Monday, 28 July 2014

Maple Billet Sir?

A bowyer friend of mine was asking if I happened to have a chunk of maple.
Now I've never actually met Mike, but he's one of the guys who will give sound advice and an honest opinion. What I like most is we actually disagree about a few things too! We've never actually met as he's up in the Lake district.
Anyhow it's easier for me to take a few pics and  post 'em on the blog rather than trying send them in a private message on the Primitive Archer forum.
Not sure if it's big enough or straight enough. He wants it as core wood for a composite (horn, sinew) Turkish bow. Funny thing is, that's exactly what I'd cut it for in the first place many years ago (from a wind felled tree) it was for a bloke in Wales who never got back to me.
(BTW. Mike, I can sand down the end if you want a good look at the ring count, it's quite tight grain)

Other than that I've pressed on with the Yew stave I was working on Saturday, the back is roughly down to a reasonable sapwood thickness and I've worked it down enough to just flex. the dreaded pink blush raised it's ugly head on the side of one limb, as I worked it down it revealed a dead knot which had grown over, fortunately it didn't go too deep. I picked out all the dead wood and filled it with epoxy/Yew dust mix. Hopefully it will disappear by the time the bow is worked down.
I'm aiming to make it into a 90# bow for one of the guys at the club who is finding the 100# Elm bow just a tad much, he'd be ok if he was using it regularly, but the realities of earning a living get in the way the fun stuff. Oddly I offered to turn it into a 60# for a guy who has been pestering me for a Yew bow for ages... he declined!... That's 2 he's had the chance of, I don't think he'll get an third bite of the cherry when I have plenty of people wanting bows.

Maybe that sounds grumpy? Let me explain why...
I'm sitting working a stave carefully glued up from two billets to be as long as I can get it, now the wood at one end is twisting away so there is too much sapwood on one side and very little on the other, also the grain is swirly and knotty. At the other end there is a weird bit of heartwood and some pin knots so the wood goes heartwood, sapwood weird knotty heart wood, more sapwood and then the bark. This maybe where it was thinking of forking or whatever... The point is, I'm evaluating the stave and thinking of loosing maybe two inches of each tip. I'm weighing it up and thinking, this stave as a bit of natural reflex and some glued in reflex. It will have a stiff handle due to the splice (which actually looks rather good) it won't maybe be full warbow length, but it will suit a lower draw weight and shorter draw, say 60# at 28" giving a very punchy bow, which is what I've been repeatedly asked for.
Of course all this thinking isn't obvious to someone who just strolls up thinking that making a bow from a stave is like walking into Tesco and grabbing something off the shelf. People have so little appreciation of how things work.
How many people have the slightest idea about the workings of their car, or their mobile phone? even the humble toaster? Talking of which mine stopped working the other day and I bought a replacement. However I did dismantle the old one and trace the failure to a broken spring (a straight wire spring lever) which operates the switch which energises the solenoid which latches the thing down when you push the lever down.  Yes a spring, and that's what a bow is after all!
Anyhow enough ranting, I'll try and keep the stave full length and try to make it into a 90# bow that takes a full 32" draw.

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