Monday, 27 October 2014

Hedby Bow

I've picked up the Hedeby Bow project using a skinny Churchyard Yew stave.
I'm doing this by the seat of my pants (or experience as it's sometimes called) There is plenty of length of the stave (85") but some big knots. I though I'd run it through the bandsaw once I'd got an idea of a centre line (using string and chalk) and see how it looked.
This isn't a replica as I'm going to aim for about 45# whereas the original was probably over 100# and I'm not going to be hidebound by measurements. It's "in the style of" and will be dictated by the wood, which is, after all what making bows is about. One bow in a museum isn't an accurate representation of all the bows of that era. Just look at the variation in the Mary Rose bows.
Anyhow, I've got stuck in and run it through the bandsaw several times, homing in on what looks a sensible size and shape. I've then cleaned it up with my drawknife.
The big knot seems to sit about right for the top nock, leaving a deflexed portion above that which seems to be some sort of hand hold on the original. It's been cut down to 72" to put the knot in about the right place. (See right end of second pic). Still got plenty of length as it is to be a lady's bow.
Theories for this extra length vary from it being a lever to help stringing the bow, to it being a handle to allow the bow to be used as a ski pole. From a bowyer's perspective it doesn't make much sense (yet!) as it adds extra weight and length to that limb. I remember at one roving marks shoot being very dismissive of a bow made in that style which one of our party was shooting (me and my big mouth!)

I've left the bark on and it will pop off as it starts to flex. It's already flexing as I put one end on the floor and lean on it.
The other odd thing about the Hedeby bow is the iron (steel?) nail/rivet in the back of the bow a few inches below the top nock. Again there are theories as to what it was for.... maybe time will tell.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Del, never heard of a Hedeby bow, I will do some resurch, as allways very interested in your work especially this one. Brian.