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Thread: Self yew longbow

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    In the Green
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    Self yew longbow

    I have a strait yew log with virtually no knots and plan to make a Victorian style longbow. This is my second attempt. The first worked well but did not last. My problem with this one is that the piece is only 2 1/2 inches in diameter. So the sapwood back.is rounded. I think I will need to reduce this so it is close to flat. The grain runs strait down the piece so once planed it will show vertical stripes.

    The question is will it be better to aim for a flat back or keep the rounded sapwood in tact?

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  3. #2
    It's an X Corax67's Avatar
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    Del should be along shortly - he is the main man for this question



    Karl
    I meant to do that - honest ! !

  4. #3
    It's an X Del the Cat's Avatar
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    Basic problem is the log (more like a branch) is too small for a Victorian style bow. It will certainly make a bow but it is more what I'd call a stick bow.
    Leave the back as is, unless the sapwood is very thick, in which case you can take it down with a spokeshave to about 3/16 -14" . Beware that if you try and make the back flat you'll end up going through to the heart wood, because on a small diameter the sapwood will wrap around the sides.
    The basic way to make a bow from a small diameter log is to chop away the belly and sides... you may even end up with the central black pith of the log showing in the belly.
    This post from my blog shows a rather extrme version of a "stick bow" to show the principal.
    https://bowyersdiary.blogspot.com/20...stick-bow.html
    Del
    Health Warning:- These posts may contain traces of nut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Del the Cat View Post
    Basic problem is the log (more like a branch) is too small for a Victorian style bow. It will certainly make a bow but it is more what I'd call a stick bow.
    Leave the back as is, unless the sapwood is very thick, in which case you can take it down with a spokeshave to about 3/16 -14" . Beware that if you try and make the back flat you'll end up going through to the heart wood, because on a small diameter the sapwood will wrap around the sides.
    The basic way to make a bow from a small diameter log is to chop away the belly and sides... you may even end up with the central black pith of the log showing in the belly.
    This post from my blog shows a rather extrme version of a "stick bow" to show the principal.
    https://bowyersdiary.blogspot.com/20...stick-bow.html
    Del
    Thanks Del for your thoughts

    The sapwood is 1/2" thick all round the heartwood so I can shave off enough to make the back relatively flat. I thought this would put less strain on the back as all parts across the back would be stretching to the same degree unlike with a rounded back where the top of the round would stretch further than the edges.

    I am working to the dimensions given in Adrian Eliot Hodglin's book "The Archer's Craft" aiming at a 50lb bow and there will be enough sapwood and heartwood for that.

    In his book he mentions backing his bows with vellum. is this something you have tried?

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    It's an X Del the Cat's Avatar
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    backing a Yew bow which has a decent sapwood back with velum is a waste of time. I have backed a bow with rawhide to help strengthen it, which is ok if you have some unavoidable defect that needs strengthening, but even then I'd rather rasp off the problem area and back it with a nicely blended in slat of matching sapwood.
    One word of of caution... dimensions are only a guide, let your eye, hand and the wood dictate the curve of the bow.
    The hardest thing about bow making is getting your eye trained to see an even curve. So many people look without actually seeing, or knowing what they are looking for!
    Del
    PS. I've done a Youtube video series of an English Longbow build which may be of some use. You can ignore the first 2 parts and jump in here:-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8Oj...BT_mZB&index=3
    Health Warning:- These posts may contain traces of nut.

  7. #6
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    Thanks for the video link. I see what you mean about following the wood rather than imposing theoretical dimensions. My mistake with my first attempt was to be too hasty in taking up to full draw and firing. It had a good shape and shot well but the limbs had not been fully stressed worked. I will experiment with your more gradual approach and curb my impatience

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