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Bow form question

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Bow form question

Postby Iktomi » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:47 am

After many years and several hundred wood bows, I'm gonna make the leap to building some glass lam bows. I gotta question about forms though. I am going to make my first form here from MDF, as I doubt that I'll do more than a couple or three before I start making changes. MDF is good for precision and accuracy, if not durability, but anyhow....

Should I cover the press surface with formica? Some other material? If so, what is the best way to attach it to the MDF press surface?
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Re: Bow form question

Postby tjdeerslayer37 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:21 am

Formica on the side that touches the limb directly is a good idea. Ive always used contact cement for mine.
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Re: Bow form question

Postby Iktomi » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:59 am

Thanks Tj. The contact cement holds up well to the heat?
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Re: Bow form question

Postby tjdeerslayer37 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:14 pm

Ive never had one come off, pretty sticky stuff. I do believe I used smooth-on on my current form now that I think about it though. Its just what I had on hand.
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Re: Bow form question

Postby Crooked Stic » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:45 pm

MDF is not your best choice for a form. It dents easy and will swell with moisture and with multiple uses with the air hose may break on you. May be ok for proto typing but for a final form I would go with good plywood.
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Re: Bow form question

Postby Iktomi » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:07 am

This will be a prototype. I anticipate making changes and I don't expect more than 2 or 3 bows off this one at the most. It will be a fairly radical Asiatic type static intended to be shot with thumb ring. I've been shooting ring for a couple of months with a Korean bow, but the draw length is a bit short for me. High prices on quality bows of this type along with long lead time is forcing this insanity.

Here's a look at the template for routering the form. 56" NTN and 7" of reflex :) I'm either crazy or stupid or both :?

http://i1104.photobucket.com/albums/h32 ... rvmfj5.jpg
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Re: Bow form question

Postby Robertfishes » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:28 am

If the MDF form warps, swells or breaks then you would loose $ 30-40 of fiberglass plus tapers, riser and time. plywood or LVL might be cheaper in the long run. ..Lowes has 3/4 birch plywood for $50 and MDF for $35, I don't know how much LVL is. Sometimes I can get cabinet grade birch plywood from the cabinet shop by my house for $30 per sheet.
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Re: Bow form question

Postby Iktomi » Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:05 pm

So is MDF likely to cause problems right from the gate, or after a couple 3, 4 bows? I don't want to spend a lot on a form that may very well be used once. Since I'm a noob at glass, as well as this being my own design, I think it's likely there will be changes before I'm happy with what I make. If it IS good as is, great. I have my template that I can use to make a more durable form.
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Re: Bow form question

Postby tjdeerslayer37 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:20 pm

Okay soo all my bows, except the very first one, have come off mdf forms :? I personally think you'll be fine for the first one, or a few even. Just leave a little extra mdf above and below the center of the form for stability and go for it.
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Re: Bow form question

Postby Crooked Stic » Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:33 pm

Something you can do to make it stronger is glue and screw 1/4 plywood on the sides leaving it about an inch down from your profile surface. Then seal it with a cheap clear finish to ward off moisture. The down side is they get heavy.
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