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primitive elm bow buidalong- now with better pics (Read 15018 times)
Hellfire
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primitive elm bow buidalong- now with better pics
Mar 21st, 2006 at 7:33pm
 
Here is a thread I started to show people that you can make a nice professional looking well tillered smooth shooting efficient bow with just one or two tools. A hatchet and a pocketknife. I am aiming for maybe 45-65# at 28", with as little set as possible. It will be 6' long, and as wide as the poundage dictates.

The materials are a 1 3/4" diameter red elm sapling. I will be using no measuring tools other than my palm, a piece of twine string to find the center, and how tall I am plus a few inches. The string will be made out of sinew or flax (I'm growing some). This will be purely primitive. If I were out in the woods with few tools like a hatchet and a knife, this is what I would make.


Reasons why to make a long, narrow elm bow from a small diameter stave

1. Elm is very strong in tension, so it can well tolerate a crowned back.

2. A narrow stave can not make a short bow. I made a few of these back then, but they stacked pretty badly, which gave me false weight readings. But- a narrow stave can make a good long bow.

3. A long bow has the advantage of taking less set, of having a smooth draw, and being very accurate. The bows long limbs stabilize it when it shoots.

4. It is easy to make a fairly heavy bow when it is fairly long and at least 1 3/8" wide. I have made 70# bows of this dimension with stronger wood like hophornbeam.

5. On top of that, they are pretty and nice to look at, and the eastern woodland indians made bows man-height and out of common woods like hickory, locust, and elm. However they did use osage, and sometimes made bows as short as 50".



Here is an example of the kind of tiller I would like this to have.
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English I'm really curious as to how you make bows in particular. I would like to see some pics of bows you have made to learn from them maybe. I hope you like this, I asked you a lot of questions in the beginning.



Here is it where I cut it. Looks like a lot of softwoods, but if you dig around on our property a bit more there is actually one heck of a lot of elm saplings. Right here is by that little creek.
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Here I am debarking it with a hatchet.
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Here I am working down the belly. Looks real pretty doesnt it?
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Here is floor tiller. Notice my well "organized"  shop area. Hey, theres a TV there!
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It will take two weeks to dry. If I was in a survival situation I would definitely take it inside at night and hang it over the campfire on a string to quick season, but I'm not in a hurry. Hope you like the pics so far. I will keep this updated probably every day. I hope this might help some people starting out.
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« Last Edit: May 21st, 2006 at 8:37pm by N/A »  
 
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CanDo
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Re: Red Elm stave bow buidalong:)
Reply #1 - Mar 21st, 2006 at 9:24pm
 
Looking good. I probably should have made a buildalong out of my current bow project, but just as well. Good luck.
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Taiki
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Re: Red Elm stave bow buidalong:)
Reply #2 - Mar 22nd, 2006 at 11:16am
 
yeah keep us posted i Really like this  Shocked Grin
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Re: Red Elm stave bow buidalong:)
Reply #3 - Mar 23rd, 2006 at 8:45pm
 
Nice bow. Hope it goes well.

You look alot like a guy I used to know.
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Hellfire
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Re: Red Elm stave bow buidalong:)
Reply #4 - Mar 26th, 2006 at 9:44pm
 
will get some pics up tomorrow night. The camera needs batteries or another memory card or something. Have it tillered to about 15" and 45#. Tips narrowed and nocks cut.
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Arkanii
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Re: Red Elm stave bow buidalong:)
Reply #5 - Mar 27th, 2006 at 12:59pm
 
Sounds good so far.  i can't wait to see it.
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Hellfire
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Re: Red Elm stave bow buidalong:)
Reply #6 - Mar 28th, 2006 at 11:05pm
 
ok here are the pics. They are a day late (sorry) but I had to get going over to a surprise party. Sorry I couldnt resize them at the moment they may be pretty big pictures.

Here is my chunk of elm, viewed from the top side.
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Here is the tip. Note the pencil lines I am using to narrow it with.
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Narrowed on one side.
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All done Wink
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Here is the (previously) wide handle.
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Here it is narrowed. It fits very well. I never did like wide handles.
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Here is my arsenal of tools. Very basic for making bows.
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See, a regular knife can make a fair drawknife, if you pad your hand with leather so you wont get cut on the blade.
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Will get some tiller pics in a few days, when it is better seasoned.
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Re: Red Elm stave bow buidalong:)
Reply #7 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 7:01am
 
good stuff,  Do you use a heat box to dry?
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Hellfire
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Re: Red Elm stave bow buidalong:)
Reply #8 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 5:25pm
 
no I didnt use a heat box. You dont really need one.
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Re: primitive elm longbow buidalong (pics)
Reply #9 - Mar 31st, 2006 at 9:46pm
 
sortof off topic, but i put my staves in the attick to dry in the summer.  it is effectively a heat box, getting very hot during the day.  anyways, nice bow so far.
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Roy
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Re: primitive elm longbow buidalong (pics)
Reply #10 - Mar 31st, 2006 at 10:41pm
 
I made one up that uses light bulbs so I could drop the moister content.  Here where I live the average content for dried wood it around 13% and I like to get it down to 7 or 8%, gives me a little more zip and less string follow.
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Hellfire
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Re: primitive elm longbow buidalong (pics)
Reply #11 - Apr 3rd, 2006 at 5:12pm
 
On the basement floor, we have floor heat running through the concrete, so that raises the floor temperature, so I suppose that helps dry it.

Ok. it is April 3. I cut it down and roughed it out on March 21st. So it has been a little less than two weeks. I think it is seasoned now, so I will proceed to tiller it. Will get pics up tonight. Going for about fifty five pounds.
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Re: primitive elm longbow buidalong (pics)
Reply #12 - Apr 3rd, 2006 at 8:11pm
 
cool, i'm looking forward to those pics. how do you guys find out the moisture content of the wood? how important is it to bowyering (all that I really know is that green wood won't last as long)?

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Re: primitive elm longbow buidalong (pics)
Reply #13 - Apr 4th, 2006 at 5:08am
 
It is pretty important.  People use a moisture meter but there may be a more traditional way of finding it out but I have no idea what it is.
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Re: primitive elm longbow buidalong (pics)
Reply #14 - Apr 4th, 2006 at 7:27am
 
A lot of bowyers have made enough bows that they know when the bow is dry enough, some do it by weight, and others like me have freinds with moister meters Grin.  A green bow will last a long time, it just loses a lot of its zip.
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