Bamboo Longbow Question.

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albatross

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I am thinking of building a longbow using 'Vertical Bamboo' flooring.

The only length I can get is 960mm (0.9M) which is 37". This means there would have to be a join in the handle region.

Would this work?

If you have made a similar bow. Have you any advice, as I have never made a bow from scratch.

How would I calculate the recommended draw weight? I currently draw 36lb on my recurve.

Dennis
 

WillS

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I've never worked with bamboo, (Del might spot this and give you some more advice as I think he's used it as backing laminations before) but I know a couple of things that might help.

I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain bamboo flooring is pretty useless for making bows. It might be fine for the belly, but because it's planed and planked the back will be severly violated which is the first rule of bowyer club - keep the back one continuous set of bow-length fibres.


Splicing two pieces in the middle is (in my experience) bloody tricky. At least, I know I can't do it (and I've ruined 5 almost perfect English yew billets trying...!) but you might have more luck with flat planked materials.


If I were you, I'd go one of two ways - use the bamboo as belly laminations (it'll be superb for this) and use something full length as a backing. Not only will this avoid the risk of violated growth rings on the back, but it will also give strength to the center splice by being glued over the top. Or, your other option is to leave the multi-lam, spliced construction alone until you've got your head around basic bow building. Use something like ash, oak, hickory or maple board from a timber supplier, or even better get yourself a good long hazel, holly or yew stave and use that.


That's not to say your bamboo idea won't work, I just know I wouldn't try it without having learned how to tiller well first. Definitely make sure you use a backing lamination if you go for it though.


Best of luck, hopefully somebody will come along and give some more refined help as I've never worked with bamboo.
 

albatross

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Thanks for that advice. I suppose I could use a full length of bamboo for the back.

I have just noticed on eBay. A laminated longbow stave for ?34.00 + postage. That may be a safer option.

Dennis

P.S. I just thought. Perhaps I could make a 'Flat bow'. I just wanted to have a go at 'Bare Bow' target shooting.
 

Egstonvonbrick

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A few of the boo backed bows i have seen have been spliced and bound - with resin soaked stuff... bit disapointing... and not for me... only noticed as the top seemed very similalr to the bottom and only confirmed when they went 'pop'... you can gues where! ;)
 

albatross

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Thank you for all the replies.

I have just ordered the '5' laminate bow stave I mentioned earlier.

I shoot 36lb recurve. Has anyone a suggestion as to the draw poundage I should be aiming at for this longbow (assuming I don't screw it up tillering)?

Dennis
 

Egstonvonbrick

New member
If you are a 'normal' human male I'd aim for between 45# to 55#.
But if this is your first bow then I'd aim for a working well tillered bow above desired draw weight!
Good luck!
Cheers
Ev
 

WillS

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5 laminations is insanity, and IMHO purely aesthetic - once you're past 3 the extra laminations give you no advantage, and possibly a disadvantage due to the amount of extra glue. That being said, there's a good chance the extra laminations are all in the handle - is this the case?

If so, make sure you design the appropriate bow - a classic longbow won't work as you'll have a great lump of wood in the middle, so you'll have to go for an American style longbow (ALB) or a hybrid Victorian style thing.

Stick some pics up when it arrives, that'll provide more answers! If the lams are full length, you'll probably end up losing one or two as you tiller it, and there's a good chance the bow will be massively heavy if it's got 5 separate pieces of wood all glued together. I'd do as Ev suggested and aim for somewhere around 45 - 55# and if it's your first bow you'll likely end up somewhere near 30# which will be shootable considering you're used to a 36# recurve.
 

albatross

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It's due on Tuesday. I will take some pics and post them. This is the pic that appeared in the advert.

LB Stave Pic.JPG

I thought. At that price if I mess-up it wont be too much of a catastrophe.

Dennis
 

WillS

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Looks nice. At least some of the lams are in the handle. I've heard really good reviews of that eBayer so you should be in luck! Take your time, measure twice cut once and all that.
 

Ryan69

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Hi Albatross
A good site to look at is Poor Folk Bows by a guy called Sam Harper.He uses Bamboo flooring and slats to make some pretty nice looking recurves and he does a good build along too.A while back I bought some instructions on how to build an all bamboo reflex/deflex bow from Rudderbows in the US but the bow didn't turn out as good is I'd like due to me clamping the limbs too tight and damaging the bamboo ,I would have been a good bow otherwise.
Splicing the boards isn't the difficult especially if its in the handle as it's all gonna be glued together anyway and pretty stiff if it's a non bending handle,just use a butt splice or a fish tail splice(see TTbb vol 1).

Richard.
 

Yew Selfbow

Active member
Albatross
...just my two bobs worth. Bamboo bows made from flooring can make pretty decent bows. You have to be careful to stagger the splices a little and make each splice at least 6 inches in length. Gluing needs to be done with care and prepping the surface is also very important.
 

albatross

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I have purchased one of those 'longbow laminated staves'. It arrived today.

For the money, it's acceptable. However. The diagrams that came with it are form 'Popular Mechanics 1941'!

The drawing of the 'longbow' cutting dimensions is a photocopy of a hand drawn (pen and ruler, not CAD) diagram, and frankly not of the highest quality more like a workshop sketch.

Having looked at the stave for an hour; I an undecided as to make it into a 'Flat Bow' rather than attempt a 'Long Low' with it. This will be good practice for when/if I decide to make one. I'll have a look around the www for some ideas.

Here are some pics of the stave.

End.jpg Full Handle.jpg Grip End.jpg Half Stave.jpg


Dennis

@Richard. Thanks for the link. He looks as though he knows what he is doing (unlike some of Youtube).
 

WillS

New member
That looks bonkers. They're not even tapered. I would also worry about the mid-length lam next to the handle lam. Looks like it'll give a risky edge halfway along the limb as it's tapered out when tillering.

A flatbow design will end up removing most of the lams so you'd get more for your money making a longbow but it's not exactly optimum conditions. Will be great for learning on though, I can't imagine it will be a waste of your time or money. Best of luck, make sure you post lots of pics and ask loads of questions!
 

albatross

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Well I bit the bullet this afternoon. I downloaded an eBook 'making traditional Bows'. After reading it I decided to use dimensions provided in it to make a laminated long bow. The drawings were much more detailed than the ones supplied with the stave.

After a couple of hours with a power plane I have arrived at the 'Roughing Out' stage. I will attack it (Gently) with a belt sander tomorrow to get smoother profiles and maybe start tillering.

Roughout Back.jpg Roughout Belly.jpg Roughout Side.jpg

Here are a couple of pics I took of it.

Dennis

@ WillS. I sure hope I am not wasting my time. At my age I don't have that much left!
 

Del the Cat

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Step away from the power tools! Keep your hands where we can see them.
You need to see how it's flexing now. Do you have some sort of tiller rig and scale so you can measure draw weight?
If it takes less than a day to tiller it, you are going too quick.
It's very easy to take off too much and to start 'finishing' a bow before it's even tillered.
Del
 

albatross

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Step away from the power tools! Keep your hands where we can see them.
You need to see how it's flexing now. Do you have some sort of tiller rig and scale so you can measure draw weight?
If it takes less than a day to tiller it, you are going too quick.
It's very easy to take off too much and to start 'finishing' a bow before it's even tillered.
Del
Thanks for the advice Del. I am only going to use the sander to remove the couple of rough surfaces where I could not get at with my plane such as the fades areas. I intend to do the rest with a cabinet scraper. I will probably use a router with a small round over bit to remove the sharp outside corners. I will start building a tillering rig tomorrow. Then all I have to do is take my time. I'm not in any rush.

Dennis
 

Ryan69

New member
I am thinking of building a longbow using 'Vertical Bamboo' flooring.

The only length I can get is 960mm (0.9M) which is 37". This means there would have to be a join in the handle region.

Would this work?

If you have made a similar bow. Have you any advice, as I have never made a bow from scratch.

How would I calculate the recommended draw weight? I currently draw 36lb on my recurve.

Dennis
I've made a flatbow with a bamboo back and vertical bamboo flooring planks. It came out very spongy. I'd suggest putting in a wood core to get some sort of springy-ness into it.
 

albatross

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I've made a flatbow with a bamboo back and vertical bamboo flooring planks. It came out very spongy. I'd suggest putting in a wood core to get some sort of springy-ness into it.
Thank you for the reply. I have since made a 'proper laminated' longbow.
 
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