaberry-tree-uses/

..."Please be aware that all parts of the tree are poisonous wear a respirator if you are making dust IE saw sander etc. I would use rubber gloves at least until the sap dries.Thanks Ron"...

..."It may be slight brittle wood since it is related to the mahogany wood, so, make wider and longer than you normally do."...

http://www.primitivearcher.com/smf/index.php?topic=12972.0

Should work ok...

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/bow-woods/

European and pacific Yew and Osage Orange rank tops...

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#5
In reply to #3

Re: Grow a Bow?

06/29/2019 5:29 PM

I have no idea how the wood fibers change when steamed,but I would think that the inside ones would compress,and the outside ones would stretch.Wood that grows in the curved shape would have fibers growing that way instead.Maybe it would have less strength that steamed?Perhaps the compression and tension are desirable to give more strength to the bow,sorta like preloading a spring?Just speculating here.

Do you know of anyone that has grown a bow?

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#6
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Re: Grow a Bow?

06/29/2019 7:12 PM

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Grow a Bow?

06/30/2019 12:52 AM

Excellent link! Thanks!!

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Grow a Bow?

06/30/2019 1:51 PM

Great, now I'm getting into it, might have to build one myself....

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Grow a Bow?

06/30/2019 8:23 PM

DEL,

Have you tried the classic English longbow material .... Yew?

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#10

Re: Grow a Bow?

06/30/2019 9:42 PM

In my mind you just get something that has the curvature but is not a bow.

The bow works because you are flexing the fibres against its natural position.

This gives the bow the strength and the power from the draw.

If you already have curved wood you just need to draw more to get the same strength and pre-tension.

I hazard a guess that growing the wood in the curve will not make a better bow.

The only thing that I am unsure of if for a recurve bow it helps growing the tips round.

If you look at a graph depictiing the strain in a drawn recurve bow you will find the areas that you can pre-bend and those that require to be straight to give the bow its power.

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Grow a Bow?

07/01/2019 1:17 AM

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Grow a Bow?

07/01/2019 9:07 PM

Del is an accomplished bowyer and craftsman par exelence..: Del’s Archery Adventures

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#13

Re: Grow a Bow?

07/02/2019 4:38 AM

Why not use the Bois d' arc (Osage Orange} tree? Borrowed from French bois d'arc (“bow wood”). So called because used for bows by the Western Indians.

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#14

Re: Grow a Bow?

07/02/2019 10:23 AM

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/bow-woods/

I found this article. In the comments someone asks if Black Cherry any good for a bow and the answer they were given was yes it is but it needs to be backed by something else. Which means to me is that it needs to be part of a laminated composition.

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#15

Re: Grow a Bow?

07/02/2019 1:27 PM

I took the cowards way out and looked up the material properties. Chinaberry is a little weaker than yew (14,100 psi rupture strength vs 15,200 psi), but has a similar modulus of elasticity (both 1,300,000 psi). The bow arm cross section will need to be a little wider and a little thinner. Growing the branch to shape should work just fine if you have a few years to wait as you will need to grow it to minimum 4" diameter to get the pith out of the bow blank, avoid radial checking and achieve a quarter sawn blank.

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: Grow a Bow?

07/04/2019 7:05 AM

Thanks for the valuable information on the China Berry wood.I did not have any of this info before.I am a patient man,and the wood grows fast,so I will wait,but in the meanwhile,I may consider splitting a larger branch to get the form,and to get in some practice.

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#17
In reply to #15

Re: Grow a Bow?

07/04/2019 7:18 AM

Can you provide a link to that information,my searches have come up empty?

Thanks!

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Grow a Bow?

07/08/2019 11:20 AM

https://www.wood-database.com/?s=chinaberry

I started with a chinaberry wood properties search in google and worked down the list until I got to references with wood properties.

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#19

Re: Grow a Bow?

09/05/2019 2:54 PM

Del

You probably already know abot this utude guy but if not its interesting.

Todds Workshop

Can arrows defeat armor

https://youtu.be/DBxdTkddHaE

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Grow a Bow?

09/06/2019 6:57 AM

Yup, seen it... very good. Shame they don't try a hardened and tempered arrow head tho'.
Del

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