Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Hornbeam Bow

A new project has got me excited, a guy just starting out in archery asked if I did cheap Ash longbows. Well the answer is no, but I asked if he might be interested in a Hornbeam primitive as I have a stave nearly seasoned and if he was willing to take pot luck we might strike a mutually agreeable bargain.
The Hornbeam is a bit knotty, (It's the bit cut last December 31st) and very teasing, the guy is tall with a long draw.
Now the problem is, if I make the bow long then I have to incorporate a couple of huge knots on one limb, but if I make it shorter, it will be under a lot of strain at 30 odd inches draw.
The other tease is the arbitrary and bonkers classification of 'longbow' by some archery societies. I think I may be able to make it meet the GNAS definition of longbow, whilst also meeting the NFAS definition of primitive! Maybe it will be a primitive longbow.
Anyhow, I spent a bit of time de-barking and roughing it out on the bandsaw.
As I've not used Hornbeam before it should be a good learning experience.
The other problem is the stave has a big lateral bend, which if placed in the grip area I can probably straighten with heat.

My rough game plan is a bow of about 5'9 -6'2" long, the back following the underbark surface of the log and the belly gently rounded, or squarish with rounded edges.
If the thickness is no less than 5/8ths of the width at any point and I put a bit of horn on the nocks it could be called a longbow by the GNAS. If I feel it needs more width I'll just call it a primitive.
As I'm having to heat it to straighten it at the grip I might also heat treat the belly.
I'll aim for about 45#at 28" 50#@31".
The back will have some nice character, so it may be a character longbow? Who knows, anyhow I've called what I'm aiming for, time will tell if I succeed.

I haven't really worked the wood yet, but I've alread noticed it has a nice smell when sawn, sort of sweet and nutty, slightly reminscent of a roast chestnut.

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