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Board bow questions (Read 7818 times)
Kjev
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Board bow questions
May 21st, 2010 at 9:10pm
 
My 4-year old has decided that since he can (mostly) throw an atlatl, he wants to be like Legolas and shoot a bow. I have one started, made from a piece of hickory. It's pretty thin, and will probably get thinner as I work on it, so he'll be able to pull it. I'd like to know how to put horn tips on the ends.

Secondly, at the local Rendezvous I have a chance to buy a board bow. These are longbows, and I'd like to make mine a little shorter (those who know me have probably guessed I'll be shooting it off my horse).

Do any of you archery types have any thoughts or ideas on how to cut down a bow? Is it even a good idea? The ones I am looking at are so identical I think they are made en masse, and there is nothing fancy about them, just a shaped piece of wood (I know there's more involved in making a bow than that, but please bear with me). Also, I plan on bending the tips out for more of a recurve, and putting antler tips on the ends.

Any thoughts, ideas, tutorials, or rants would be more than welcome!
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #1 - May 22nd, 2010 at 11:31am
 
just before you say anything- i have never shot before, and what i say below is only based on what i've heard.

i hear that cutting down a bow makes the bow poundage higher, and so it might get too hard to repetitively use.
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leadrocks
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #2 - May 22nd, 2010 at 4:04pm
 
Cutting down a bow will raise the poundage considerably.
As long as you have a fair knowlege of how to re-tiller the bow
It shouldn't be a problem. You are adding much strain to
The working limbs by cutting it down though. Re-curving
The tips will add draw weight and strain to the limbs on
Top of that. The bow must be wide enough to handle the strain.
For hickory this should be 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches wide for most
Of the working  limbs. Your probably better off starting from
Scratch if you want a short bow. Look into the plains indian
Designs for horse bows. Usually re-flexed at the inner limbs
And de-flexed in the middle and outer limbs. How high of a
Draw weight are you looking for here? Most horse bows aren't
Much more than 40 to 50 pounds. Designed for a short draw
As most indians used a "chest draw". This is where the arrow
Was pinched between the thumb and index finger and drawn
To the center of the chest. Much shorter draw than drawing
To the cheekbone or ear. You can pm me or post here if you
Have questions.
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #3 - May 23rd, 2010 at 10:51am
 
You already have all the skills to make your own board bows. Buy the first two volumes of The Bowyers Bible, find yourself a straight grained board of red oak or hickory and make some shavings!
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Kjev
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #4 - May 25th, 2010 at 12:21am
 
The wood I can find easily. In fact, I have started my first attempt already.

I haven't checked the poundage on it, but thus far, it's pretty darn stiff. I'll try to get a picture posted this weekend. It's hickory, with a handgrip made of poplar, and glued together with Gorilla Glue, my least favorite adhesive in the world, which is why I still had some around. Everything else got used.

I'll start looking for the Bowyer's Bible. I'm going to check the library first.
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #5 - May 26th, 2010 at 7:44am
 
  Another great place to check out is this site http://poorfolkbows.com/ it has some pretty good walkthroughs, and I used it to make my first bows.
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Kjev
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #6 - May 29th, 2010 at 8:44am
 
Finally got pictures of the bow in progress. It's hickory (from an old sledge hammer handle), with poplar for the grip. The ends are blackened with soot from heat treating them to bend them towards the back a little. It's about 36 inches long, and maybe 3/16 of an inch thick. I have no idea what the poundage or draw length is. How do you test the pounds of pull anyway?

On the plus side, it didn't break when I tillered it (clamped the grip in a vice, used a long string, and pulled it by hand to feel for flexing and odd spots).

It's not finished by any means, so any suggestions at this point would be spiffy. And greatly appreciated.

...

...

...

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leadrocks
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #7 - May 29th, 2010 at 12:51pm
 
If it's tillered can you draw the bow yet? If you post pics side
Profile strung and drawn i can help you with the tiller. To
Check draw weight get a good bathroom scale.  string the bow,
Get a 1x 4 about 35  in long. Cut a u shaped notch in the narrow
End of the 1 x 4.. Put the strung bow in the u notch on the
Board, put the bottom side of the board on the scale, pull to
Desired length to check weight. Below is a pic of my tillering
Board. I use it in that way to check weight. While you are
Tillering, do not pull the bow any farther than the desired draw
Weight. If your target  draw weight is 40lb. At first you may only
Pull say 6 or 8 inches at 40. Don't go any farther. Simply remove more
Wood from the belly side. The notches in the tillering board allow
You to set the string in the notch with a partially drawn bow
Then step back and check tiller. Bad spots seem to stand out
More from 10 15 feet away. Make sure the limbs are bending
Evenly. Keep working the belly side down and checking often
Unril you hit your target weight/length. I usually take a pencil
And make marks on the belly, use a scraper orsander until the
Pencil marks are gone, then check again. Btw the tillering board
Is sitting on top of a pile of seasoned black locust bow wood
In the pic;)
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tillerboard.JPG (61 KB | )
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leadrocks
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #8 - May 29th, 2010 at 1:02pm
 
Well crap it cut the end of the board i wanted you to see off. One more time.
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Bikewer
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #9 - May 29th, 2010 at 6:18pm
 
Another approach (that I use) is the "tillering tree".   This is just an upright (a 2X4) with a shelf to hold the bow's handle area and a rope and pulley.

One can start with a long string on the bow, and using the rope and pulley then flex the bow to see how it's bending.    You then proceed as described above; marking "stiff" spots and working them slowly and carefully.
The advantage of this method is the ability to work or "exercise" the bow during construction.   Work the bow a bit, check the tiller, then flex the bow 20 times or so.....Repeat.

Putting up some sort of marked-out grid behind the bow is a good idea too; your eyeballs can be deceiving.
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Kjev
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #10 - May 30th, 2010 at 8:11am
 
leadrocks wrote on May 29th, 2010 at 12:51pm:
If it's tillered can you draw the bow yet?


I've attempted to use the long string method of tillering, but I don't have a tillering board made yet. It still seems pretty stiff, way over what I think a 4-year old can handle. I think I'll try to make a tillering board this week, and work on it some more. I also noticed that when I heat treated the ends, one end didn't take the bend nearly as well as the other, so that needs fixing.

On the black locust, does it make good bows? I've used honey locust for firewood before, and it drove me insane. It burned well, but the grain tended to twist like sagebrush, which made it almost impossible to split.

Also, has anyone tried to make a bow from a broom handle, russian olive, or mountain mahogany?

Bikewer wrote on May 29th, 2010 at 6:18pm:
Putting up some sort of marked-out grid behind the bow is a good idea too; your eyeballs can be deceiving.


I ended up doing a lot of it by feel. Flat spots, thin spots, and watching to see if one limb flexed more than any other. The system I had jury-rigged was clamping my bow in a vice, then pulling the string back with one hand while feeling the limbs with the other. It seemed to work okay, and I was surprised how little material I had to remove to change the way the limbs flexed. I still want to make some sort of tillering tree, though.

Thank you for all the help and advice.
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K'Jev  Cool
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David Morningstar
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #11 - May 31st, 2010 at 2:12pm
 

Black Locust is an excellent bow wood.
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #12 - Jun 1st, 2010 at 1:14am
 
  My dad makes longbows as a business, but he makes mainly laminated english indian and howard hill styles.  I should think that for horseback a recurve would be the best thing, perhaps look up turkish bows?  I think they are harder to make though and would likely be more likely to break if not made right, so it would be best for you just to make a short longbow if you are a novice.  One tip I will give you is to make sure that both limbs bend the same, meaning they are tillered the same.  If they are not and one bends more than the other or does not bend all the way through the limb then you will put excess strain on a limb or a part of the limb which will likely result in breakage, that is the most difficult thing to get right.  Also if you buy a bow and put a backing on it to increase the poundage be careful how much of a backing you put on.  Last year I upped my 45lb. longbow because I was going out deerhunting and laminated a piece of hardwood to the back.  Well, that was an experience, after that I could not even pull the bow back a few inches, the piece was only about a quarter or a little more of an inch thick but it upped the poundage at least 40 pounds.  I rasped and filed it down till it was really thin and ended up with a 65LB. longbow which is just right for me.

  My advice to you would be to find a bowmaker in your area who knows his stuff and get him to make you a bow for horseback, if you have not made bows before taking on a recurve for horseback shooting would be quite a thing in my imagination, and if you want a good one you will likely not get that on your first attempt, it would be best to start with some self bows, then some laminates then work your way up.
  Oops, this reminds me, I have to make two crossbows for a worldbank lawyer, chinese ones for his terricotta warrior replicas...  I'll have to start on that...
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #13 - Jun 1st, 2010 at 10:54am
 
Three Rivers Archery is selling the Magyar "Sport" horsebow for a mere 400 bucks...

http://www.3riversarchery.com/Bows+Exotic++Magyar+Sport_c44_s34_p0_i6342X_produc...

A good copy of traditional Asian recurve bows meant for shooting from horseback.

Western Indian tribes used very short bows as well for buffalo hunting, usually sinew-backed weapons as they did not have good woods available.  They were limited in draw-weight by using the "pinch" grip, and thus had to get very close to their buffalo prey.

The Japanese famously shot their very long bows from horseback, but use an asymmetrical grip about one-third of the way from the bottom of the bow.
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David Morningstar
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Re: Board bow questions
Reply #14 - Jun 1st, 2010 at 12:32pm
 

Short recurved bows used from horseback were a favorite of the Sioux as well, wide-limbed and often backed with sinew to get the necessary strength. Sinew backing is a lot of work but pretty much guarantees that your bow wont break.

This is another book to go for:

http://www.amazon.com/Bows-Arrows-Native-Americans-Hamm/dp/1558211683

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