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Thread: Splinter on yew longbow sapwood.

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    Splinter on yew longbow sapwood.

    I have just finished a yew self-bow and have shot it for the first time today. All went well but I have noticed a splinter rising on the sapwood back. The sapwood was quite thin and in places the heartwood comes though in other parts along the back, so the bow looks a bit of patchwork. Is this a result of the sapwood not being continuous and will it keep reoccurring?
    Any ideas would be welcome.

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  3. #2
    It's an X Del the Cat's Avatar
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    Yew sapwood needs to be a consistent thickness... it isn't necessary to follow a growth ring on the back as it is with some woods (Osage), but you need a smooth even layer with no discontinuities (about 4mm thick). If it is a small localised problem you may be able to patch it, if the whole back is iffy, it may be easier to rasp/plane the back down flat and glue on a backing of 1/4 sawn Ash or Hickory. or a backing of Bamboo or maybe Hazel.
    This sort of job is tricky and requires patience, but it is a good learning exercise and can produce a long lasting repair.
    It may be possible to do a repair by binding the area with fine linen thread and then touching it with low viscosity superglue (available on E-bay) this will wick into the thread and make it V solid and strong.
    There are plenty of examples on my blog (Bowyers Diary) is you search for back patch. backing a bow etc.
    This post shows a tiny crack in the back of a bow which I repair, (detailed in subsequent posts)
    https://bowyersdiary.blogspot.com/20...busy-time.html
    The back of a bow needs to be good and clean as it's the back that stops it exploding... if the belly fails you will just get a lot of set or compression fractures (chrysals), but it will still shoot... if the back fails... BOOM
    Del
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    I have managed to sand the small splinter out and will see how it goes. I have given it hell on the tiller and it seems ok so far. Will give it hell today again. Just a point you may be able to answer, this is the third yew bow that I have made the sapwood on this stave was very brittle unlike the others have you come across this? Alan

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    Yes...
    Sapwood should feel waxy and smooth. To use a cheese analogy, sapwood is like Edam, whereas heart wood is like dry old Parmesan that
    Any hint of dryness, crumbliness or discolouration in the sapwood is very suspicious and it's probably worth cutting it off and backing the bow, although it will probably be ok a low target bow draw weights.
    The big problem is people cut timber and then let it lie on the wood land floor where rot can set in within days, they also store it on the ground with a trapaulin thrown over it which is a recipe for rot. To season wood it needs to be off the floor with good airflow round it.
    Del
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    Could I use fibreglass tape or another medium to back it?

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    You could... but why would you want to put a modern material on to a Yew bow?
    In addition to the suggestions I have already given, you could back it with silk or linen fabric, or rawhide.
    Del
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