Knots on the back



New member
May I ask a question to the assembled bow-makers out there (especially Mr D Cat I suspect, on this subject. I hope you are out there, sir)?

I have made quite a lot of longbows, mostly laminated (due to cost/availability of wood), but a fair few self-yew as well, but I have a stave now with something I've not dealt with before.
The belly side is OK, a couple of knots but nothing unusual or very awkward, the sapwood is a bit thick so I may have to reduce it, but there are a couple of knots in the sapwood on the back, not gigantic but bigger than just a small pin ( a bit of severed twig sticking out of a small hole).
I was going to widen the back at that point, so that the fibres 'flowing' around the knot aren't severed, and maybe, if the sapwood is thinned, leave a little extra wood on the knot.
Has anyone done this, does it work, is there some other brilliant idea I haven't thought of, or would I be better just flattening the nocks and putting a rawhide back on?

Del the Cat

Well-known member
Yup, I'm here, lurking in the undergrowth :)
Sounds like you have exactly the right idea, respect the flow of the sapwood leave a little extra width. :)
I always pick out knots if they are anything other than rock solid, sometimes you find pockets of manky wood going deeper than expected.
I recently finished a Yew primitive that needed a lot of knots plugging and also had some missing sapwood where a crossing branch had chaffed.
Pics here:-


New member
Thanks, for the encouragement and the speed with which it arrived.
My knots look quite like your one, next to the chafed area, maybe a little more oval. (NIce-looking bow BTW)
I've been trying to upload a photo of the relevant knots as an attachment, but it doesn't seem to work.

I did put the same query on Primitive Archer forum (in case you could not be found in the undergrowth), and the picture did work there -,63931.0.html