Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Working on the Hazel from early August.

The Hazel I harvested on August 6th has been drying nicely, the log was sawn in two with the best half with the flattest crown retained for a big wide flatbow. The other half was sawn to give two quarters, one of these has been roughed out and seasoned quicker on a warm radiator in a spare room. Hazel seems to respond well to this treatment without warping, or cracking.
I've marked it out as a bow about 60" long, it was going to be 2" wide near the grip tapering straight down to about 1/2 an inch.
The grain runs at a very slight angle so I've move the centreline of the bow to compensate and keep it as straight as possible, this lost a little width, (it's about 1.75" now) so it will be a good bit slimmer than my trusty old 'bark on' Hazel bow (more pics of that bow on my website).
I intend to heat treat it so the reduced width and consequent increased thickness hopefully won't lead to excessive set.
I'm aiming at nominally 40 pounds at 28" . As the bow will be pretty short I might see if I can get it to flex through the handle (which would be very tricky), or at least have a very minimal grip to maximise the working limb length. I'll be aiming for a nice full arc of a circle tiller shape at full draw.
This will be a new bow shape for me, I shall keep the underbark surface as the back or the bow and have a flattish belly (I won't decrown this one).

The stave has a slight reflex at the moment, doubtless it will lose this during tillering, contrast this with the Hazel flatbow which has followed the string (31/4") and needed that mug put under the grip to support it for the photo. It will be interesting to contrast the two when it's finished.
The Hazel is a joy to work compared with the hard intransigent Ash of the last flatbow (talking of which, I must sew the leather grip back on).
I've done all the roughing out with my axe, then a spokeshave, it's cuts fine and clean, there is a little tearing at knots or when running against the grain but it's more like slicing a nice firm cheese...mmmm that's making me hungry now.
There are some fine streaks of the cambium layer still on the back of the stave, some of these are in fine grooves in the wood surface. I may leave them in the finished bow, I'll see how it scrapes and sands down.


  1. That hazel stave looks like its going to be a nice bow; I reckon it would fare very well and find conditions favourable indeed in the coastal climate of the North West. Around the coastline of the Wirral, say. . .

  2. Indeed, let's hope it turns out to plan :).