Slinging.org Forum
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl
General >> Other Primitive Weapons >> Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1589642872

Message started by Morphy on May 16th, 2020 at 11:27am

Title: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 16th, 2020 at 11:27am
I thought I would make a thread discussing trees/wood for various primitive weapons and technology, their differing properties and your experiences with them. Seems like we have a group here that enjoys this subject and of course selfishly Iím hoping someone here can ID these two trees for me while Iím at it.† †;)






So the top Iím thinking ďmightĒ be white cedar? But I donít know cedars all that well.
The bottom I donít know because Iím not sure that the leaves you see in that pic are from that particular tree. If you can guess just by itís distinctive bark thatís probably the best I can do picture-wise at the moment.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Bill Skinner on May 17th, 2020 at 3:55pm
The top tree may be hemlock.  Need to see a close up of the needles/leaves, or cones, fruit or nuts.  May also be a cypress or juniper. 

Bottom looks like some flavor of juniper, too.  But again, I'd need to see leaves or fruit/cones if it has any.  Keep in mind that Eastern Red Cedar is actually a juniper.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 17th, 2020 at 4:19pm
Much appreciated Bill. The bottom pic does look like Juniper Iíve seen out West but didnít think we had it out here. I would love to get a nice juniper stave to work with out here.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Bill Skinner on May 18th, 2020 at 10:42pm
Are there any hulls, shells, nuts on the ground?

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Mersa on May 18th, 2020 at 11:13pm
Canít say I know either of the top of my head but definitely look like some type of conifer. More pictures of leaves (needles),twigs ,fruit (cones) will probably help get a positive ID.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 19th, 2020 at 9:21am
@Bill- No nuts or any sign like that. But the cedar looking one does seem to have juniper like berries. Wasnít sure if cedar has something similar or not.

@Mersa-The cedar one definitely has needles and the ďjuniperĒ berries. When I go back I will see about getting pics of the needles close up. The bottom tree had no leaves lower down and everything was so intertwined it was hard to tell what were itís leaves vs something else.

My original fascination with the cedar was that beautiful , perfect stave er... branch on the left. I got out of my car and looked at it up close just to make sure it wasnít a mirage. ;D

Judging from the bark the grain was near perfect. If I owned that land it wouldíve been pruned a long time ago.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 19th, 2020 at 11:52am
I am building a bow right now from a stave of hawthorn and so far I am really liking the properties of this wood

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 19th, 2020 at 12:35pm
I am kinda blown away by the performance of this piece of hawthorn. It draws near 35 pounds and that's for a few hours of work, yesterday. It shoots way faster than my 26 pound rolan snake. I tried to imitate the longbow shape. It's my best work so far. I am using a paracord bowstring because the hemp one snapped.

The stave I cut it from has only cured for a week. So far no cracks in the bow and not a lot of set. the woods feels dry but of course it isn't.† I am just gonna let it dry more. We will see what happens to it. The hardest part of bow making is really waiting for the wood to age. I will see if I can post a picture of it. On to the next.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 19th, 2020 at 12:48pm
no sanding, no filing, just carving and chopping
IMG_20200519_184248.jpg (366 KB | 7 )

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by joe_meadmaker on May 19th, 2020 at 7:14pm
Nice work there Jauke.† That looks like it's coming along nicely.

I've got one to throw out here.† I was going through all the staves I have on hand.† Some I've had for more time than I would like to admit.† I have them all identified except for one.† This was likely an eBay purchase but I no longer have any order information on what it was.† Unfortunately there are only a couple things to go on.† The first thing is bark.† The second is that this would have been purchased as a bow stave.† So it's likely to be a wood that would commonly be sold for bow making.

I was thinking hickory but I'm not sure.† I've looked at pictures of different tree bark online, but nothing seems to match exactly.† If anyone has any thoughts, I would be glad to hear them.


Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 19th, 2020 at 8:32pm
Ahh very interesting. My first thought was also hickory. Is it ring porous? Thereís a simple-ish test for determining specific gravity I believe in the TBB 4. Might help. Does look like hickory Iíve used in the past though.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by joe_meadmaker on May 19th, 2020 at 10:03pm
I would say yes, that it is ring porous.  The early wood rings are very narrow, but it does look to be the case.  I'll make a note to look for that SG test when this stave comes up in line.  That completely slipped my mind.  Thanks!

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 21st, 2020 at 3:04pm
I know this is slightly offtopic but Ligustrum also makes amazing atlatl darts, it grows straight in the perfect size and the wood is very tough but flexible.  My practice atlatl darts just have fire hardened tips and they have bounced off rock, wood, metal and richocheted into all directions hitting all kinds of objects and the majority of them are still fine.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 21st, 2020 at 4:04pm

J wrote on May 21st, 2020 at 3:04pm:
I know this is slightly offtopic but Ligustrum also makes amazing atlatl darts, it grows straight in the perfect size and the wood is very tough but flexible.† My practice atlatl darts just have fire hardened tips and they have bounced off rock, wood, metal and richocheted into all directions hitting all kinds of objects and the majority of them are still fine.


Not off topic at all. This thread is for discussing any wood(s) and itís properties. I had to look up that tree. Wasnít familiar with it.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Bill Skinner on May 21st, 2020 at 9:33pm
Hawthorne is in the apple family.  Apple will make a good bow.  Although most would rather have the fruit.   ;D

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 22nd, 2020 at 3:10am

Morphy wrote on May 21st, 2020 at 4:04pm:

J wrote on May 21st, 2020 at 3:04pm:
I know this is slightly offtopic but Ligustrum also makes amazing atlatl darts, it grows straight in the perfect size and the wood is very tough but flexible.† My practice atlatl darts just have fire hardened tips and they have bounced off rock, wood, metal and richocheted into all directions hitting all kinds of objects and the majority of them are still fine.


Not off topic at all. This thread is for discussing any wood(s) and itís properties. I had to look up that tree. Wasnít familiar with it.


This is how they grow, 3-4-5 meters high if left to grow. You can see the straight shoots. Makes fantastic dowels in my experience, often in no need of any straightening or sanding.

They also have berries, but these are toxic to humans.
ligustrum.jpg (99 KB | 5 )

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 22nd, 2020 at 11:17am
Seems like it might make good shoot arrows as well.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 24th, 2020 at 2:55pm
I have made another selfbow of an ash stave in 2 days time with an axe and a victorinox knife.
It was the best piece of wood I had collected so far.
it is the longest of the ones I've made yet, about 1.8 meters in length, and the most powerful
It shoots wonderful. It's easy to hit a 50 by 50 cm target at 20 meters all the time. It feels great to use a bow of my one even though it is very crude.
I simply make it with a d shape and it bends through the 'handle'
No professional tillering or measuring, everything just done by eye.
No sanding either. My lungs cant handle sawdust. Theres still chips here and there but thats fine by me. 2 or 3 big knots on the back but it I tried to work with them.
After shooting yesterday about 100 times, there was a bit of set of course, but it is easily rebent.
It is not an old piece of wood, only a few weeks, but there were no cracks after cutting and debarking, and there are no cracks anywhere now that the bow is finished (finished by my standards). I got good faith it'll get stronger by time.
I am confident it could take small game.



IMG_20200524_205802.jpg (429 KB | 2 )

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by vetryan15 on May 24th, 2020 at 4:57pm
I am working on my very first bow, thats ash i cut down last year

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 28th, 2020 at 7:32am
Can anyone identify what tree this is from?
The things on the right where standing straight up
I did not have time to shoot a picture of the whole tree
IMG_20200528_132659.jpg (159 KB | 3 )

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Mersa on May 28th, 2020 at 7:50am
Almost looks like magnolia but not confident it is.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 28th, 2020 at 10:32am
That would also be my closest guess just based on the seed. Around here our Magnola have shiny big leaves but I cant think of anything more likely.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Bill Skinner on May 28th, 2020 at 1:43pm
Can you take a picture of the bark?

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 29th, 2020 at 3:58am

Bill Skinner wrote on May 28th, 2020 at 1:43pm:
Can you take a picture of the bark?


Sadly I cannot any time soon, maybe in a few weeks.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 30th, 2020 at 2:47am
My ash bow cracked and snapped through the handle. But I don't feel bad about it, good learning process.

Looking at the pictures I had tillered too little from the limbs an too much from the handle. The limbs where doing not enough work. My hawthorn bow is still holding up fine and has a better power distrubution over the limbs.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 31st, 2020 at 6:54am
One of the most common mistakes early on is either too much bend or too little right outside the fades. Or handle section if talking D-bow. Although some bows can be tillered that way on purpose depending on what you are trying to do.



Hereís one thatís tillered a little heavier in the near handle. Regardless how you tiller, it should ideally correspond to the front view profile of the bow. This one wasnít necessarily done that way but was a proof of concept on something for which I have forgotten the reason for itís been so many years lol.


Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Jauke on May 31st, 2020 at 11:54am
That bow looks amazing, way better than I will be able to make near term.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on May 31st, 2020 at 3:11pm

J wrote on May 31st, 2020 at 11:54am:
That bow looks amazing, way better than I will be able to make near term.


You might be surprised how quickly your bows progress Jauke. Look at Walter for a good example on that.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by vetryan15 on May 31st, 2020 at 4:16pm
Very impressive bow.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by walter on May 31st, 2020 at 8:27pm
Nice! Was looking at the pic and got lost in the perfect tiller :)

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by vetryan15 on Jun 1st, 2020 at 12:39pm
My vice isn't  bolted to a table, so i came up with a way to use a cinder block to be able  to use my draw knife, and the flock like to hang out, thinking thw wood shavings are food.
20200531_170117-600x600.jpg (176 KB | 4 )

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on Jun 1st, 2020 at 3:49pm
I used to use a ďbutt-viseĒ. Get a hard wooden chair and just sit on the stave. I made many bows like this before getting a normal vise. Not the best but it works.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by vetryan15 on Jun 1st, 2020 at 5:20pm
I am definitely using thst as well. Gives me practice for when i am in the woods, just in case SHTF.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on Jun 1st, 2020 at 6:51pm

vetryan15 wrote on Jun 1st, 2020 at 5:20pm:
I am definitely using thst as well. Gives me practice for when i am in the woods, just in case SHTF.


Which, letís face it, is looking more and more likely.  ;D

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by vetryan15 on Jun 1st, 2020 at 7:18pm
Thats why i figured i get a head start on making some bows.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by NooneOfConsequence on Jun 13th, 2020 at 12:30am

Morphy wrote on Jun 1st, 2020 at 6:51pm:

vetryan15 wrote on Jun 1st, 2020 at 5:20pm:
I am definitely using thst as well. Gives me practice for when i am in the woods, just in case SHTF.


Which, letís face it, is looking more and more likely.† ;D


Likely?! If you live in Seattle or Minneapolis I think it already has hit the fan!† Once again very glad to live in Texas.

... although, another good reason to live in Texas: you donít need a bow because thereís guns everywhere!

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by vetryan15 on Jun 13th, 2020 at 4:15am
Same with Maine.  I am on the Canadian border really quiet up jere

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on Jun 13th, 2020 at 7:19am

NooneOfConsequence wrote on Jun 13th, 2020 at 12:30am:

Morphy wrote on Jun 1st, 2020 at 6:51pm:

vetryan15 wrote on Jun 1st, 2020 at 5:20pm:
I am definitely using thst as well. Gives me practice for when i am in the woods, just in case SHTF.


Which, letís face it, is looking more and more likely.† ;D


Likely?! If you live in Seattle or Minneapolis I think it already has hit the fan!† Once again very glad to live in Texas.

... although, another good reason to live in Texas: you donít need a bow because thereís guns everywhere!



Iím all for Minneapolis disbanding the police. Should make for great television. Hopefully those who arenít a fan of mob rule can get out before martial law is enacted.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Bill Skinner on Jun 13th, 2020 at 7:03pm
I'm thinking some kind of maple for that stave.  Possibly pear or apple.  Not hickory.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by walter on Jul 21st, 2020 at 7:16pm
Red oak is the only wood locally available at home depot. I have made several red oak bows and they all end up with over an inch of set after 100+ shots. I recently read that red oak is known for this. Nothing to worry about.
I would like less than an inch not more than an inch. Knowing I have to make them wider and longer, I cut another board 1 1/2" wide and 68" n-n and for some unknown reason tllered it heavier at 50 lbs  :-?
It has 2 1/2 " of immediate set. One and three quarters permanent. So, my plan now is to put two inches of set back in the handle and heat the belly.


2020-07-19_12_33_14-1.jpg (16 KB | 0 )
Resized_20200626_161508_5187-2.jpg (27 KB | 2 )

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on Jul 21st, 2020 at 9:37pm
Beautiful tiller Walter. Hows it shooting?

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by walter on Jul 21st, 2020 at 10:07pm
It may be my best shooting bow and maybe I should leave it as is, but I really hate set >:(
BTW, do you feel immediate set is worse than permanent? I do because immediate is there when using the bow. Permanent when it is resting.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on Jul 21st, 2020 at 10:44pm
I agree, immediate set is the only one that matters. Thereís a big difference in feel between a bow with true reflex and one that only achieves it after a certain amount of time unstrung.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Mersa on Jul 22nd, 2020 at 1:09am
Looking great! I need to build a selfbow at a good weight. I really should motivate myself more

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by walter on Jul 22nd, 2020 at 6:16pm
Thanks  Mersa !

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by walter on Aug 1st, 2020 at 8:37pm
Steamed the handle area for 30 minutes, put some set back in it and left it clamped 12 hours. Set dropped to a half inch! Strung the bow and shot the bow about a dozen times.
Checked the set. Back to over two inches. Think I gained (lost) an eighth of an inch of set. >:(
I'll get a pic of this bows deflex tomorrow. Then I am going to heat treat the limbs.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by walter on Aug 2nd, 2020 at 3:52pm
Red oak lumber bow. It would be nice if that deflex was reflex.


2020-08-02_10_37_59-1.jpg (13 KB | 2 )

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by walter on Aug 2nd, 2020 at 3:57pm
Heat treated the limbs today. The bow is clamped down flat. I'll be happy with any improvement, but wiil be good with an inch less set.

Title: Re: Trees/Staves/Bow Wood
Post by Morphy on Aug 4th, 2020 at 3:14pm
Ya, I think you will struggle to get rid of set that way. Who knows though right? Either way I wouldnít leave it to dry for 12 hours, pull it and expect it not to take set again. I would let it sit for awhile or maybe after 24-48 hours I would reinforce the steam bend with dry heat bending (better yet, tempering) while itís still attached to the caul.

Your tiller seems quite good so if it were me I wouldnít be afraid of tempering the limbs while it was clamped into reflex. Commonly people will let it sit for 3 days in neutral room humidity to let the moisture in the limb equalize throughout before pulling again after a good tempering.

Slinging.org Forum » Powered by YaBB 2.5.2!
YaBB Forum Software © 2000-2020. All Rights Reserved.