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Author Topic: Mulberry Stave Prep
YosemiteSam
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A neighbor has agreed to let me take a few straight branches from his mulberry tree. These are more saplings than staves, I suppose. They're only about 3-4" thick. I'd prefer to wait until winter but he's selling & moving soon. Once I select & cut the branches, what is best way to cure them? We're still in the 90's & fairly dry with 40% humidity or lower most days. Winter gets humid at around 80%. Should I remove the bark & wax over the ends? Or just set it up in the rafters of my garage & forget about it until next year? I welcome a few pointers if you'll lend them.

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"A good hunter...that's somebody the animals COME to."
"Every animal knows way more than you do." -- by a Koyukon hunter, as quoted by R. Nelson.

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Pat B
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I would saw the branches in half lengthwise so I get 2 good staves from each limb. Generally smaller branches or shoots won't split evenly. Seal the ends well and bind the halves back together with spacers between to allow good air circulation and set them aside to dry. This will help keep them from warping or taking too much reflex. You can straighten or add reflex easily with heat.
You can peel the bark easily this time of year. If you do so be sure to seal the backs well. You can use carpenters glue to seal. You can make good bows with mulberry leaving the sapwood on. I've made good mulberry bows with all sapwood, 50/50 sapwood/heartwood, a few rings of sapwood on the back or all heartwood.

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Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
TGMM Family of the Bow

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Mad Max
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What he said

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"nothing ventured ,nothing gained"

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Eric Krewson
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This same question is asked so often they should put a sticky answer thread at the top of Bowyer's Bench page.
Posts: 4116 | From: Florence Alabama | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pat B
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Mulberry is an excellent bow wood. Make the mulberry bow about 10% bigger(length/width) than a similar osage bow.

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Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
TGMM Family of the Bow

Posts: 13166 | From: Brevard, NC. | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
YosemiteSam
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quote:
Originally posted by Pat B:
Mulberry is an excellent bow wood. Make the mulberry bow about 10% bigger(length/width) than a similar osage bow.

I'm hoping that it is. Osage, hickory and Pac. yew don't grow here but every other house has a mulberry tree or two (or three, or four). They're a weed that the local birds spread around by burying the seeds everywhere. Besides, my skills as a bowyer are marginal at best so I don't want to spend a bunch of cash on nicer staves that might end up being yet another kid's bow. It will be some good practice for now while I'm learning.

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"A good hunter...that's somebody the animals COME to."
"Every animal knows way more than you do." -- by a Koyukon hunter, as quoted by R. Nelson.

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Pat B
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Start with longer staves, 68" or so to start. Once you get the hang of seeing and achieving good tiller you can decide which style and length you want to move towards. 1 3/4"x 68" will give you an accurate, good shooting bow.
A mulberry bow can rival an osage bow if you do your part.
The birds don't bury mulberry seeds, they drop them with a load of fertilizer. [Wink]

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Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
TGMM Family of the Bow

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scrub-buster
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Great advice from Pat. When you go to cut the trees study the bark closely. If it spirals around the trunk your staves will be twisted. Try to pick out straight pieces without limbs or knots. I wouldn't store them in your rafters. Even if they are sealed well they could split from the heat. You want to let them slowly dry out at first. Post some pictures of the staves once you cut them. Good luck

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AKA Osage Outlaw

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YosemiteSam
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quote:
Originally posted by Pat B:
Start with longer staves, 68" or so to start. Once you get the hang of seeing and achieving good tiller you can decide which style and length you want to move towards. 1 3/4"x 68" will give you an accurate, good shooting bow.
A mulberry bow can rival an osage bow if you do your part.
The birds don't bury mulberry seeds, they drop them with a load of fertilizer. [Wink]

Indeed, you're right about the birds. I honestly didn't give it much thought other than watching the jays burying stuff all the time in our yard. But fruit is likely eaten immediately.

With those dimensions you gave, were those for a straight-limbed bow or something similar (1.75" halfway up then tapering)?

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"A good hunter...that's somebody the animals COME to."
"Every animal knows way more than you do." -- by a Koyukon hunter, as quoted by R. Nelson.

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Pat B
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Either for a pyramid(straight taper to the tips) or a semi-pyramid(parallel for a distance then taper to the tips). Either way will work well. I generally go out 6" to 8" before tapering to the tips but you could go halfway out before tapering. For a new bowyer that would be a more durable, forgiving bow.

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Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
TGMM Family of the Bow

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YosemiteSam
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Well, the staves all cracked from drying. Guess I have more to learn about stave prep in our climate. I had used wood glue to seal the ends and smeared glue on the entire stave after removing the bark. Maybe it's just our hot, dry weather. But those branches are done. Guess I'll have to wait for winter when there's less water in the branches or just order from somebody who knows what he's doing.

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"A good hunter...that's somebody the animals COME to."
"Every animal knows way more than you do." -- by a Koyukon hunter, as quoted by R. Nelson.

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mwosborn
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Sapwood on mulberry this time of year is tough to dry with out a lot of checking. Trying to dry smaller branches makes it even more difficult - so don't be too hard on yourself.

Mulberry that I have cut during growing season (bigger than branches - 10" diameter trunks) I have had to remove the sapwood and then seal with several coats of poly.

If your really interested in a mulberry stave shoot me a pm - I might have one that will work for you.

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Enjoy the hunt! - Mitch

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Pat B
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Did you put glue on the split side too?

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Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
TGMM Family of the Bow

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Eric Krewson
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I have cut osage, removed the bark, left the sapwood on, put 3 or 4 coats of shellac on the back and they still checked while drying.

The sapwood has to come off if the bark does here in N Alabama.

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YosemiteSam
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quote:
Originally posted by Pat B:
Did you put glue on the split side too?

Some yes, some no. But they all cracked.

--------------------
"A good hunter...that's somebody the animals COME to."
"Every animal knows way more than you do." -- by a Koyukon hunter, as quoted by R. Nelson.

Posts: 616 | From: CA | Registered: Sep 2016  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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