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Making my own bow (Read 5230 times)
Key
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Making my own bow
Oct 31st, 2010 at 9:04am
 
I'm starting a project and i just need some help.I've ordered a couple of traditional archery books and they should be here in a week or so.I don't have access to a whole lot of tools. I've took off the bark and am going to let the bow dry for 2 days or so then i'd like to "split" the bow but i don't have an axe or a large knife to baton the wood. I was watching a video. Link ---> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpw5P3c3T3k

And this guy uses some type of wooden stave to split off the wood in sections.I'm hoping someone can help me understand how he does that.

Sorry the picture is upside downish. As i said,the wood isnt very straight and it has knots in it.But its my first experiment.

Thanks
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Masiakasaurus
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #1 - Oct 31st, 2010 at 10:34am
 
His "wooden stave" was a beetle and he used a wedge made of antler to split the wood. To do this make or get a wedge made of a harder material than the wood you are cutting and place it on the wood along the grain and lightly tap it in with a soft hammer (called a beetle when hammering a wedge) to make an indent in the wood. One you are satisfied that it's straight then bash is as hard as you want to almost split to wood at that point. To move onto the next spot you want to beetle place the wedge into the edge of the split you've already made and bash away. One you get a split along the length of the wood split the ends all the way through and pull the wood apart. I've done this with a hatchet, and the technique is almost the same with a beetle and wedge.

You're going to have to buy a hacking knife and hammer, froe and hammer, or wedge and mallet if you don't use a splitting axe.
Edited:
Every archer and bowyer on the forum will tell you that knotted wood will not make a good bow, and that the wood needs to be a straight as possible. There's a thread with a link to a bowyers tutorial that I'll look for. Found it!
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Pikåru wrote on Nov 19th, 2013 at 6:59pm:
Massi - WTF? It's called a sling. You use it to throw rocks farther and faster than you could otherwise. That's all. 
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Bikewer
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #2 - Oct 31st, 2010 at 11:36am
 
What books did you order?   The Primitive Bowyer's Bible series is excellent.

I have not yet made a bow "from the tree", though I did work an already-cut osage stave which turned out nicely.

You can split the stave out while the wood is still wet, but then you have to dry it carefully.   You can do this "naturally" in a protected area or speed the process up by various techniques.  (covered in the books)
Something as simple as a cheap hatchet and a hammer will work pretty well; you can just tap the hatchet head through to split the log (small log) to get started, and then split wedges off that half to get a stave.
The smooth, unbroken outside of that stave will be the back of the bow, it's most important that this be free of knots and such.
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Key
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #3 - Oct 31st, 2010 at 1:32pm
 
Thanks for the quick responses guys.I realize that a knotted stick is unlikely to make a successful bow.I have had a hard time finding a good hardwood that is free of knots in my area.I haven't been deep in to the woods but I've been looking around my area and neighborhood for a while.

I was hoping to not spend any money for my project but i understand now that i have to since i don't have any type of bone/antler tools.

Also i bought 3 books from amazon.

Vol.1 Of the Bowyers Bible.
Making Indian Bows and Arrows The old Way
And I think the last one was called Traditional Archery or something like that.

I'm hoping to get into archery and at the same time keep my interest in slinging.


I tried splitting the wood yesterday with a pocket knife and a stick i've been using as a hammer/baton thing and i ended up slicing my finger and creating quite a gash so i probably am in need of some better tools.I have no idea where to get a hacking knife but i'll probably pick up a cheap hatchet up at ace.From that video does anyone understand how he created the edges on those stone tools?Those dont look like stone you can flake, i may be wrong though.


Also has anyone attempted a bundle bow? I may just try one of those until my books come in
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Dan
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #4 - Oct 31st, 2010 at 2:41pm
 
I have once tried a bundle bow but the sticks must have been to green because it just held its flex and had very little power. My most recent bow was finaly a sucess  Smiley Smiley Smiley After 2 other official tries and several other expierments I finaly got it right I made a short bow out of a straight piece of maple with very few knots I originaly only had about 10lbds of pull on it but it could still definitely be used for small game but, as human nature goes i wanted to make it more powerfull so I laminated a piece of bamboo on the back so hopefully that should add some power.
Also there is such a thing called a "board bow" and can be constructed from an ordinary 2/4 but MUST have a backing otherwise it will just snap. As far as tools go invest in a good 10$ Mora knife they are they best knives I have used for whittling, have a good reputation, and also are very affordable.


http://books.google.com/books?id=dQT9krc53isC&pg=PA269&dq=traditional+archery&hl...    Starting at page 195 they talk about making bows from cracked and knotted wood and even wood with big holes in it ! So I figured this should help you out some
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« Last Edit: Nov 5th, 2010 at 8:16am by Dan »  

I was pretty good at slinging like 10 years ago.
 
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Bikewer
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #5 - Oct 31st, 2010 at 4:24pm
 
Knots can be coped with , but require special treatment.  Osage is notorious for having knots, and you have to leave plenty of material around the Knot...Leaving it reinforced.
A deep knot that goes well into the wood.... I fear nothing will save such a stave.

"Board" bows are relatively easy to construct, I've done several.  However, "an ordinary 2X4" is NOT what you use.    Pine is a particularly poor bow wood.
Normally, the choice for hardware-store lumber is oak.  Second would be maple, and ash is a possibility if your stores have it.

The trick is finding a board with the right grain structure.    You are unlikely to find a perfect board to work with, but it doesn't hurt to look.  If the grain is OK but less-than-perfect, a backing can be applied.    Silk or linen works well... My silk-backed oak bow still shoots fine.  I used a couple of old silk neckties from the Goodwill.
All this will be covered in your books; the first volume of the bowyer's bible will cover this in detail.
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #6 - Nov 1st, 2010 at 3:44pm
 
[quote author=Bikewer link=1288530295/0#5 date=1288556687]Knots can be coped with , but require
"Board" bows are relatively easy to construct, I've done several.  However, "an ordinary 2X4" is NOT what you use.    Pine is a particularly poor bow wood.
Normally, the choice for hardware-store lumber is oak.  Second would be maple, and ash is a possibility if your stores have it.
[quote]

Thank you bikewer for informing me I have yet to make one but what you say makes a lot of sence, I had forgotton about various wood density structure , and how important it is in bows.
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I was pretty good at slinging like 10 years ago.
 
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Key
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #7 - Nov 1st, 2010 at 8:15pm
 
What is the importance of letting wood season?And how long does it take?
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #8 - Nov 1st, 2010 at 8:52pm
 
When you let wood "season", you are letting it dry completely out.  If the cells still have moisture in them, when you bend the bow, it will not be as elastic as it would be if it were dry.  Also, the cell walls are not as strong, the cells will chrysal or crush, the bow will be weaker and will break. 

Go ahead and make the bow.  Most beginning bowyers, me included, break the first several bows they make.  It helps if you can sit down with someone who has made several bows.  Go to the Primitive Archer site, they can answer any question you can ask.  There are people with all levels of experiance there, some are not as far along as you.  Bill
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Key
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #9 - Nov 1st, 2010 at 9:03pm
 
Thanks Bill
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #10 - Nov 1st, 2010 at 10:27pm
 
Concerning the video you posted a lot depends on the wood. Try doing that with osage, elm, hickory or any other wood with interlocking grain and it won't look so pretty.  So the type of wood matters as does the shape it's in. Your stave looks particularly difficult for a beginner. I second the board bow idea. Great way to learn the basics and not get overwhelmed.
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #11 - Nov 3rd, 2010 at 6:39pm
 
I got my books today.the seasoning process takes at least a year! Any suggestions?What is a board bow?Also how did you all learn wood identification?
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #12 - Nov 3rd, 2010 at 6:49pm
 
Key you'll find in bow making there are a lot of rules and a lot of ways around the rules. You can season a stave very quickly if you want to. Within a week or two. You can also season them over a matter of years. It just depends on the process you follow.

A board stave is just a board that has grain suitable for bow making. Your looking for grain that runs the whole length of the board. Simple as that. If you go to your local lowes or home depot just check the section with red oak boards and look for one that has the grain you need.

www.georgeandjoni.home.comcast.net/~georgeandjoni/boards.html

If you have a hard wood lumberyard in your area that would be a good place to check as well.
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #13 - Nov 3rd, 2010 at 7:19pm
 
Key wrote on Nov 3rd, 2010 at 6:39pm:
I got my books today.the seasoning process takes at least a year! Any suggestions?What is a board bow?Also how did you all learn wood identification?

Red Oak has a pinkish tinge to it, but more importantly Lowes puts a sign next to it that says "Red Oak." Wink I've never made a bow, ever. But if I wanted to build something out of wood with the highest strength possible and the least chance of splitting when bent then this is what I'd look for (in order of importance):
  • no knots
  • straight grain, not slanted to the side
  • Straight board with no warping, or the least possible warping
  • 1 single color of wood on the board

Knots are hard to work around, and the wood near a knot is weaker. When the grain of the board is slanted to one side the board is more likely to split  when flexed. Warped board can be straightened to a degree, but you want to start with the straightest possible board before straightening. Heartwood, which is at the center of the tree, behaves differently when flexed than outer wood. Having one type isn't really important, but the different behavior in flexion can lead to different properties when aged. Advanced bowyers can take advantage of heartwood and use it to make the bow perform better, but it'll take you a while to be that good of a bowyer.
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Pikåru wrote on Nov 19th, 2013 at 6:59pm:
Massi - WTF? It's called a sling. You use it to throw rocks farther and faster than you could otherwise. That's all. 
~Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily avialable, they will create their own problems.~
WWW elsabio04  
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Re: Making my own bow
Reply #14 - Nov 4th, 2010 at 8:13pm
 
Morphy wrote on Nov 1st, 2010 at 10:27pm:
Concerning the video you posted a lot depends on the wood. Try doing that with osage, elm, hickory or any other wood with interlocking grain and it won't look so pretty.  So the type of wood matters as does the shape it's in. Your stave looks particularly difficult for a beginner. I second the board bow idea. Great way to learn the basics and not get overwhelmed.

X2
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