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54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long (Pics added)

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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby Jumper » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:01 pm

Next you need to make your lamination layers. You will need a formula here. Experience is the only way that I know of to get your starting point. That is going to depend on the material you use for your laminating layers, the type of design you are attempting, and your limb design. It took me three tries on these kids bows with this new design to get close, so be patient. I also talked to a few other guys to get a good starting point. I highly recommend it.

Here is Tyler cutting flat grain Hardrock Maple that we will grind for his bow. Laminated layers (like Action wood or bamboo) are by far the best choice for your tapers but because of cost, we will be using regular old wood in multiple layers to get a better, more even limb action. I cut my stock 36” long and 1 1/5” wide about ¼” thick.

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Take a straight edge to make sure that the in-feed and out-feed tables are perfect before grinding laminations/tapers.

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Here you see Tyler grinding his tapers using our taper sled (platen) that is milled .002 per inch for 36 inches. You should get .072 per 36” length. Just grind them down to the thickness you need and make sure to have at least two layers to alternate the grain for a smoother and more consistent action in the limb. The more layers the better. More glue and harder to lay up, but more even and consistient limb action.

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I then taper the ends of my thickest layer to use on the back side of the bow during lay up as my continuous taper. Use your square to get them even.

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Glue them together with even pressure (use a scrap block) along a straight edge to ensure that the continuous taper will be straight to properly fit into the bow form later.

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After drying, use a sanding block to ensure that all residue is removed from future gluing surfaces.

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When I get in the mode, I go ahead and grind multiple tapers for use later. Your next bow will be much faster if you have a supply that is close to what you will need next time. Just grind a little to get exactly what you want when you are calculation the lay up for your next bow.

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Next it’s time to grind your veneers. We used Zebrawood for one bow and Lacewood for the remaining two. Grind them down as thin as you feel comfortable with. In this case we used .020 and .015 in the Lacewood because of its tendency to pop the glue along the grain pattern under the glass. Grind your power wedges at this time also. Since they will have to be paper thin on the ends, take your time and go slow. Measure the lengths that you will use and cut them. Taper and glue the handle/riser power wedge just like you did for the larger continuous taper.

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Measure your glass. Just because it says .040 on your order doesn’t mean that it’s .040 as you can see here. Adjust your target formula as necessary. Guestimate is the word that fits best here folks.

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Cut the glass and belly veneers to length and apply painters tape to the non-sanded side of all your glass. I use a carbide tipped blade for this no matter what saw I use (whichever is closest most of the time :? ) and make sure to go slow or you will tear fibers out of the glass.

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Lay all your materials out and measure it all again. Do your math again and then do it again. Yeah, it may seem redundant but you will find that it will make a difference.

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Lay everything out in order to make sure that you are ready to go before mixing any glue again. It does matter. Wrap your working surface in something to protect it and your materials. Any little chip on a surface can result in a void. Clean any oily wood with Acetone and a clean cloth. Follow the safety precautions on any chemicals that you use during a bow build. Some of it is bad stuff!

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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby Gino Bruno » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:04 pm

scott,

i love those in and outfeed tables on your drum sander!!!!!!
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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby Jumper » Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:11 pm

Jim, you nailed it bud! I use different pressure on the ruler ends to get the curve I want and then trace it. ;) Makes a pretty darn good looking limb profile too doesn’t it! Good ol’ redneck ingenuity at it’s best.

Gino, Yep Allyson got new wheels. I think it was some comment like "So it's fine if I drive a crappy vehicle in a hazardous arctic environment as long as your diesel is in great shape!?" You know you can't win a conversation like that and since I'm kind of fond of the gal, presto! a new Toyota 4Runner appeared in the garage. Now I wish that genie who made it appear would make the payment POOF! go away too! :cry:
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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby Jumper » Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:38 pm

Now we need to get started on preparing your bow press and the items needed to lay your bow up.

Pressure hose, pressure gauge, compressor or pressure source, heat tapes or hot box, extension cord, pressure strips (I use black .040 glass, some use metal or phenolic) of whatever materiel you have, weigh in here guys with advice please, plastic to protect the form and other items from excess glue, rubber gloves, adhesive, 1 ½” scrapers, plastic bowl to mix glue in, and Acetone to clean up with. I have probably forgotten something but you get the point. Have it all out and ready to hand. Now mark your press with critical spots like handle/riser center, limb tip string grove locations, and power wedge ends. You have to get these correct or your limbs will not bend properly.

I pressure up the fire hose the day prior and check it the day of lay up to make sure that it will maintain a constant pressure for the duration of curing time in whatever device you will be using to heat and cure your limbs.

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Here is the contact information for the manufacturer where I get my heat tape system. They have great prices and their heat tapes work great as long as you test them before you use them (You will see that I skipped this crucial step to my loss and stupidity) and use them properly.

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Place your heat tape on the form and your pressure strip on top of it. Note that in this picture, I have not slid the heat tape thermocouple up against the form yet. Tape them into place with whatever thin tape that you have available. I use 2” clear packing tape so that it will not leave an impression in the glass when the bow is finished. Place a plastic layer on top of that to protect everything. I got a roll of vegetable bags from the local grocery store and they are the perfect width for my presses.

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Glue time. I mix Smooth-On epoxy in a plastic container being careful not to scrape plastic off during the mixing process. MIX IT ALL THE WAY. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Apply it to all surfaces to be layered. Use the same process as you used for the handle/riser lay up.

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Make sure that all materiel’s are matched up at the ends and then start placing them on your bow press to the exact locations that you marked earlier. Take your time here, the epoxy will not set up fast and you have time to get it right. Get your limb tip wedges and power wedges set exactly. Use the thin tape once again to hold the handle/riser section down exactly where you want it. I also place a small curved block that I have previously fitted on the belly side (top of materiel’s in the press) of the handle/riser to create a smoother transition over the flat handle section when pressure is applied. Use painters tape on it so that it can be easily removed later.

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Place plastic on top of the final layers, again to protect everything from excess epoxy which WILL squeeze out when pressure is applied. Another pressure strip then heat tapes. Place the fire hose on that and then slide the upper portion of the press into place and bolt it down. You may need to squeeze the hose together where your steel straps come down when sliding the top of the press on. Don’t worry about this, it is normal. Turn your stops/limiters up at this point to make sure that all your materiel layers are straight in the press. You can see the fender washers that I use to hold my layers straight in the press when pressure is applied. Cut the finger out of a plastic glove and slide it over the meat thermometer before placing it in the middle of your laminate layers on one end of the bow or the other. This will keep you from gluing the darn thing in there permanently!

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Double check everything and then add pressure to the fire hose in stages. Give the materiel and adhesive time to settle. Continue to apply pressure at intervals until you reach the pressure you want. I use 90psi for my final pressure. In this picture you can easily see the curved block that I use on the handle wrapped in blue painters tape.

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Check everything to ensure you are ready, and then start applying heat slowly. Watch the Thermometer and get it set to your desired curing temperature. I use a final temperature of 150 degrees for 2 hours. Note the scrap materiel that I have clamped between the heat tapes at the end of the press to disipate excess heat.

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Just for your knowledge I will share a picture with you of a mistake I made so that you don't do the same thing. If you are using a heat tape system, the little bulge on the wire end of the tape is where the thermocouple is located. That thermocouple MUST be in contact with you laminate layers on the end of your press. If it is not and it is hanging down in the air, it will sense that the temperature is too low and it will continue to apply heat to attempt to maintain the temperature you have set on the digital controller. You should also check the accuracy of the digital controller PRIOR to use on a bow. In addition, you should place a piece of scrap materiel between the excess heat tapes sticking out of the other end of the press to allow them to dissipate heat and not transfer heat directly into each other. This is what happened to Tyler’s first bow with the Quilted Maple wedge. All because of my errors. Live and learn.

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Check the pressure and temperature during the curing process. Start your time after reaching optimal pressure and temp. After shutting the power off or removing the heat source from your bow heat box, allow the bow and press to cool naturally. I wait until the whole thing is below 80 degrees before starting to take everything apart. Now just reverse the process and take it apart.

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Here Tyler is getting ready to pull the bow off the press and things are looking good on this one so far.

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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby VRB » Thu Feb 19, 2009 7:09 am

Great build along!
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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby Jumper » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:31 am

It’s time to start actually seeing your bow come to life.

Mark where your limb tip grooves should lay before removing the bow from the press. Mark the limbs 1” past the string groove reference mark and cut the excess off.

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The limbs may have shifted ever so slightly in the press and you have to find the center of the bow. I have a highly technical tool to help me with this. A string with two brass pipe fittings tied to the ends. Shift the string back and forth on the limb ends until you have a straight line through the working portion of your bow. This may not be the center of your rough bow at this point. It will be anywhere on the surface where you can cut the profile of your bow out and while still having excess materiel on both sides. This will be a totally different process for a recurve bow which will have a much wider limb and involves repeatedly bending the limb to find where that individual limb will bend or flex in a straight line.

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I use a precut limb profile once the center of the bow is marked to lay out my initial bow profile.

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Cut the excess off OUTSIDE of the line using a carbide tipped blade. A regular blade will burn up pretty fast when you start cutting oily woods and fiberglass and phenolic. Leave the tape on throughout this process to help reduce the amount of fiberglass slivering on the edges. Take your time, this will also help reduce slivers.

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There must always be time to admire the evolving bow as you go. It feels great to see it coming to life. Tyler thinks it helps to pretend to draw the bow a whole bunch about now also. It helps it’s Mojo! :mrgreen:

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Grind down exactly to the line on the belt sander. Make sure to wear a dust mask or respirator so that you do not inhale fiberglass dust. Yeah, I know, I got in a hurry, which is the wrong answer. I hated to post this picture but it’s the only one I had. As a side note, I have a vacuum hooked to the sander with a HEPA filter to help reduce overall dust and particles. Use long even strokes on the sander so that you avoid taking notches out of your limbs.

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Remove the tape and see what you’ve got. Now we can start to see the beauty of the bow that you are making. Use Superglue to hold down or repair any fiberglass slivers that are present at this time. Mark where you will cut the shelf/window out. Take into account that the shelf will be slightly radiused/arced, and cut above that. We will take the excess materiel off later with a rasp. I cut mine just short of center and finish it to center later with the rasp also. Cutting too little out is much better than too much. Use caution. A note here. Multiple layers of hard wood, phenolic, or fiberglass, will improve rigidity which is crucial for your handle, so remember that when you design the handle in the beginning. Again, use Superglue to repair any fiberglass slivers.

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Limb tips are next. Measure and mark where the string grooves will go then mark farther down the limb whatever distance you will need for your limb tip re-enforcement materiel which will be your limb tips. Rough this area up very well. I use a rasp held on its side to make sure that I get well into the fiberglass for best adhesion. Notice that I am holding a vacuum to pull the fiberglass dust in.

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I have the unique ability to get Raindeer antler from Santa’s herd here in North Pole so Tyler wanted his limb tips made of their antler. I can only get a shed or two a year so we are careful how much and where we cut it. Use the materiel that is appropriate for the string materiel that you will use. This string will be B50. Fast-flight and similar strings will cut into a nock groove and also have increased shock, so take that into account. Grind it down to the correct thickness (I use 3/16”) and width. You can grind or file the ramp on it but remember, the finer the edge where it will meet the limb, the smoother the transition from the limb to limb tip will be. I like it paper thin just like my tapers.

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I use Superglue Gel to attach the reinforcement to the limb. Clamp it down tight. Use a C clamp if you want but make sure it is tight and even.

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Let it dry sufficiently. I give it about an hour. May not be necessary, but I have had them come off during the initial grind and I don’t want the repair time so I just give it extra time to cure to start with. Grind the tip materiel down on the disk sander, again, use caution or you will gouge the limbs during this process. Now you have to cut your string grooves in with a small rat tailed file. Measure once again to make sure that you placed the reference line correctly and then file the grooves in. Do not file into the belly fiberglass from the top or it will sliver on you. Turn the bow back down and file from the belly side to complete the string grooves in a “V” on the belly side. Make any repairs with Superglue.

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Sand it all very smooth. Don’t be afraid to sand all of the grinder/sander and file marks out at this point.

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Seal the limb tips and string grooves with Superglue. I use a small foam brush for this step. You have to go fast with this step for obvious reasons.

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Now I do something that a lot of folks don’t do before they tiller. I grind the initial curvature of the handle on the belt sander and then take the time to shape the handle to an almost finished product in the vice with hand rasps. I have found that the tiller will come out differently once the handle is shaped on some bows due to very small amounts of flex or shift when the handle is in its final form. Do this step before or after you tiller, whichever you choose.

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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby Gino Bruno » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:11 pm

NICE WORK!!!!!

looks like TJ has some competition for being the youngest bowyer on the site. :P
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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby tjdeerslayer37 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:31 pm

lookin good scott and tyler!

hey gino, tyler doesnt count, hes not registered :P :oops:

man i miss alaska! i drove through your town scott 2 years ago, i know a guy who works for ninilchik charters down on the peninsula.
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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby Jumper » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:39 pm

Hey guys, I flew customers in blizzard conditions today so I'm kind of wiped out. I have to try to fly back to Fairbanks tomorrow also so it may be a few days before I get this build-a-long done. Bare with me here, I'll get back to it as soon as I can. ;)

TJ, you should have swung by the house for a visit and a piece of homemade pie! Oh by the way TJ, I'm gonna register tyler so he can upsurp your youngest bowyer status :D
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Re: 54" Laminated Youth R/D Longbow Build-a-long

Postby Asafan » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:15 am

Yes, to the boy has successfully chosen daddy! Good work!
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