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» Trad Gang.com » Main Forums » The Bowyer's Bench » Robin bamboo build along (Page 6)

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Author Topic: Robin bamboo build along
Sam Harper
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I've been taking classes at Tandy on leather carving and stamping, so I thought I'd make a fancy schmancy leather handle for this bow. Plus, it'll cover up the splice on the back of the bamboo. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it, though. Should I wet form it to the handle first and then tool it? No, because it would be really hard to tool it right on the bow, and I'd surely mess it up. Should I tool it flat, and then wet form it to the bow? Will it mess up the tooling when I try to wet form it? What if I tool it, and it changes shape as a result, and no longer fits the bow? If I put a finish on the tooling side, will I still be able to wet form it by wetting the back, or will it be too stiff? What to do, what to do? I googled around and even went to Tandy and thumbed through their books. I found a discussion forum where this subject came up, and different people did it different ways. I decided to just go for it. I had some cheap leather, so it didn't matter if I messed up.

I don't have a floppy tape measure, so I made one out of some masking tape.

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Then I wrapped it around the thickest part of the handle and got 4-1/2".

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I measured out some leather 4-1/2" x 4", and used a barge cement thingy to keep everything square.

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I learned a neat trick on YouTube. If you put a piece of carpet under your leather, it's much easier to cut because you can put the exacto knife all the way through it. Conveniently enough, my sister recently tore all the carpet out of her childrens' bedrooms to put in hardwood flooring, and I was able to cut a square out of the carpet they were discarding. Score!

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My lines were not perfectly straight, so I straightened them out on the belt sander.

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Whenever you tool leather, it's like sticking your fist in a ball of dough, and it spreads out. Tandy has this sticky paper type stuff you can stick your leather on to work it, and it keeps it from spreading out too much. I've seem people on youtube glue it to granite to keep it spreading out. But this leather I'm working with is on the thick side, so I figured maybe it wouldn't distort, and I didn't worry about it.

I wet the leather with a sponge, then use a ruler and the edge of my shading tool to draw a boarder.

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Then I got my basket weave tool out and screwed it up (picture not shown). I was a little frustrated, but like I said, it was cheap leather, so I cut out another square and started again. This time, I used my camouflage tool to make a boarder, and it was kind of screwed up, too, but I went with it because I didn't want to start over again.

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^^That was the 100th picture! (Not counting the non-build-along pictures)

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

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Sam Harper
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Then I made a small line as a reference for my basket tool.

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Then I used the basket tool (correctly this time) and made this pattern.

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Then I used the seeder tool to jazz up the boarder a little more.

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They have this tool you roll on the leather that makes equally spaced indentations so you can make stitching holes, but I just used a ruler and pen.

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As soon as I punched the first hole, I knew I had chosen a size too big. But it wasn't going to start all over because of it.

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I used my edging tool (can't remember what it's called) and took the corners off the leather.

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Then I wet the edges and used the handle of the same tool to burnish the edges.

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Then I put some "antique" on it. It was supposed to be medium brown, but it sure looks dark to me.

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

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Sam Harper
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I let that dry, then put this sealer on it that smells like Pine Sol.

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I gave that plenty of time to dry, did some running around, and made a string. I learned some new tricks from a YouTube video by Rick ******, and made a nice string. But I decided to be a rebel and not match up the bundles when I made the loops.

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It came time for wet forming, so I wrapped the bow in plastic wrap, wet the back of the leather really good, and tried to form it around the handle. Unfortunately, it wasn't big enough, and there was a big gap.

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I was pretty bummed about that. I thought it might happened because of the way I measured for the leather, plus the thickness of the leather. There was no way that outside circumference of that leather was going to be able to stretch as far as the inside circumference. But I thought tooling might spread it out a little and compensate.

I decided to try thinning it out on the belt sander and see if I could stretch it. That helped some. I wrestled with it some more and got it kind of close. The problem area, though, was where that node on the bamboo was. Here it is after wet forming.

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I put that in my solar hot box to dry out for a few hours.

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

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Sam Harper
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My solar hotbox has 393,000 miles on it, and it still runs great!

I really didn't want to start over again, so I found this lacing pattern on YouTube called "double loop lacing" that I thought might cover up that gap.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPY-T6yOSLo

Here is the result.

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I must've done something wrong because my pattern seemed to be bunched up on one side instead of in the middle. I think I may have been pulling the stitches too tight. He says on the video not to pull them too tight. There didn't seem to be anything I could do to make that bottom stitch look right, but I didn't glue the leather on the bow, so I can change it any time I want if I feel like it. I don't feel like it right now, though. Here's the front of it.

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And here's the finished bow.

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And here's the money shot.

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And that's it for today. Tomorrow, I'll shoot this bow along with the previous one I made of this style and write up some final reflections on the bamboo that Robin sent me.

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

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takefive
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Looks great Sam! Really like the 'curves and the leather tooling is very cool. Well done [thumbsup]

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It's hard to make a wooden bow which isn't beautiful, even if it's ugly.
-Tim Baker

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Bakh
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Very very nice work Sam.
Posts: 29 | From: Tashkent, Uzbekistan | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LESKEN2011
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Good step by step tutorial, Sam. Thanks for taking the time. I hope she turns out to be a great shooter for you.

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For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Kenny from Mississippi, USA

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Mad Max
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sam
I played around with leather grips a little
The leather is always to thick, and it never fits right.
you have to have one of those leather splitter thinning thingees, and they are not cheep.

the best handle grips i have made is from Elk skin suede but you don't tool it

I kind of gave up on tooled leather grip
This is Elk suede with Acrylic paint brushed on, when I stretched it around it made a crackle finish.

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"nothing ventured ,nothing gained"

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BMN
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Great looking bow Sam. Love your build alongs. Really enjoy your writing style. [thumbsup]

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TGMM Family of the Bow

The most frightening thing you are likely to encounter in nature is yourself.

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Sam Harper
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That's really nice, Mark. I've done a couple with similar lacing, but I always had a difficult time figuring out how to finish them. This one with the gold lace, I just used a lot of superglue.

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With this one, I just tucked the ends under the lacing on the back. It's all one continuous lace.

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I'm curious how you did yours.

I'm not quite ready to give up on the tooled leather handle yet. It's still new to me. I have to wait until the newness wears off. I may do another one for this bow.

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

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Sam Harper
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The one time I didn't hit "preview" first, the picture doesn't show up.

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

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Sam Harper
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Okay, here's my final reflections. If any of you actually read this, you know that Robin Tan from Singapore sent me this bamboo in exchange for me writing a review and doing a build along, which is why this build along exists. I've already made a lot of comments about the bamboo, but let me recap.

Robin's bamboo had a smaller diameter than what I usually get from Franks, which resulted in a higher crown, which made it hard to get as thin as I wanted it.

The node spacing on Robin's bamboo is great. They are very wide, which makes it easier to tiller because there are fewer flat spots.

The rind came off easier with Robin's bamboo, and it seemed harder underneath.

Robin's bamboo is stringier, which I guess means the power fibers are distributed more evenly throughout the thickness.

Robin's bamboo was noticeably harder when I took the rind off. It was more resistant to indentation. It was also smoother.

Robin's bamboo smelled funny, not like the hay bamboo usually smells like.

Robin's bamboo had some funny dips near the nodes that made it hard to get the rind off in those places.

Robin's bamboo had some dark colour to it that looked like water damage, but I don't know if it is or not. It was so dark, I didn't even put a dye on it. I like the way it looks, though. It's got personality.

Robin wanted me to say something about the shooting characteristics compared to the bamboo I usually get, so I tried to compare it to a bow I had previously made of roughly the same style. I really can't say much about it because the bows are not similar enough to share. My old bow is 55# whereas my Robin bow is 47#. My old bow is 2" shorter than my Robin bow. My old bow is more of a longbow/hybrid, whereas my Robin bow is a recurve. My old bow has longer heavier tip overlays than my Robin bow.

But for what it's worth, I did notice two differences. My old bow was faster than my Robin bow (probably because it's 7# stronger), but my Robin bow is more quiet than my old bow, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because the tip overlays are lighter. Maybe it's because the limbs have better balance. Maybe it's because it's longer. Maybe because it's slower. I dunno.

I am pretty happy with my Robin bamboo. Thanks Robin!

Here is a video I took showing the bow on the tiller tree, then with me shooting it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5LdNdpKawA

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

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LoreVa13
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Awesome build along!

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“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” - John Muir

Black Widow PMA III 64" 64@30
Sarrels Bobbcatt 62" 51@30

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Mad Max
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Daniel:
sam
I played around with leather grips a little
The leather is always to thick, and it never fits right.
you have to have one of those leather splitter thinning thingees, and they are not cheep.

the best handle grips i have made is from Elk skin suede but you don't tool it

I kind of gave up on tooled leather grip
This is Elk suede with Acrylic paint brushed on, when I stretched it around it made a crackle finish.

 -

this bow was not wide enough at the handle so I added some to it, and had to cover it up.

Like i said I brushed the acrylic paint on the suede , then when I stretched it around, the paint pulled apart,giving that crackle look, but I liked the way it looked.
The lacing was hard to figure out even after I figured it out. If I do it again I will have to figure it out again.
The lacing is one piece.
I would like to do some tooled leather for a grip.
but I think you would need the LEATHER SPLITTER $300.00
I drove 1-1/2 hours to tandy and they don't have leather thin enough for me, and if it's too thin you can't tool it.

just my though

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"nothing ventured ,nothing gained"

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Sam Harper
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Daniel:
Like i said I brushed the acrylic paint on the suede , then when I stretched it around, the paint pulled apart,giving that crackle look, but I liked the way it looked.

That is a neat little trick. It looks great.

quote:
The lacing was hard to figure out even after I figured it out. If I do it again I will have to figure it out again.
If I remember right, J.D. Jones used to do a lot of handles with different kinds of lace wrapped around them. They were really cool looking. I wish he would do a tutorial because back when I started making English longbows, I really wanted to learn how to do it but couldn't find any info about it. I had to kind of figure it out.

I think these are J.D.'s

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Here's a build along based off of how J.D. used to do his handle wraps.

http://www.primitivearcher.com/smf/index.php?topic=11781.0

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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

Posts: 408 | From: Austin, TX | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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