Friday, 23 January 2015

Working Towards a Hazel Flight Bow

I bought a sheet of 18mm ply to use to make forms for bending the limbs of the proposed bow.
It will be based on the 35# Hazel bow
Oddly I don't seem to have a full draw shot of that bow. I laid it on an off cut of hardboard I had lying about (packing from a table we bought... I don't throw much away!) and pencilled along the bow at unstrung, braced and full draw positions.
What I'm aiming at is to build a bow with similar curves but curved the other way and in the reverse order!
So at unstrung the limbs will curve similarly to the full draw on the existing bow, but bending forwards rather than back. At full draw the limbs will be angled towards the archer but each limb will be relatively straight.
This sketch hopefully shows what I mean.
I claim no credit for the concept of a bow starting with recurve and pulling straight, it's what Hickman's original patent was about.
I'm actually not going for a completely straight limb at full draw. The limbs will hopefully uncoil from moderate recurve to a slight deflex curve approximately equating to the curve at brace on the existing bow. The tip movement from unstrung to full draw should end up the same as on the existing bow.
The trick thing will be to find the angle I need to mount the limbs at (The will be mounted onto a handle/riser block). This could be adjustable of course.

The whole point of basing it on the existing bow is to give some sort of comparison. The current bow is good, it has very little set and has survived being drawn to about 30" by Ruth Goodman, I'll be able to shoot them through the chrono for comparison and test them both with flight arrows.
Being just 35# should also give a relatively low stress on the bow.

I'll steam bend the recurve into the limbs and model them closely in thickness and shape to the existing bow. If it doesn't explode it will be interesting to see how far a 35# wooden bow can lob a flight arrow.

Regarding steam bending I found a nice article/booklet by Veritas.
It suggests that steaming works better with green wood, or wood that is "on it's way down" in moisture content, which is exactly how my Hazel is. I shall press on and get bending.

The Cherokee bow now has a decent string and has shot a few arrows. It performs pretty much like a 50# longbow. It was ok with my standard arrow but was smoother with the 11/32" shaft ones.
I'm hoping to finish it with a cord or leather thong grip and some Turkey feathers for decoration, I might do a paint job the back too. It will be fun to take it to the next NFAS open shoot and shoot it as primitive. I'll post pics when it's done... Oh, that reminds me I was hoping to get a full draw shot today, too late now it's dark out.

Seasoning Progress:-
I've weighed the Hazel warbow stave, it's lost 2 lb in 9 days. I'll give it another week and maybe reduce it some more or bring it in doors  (or both!)


  1. Hi Del
    Are you going to glue the limbs to the handle block or what do you have in mind there.

  2. Not entirely sure yet, I'm thinking glue, with maybe some sort of back overlay, or tapered peg through the butt of the limb into the block as a reinforcement.
    Hoping to get the limbs steamed today, then I'll be able to look at the geometry. They'll need some more seasoning time too.