I decided to put the bends in to deflex the handles... now this was always an accident waiting to happen, but I chose to ignore the warning voice in my head and plough on regardless.
Why was it an accident waiting to happen?
1. On this scaled down bow, to make the bend look noticeable it would need to be slightly exaggerated and a fairly tight bend.
2. The notches for the nocks are already cut, providing a perfect weak point for a break.
Anyhow I got the first end jigged up, steamed and bent, nicely and then thought, maybe a little more bend... the wood had cooled a bit by then and CRACK!
Not too drastic just a crack on the back in the sapwood above the nock groove where there will be little force when in use, so it can be patched.
Just to prove I'm an idiot I did the second one, impatiently, (should have given it longer in the steam) CRACK!... that's funny, the first one did that!
Rest assured, you can kick me once, you may even kick me twice, there won't be a third time.
In retrospect I should probably have done it in a pot of boiling water, before the nocks were cut, and over a gentler bend.
Anyhow, being impatient, I pressed on last light cutting two sapwood patches and getting them glued so they could cure overnight...
All looking good this morning. Well one is a nice match where the sapwood is a bit darker at one end of the bow. The other end the patch is darker than the sapwood and I may overlay a second cosmetic patch of nice white sapwood.
I'd noticed that the string was cutting into the sapwood slightly and had wondered about a horn or antler overlay, but that would be too much of a leap from the original.
The pics show a random furry mammal inspecting the bent handles. The second pic shows a close up of the better matched one. Note the nock groove hasn't been re-cut, also the small pin knots in the patch, add a certain je ne sais quoi. You can also see I've shaped the handle a tad.
Well I'll have my tea and toast now and press on with the tillering...
(Exits left mumbling "don't screw up, don't screw up")
I've made a decent sting and shot a few arrows from almost full draw length, I've done some finishing and given it a quick wipe of Danish oil to see what it will look like.
Pic on the left shows the end of the handle, the nock groove and the signature knot which will probably take the place of the metal nail in the original.
Pic on right shows the central pith exposed near the centre of the bow.