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Bow from a branch

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Bow from a branch

Postby rgibula » Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:26 pm

I have had feelers out for a piece of local serviceberry for a long time and I finally got one. This is supposed to be a very hard wood and was used by native americans for bows.

Whatever wood I use, however, I am worried how to cut it. This is a branch, about 5 feet long and just over 2 inches thick. It comes in a natural curve. I think that the shape would allow for a natural recurve shape.

The problem is that it's a branch. It does not have flat grain areas. If I cut out the center, the grain will be 90 deg from what you normally use for a selfbow. I could cut an edge off and leave a D-shape where the grain will be as flat as it can be, making the most curved part be the back of the bow.

Does anyone have experience making a bow from this size of wood and will reinforcement be necessary?
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Re: Bow from a branch

Postby marc » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:15 am

I moved it to the bowyers gallery where you will get more visibility from the guys that build bows.
"There is a fine line between tough and stupid and I think I found it" Ken Rohloff
"I'd hit that, with my truck" Ken Rohloff
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Re: Bow from a branch

Postby rgibula » Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:24 am

Thanks
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Re: Bow from a branch

Postby rgibula » Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:51 pm

Maybe a few specifics would help:

Should I split the branch now, or after its dry?
Should I pull it with the existing curve, like some websites say, or should I string it from the convex side and make it like a recurve?
Should I cut it in half first to reduce the chances of splitting incorrectly, then shave off the excess, or just try to split it the whole way?
Should I leave it as a D-shape or trim the back flat?
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Re: Bow from a branch

Postby superkodiak38 » Sun Dec 21, 2014 11:58 am

I don't know much about Serviceberry I would think you would let it dry, peel the bark and leave the back intact then start reducing it while exercising it. If you split it I don't think your going to get much weight out of it. Also unbacked it's going to have string follow so I would say holding it in your hands I would want the curved ends facing away from me giving it some natural deflex. I have a copy of the Traditional Bowyers Bible somewhere if I come across it I will let you know what it says on Serviceberry.
When you take your kid hunting and he says thank you and tells you how much he loves being in the woods with you, your day just isn't going to get any better than that.
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Re: Bow from a branch

Postby rgibula » Sun Dec 21, 2014 12:28 pm

Thanks for your help. Serviceberry is so hard, I cannot bend a 1 inch branch by hand, even green. Given that is it 2 inches thick, I feel bad if I throw half of it away, but I would rather do that than wreck it.
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Re: Bow from a branch

Postby superkodiak38 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:57 am

Here is what I could find: Peel it, saw it, don't split it or you will get twist. It is a white wood, so leaving the back intact is probably a good Idea and sinew backing is too if it comes in light. Some recommend clamping it into a caul or to a board to dry to keep it from twisting. Wish I could tell you more, post some pics and tell the tale when you do the build ;)
When you take your kid hunting and he says thank you and tells you how much he loves being in the woods with you, your day just isn't going to get any better than that.
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Re: Bow from a branch

Postby rgibula » Mon Dec 22, 2014 8:33 am

Thank you, that is very helpful.
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