It's true what they say...

PLEASE HELP TO FUND ARCHERY INTERCHANGE

Claxon

New member
You really should remove wood just a little at a time!

A while ago I promised my 3 year old that i would make him a bow when he was older. Big mistake! Since then he's gone on and on about it! So last week when we were out for a walk in the local woods I found a freshly fallen stick that I decided to take home to try to make into a toy bow for him (and practice my bow building).

I knew it would be tricky, because it had to be very light (so he could pull it, and also so that it cant throw sticks with any damaging force), and yet well tillered so that it wouldn't snap while he played with it. It was also my first attempt at a non-board bow (since I was 12 at least). To add to that, it was just a stick from the park. I couldn't identify the type (nothing quite like a challenge eh?)

Things were going so well! I had it shaped, with a non-bending handle and arrow shelf, but the tiller wasn't quite right. The fades on the top limb were too far along so it was too stiff and causing excessive strain on the rest of the limb. That meant I needed to remove a large amount of wood thickness. Despite all I've read, I thought "I'll just take it all off in one go, then check the tiller. It'll be fine!" *sigh* As soon as I checked the tiller again I speed a hinge right where I'd removed the wood. I tried to even it out, but it was no good. It snapped just as I was about to call it "done".

Here's a few before and after pictures:





R. I. P
 

Del the Cat

Well-known member
Yup, light weight bows are harder than say a 40# bow.
That looks like the ones I made when I was a nipper... same result too !
Shame...
better luck next time.
Del
 

Claxon

New member
Yeah, I must admit I got a little carried away with it. My original intent was to find a bendy stick, file some nocks onto it and add a string (like the ones I used to make as a child), but I ended up "shaping" the limbs, and then eventually going all out with the draw knife. Either way it was a fun project, if a little disappointing in the end. I get the feeling I'm going to get plenty of practice to get this right as the questions aren't going to just stop. :)
 

Corax67

Well-known member
Looks like you will be stick hunting again soon - disappointing tnat the first attempt broke but it looked really nice. look forwa to seeing the next attempt.


Karl
 

Del the Cat

Well-known member
If you can find some Hazel and cut a few staves say about 2 or 3 fingers width, put 'em somewhere warm dry and airy. They will season in about a month., Or rough 'em out and they'll season in a couple of weeks.
Much better chance of success with seasoned wood. Problem with green wood... it will make a bow, but it will break later when it dries out.
The bow needs to be long. About two and a half times the draw length. Making 'em too short is a common mistake, absolute minimum is twice the draw length.
Find your inner primitive man :)
Del
 

Claxon

New member
Thanks for the tip Del. The first problem I really have to solve, is this tree "identification thing". I'm pretty hopeless at it (and usually have little people shouting orders at me), so it helps to be able to know what to look for before I set off. I've actually got a few 6' long logs of silver birch in the shed that's been sitting there since christmas. A friend with a tree surgeon brother gave it to me for a craft project last year, and I ended up with rather more than I needed. The logs are all about 5" in diameter, so what I don't yet have is a sensible way to split it (the only thing I have is a hand saw). I've occasionally put hand axes or splitting wedges in my amazon basket, but never quite checked out. I'm very excited though because in a couple of months we're moving house from our small london terraced, into a large detached house near the peak district. I'm especially excited by the fast that it has a large garage, or as I like to think of it... workshop & testing range! ;)
 

Del the Cat

Well-known member
This may help.
Bowyer's Diary: Hazel Harvesting.
This time of year you may even see 'em with nuts on if the squirrels haven't eaten 'em all.
I think Birch will be ok for a low weight bow, but err on the wide and long side.
Hazel or Birch will split easily with wooden wedges, gotta get a small axe. I recommend the Bahco ones (cheapish but good quality steel)... mind you need an oil stone to sharpen it with too, most axes don't have a decent edge on 'em when purchased.
Large garage... excellent. It's great letting a workshop evolve. I could do with more room, but heart bleeds for those who have no facilities at all.
Del
(I've got the Bahco HGPS-0.6 - 360 not too heavy but still big enough to do serious hard work. The blade is quite slim too, some are more like wedges and you need to take off a ton of metal to get a decent edge)
 

WillS

New member
Birch will break your heart. It's useless! Unless you make it about 78" long and 2" wide you won't get a sausage out of it unfortunately.

It does however make stunning arrows.
 

Claxon

New member
Thanks for the tips, I read in TBB vol1 that birch was ok for bows, but it doesn't really elaborate.

Just been out on another woodland walk, but could find anyone answering to the name Hazel. :( Maybe I'll have better luck next time.

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WillS

New member
Oh it'll make a bow. Just not a pretty one.

You can make a bow out of pine or poplar as well, but they'll need to be so wide and so long that they're just daft.

That said, I know somebody over in Norway who got 110# out of a bit of pine, but then he's one of the best at doing the impossible...
 
I've made a couple of good bows from birch. You just have to understand the properties of the wood.
If you want a quick, easy and durable bow for your young 'un then go to the nearest garden center, buy a handful of garden canes 6 ft long.
Keep one full length, cut one at 5 foot, one at 4 foot, one at 3 ft, one at 2 foot. Find the center on them all and align them so the centers match. Then get some duck tape or similar and tape them all together, making sure you have any the 'ends' taped down. Bingo you have a 'cheats' bow that took 10 minutes to make and it will be as fast as a well tillered 'proper' bow. Honestly these bundle bows are the business for kids. I've even shot a round at my local field course and scored 632 over 40 targets.
 

Claxon

New member
I tried to show him that once and was told in no uncertain terms that it wasn't acceptable. :)

Whilst packing for our move I found some surgical tubing that I bought for my MK1 Cresting machine. I don't need it any more so might cheat and make something that is shaped like a long bow but doesn't actually bend, and use the highly elsatic tubing as the string.

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