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Archive for the ‘Laminated bows.’ Category

Linda’s bow on a loose string and self nocks at the start of tillering.

Linda’s bow is making good progress and is now at the tillering stage, nocks are already fitted and roughed out and the bow comes round to 28 inches easily, although I still need to loose nearly 10 lbs from the total draw weight.

The bow is going to be quite slender, a little ipé goes a long way it seems.

At 24 inches with roughed out nocks fitted.

I hope to finish tillering before Christmas and put the finishing touches to it early in the New Year.

I am so pleased with the wood from Hungary that I have ordered two more of these belly strips, I would like a heavier target bow myself and these strips are well up to the job. They will easily make up to a 60lb bow. That will be a project for the spring I think.

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I’ve been away for a week helping out with the arrival of a new granddaughter and after the rush to get ready for the Welsh Borders Shoot the break came at just the right time. However it took very few days away from the field and the shed to have me itching to start something new.

Turning down half inch shafts for quarter pound and livery arrows. Hector Cole heads and Hickory stave in the background.

Finding good quality wood is hard, just when you think you have cracked it the person you bought from last time is no longer stocking what you want, or the wood is now so expensive that you may as well buy a ready made bow.

You don’t have to research very much to realise that the better bow makers make their bows from a very small selection of timbers, they are tried tested and reliable, well as far as wood can be.
Lemonwood is almost a standard as a belly wood on a modern laminated bow with Ipé coming in a close second. Hickory is almost the default wood for a backing.

L to R Actionboo core wood, Ipe belly and Hickory back.

I was trying to find a supply of Ipé, which appears to be stocked nowhere apart from as decking in this country, when I stumbled across strips ready cut for belly wood at Flagella Dei in Hungary listed at only £9. Also listed was Hickory backing strips at £5 and actionboo core strips at £5. (Actionboo is a laminated bamboo composite, very bendy!) All this adds up to a grand total of £19 for enough wood to make a bow! The catch was that the postage for each bit was £16.50, but a quick e-mail had all three on their way for one combined postage charge of £16.50. Total to the door £35.50.
This is less than I would normally pay for the belly wood on its own and I would still have to go and collect it or pay a heavy carriage fee..

Linda’s Stave glued up next to a what is turning into a very heavy reflexed Hickory stave

The wood has arrived and looks fine, it is cut not much bigger than bow size so there is little to trim away, and it only took a little sanding to have it ready to glue up. I would think this combination would make bows up to about 60lbs draw weight. I am using this batch to make a light target bow for a lady at our local club and if all turns out well, and I think it will, I can see most of my wood for these style bows coming from Hungary.

So Linda your bow is under way, I’ve glued the stave up today and will unwrap and start to shape it next week.

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I had a great day shooting at Welsh Newton yesterday for my first EWBS shoot. Now I just need time for the aches, the pains and the stiffness, all caused by five hours of shooting what for me at least are heavy bows to subside.

The weather was perfect and unexpected for mid November as we observed a Remembrance Sunday silence before a three arrow volley at the first mark, a flag at the bottom of the sloping field.
Roving marks are something new to me and the challenge of the undulating ground and marks that invariably had a big tree or even a row of trees between you and them was a challenge to say the least. There was even one occasion when it was necessary to crouch down to get a view of a mark through a gap in the hedge before standing again to shoot uphill and almost blind over larger trees, aiming mostly from memory.

As my next arrow disappeared behind a large oak into a field that dropped away steeply beyond the second mark, I was glad that I had a good selection of arrows and selected a heavier one for my second shot, (two or three arrows only are shot at these marks, so there is little chance of correction)

The marks, I would think, were between 100 and 200 yards distance, with most I guess around 150 yards. Luckily I was feeling on top of my bamboo backed JB8 for this and managed to overshoot as many marks as I fell short on. Some times overshooting was to prove a good thing as on a couple of occasions the marks had been set close to a pond that could not be seen until close up to it.

The highlight of the day for me was a maximum score at a Welsh flag on a hill at around 120 yards. If you look carefully at the photo you can see familiar brown feathers in the foreground and also if you enlarge it another set by the dog’s front leg, this arrow was only 12 inches from the flag.

On the edge of some woodland we had several 3D targets set out including a pig, a pheasant, a fox, a wild boar and even a bear. Misses, and here there were many, meant that arrows embedded themselves in trees or disappeared into the brush and fallen leaves, not good with brown fletchings but I managed to come home with a full arrow sack.

The day finished with a chance to shoot the arrows, (2 standards, 2 livery, and 2 quarter pounders) that I had made this week, down the flight corridor. For this I used JB9 (bamboo not being allowed for historic arrows) and tired muscles objected to the heavier bow but I managed around 160 yards for standard, 140 yards for livery, and the quarter pounders just managed to clear the horse jumps we were shooting over in front of the shooting line to make about 100 yards.

By now the light was fading fast and with just about enough strength left to retrieve my arrows, I said goodbye to new friends, thanked my hosts Brian and Alistair and headed for home. More photographs can be found here:

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Much progress has been made over the last couple of weeks. JB8, on the left with the bamboo back, is now finished and being shot on our Saturday afternoon clout sessions.

The sight of the long fletchings on the heavy standard arrows arcing into the sky makes the aches and pains that follow for the next couple of days worthwhile.

JB9 on the right with the hickory back is ready for its first coat of varnish and weighs in a little heavier than its stable-mate, probably about as heavy as I am likely to be able to use, although only about 15lbs over the EWBS minimum draw weight.

Although I am working on a hickory self bow at the moment, my next big project is to build three warbows from wych elm that I have sourced from Daniel Taralrud of Norwegian Warbows.

Daniel can be seen demonstrating an unusual shooting technique with his 210 lbs wych elm bow here.

My staves from Norway should arrive around the end of the year.

Below JB 9 & 8.

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Now fitted with nocks and at full bracing height.

The bow is now fitted with it’s side nocks and strung at a full bracing height of 6 inches.

At 24 inches shown it has a nice shape which it keeps right round to full draw at 32 inches. Already it is reading 60lbs.

Once at full draw and 80lbs, there was no way I was going to stop and take another photograph, especially while I still had the cord pulling the pulley in one hand.

Now it’s just a case of polishing and varnishing needed to finish off. I’m also well on the way with a set of standard arrows

Coming round. At 24 inches.

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JB8 nearing bracing height

I started today by putting a long cord on JB8 (the bamboo backed warbow) and began to tiller. It did not take very long to get the curve fairly even and to reach bracing height.

Unfortunately this bow is almost 79 inches long and I had not got a bowstring to match.

So I decided it was time to stop putting things off and have a go at making a string myself.
I had bought a spool of B50 ages ago I thought I would give this a go before investing in some expensive Fastflight.

There is a very good youtube clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RvOwm4wnwU showing a string being made at DIY Archery, so I studied the jig being used and spent half an hour knocking up my equivalent for making a string with one loop. I like to use a bowyers knot it gives a little flexibility with the length.

My string jig loaded with B50.

After not a little frustration, aching fingers and lots of rushing upstairs to check the video I now have my very first Flemish twist bowstring and have been able to low brace the new bow and serve the string. Time for lunch.

My first flemish twist string

JB8 at a low brace, with newly made and served string.

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So far so Good!

JB, VII is finished and over a couple of sessions this week I have loosed 300 arrows with it. I was carefully listening for any cracking sounds as I was not completely happy with how the ipé belly from the old bow mated to the goncalo core. I had to prepare the surfaces by hand but all seems OK.

It’s quite a punchy bow but has settled down at slightly lower than I had hoped, it’s just a tad over 60lbs. Still that’s quite a step up for me.

In the other photo, resting on the tiller, is my first real attempt at a war bow. It’s long, 77 inches, has a lemonwood belly, opepe core, and a bamboo back that gives it a very chunky look. It’s at the floor tillering stage at the moment and the mating of the laminates on this stave look very good. They will need to be.

On the way back from Cornwall last week we were conveniently passing Martock on the A303, so I popped into Yandles.

Already well loaded up after our holiday, I managed to squeeze in, one very straight grained, 6 x 1.5 inch, hickory board and a 3 inch square length of pau amerello, a very good belly wood.

The stock at Yandles is always changing and you can go through all the wood youself picking out the pieces you think, (hope) will be alright. So now I have quite a bit of wood to play around with.

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My happy accident of a bow, hickory back, goncalo alves core, and ipe belly. Already sanded down, on the tiller and reading 70lbs at 28 inches.

I expect it to lose a bit over the first 100 arrows or so, but it should still end up a good 65 lbs. I have taken it to 29 inches for safety and it is starting to stack over that extra inch.

The ipé belly works well but I have lost two inches in length cutting the original nocks off. It is now 72 inches nock to nock.

It has just had its first coat of varnish to seal the wood as I am away next week. When I come back I will have to get on and make some heavier arrows for it, before starting the bamboo backed war bow which I marked out yesterday!

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Onwards.

Last weeks hiccup with it’s new ipe belly.

New tiller with hickory bow.

My trip up to DIY Archery was very worthwhile. I came away with two lemonwood belly staves and two opepe cores which I have glued up already. One has a hickory back and the other a bamboo one. I am told that these should make bows up to 100lbs so plenty for my needs.

I also got lots of tips and advice from Steve regarding arrows for EWBS and what happens on their shoots.

I decided to use an ipe self bow that I no longer use as a belly for the bow that had the hiccup last week. I have taken the goncalo alves down to core thickness and added the ipe as a belly. The glue lines are not as good as before but I think it will make a reasonable heavy trainer.

The rest of the time has been taken up building a new tiller to make working with heavier bows a little easier. I am limited for space, so this was the only place I could build it

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Ooops!

Everything was going too well! The laminating has held up OK! The side nocks were fitted and stringing was no problem with the string sitting right on the wood which is exposed on these as on the Mary Rose bows.

Tillering up to bracing point went well. At fourteen, sixteen and eighteen inches all still looked well. At twenty two inches the bow had a good shape and was only needing a very light scraping here and there to keep the curve even. At this draw it was pulling fifty pounds and looked on course for around 75 at thirty which was about what I wanted.

Then two thin compression cracks appeared on the high part of the belly at about mid limb, you can see one by the red arrow in the photo. It’s no good pushing it any further, but it’s not total loss.
I think I can take the goncalo down to core thickness and add a lemonwood belly to it.

So tomorrow I’m off to Steve Stratton’s diy-archery for two lemonwood staves and a core of another hardwood he has recommended. This should leave me with enough components to finish three bows plus an almost unlimited supply of goncalo alves cores.

I weakened and asked Steve if he had any English yew staves but luckily he only had one and he was not selling it.

I won’t buy a pacific yew stave, I won’t. I’ll keep telling myself this until I get back home tomorrow.

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