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Old 12 February 2017, 22:34
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Primitive bowmaking

In some thread, a while back, there was a brief discussion of primitive bowmaking. Rather than go back and derail that thread, I figured I'd start one. Working on a hickory selfbow right now. Started with a split stave, and have mostly finished debarking. I'll have the cambium layer removed tomorrow, then it'll be time to split off the heartwood and rough out the bow.

I'll post pictures as I go.

stave.jpg

debarked.jpg
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Old 12 February 2017, 23:32
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This thread has my interest. Been thinking about a traditional bow. Please keep this updated.
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Old 13 February 2017, 00:32
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There are some good YouTube vids on how to make an English longbow. Please keep us posted. This looks interesting!
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Old 13 February 2017, 01:04
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Interesting project. Projected draw weight?
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Old 13 February 2017, 02:00
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BOFH. You are a trip. No one can accuse you of being boring. Interesting project and skill to develop.
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Old 13 February 2017, 02:42
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Yes! That's JUST what I need-- A new hobby! I wanna see the whole project. I can't wait to do this too. Ready, set, GO!
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Old 13 February 2017, 03:46
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I am also interested in seeing this project develop.
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Old 13 February 2017, 08:39
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Keep posting progress pics! I have been clearing some osage trees and i understand the wood is excellent for bow making. I am going to give it a go.
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Old 13 February 2017, 08:50
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Keep posting progress pics! I have been clearing some osage trees and i understand the wood is excellent for bow making. I am going to give it a go.
You can't go wrong with Osage Orange (Monkey-Ball) trees...one of the best types of wood for making a bow.
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Old 13 February 2017, 12:14
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You can't go wrong with Osage Orange (Monkey-Ball) trees...one of the best types of wood for making a bow.
Osage and yew are probably the best you can get, but pricey. If you are clearing your own osage, I certainly wouldn't let it go to waste.

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BOFH. You are a trip. No one can accuse you of being boring. Interesting project and skill to develop.
I sit at a desk 40 hours a week these days...gotta do whatever I can to try to stay in touch with my roots as a highly mobile apex predator :-D

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Interesting project. Projected draw weight?
I'm planning to tiller to about 75lbs, but that's dependent, to an extent, on what the wood wants to do.
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Old 13 February 2017, 12:44
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Weird. I just bought an Osage Orange board for another project at the house. Never even heard of that type of wood until yesterday, then see this post.
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Old 13 February 2017, 13:39
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I find this project fascinating, it prompted me to do a little research and I came across
http://www.makingtraditionalbows.com...a-longbow.html
I hadn't realised the complexity.
Thanks for raising my awareness.
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Old 13 February 2017, 14:37
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Originally Posted by maim View Post
I find this project fascinating, it prompted me to do a little research and I came across
http://www.makingtraditionalbows.com...a-longbow.html
I hadn't realised the complexity.
Thanks for raising my awareness.

For what it's worth, what I'm making is a "self bow," so no laminating. Later this year, I may do a sinew-backed longbow, but have never looked into a composite bow, like the article references.

This one will be a center-shot bow, which allows for a greater variety of arrow material to be fired, but decreases the power of the bow. For a working-handled bow, which will not be center-shot, the arrow material has to be selected as carefully as the bow material, so that the arrow shaft can flex around the bow and continue in a straight line. This is called the "archer's paradox," and makes for fascinating reading.
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Old 13 February 2017, 14:55
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In this really bad sumopaint drawing, the brown rectangle is the bow, the verticle black line is the string, and the offset black line shows the offset of the arrow due to not being center-shot. If your point of aim is straight ahead, this means that your arrow is actually pointing to the left of your point of aim, by some degree equal to the width of the bow. The archer's paradox describes the necessary flex of the arrow in order to literally bend around the bow and continue in a line directly forward.

Yeah...arrow makers actually have to be able to tune this flex based on individual bows. It's an art I haven't figured out yet, so I stick to center-shot for now.

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 13.52.05.png
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Old 13 February 2017, 15:15
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The only place I've ever bought osage orange (for tomahawk handles) has been at Dunlap Woodcrafts in VA somewhere. I wonder if they have pieces that'd be appropriate for a bow? They mostly do gunstocks and violin necks and other pretty specialized stuff.
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Old 13 February 2017, 15:39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X-rgr View Post
The only place I've ever bought osage orange (for tomahawk handles) has been at Dunlap Woodcrafts in VA somewhere. I wonder if they have pieces that'd be appropriate for a bow? They mostly do gunstocks and violin necks and other pretty specialized stuff.
They likely have, or could get pieces appropriate for a bow, but they would not be cheap at all. Bow staves are specially selected for their grain, and cured for 2-3 years. A hickory bowstave will typically cost about $90, and an osage or yew stave will be around $150. I bought my hickory stave from Pine Hollow Longbows in Van Buren, AR. He does sell osage staves as well. If you're looking to cut your own, I'd suggest spending a great deal of time studying the bowyer's bible first, and get a very good idea of what to look for in a stave...otherwise, it's a helluva thing to wait 2 years and make a bow that splinters under full draw.
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Old 13 February 2017, 15:54
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Heat gun and PVC pipe is all you need.

...........and apparently a neckbeard.

Seriously though this is really cool. I've heard of people making these things by themselves. It's really a lost art, IMO.
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Old 13 February 2017, 15:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X-rgr View Post
The only place I've ever bought osage orange (for tomahawk handles) has been at Dunlap Woodcrafts in VA somewhere. I wonder if they have pieces that'd be appropriate for a bow? They mostly do gunstocks and violin necks and other pretty specialized stuff.
In this area of Va. Osage Orange is still fairly abundant...the next time one is dropped I'll grab a few chunks to help you fellers out.
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Old 13 February 2017, 15:59
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it's a helluva thing to wait 2 years and make a bow that splinters under full draw.
I get it. After posting that last, I went looking for an osage bow blank. I found a company that wanted $200 for one.

I think my first few will be something very pedestrian-- The best materials don't count for much in the hands of a novice.
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Old 13 February 2017, 16:08
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I am extremely interested in this project. Keep us posted, as others have said.
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