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Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Hey, all. I've seen a lot of folks hangin' out by the edge of fire [campfire] looking in just wanting to build a bow but no knowing where to start. Well, this build-along is for you.

We're going to make a cheap, solid, and good shooting "board bow" (i.e. bow made from board lumber rather than a stave or billets.) This bow will certainly be overbuilt by most standards, in that it will be very wide. This will create a bow that is forgiving of any mistakes you might make and/or flaws in the wood. Even if you’re the poster child for Murphy’s Law, you oughta wind up with a hunting weight bow that’ll render an unsuspecting gobbler as dead as the next stick with a string. This won't require much money or time. In fact, you can buy the wood for $12 on Friday afternoon and be shootin’ the bow on Saturday night. Plus, you'll only need a handful of tools you probably already have or can get access to pretty easily. Well, enough talkin’! Let's get started.

ROUND 1: WOOD

You first stop should be a local lumber yard (Menard’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s, local hardwood supplier, etc.) Head for the hardwood section and locate the RED OAK lumber.

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Ignore the walnut, cherry, mahogany, pine, aspen, birch, maple, etc. Just RED OAK. Next, as Tim Baker so plainly stated in the Traditional Bowyer’s Bible (TBB) in his article on board bows, you need to pick a board that has PERFECTLY STRAIGHT GRAIN ON ONE FACE. That grain should run from one end of the board to the other without snaking, waving, running off the edge, etc. Again, you just need ONE face to exhibit this quality, not both. And don’t even worry about the way the grain looks on the sides. Also, be sure you find a CLEAR BOARD (i.e one that has no knots). Lastly, I would hesitate to use a board that exhibits two or more distinct colors, as that second color most often means that board contains heartwood and sapwood. If the transition between the two woods is situated right (or wrong, depending on your outlook on life), the bow can fail there.

You’ll need a 1”x4”x7’ board (which in actuality will be ¾”x3 ½”x7’, and probably come in 8’ lengths, not 7’.). So, start in that stack. Here’s what you’re looking for:

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Here’s what you’re NOT looking for:

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Here's what you're REALLY not looking for. If you drew this sucker back it'd give you a knockin' you wouldn't soon forget!

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If you can’t find a suitable 1”x4”x7’, look in the 1”x6” or 1”x8” pile. Still no luck? Try the next store or come back when their next shipment of lumber comes in.

Now, just one more thing. You want to make sure that you have an appropriate ratio between the early grown (porous part of the end grain) and the late growth (solid part of the end grain.) You want a higher percentage of late growth per annual growth ring. This picture should help. The black line follows the early growth while the green lines indicate the late growth region of a single growth ring.

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Be patient! Out of the entire stack of lumber shown above I came home with just two keepers.

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I decided on this board for the build-along. It’s 1”x4”x7’ and has a slight reflex to it.

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All for this round...see ya next time!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 2: Layout and Glue-Up

We’re going to build a 68” pyramid bow with a target weight of 50#@26”/55#28”. It's called a pyramid because the limbs will be shaped like a pyramid when finished. This type of bow is efficient, easy to make from boards, and is VERY easy to tiller. In fact, sometimes they need little or no tillering after the bow is profiled to shape.

Your first task is mark the face with the straightest grain as “back.” This part will eventually face away from you when you shoot the bow and will need the straightest grain possible to maintain its structural integrity as it stretches in tension at full draw. Mark the other face as “belly.” This side will face you when you shoot the bow. Now, on the BELLY side, mark your stave as in the picture below. The section marked “Tip Overlay” is optional and will be described at a later date.

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Still working on the belly side, find the vertical center of the 68” section and square a line across the board. Mark this with a “C” for center. Then, square a line at 3” and 5” from both sides of your centerline. I mark the 3” lines with extra dots so I can keep everything straight in my little pea brain. Your stave should now look like this picture (minus the green lines running horizontally along the stave, which we’ll get to shortly).

NOTE: As outlined later in this thread, I would now recommend an 8" riser section to give you more working limb and a better look. To accommodate the 8"riser, mark the center (C) as normal, then draw a line 2" and 4" from either side of it. The two lines 2" from center denote the end of the limbs' front profile fade (i.e. the "pyramid" shape) while the lines 4" from center indicate where the ends of the 8" riser block will be. All other dimensions and procedures can remain the same.

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Now, mark the horizontal center of the stave on your center line. If using a 1”x4”, this mark will be at 1 ¾”. (Remember, the 1”x4” is really ¾”x3 ½”). Now, mark 1 ½” above and below this mark to give you a total of 3”. Now, do the same thing on the vertical lines located 3” to either side of your center line (the ones I marked with dots). Connect these two lines along these marks as in the picture above.

Now, at both ends of this 68” section, find the exact center of the board, which again will be 1 ¾” from either side assuming the board is true. (Check just to be sure!) Now, put a mark 1/4” to either of this mark, which will give you a 1/2" width overall at the tips. Next, connect these marks with the lines your drew between the dotted lines. Here’s a picture of what that’ll look like:

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Now, here’s a picture of how to do it. Just clamp a straight edge along these two marks. These horizontal lines now represent the outline of your bow.

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Now cut off the tip overlay and riser sections from the end of the board, leaving just the 68” section. Cut along these profile lines on this section using a band saw, jigsaw, or handsaw. Be sure to LEAVE YOUR MARK! You’ll trim it down to the line later. By the way, the bandsaw in the picture is a cheapie Delta benchtop model that does the trick. If you have a bigger model, great. If not, buy yourself a new 1/2 blade with about 7 teeth per inch and get your fingers out of the way!

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Clean the mating surfaces of the riser block and bow belly with acetone (fingernail polish remover) to remove all the oils. This is kinda’ overkill, as red oak isn't that oily. But, it certainly doesn't hurt and is a force of habit for me.

Once the acetone is dry, spread a good layer of Titebond III on both surfaces, line the ends of the riser up with the lines marked “Future End of the Glue-On Riser,” and clamp it up. Please use Titebond III. It’s tough as nails, moisture resistant, and cheap. The kid at Menard’s might tell you Titebond II and Titebond III are the same thing, but he’d change his mind in a heartbeat after a broken bow relocates his nose while staring down a trophy buck in a drizzling rain!

The next part is optional. You can choose to add a glue-on recurved tips if you’d like, or you can just skip it and not worry about it. It’s a technique that Tim Baker wrote about in the TBB. If you’d like to try it, cut the tip overlays apart and clean them with acetone. Now, mark a line across the BACK of the bow 6” from the end of each tip. Clean this area with acetone and then put a few pieces of masking tape starting at the 6” mark as shown in the picture below.

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This will prevent glue from getting all over the back of your bow. (You’ll be cutting off a good portion of the belly of the bow later, so you didn’t need to do this when gluing on the riser block.) Now lather some TBIII on both surfaces and clamp.

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Then, let the whole shootin’ match dry overnight, as in the picture below:

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That’s all for Round 2. Be back later for the next part!
 
Posted by Dave Bulla (Member # 744) on :
 
Cool, I'll be watching this one. Might get the kids to make their own.
 
Posted by Greg Owen (Member # 14380) on :
 
I think I might have to try this one. Never built a bow, but its time to learn. I can also use it to strengthen my muscles. Thanks for taking the time to share.
 
Posted by mysticguido (Member # 4426) on :
 
so far just like I did my red oak bow minus the tips?
 
Posted by over&under (Member # 8273) on :
 
I think I could even do this!...

Looking forward to the next installment....

(even saved this thread to my favorites so I can reference it later)

Thanks!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Thanks to the administrators for getting this in the right spot. Sorry for the oversight! [jumper]

[ October 28, 2009, 07:07 PM: Message edited by: 4est trekker ]
 
Posted by mysticguido (Member # 4426) on :
 
Finish your how-to and it will get moved.
 
Posted by SteveL (Member # 587) on :
 
Man those are best photo illustrations of grain I've ever seen. Bar none! I struggled early on picking a decent board and had I had these I would have been way ahead of the game.

Thanks! for the the time and effort to put this together.
 
Posted by YankeeRedneck (Member # 17398) on :
 
This is soo cool ! Thanks for posting this I'll be watching this thread and hope to do it on my own. Thanks...
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
Gonna get me some wood this weekend.
What other kinds of woods will work for this type of bow?
How do you determine what your projected draw weight will be and adjust for that?
Example: narrower limbs, thinner limbs or vice versa.
Can this type of bow be made any shorter for kids or just someone who likes a shorter bow?
How will it effect it if I back it with snake skin?
Just a few questions.. LOL
Kris
 
Posted by Jesse Peltan (Member # 20518) on :
 
Hickory would also work. You simply shorten or lengthen the bow depending upon draw length. If you back it with snakeskin it will be slightly more durable and slightly heavier.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Kris: I know you've got a target bow in mind, since we've talked a few times. If you PM me I will shoot the specs for your drawlength/weight.

You can use other woods such as hickory, ash, red oak, etc. I'm just sticking with red oak here since it's easily obtainable and can provide those following this thread with a predictable bow (which by the way will be 50#@26"/55#@28").

You were right about narrowing and/or thinning the limbs. This bow will be uniform in thickness throughout its length (minus the fades), and the limbs will taper uniformly. Narrowing the limbs uniformly can lower poundage, and vice versa. Thinning the limbs can lower poundage, and vice versa. I'll try to cover this in later posts.

Yeah, you can shorten this bow up. My turkey bow of this style is 64" in length and pulls 44#@26". My son's bow (which I posted under "A Boy and His Bow") is also of this style but is not much over 48 inches. Generally, as you shorten the bow up you'll want to widen the limbs at the fades to minimize set and string follow. I'll bet tons of folks on this site have made pyramid bow. Maybe we could get a thread going with specs for pyramid bows so folks can have a running start at hitting their target weight and drawlength. Thoughts?

Snake skins will help protect the back from the elements, although I've never experienced an appreciable increase in draw weight when a bow is backed with them.

All for now. Hope to post two or three "Rounds" tonight!
 
Posted by stickmonkey (Member # 21457) on :
 
awesome build thus far [clapper] keep it up [thumbsup]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 3: Truing Up the Bow’s Edges and Shaping the Recurved Tips

Well, here’s what the whole package should look like after you unclamp it.

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Note that the riser goes on the belly and the recurved tip overlays (if you’re doing them) go on the back. If you added the overlays, you first need to roughly trim them flush with the sides of the bow as in the following picture:

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Remember the tape you added to prevent the glue from smearing? Here’s the nice clean result:

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Next, you need to true up the edges of the bow down to your mark (which you left when cutting it out, remember?) I use a Stanley Surform rasp, although a block plane, long file, or even sandpaper wrapped around a flat piece of wood will work. You want to make sure the sides end up square to the back and belly and that it is perfectly straight along it’s length. Here’s a picture to help:

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THE NEXT STEP IS NECESSARY ONLY IF YOU ARE ADDING RECURVED TIPS!

Now it’s time to shape the recurved tips. Your first step here is to shape the upper (back of the bow) profile. I made a very simple jig using a French curve as shown in the picture below (I would be happy to e-mail you this jig, along with the fade out jig on page two in PDF format. Just send me a PM with your e-mail included.) The jig need only be accurate on the top side (back of the bow side), which is up in the picture. You will trim the belly side later using a different jig. The recurved tip should gradually fade from the straight line of the bow’s back to the graceful curve at the tip. No abrupt changes or the bow will fail. Just study the picture and use your eyeball to judge the transition. Sure wouldn’t hurt to do a couple of tests on some scrap boards just to be sure you’ve got your ducks in a row! (Note: At this point, I know a lot of you are thinking one of two things: (1) “68 inches is too long for a recurve,” or 2) “Those are reflexed tips, not recurved tips.” You’re both right. By most standards, they’re actually abruptly reflexed tips.)

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Now trace the profile along the top (back of the bow), remove the jig, and cut to shape using your bandsaw, jigsaw, or coping saw. Remember to LEAVE YOUR MARK! When first cut, it should look like the following picture. Notice the little bump at the transition between the glue-on tip and the back of the bow, as detailed in the second picture. You want to leave yourself some wood there, as cutting into the back of the bow will create a headache (figuratively and possibly literally!)

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I like to use a small rasp/file combo with one flat side and one round side to take the tips down to the mark. I finish it off using a sharp knife as a scraper to remove all tool marks. If I’m in a hurry (which is not a good thing when building a bow, but is my usual mode of operation) I use a sanding drum that I chuck up in my cheapie drill press. You'll notice the grain isn't straight on the curved tip anymore, but that's okay. These will be doing very little work and are part of a laminated section, which will naturally be stronger.

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Be back next time for Round 4: Shaping the Side Profile. Thanks for following!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 4: Shaping the Side Profile


Now it’s time to shape the side profile (i.e cut the limbs to thickness.) This is the only quasi-difficult part of the build-along, although minimal woodworking skills tempered with PATIENCE will give you success!

For a 50#@26”/55#@28” bow at 68 inches in length, the thickness of each limb should be 15/32”. (If you want a bow that’s heavier, make the thickness a full ½”. If you want a bow that's lighter, you can take off wood later, and so stick with 15/32". In any case, we’ll get to tillering to your intended draw weight/length later.)

Here’s a simple principle to keep in mind: In general, when you double the WIDTH of a piece of wood it will be twice as strong. If you double the THICKNESS of the wood it will be eight times as strong. So, you have more room for error when trimming the front profile (i.e. side tapers) than when shaping the side profile (i.e. limb thickness). Go slow, and as Norm Abram says, “Measure twice, cut once!”

Here’s a gauge I made to mark the limb thickness. Nothing fancy:

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You run the inside of the notch against the back of the bow while holding a sharp pencil or extra fine point marker against the edge of the jig. You don’t want a really fat line, as this allows more possibility for error. This jig will allow you to draw an even line 15/16” from the back of the bow. (Note: Make sure your jig is no wider than 1/2” in thickness as it can create accuracy problems when tracing along the curved edge of the recurved tips, if you’re doing those.) I mark both sides of each limb. Here’s the jig in action:

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You want to stop the line about an inch shy of the edge of the glue-on riser. You don’t have to be exact.

Next, you’ll need to build yourself a fade-out jig. As before, I used a French curve and made sure the transition between the 15/32” mark and the start of the fade-outs was very subtle and smooth. (Please note that you want the bow at full thickness at the point where the limbs are full width, which is right along the original line you marked 3” off of center before doing the glue-up. This is NOT aesthetically pleasing to most, but it is easy and ensures there's plenty of wood in the area that a lot of first bows fail.) I usually start the curve of the fades approximately 1½” from the edge of the glue-on riser. This ensures that the bow will not take a great deal of set here (i.e. permanent deflection), which would be manifested greatly at the tips of the bow. Here’s some pictures of the jig and the layout line:

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I put two marks along the side profile lines. The one closest to the riser tells me where the fade-outs will begin. The one closest to the tips is 1” from the other mark and tells me to start squaring the board up on the edge of the riser block as opposed to the edge of the bow’s limbs. This sounds confusing, but you’ll understand when you start pushing the bow through the saw (if you’re using a bandsaw). If you cut the fade-outs while holding the board flat along the bow limb’s edge, your fade-outs would come out crooked, because the bow’s limbs are tapered and will lift the riser block up off of the cutting table. I won’t say anymore about that, other than it’ll probably make itself clear when you get to cutting it out. Here’s my marks:

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Because my bandsaw is so small, I have to add an auxiliary table to give me enough space to lay the rise block against when it comes time to cut the fades. I just make a cut several inches into a scrap piece of FLAT plywood, MDF, etc. and clamp it to my table. Here’s the get-up:

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If using a bandsaw, make sure the table is square to the blade (which again, should be brand new or close to it.) Starting at the TIP of each limb with the waste side (belly side) facing inward toward the saw, cut the sucker out! You want it oriented that way so you have plenty of room for the board to clear when you maneuver it through the fade-out cuts. Go slow and give the saw plenty of time to clear the wood. When you get to that mark 1” tipside of the beginning of the fade-outs, remember to VERY CAREFULLY tip the board back toward you and rest it squarely on the riser block as you finish the fade-out cuts. As always, LEAVE YOU MARK! If you’re not sure of your bandsaw skills, leave a little more than your mark. You can’t put wood back! If all goes well, here’s what you’ll end up with:

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If you don’t have access to a bandsaw, check out page 12 for a method for shaping the side profile of the bow using a few simple hand tools and a little elbow grease!

That’s all for Round 4! The next step is truing up the side profile and checking the initial tiller.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Well, I've spent more time processing pictures and posting these threads than actually building the bow, which is why they're coming one right after the other. Anyhow, here's the next installment:

Round 5: Truing Up the Side Profile and Checking the Initial Tiller

Now it’s time to true up the thickness of each limb by bringing them down to your thickness mark (which you remembered to leave, right?). I do that by using a Surform rasp, a round and flat rasp/file combination, a flat-edged drawknife and hunting knife used as scrapers, and sandpaper. I use calipers set to 15/16” to gauge the thickness of the entire limb, slowly removing wood until the entire limb (save for the fade-out region) is uniform in thickness. The fade-outs are trued up to the guide lines since the calipers would be useless here. Once the fades are close, I use my fingers to feel them and make any adjustments my eyes missed. Here’s some pictures of the tools and the process, including some of my 3 year old son's laying on the floor:

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Ignore the fact that in this picture the handle is already profiled to shape. I took the picture out of order [Smile]

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When you've gotten the limbs to a consistent 15/16" thickness and have the fades trued up, it’s time to round over the edges of each limb. I like to use a file to break the edge and get it roughly rounded, and then I take a strip of sandpaper and work it back and forth like a shoe shiner uses a rag. Once I get it to about the radius of a pea or a pencil, I sand lightly with the grain to remove the sanding marks. I really like those 3M foam sanding blocks for that task, especially after they've been used and broken in a bit. One final note: I like to round the edges about 1" into the riser block on the back of the bow. I've had a couple of bows blow here when I didn't do that. Theoretically the bow should not be bending here anyway, but when the back undergoes tension it goes on a wild hunt for the weakest point in the limb, and the pressure could creep its way all the way back into the riser my. Just my $.02.

Alright, it's time to see if that stick in your hand works anything like a bow! We need to check the initial tiller on the tillering tree using a tillering string. (If you don’t have a tillering tree and string, search this site. There are some great references for building your own.) Here’s a picture of the initial tiller:

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Well, the left limb is a little bit stronger/stiffer than the right limb. Actually, that’s exactly what I was hoping for. (That's sounds like I'm covering a mistake, but really I'm not [bigsmyl] ) I tried as much as possible to get both limbs to an even and uniform thickness. However, I almost always make a slight error, just enough to render one limb slightly stronger than the other. (Search "positive tiller" on this sight for a description of why this is often a good thing.) Suffice it to say, this bow will most likely draw evenly along both limbs when drawn in the hand if I make the stronger limb the bottom limb. We’ll just have to see! If for some reason your bow looks perfect at this point, good for you. We’ll change that later on [biglaugh]

NOTE: I would truly suggest making one of Eric Krewson's tillering gizmos. It is simple, effective, and will help produce a finely tillered bow. Please not that it will NOT work on the outer third of the bow's limbs if you've added the reflexed limb tips. Click the link below to view his thread on making and using one.

http://tradgang.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=125;t=001047#000000

That’s all for Round 5. See ya’ soon. Again, thanks for following!
 
Posted by dutchwarbow (Member # 20514) on :
 
this is an excelent buildalong so far!!
amazingly clean work, great!

Nick
 
Posted by Art B (Member # 8087) on :
 
Some great info there 4est.

"However, I almost always make a slight error, just enough to render one limb slightly stronger than the other."

If you will check and see how your boards "stands in the tree" then you will always know which limb is most likely going to be the strongest (trunk end). That's the very first thing I do before laying out a bow. ART
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Art B: Never heard that before. That's some great info that would come in handy. How can you tell which end of the board is the trunk end?

So, if the trunk end is stronger, then perhaps I haven't been making errors like I thought, eh? Well, I wouldn't give myself that much credit! [biglaugh]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
If you've been following this thread, I edited Round 5 to include a crucial step I had forgotten to mention. You MUST round the edges of the limbs before checking the initial tiller. Again, I inserted this step in the post above. (Thanks for the advice, Razorback. I appreciate it! [thumbsup] )

[ October 29, 2009, 07:57 AM: Message edited by: 4est trekker ]
 
Posted by Igor (Member # 12692) on :
 
Great thread - you make a board bow build look easy!

I appreciated all the work that goes into the build along process.

thanks

><>
Glenn
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 6: Rough Shaping the Handle

NOTE: Please see the update later in this thread that describes how to make a more aesthetically and ergonomically-pleasing handle. While quite functional, many find this one uncomfortable and hard to tune arrows with.

I make the handle ¾” wide at its center, if not just a touch more. You might be able to find a lid, pot, or bucket that fits the radius. If not, just use a compass like I did in the second picture below. It takes a little bit of trial and error, but is not difficult in the least. (Note: the riser block looks curved in the picture below, but it's just an optical illusion from the camera.)

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Once you get it marked out, cut it to shape on the bandsaw or with your coping saw.

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The next thing I do is cut a very shallow radius in the belly of the handle, being sure to end the radius exactly at the fades and to leave the handle 1¼” thick in the middle. I take the piece that I cut off and glue it to the back of the handle as an overlay. This gives the handle a more rounded feel. Here’s a picture to help explain:

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After the glue dries I remove the clamp and trim the handle overlay flush as in the picture below:

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That’s that! The next step will be to check our draw weight, add the nock overlays, and shape the tips. We're gettin' close to done!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 7: Checking Short String Tiller/Draw Weight, and Adding Nock Overlays

I like to add temporary nocks using a wooden wedge secured with masking tape to transition from the tillering string to the short string. NOTE: For a great tutorial on making a quality Flemish string and jig, visit the following site:
http://www3.sympatico.ca/ragiwarmbear/diy/flemish/flemish.html.
Make sure you wrap the temporary nock really well or it will want to slide down the limb on you. If that happens, you’ll change the tiller of the bow. I always place a mark on the back of the bow where I want the nock to rest so I can see if it’s moving or not.

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I check the tiller on the tree using the short string, and it looks almost identical to the initial tiller check we did with the tillering string. Satisfied for now, I want to check my draw weight. I’ve learned two rules about tillering that have saved me a lot of time and headaches. 1) Never pull the bow further than it is tillered correctly, and 2) Never pull the bow past your intended draw weight. I will now go back and forth between the bow scale and tillering tree balancing these two rules as I seek to find what my draw weight is at 26”. If the tiller gets out of whack on the way there, I stop and retiller by scraping the stiff spots, pull the bow 30 times to give the wood time to settle, and then recheck the tiller. In the case of this bow, I don’t have to do any retillering and I find that the draw weight at 25” is 51# (or a projected 54#@26”). Perfect! But “WAIT”, you say. Didn’t I just break rule number 2 above? Kind of, but here’s a little trick. I don’t actually pull the bow to 26” just yet. I like to hit my target weight at 1” shy of the intended draw length. That gives me a few pounds to play with as I do the final shaping and sanding on the bow, and allows the wood to settle a little bit as I shoot it in.

Now, if you don’t have a bow scale, here’s a handy little setup I often use. I take a bathroom scale, a 36”-40” long dowel or square stick, and a small square scrap of plywood and make my own. I attached the stick upright to the plywood using screws. (In the one in the picture, I used a fortsner bit to countersink a hole to receive the end of the dowel. I then glued it and screwed it to the plywood) I make a notch in the top of the stick to hold the bowstring and then make marks on the stick at 24-31 inches from the top in one inch increments. These will tell me the draw length of the bow (I measure to the back of the handle. This is a whole other ball of wax, and you should familiarize yourself with how to accurately find YOUR drawlength, as well as how to measure drawlength a bow. Use the search function on this site.) When I place the string in the notch and pull down on the handle of the bow, the weight is transferred through the stick onto the bathroom scale. Simply read the poundage on the scale and VIOLA!

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Now, if you want to get really accurate, you can make a fancy calibration system as shown in the following picture (ha ha!)

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I simply set the gallon water jug on the scale and adjust it to 8.34 pounds, minus the weight of the stick. As stupid as it sounds, I weighed several custom wood/glass bows and they read dead on for their marked draw length using this method!

The next thing I want to do is add nock overlays. These allow you to cut a groove more deeply into the tip, which keeps the string in place better. They also can add a bit of decoration. I’m using coco bola, although you can use any dense hardwood, including osage. I true up one face of the nock overlay using sandpaper on a flat surface. These overlays are just about 1 1/4" long.

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You then need to flatten the very end of the bow tips on the back side to accept the nock overlays. They must mate perfectly, so take your time. When you’ve got a good match between the overlay and the tip, clean the mating surfaces with acetone, especially if using a tropical hardwood. When dry, lather both surfaces with TB III and clamp it up. (If you don’t want to add nock overlays, just search this site for various pictures of bows [self bows in particular] that have more traditional nocks.) You'll notice that I butted masking tape up against the tip overlay. As I did before, I add this tape before the glue-up so that it doesn't smear all over the back of the bow.

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Once dry, shape the tips to your satisfaction. Dutchwarbow has posted some really beautiful tips on his buid-alongs, so I encourage you to look at his designs. Here’s how mine turned out:

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I use a small round file to rough cut the string grooves. I don’t cut all the way through the overlay, and I angle the grooves at about 45 degrees on the sides. When they’re fairly smooth I take and heat a roofing nail with a torch and burn the grooves smooth.

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Okay, all we’ve gotta’ do now is finish shaping the handle, check the tiller while drawing the bow in the hand, add a stain (optional) and finish, install an arrow shelf (optional), and wrap the handle (optional). That’s an easy stretch to the end, and we’ll be done in no time! Take care, and thanks for following! See you next time.
 
Posted by mysticguido (Member # 4426) on :
 
Great so far. I do like them recurved tips. I may have to try that on the next one I make.
 
Posted by razorback (Member # 4736) on :
 
I love a great build-along. I will be off to the hardware store this morning. Got to go to the dentist [scared] so will give myself a little present.
4Est, can you put up an oblique pic of the handle area so we can get a view of all the curves working together. The side curves seem fairly extreme for a comfotable grip. Though I know the details of these are in nthe next installment and with the handle it can be made to personal preference. Can't wait to see the finished bow. [campfire]
 
Posted by Art B (Member # 8087) on :
 
4est, boards are sometimes harder to read than staves because they're cut from larger trees and some are pipe straight. But all tree trunks are naturally tapered to some degree. So if you can see a difference in the growth ring thickness from one end of the board to the other end then you know the bigger rings start at the trunk end.

A ring's radius is another to tell. Larger radius dictates the trunk end and the smaller radius the top.

If all else fails try balancing the board dead center and see if one end is heavier than the other. The heavier side would be the trunk end (I see this in my arrow making where there's a pronounced difference in ring thickness from end to end). Of course you need to make sure the board's moisture content is consistant from end to end. Many of the chain stores store their wood vertically which can cause an unbalance in MC. If this is the case then it would be wise to store the wood horizonally for a period of time before jumping on it.

ART
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 7: Finishing the Handle Profile and Checking In-Hand Tiller

Well, this round is pretty simple. I use a rasp, file, and then various grits of sandpaper/sanding pads to round the handle to a comfortable grip. I give special consideration to the area that will become the arrow pass, being sure to remove plenty of wood on the belly of the handle in the region so the arrow approaches the handle at a less severe angle. To make the handle symmetrical, I do this on both sides of the top and bottom. Also, if for some reason the tiller ever changes on the bow and the top limb ends up stronger than the bottom, I can just flip the bow over and keep shootin’! Or, as is sometimes the case, I’ll end up giving the bow to a lefty. All in all, it’s nice to have the handle finished so either limb can be the top limb and both righties and lefties can shoot it.

I then take a knife or razor blade and scrape the handle to give it a smooth finish. Lastly, I take a smooth piece of antler and burnish the entire bow. By that I mean rubbing the antler over the surface of the bow (especially the back) hard enough to compress the fibers together and give it a smooth feel. Although it does have cosmetic benefits, it can also be the difference between a functional bow and a tiny splinter raising on the back that eventually renders it nothing more than fancy kindling. (You can use just about any hard, smooth, rounded object for burnishing. I’ve used baby food jars, glass guitar slides, and glass bottles.)

Here’s some pictures of the finished handle.

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Here's a picture of the back profile of the bow:

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Alright. We’re gonna see how the bow’s tiller looks when drawn by hand. I’ve decided to post a video so you can actually see the limbs working, rather than as a static picture. One note about the video…I say it’s pulling 54 #@26”, but I misspoke. It’s actually 52#@ 26” after the final sanding. That leaves 2# for settling in. Not bad! Anyhow, here goes…and sorry about that stupid look on my face [biglaugh]

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Well, it ain’t perfect, but for 12 bucks and a coupla’ hours of work we’re in pretty good shape. I’m going to leave the tiller right there. The next step is staining/sealing the bow, adding an arrow pass, and then wrapping the handle. We’re gettin’ close now! All we need is a good set of matched arrows and we’ll be eatin’ venison for Thanksgiving!
 
Posted by Igor (Member # 12692) on :
 
Looking good!

I like the profile!


Nice work!

Thanks for the thread!

><>
Glenn
 
Posted by Dooley (Member # 21072) on :
 
Great build-along 4est. I especially like the glued on recurve tips. [clapper]
Got a piece of hickory lumber under the sofa I'm gonna try that on.
 
Posted by bubby (Member # 19173) on :
 
I like the way you did those recurved tips, also a nice build-a-long, but part way thru the limb thicknes went from 15/32 to 15/16 but if that was all I did wrong I'd be happy
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Ha! You're right bubby! I'll go back and fix that. Man, that would be one stout bow, eh? Thanks for pointing that out!
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
By Golly I think I might be able to build a bow after all.
Thanks for taking the time to do this 4est.
 
Posted by buckhuck (Member # 14406) on :
 
Great build along, loved it.
 
Posted by coulter (Member # 21040) on :
 
hi curt, really good build along, very informitive, great detail, nice job. noel. p.s. are you going to show the finish, arrowrest etc.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Yep, I'm gonna show how I finish it off (stain, sealer, handle wrap, arrow pass, etc.) Been a tad busier the last few days than normal. Hope to have the last post(s) up soon!
 
Posted by Dano (Member # 748) on :
 
Great stuff Curt, I like your methods. [thumbsup]
 
Posted by ron w (Member # 14741) on :
 
Well done...great job!!!
 
Posted by stickmonkey (Member # 21457) on :
 
Nice, I like
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 8: Staining and Sealing

I used a variety of homemade stains, my favorite of which are made from berry juices, inks, and denatured alcohol. This particular stain is a simple aniline stain that you can get in powdered form and cut with denatured alcohol. It dries very quickly and can be sealed shortly after applying. Here’s how it turned it:

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Before I seal the bow, I go ahead and cut shallow stringer nocks just behind the bowstring nocks. Again, I burn them smooth with a hot nail. I use a simple stringer with a loop tied at each end.

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I then seal the entire bow with at least 3 coats of lacquer. I use it because it’s cheap dries within minutes (dries, NOT cures!), and can be applied with a cloth. No, it’s not waterproof, but it does build up in the grain nicely and seals in the stain. After the 3+ coats have sat for a couple of hours, I buff it out with 000 steel wool. Then I rub the entire bow down with either mink oil or SnoSeal, both of which are leather waterproofers. (Alternately, I’ve used warmed beeswax). You can apply another coat each hunting season to keep your bow dry and protected. Yes, there are better products available, but this method is cheap, easy, and effective (which is the whole point of this build-along). There is no finish that will completely encase your bow in an impenetrable shell, so I like to use a finish that I can easily reapply as needed. Just be sure to let the mink oil cure out for a day or two as it does have a distinct smell that dissipates as it dries.


Round 9, comin' up...
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 9: Finishing the Handle Part I

NOTE: See the updates later in this thread for an easier floppy leather rest that you may find easier to build and shoot off of. It is nothing more than a relatively pliable piece of leather that is attached under the handle wrap and lays down flat across the top of the hand to support the arrow. It does not require a wedge to maintain arrow clearance.

We’re going to put a floppy-style rest on this bow, although you could just shoot off-hand and skip the whole thing altogether. I first cut a piece of leather as such and trim/burnish the edges. I also take it to the drum sander and taper the pointed (bottom) side down to a feather edge.

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You can search for hours on how to best locate your arrow rest. I just always go with what feels right to me. It’s your call. When I find “the spot,” I tape it to the handle with masking tape.

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I take a strip of leather and superglue one edge down and then wrap it spirally up the handle, overlapping each wrap slightly.

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I finish it off by tapering the tag end and gluing it down flush. I rub some mink oil into the handle, which gives it some moisture resistance and also adds a nice patina. Here’s the result (This pictures show the arrow pass, which we haven't added yet. That's round 10)

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Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 10: Finishing the Handle Part II

Now we need to make the leather arrow plate. I slice a piece of the same leather used for the floppy shelf with a razor blade. I want it thin so it doesn’t push the arrow any further away from center than necessary. Then I shape it as shown below and apply it with either carpet tape or superglue.

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Here’s the result:

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In order to prevent the floppy rest from binding the arrow and to provide my hand with a placement indicator, I cut a small wedge like this….

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and insert it between the pass and shelf like this…

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Now, shoot the bow in and fine-tune your nocking point. Once satisfied, weigh the bow and indicate the weight@drawlength. I do it as such:

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By the way, here’s the first three arrows I shot with this bow at 12 yards…I was pleased!

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As a side note, here’s another handle style. It's wrapped with hemp cordage (from Wal-Mart) over a leather-covered wooden shelf. The pass is split leather. I apply a watered down Titebond III solution to the cordage with my fingers which waterproofs it and interlocks the fibers.

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[ November 16, 2009, 09:59 PM: Message edited by: 4est trekker ]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Round 11: Final Pictures and Thoughts

Here’s a couple of pictures of the finished product. I don’t have any at full draw, but if you watched the video earlier in the thread it hasn’t changed. It came in right at 50#@26” after shooting it in.

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Here’s a couple of pictures with it next to my turkey hunting bow. That bow is dyed with homegrown raspberry and blueberry juices mixed with ink and cut with denatured alcohol.

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Just a couple of final words. I hope that at least someone has gained the confidence and enough information to get their first bow built. It’s a cheap and easy project that you can do in a weekend. This particular bow is overbuilt by most standards, and comes in slightly heavier in physical weight than is most efficient (I’m referring to the Mass Principle as discussed in Volume 4 of the Traditional Bowyer’s Bible). However, the wide limbs allow more wood to do the tension work, thus adding a margin of safety that the bow will not raise a splinter and fracture. The longer length allows it to be pulled to 28”, and perhaps a bit more. You could always narrow the limbs some and compensate by making it a touch thicker to keep the weight up. This would reduce mass, but the further you go in this direction the more the moisture content, tiller, grain, early/late growth ratio, etc. will need to be spot on. (That turkey bow above is 44#@26”, measures 64” ntn, and weighs 18 ounces. It sure is nice to carry, as you hardly know it’s there. It also shoots slightly above average in speed for its weight @ drawlength.)

At the end of the day, a bow is a bendy stick with a string. Is this the prettiest bow? Nope. The fastest bow? Nope. But I haven’t met a turkey yet that stopped me mid-draw and begged me to shoot him with a prettier bow. “Dead as a doornail” is dead enough for me, and if I can do it for $12 and three or four hours of work, I’m in!

Good luck, ya’ll, and if you build one please post some pictures. Thanks for following! God Bless.
 
Posted by razorback (Member # 4736) on :
 
4Est, thanks for the great build along, these take a lot of work normally and you have gone beyond many that have been done.
I have a nice piece of Oak I picked up the other day and will start one very soon, just have to clean up the shop. Have you done any with more bulbous handles or do you stick to this handle design. I may make up several mock handle out of scrap to find one that I like, I may even find the design you use to be comfortable. I am planning on using a contrast wood, probably Walnut for the riser glue-on and I think the cut off you add to the front of the bow will look good like this. I will post pictures.
Again, thanks for the work.
 
Posted by coulter (Member # 21040) on :
 
great job curt! thank you for putting the time and effort into such great build along.i'm sure a lot more people will be building bows because of it. noel
 
Posted by Mar (Member # 21793) on :
 
Awesome, thanks! I am building one as we speak but I think, after reading more about choosing a board, I may have pick a board with too tight of grain.

We'll see, at least it's a learning experience before I try my hand at building a yew bow.
 
Posted by chupa (Member # 17556) on :
 
Curt, You did an awesome job. Thank you for all the hard work doing the posting.
Good luck hunting
 
Posted by Eric Krewson (Member # 229) on :
 
Excellent build-along, one of the best I have seen.

[ November 03, 2009, 01:01 PM: Message edited by: Eric Krewson ]
 
Posted by Shaun (Member # 2320) on :
 
Great project to get started building wood bows. It takes a lot of effort to put together a build-along of this quality. Well done sir! This one should be archived.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Thanks, everybody. I appreciate the kind responses, and really enjoyed doing this build-along. I would be REALLY interested in seeing the pictures of any bow ya'll make as a result of reading this thread. I would be DOUBLY interested in seeing what you harvest with that bow! Looking forward to seeing some pictures!
 
Posted by WestTexan (Member # 21690) on :
 
Dude you make bow building look easy..LOL killer build-along. I've built 5 or 6 board bows and the last being hickory with some snake skin backing.. I'm hooked.
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
How would changing the handle design affect the this bow (more along the lines of a longbow grip)
How narrow and thick would the limbs need to be to get this bow down around 25 or 30 pounds for a young beginning archer?
 
Posted by Wulomac (Member # 10992) on :
 
Great buildalong!!! A really cool bow. I do a lot of music boxes with red oak. Theraputic!!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Stikn-n-Strings:

How old is the youngster, and what is their draw length? Here's some specs that will give you a 25-30# red oak pyramid bow that a kid can grow into:

63" NTN (64" overall)
2 3/8" wide at the fades narrowing to 1/2" at the tips
3/8" limb thickness

As the kid's drawlength increases, so will the bow's poundage. However, if the bow comes in too light, pike the bow by taking 1" off each tip (assuming you haven't done the glue-on recurved tips.) This will usually yield a 5# increase in draw weight. If the bow comes in too heavy, you can take a few measured scrapes at a time on the belly of each limb until you hit your target weight.

Good luck, and show some pictures!
 
Posted by razorback (Member # 4736) on :
 
Would it be possible to run the board through a table saw to get the limb thickness and to then glue on the riser section. Seems this would speed up this part and make it more precise. Problem I can see is that can the riser then take the pressure or would the glue line fail.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I've done this on a couple of board bows and the problem on both of them is as you describe. The fades begin precisely at the glue line. This places undo force squarely on the razor thin edge of the glue-on riser block, which causes it to lift. When this lifts, the glue joint is compromised and soon leads to further separation. When the glue joint is situation higher in the fade-out radius it doesn't receive such direct force.

If anyone has had luck doing as razorback has described, let me know (perhaps Jawge or Art B?- you guys are certainly more knowledgeable about board bow than I). Perhaps it will work with a few modifications. And you're right, razorback....it would definately speed the operation up, providing you're not doing the glue-on recurved tips. Thanks for the question!
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
Hey 4est, Thanks for all the info.
I'm gonna round up some lumber her in a few weeks and I will definetly post some pics.
Wish I didn't have so much going on right now so I could started.
 
Posted by razorback (Member # 4736) on :
 
4Est, That is what I thought the problem would be. I think I will still do the cut with the table saw, stop it short of the fade area and clean it up with the band saw. I think it would still work even with the recurve tips. If I add them after the cut and then cut the profile later. I would leave a small amount of wood for clean u of saw marks and so make the transition cleanly. I will look at it carefully before cutting anything.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
You'll be cutting it to its side profile (thickness) before cutting it to its front profile (width), right? Like you said, you can always add the recurved tips on later. I do that sometimes on a bow that's taken a little more string follow than I would like.

I tried the method you're describing once, but my table saw isn't large enough to do a quality (and safe) job, mostly because of the size of the cutting table. However, I did use my 1960's Crafstman radial arm saw (a beast!) to build a bow once. I turned the saw 90 degrees, added an extension to the infeed side of the cutting table, and screwed a sacrificial fence to the table. I set the blade up 1/32" over the finished thickness of the limbs off the table. Then I ran the board through, belly side up, all the way through fades, letting the radius of the saw blade cut the profile of the fades. Each pass I moved the saw in and 1/8" and repeated the cut, much like you do when cutting a tenon on a table saw. This actually worked very well, but I'm always leery of getting close to an exposed 10" blade [scared] so I haven't done it since. Maybe I'll do that on my next bow and post some pictures.

Good luck!
 
Posted by dbscott (Member # 21185) on :
 
This has been awesome... I am working on mine now... it just stinks that I have to work because all I want to do is go home and work on the bow. I just hope my turns out as pretty as yours did!
 
Posted by soopernate (Member # 2614) on :
 
I absolutely LOVE this buildalong. Great job. I hope this goes somewhere permanent for new guys to reference.
 
Posted by drydave (Member # 21844) on :
 
Very nice buildup! In fact, I am one that has been researching building my own bow for a couple months....and found many of the answers to my questions right here. In addition, this is almost exactly the bow I was envisioning for my first build- fairly easy and inexpensive, with a good looking and USABLE bow. (I am hoping to start mine over thankgiving!)
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I found a new water repellant finish I like considerably better than the mink oil. Although mink oil is a great moisture barrier, it must be reapplied frequently and doesn't build up. The new stuff I've been using lately with great results (even in the rain) is Birchwood-Casey's Gunstock Wax. It's a blend of beeswax, carnuba, and silcone. It builds a nice finish over the lacquer that, although glossy, can be dulled with steel wool. Unlike oil, it won't rub off. It's great stuff, and it's just as cheap as the last tin of mink oil I bought ($6.00).
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I had to edit Round 2 on page one of this thread. The tips should be 1/2" wide total. I made a mistake and, if you followed my instructions exactly, you would have ended up with 1" tips. SO SORRY! Again, the tips should be a 1/2" wide.

If you made them 1" wide, don't sweat it. Just draw a new taper line on either side of each limb and taper accordingly.
 
Posted by bubby (Member # 19173) on :
 
hey forest, I've got a 70" boo backed epe that I want to pike the length to 66", and I was wondering if you have done those recurved tip's on a boo backed bow
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Never done 'em on boo backed bows...I'm sure some guys with more experience using bamboo will chime in (Dano, Art, Nick, etc.) My first inclination is that you would treat such a task much like glueing on nock overlays, only your overlay would be much longer. I'll defer to those more experience than I with boo.
 
Posted by bubby (Member # 19173) on :
 
well I got antsy and got started, thought like you so I sanded the last 6" of the boo flat and glued on some blak walnut with 5 min. epoxy. we will see how it goes tomorrow, thanks for the quick reply,bub
 
Posted by bubby (Member # 19173) on :
 
well I got antsy and got started, thought like you so I sanded the last 6" of the boo flat and glued on some blak walnut with 5 min. epoxy. we will see how it goes tomorrow, thanks for the quick reply,bub
 
Posted by bubby (Member # 19173) on :
 
well I got antsy and got started, thought like you so I sanded the last 6" of the boo flat and glued on some blak walnut with 5 min. epoxy. we will see how it goes tomorrow, thanks for the quick reply,bub
 
Posted by dutchwarbow (Member # 20514) on :
 
This is a great buildalong !

good stuff man [Wink]

I have a few pointers, hope you don't mind:

- the fading in the handlethickness starts when it's already at the widest point. This gives your handle a blocky look. It will look much nicer if they start to taper in thickness and width at the same spot.

- the handle is at the thinnest exactly at the middle, were it's not needes. If you make it wider at the centre, then narrower towards the arrowpass, then fade it out, you will have a much more comfortable, better looking handle. it'll look like this:
\/
()
/\
I'd also make the wrapping longer, for looks. Just as on the picture of the other bow you posted.

- I love the scorching of the stringgrooves!!! gonna try that [Big Grin]

- I love you recurves, gonna try that aswell! [Smile]

Nick
 
Posted by dutchwarbow (Member # 20514) on :
 
bubby, I'm going to try those recurves, as I said in my post above. I'll post pics. Haven't been too active in bowmaking lately, so it might take a while.

oh and 4estrekker, hope you don't mind me being so direct. That's how we dutchies are!

Nick
 
Posted by razorback (Member # 4736) on :
 
Nick. I had the same thought on the handle and am getting close to cutting the handle on my bow. I will make a couple of practice pieces to experiment with design and will post some finished pictures. I made the recurve tips and handle riser out of black walnut and am thinking of antler for the overlays. Should look good, I hope, though have never done overlays.
4Est have you done any handles like this, or wood combo's on this type of bow and if so how did it work out.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Thanks all for your replies, and thanks Nick for the suggestions. I like when folks are direct...saves all that dancing around the bush! [goldtooth] You're right about the handle looking blocky, and I've built some bows that do taper as you indicated. The plus side to that is that there is a reduction in mass, although it's not huge and isn't in the part of the bow that most benefits. I really do prefer that look and probably should have done it on this bow. I was just going for quick and dirty simplicity. I also wanted to ensure that a beginning bowyer wouldn't take off to much wood here and induce set at the fades, or worse yet, a splinter. Both are easy to do on one's first few bows.

In regards to the handle, gentlemen, click the link to the following site. Pictured are some fantastic pyramid bows with bulbous handles much like you have described and that others have inquired about. I do mine like I do only because I prefer as small a handle as possible. Most will prefer more meat on their handle, especially if they don't have girly hands like me. The linked site provides some great pictures.

http://www.flachbogen.de/en/index.html

Razorback, I have done some fancier wood combos in the handles and they worked/looked fine. I chose not to do it on this build-along because I wanted to keep it bare-bones and limit the materials to just one good red oak board. Yet I really enjoy doing laminated riser blocks of varying woods, joinery, etc. It makes it fun to shape the handle as it exposes some really wild things sometimes. Lookin' forward to seeing some pictures of your test handles. I'm working on a set of pyramid bows for the kids of the family that lets me hunt turkey on their land. I think I'll do a fancier riser block and bulbous handle and post some pictures for reference.

I have shied away from using antler as tip overlays because they are so porous and can blow without warning. I think you'd be better served using a dense hardwood or horn.

Bubby and Nick: looking forward to seeing how the glue-on recurved tips works. I'm so lazy and impatient that when I ran across that technique in the TBB, I flipped. It's so simple, fast, and easy. Hope it works for you! (I was hoping you'd chime in Nick, as you're sort of a resident boo-guru! [thumbsup]

Thanks again everybody for following along. I'm learning a bunch in the process. Keep the ideas coming, and I'm anxious to see some pictures!
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
Well 4est, here we go, I got my supplies ready but been super busy with other stuff.
I need the specs on a bow for about 30# at 26" and 45# at 28" and about 56" to 60"

Also need the specs on the bow you built for your boy.
Thanks, Kris.
I will post pics as I go. Those bows on the link you posted were some good looking sticks.
 
Posted by matt g meyers (Member # 16335) on :
 
Hey 4est, thanks a bunch. This build a long came just in time for the Oregon rains.
So I started a bow and had to end up shortening things up quite a bit.I had some grain separation that was very well camoflaged,and with all the time invested I couldn't walk away.
I trimmed the limb tips and now I'm looking at a 53" nock to nock.2" tapered to 1/2" tips.
I've thinned the belly down to 3/8"and this thing is still way too beefy for my son.
Having never worked with oak like this,my question is how thin can I get the limbs before I go to far?
Thanks for all your time on this build a long. MM
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Matt: Yeah, at 53" and 3/8 thick you're going to have a brute of a stick. What is his draw length and what weight are you shooting for? I usually figure a bow's length is twice as long as the shooter's draw length plus 15%, plus 1". That is:

Bow Length=((Draw Length x 2) x 1.15) +1.

Working backwards, the max I would draw a 53 unbacked bow is 23". You could back it with linen, burlap, brown paper, etc. and eek it out a little bit more draw length.

I made a little unbacked red oak pyramid bow for my cousin to take rabbit hunting. It's 48" ntn, 2" at the fades, 1/2" at the tips, 5/16" thick, and pulls 35# @ 20". Hopefully that'll help get you in the ballpark of where you want to be. Just remember, when you're dealing with bows this short, you need to make sure you get ALL of the limb bending, especially out of the fades. Otherwise you'll overstress the limb at some point and it'll start to fret. There is less room for error when tillering short bows.

As far as grain separation goes, sometimes you can saturate the area in superglue and then wrap tightly with silk or linen thread, sinew, etc. Even artificial sinew and bowstring material can be used. I've saved a handful of bows this way that are still shooting several years later. Wrap the other limb in the same way to make it look purposeful [biglaugh] Good luck, and post some pictures.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Kris: It's hard to nail down a "recipe" for board bows, self bows, etc. You can get pretty close, but there's always a margin of error both ways because you're dealing with an organic material. Now, the more control you have over the components of the bow, the closer you can get to a recipe. For example, you can make a laminated wood bow and get really if not exact every time because you're laminating, which gives you more control over the make-up of the wood. You can even choose different woods for the back, belly, and core based on their characteristics. On the far end of the spectrum, you hear builders who use glass in their bows talk about recipes all the time. That's because they utilizing wood laminations PLUS the consistency of fiberglass (a non-organic material).

That being said, I can offer you some suggestions on getting close to your intended weight per draw length, and encourage any bowyers with pyramid bow specs to offer them up for comparison. But first, I wouldn't make your bows 56"-60" long. Here's why. As I stated in my previous post, I use the following formula for determining minimum bow length:

Bow Length=((Draw Length x 2) x 1.15)+1

For 30# at 26" bow, I'd make it 61" long MINIMUM (60" ntn). For the 45# bow I'd make it 64" long MINIMUM (63" ntn). Now, say you come up short in weight and need to pike it (shorten it to increase draw weight.) Generally you shorten both tips 1" to gain 5# in draw weight. It you've built the bow at the margin of safety, you don't have much to play with. Plus, we're working with unbacked red oak, not osage or hickory, both of which can take more abuse.

BUT (ah, the exception) you can always use the glue-one recurve to add a few pounds (up to about 5#) at the given bow length if you come in too low. So, you've built the bow at the margin and come in under weight but haven't done the glue-on recurve tips, simply the add them and your weight will go up. If you've already rounded the edges at the tips on the back of the bow (which would not lead to a good joint) just bevel them like you would when adding tip overlays, only over a longer run.

So, for my overall recommendations (which I hope others can chime in on). Again, I have a hard time nailing a draw weight/draw length out of the air. These are specs from bows I have built; but again, they're GUIDELINES! Adjust as necessary.

30#@26" = 62" overall (61"ntn), 2.5" at the fades, 1/2" at the tips, 13/32" thick. If you come in heavy, you can just scrape the belly evenly on both sides to drop the weight. Too low? Pike it a little (assuming you haven't added the recurved tips yet).

45#@28" = 66" overall (65" ntn), 2.5" at the fades, 1/2 at the tips, 7/16" thick.

Both of these assume the same riser/fade layout as shown in the build-along.

Sorry this got so long. I hope it answers your questions and gets you started in the right direction. If you don't hit your target weight, then don't hit me either! [knothead] Heck, as cheap and quick as it is to build these things, you'll have a rack full of bows to give away if nothing else!

PS The specs for my son's bow you inquired about are: 47" ntn, 2 7/8" at the fades, 1/4" at the tips (yikes!), 9/32" thick, 25#@22". The glue-on recurved tips are more like miniature siyahs (found on a horsebows).
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
One update: The formula used above to determine the length of the bow is what I used to unbacked red oak bows. If using higher quality woods and/or backing the bow, you obviously can make it shorter. A lot of bowyers use this formula:

Bow Length = (Draw Length x 2) x 1.1

To explain, that means take your draw length, double it, and then add 10%. I add 15% plus 1". Some bowyers add 20%.

I made the bow in this build-along 68" for an added measure of safety because it's red oak, it's unbacked, and I expected a lot of first-time bowyers to follow along. Hopefully some of them are busy at work and will post their pictures soon. Looking forward to it! [thumbsup]
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
Right on 4est,
With your formula for my draw length I end with 66" with 2x draw length x 1.1 I end up with 62" so for the sake of experimenting I'm gonna go with 60" overall and do a backing of brown paper under snake skin. 2.5 at the fades .5 at nock and start out at 7/16 on the limbs and see what happens.
What do you think about that, should be good since I'm backing it I figure or am I wrong? I haven't started making sawdust just yet just trying to get a good plan together before I do and screw it up. Measure 3 times and cut once, right LOL.

Would it hurt to take the fades down to 2" and if not will that reduce draw weight (I figure it will but don't want it be unsafe or take alot of set). I'll probably go ahead with 2.5 but was just wondering.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I would hesitate to go 60" for your draw length using red oak. That's asking a lot of that species of wood. Making it longer and wider allows more back wood do under tension, thereby reducing the odds that the bow will fail. Likewise, there's more wood undergoing compression, thereby reducing the risk of undue set.

You could narrow the limb width to 2", but you'd need to thicken the limb just a tad (1/32" of an inch at the most, probably). This could actually be beneficial if you'd got a beauty of a board. Wood is 8x when doubled in thickness, but only 2x stronger when doubled in width. So, it takes just a very small amount of wood added to the belly to compensate for the wood removed from the sides of the limbs. The benefit is a bow lighter in mass. Now, as Dutchwarbow state in an earlier post, you can always start with 2.5" and then trim the width of the bow near the fades as the limbs begin to thicken. You're adding thickness wood very quickly here, so taking a little of the sides will not be a problem. It will give your bow slightly less mass and a more rounded look.

I like that snake skin idea! Looking forward to it. Can't wait to see some pictures [thumbsup]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
As eluded to in earlier posts, the bow built in this build-along is slightly overbuilt. I think what I'll do in the next few days is narrow the bow at the handle (per Nick's suggestions [thumbsup] ) and also at the tips. Both areas are left beefy for safety, but if some of ya'll want to drop the bow's mass a bit, increase the speed a few fps, reduce hand shock (if there's any, which might be the result of too light an arrow), and give the bow a few more curves, this'll give you some options.

Also, I've been asked to provide a template for the glue-on recurve and fade radiuses. I'll do that. If you just want so send me a pm and include your e-mail, I'll send you a PDF with both of them on it. As a handy little trick, a 10" diameter (5" radius) circle cuts the radius at the fades beautifully. In fact, I'll post some pictures this weekend of how to use a radial arm saw with a 10" blade to simultaneously cut the bow to thickness and cut the fades.

Thanks again for following this thread. Hope it's helpful. I know I'm learning a lot [clapper]

[ November 14, 2009, 09:13 AM: Message edited by: 4est trekker ]
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
I think I'll go ahead with a little more length, probably 64" tip to tip and narrow the fades to 2" and take the tips a little narrower.
THanks for all the input 4est
Kris
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Here's a slick way to take the limbs down to thickness and cut the fades at the same time providing you have a FLAT BOARD (i.e. one without any crown/bow to it). I used it on a pair of kids' bows I built tonight for the children of the family that lets me hunt turkey on their land. I have a great old radial arm saw (1960's Craftsman) that I recently refurbished that really gets the job done:

 - ]

I set up my bow blank as before. Here's what this one looks like. Note that I will be cutting the thickness (side profile) before I cut the width (front profile). I did it just the opposite in the bow I built earlier in this thread.

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I turn the saw 90 degrees and set it up to rip. The distance from the blade to the cutting table will be the same as the finished thickness of the limbs, plus 1/64". I clamp on an auxiliary fence, check both the fence and the blade for square, and I'm ready to roll:

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I start with the saw blade lined up with the outer 1/8" of the edge of the bow opposite the fence and make a pass until I get to the red line. I pull the board out SLOWLY and CAREFULLY so I don't bind it. Then I flip the board around and make the same pass on the other side. Then I move the saw 1/8" closer to the fence and repeat the process.

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When you've reached the fence, your bow will look something like this:

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And you will look something like this:

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What's slick with this particular board is that I can rip it down the middle and get two 1.5" wide bows out of it, which will be just right for the little kiddos!

The beautiful part is that a 10" saw blade cuts a very graceful fade radius. This setup also works fantastic if you use a stacked dado head, but your radius at the fade will be much shallower. And whatever you do, do NOT try this with your table saw! It's a whole different shootin' match, and you'll lose! [knothead]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Here's the handle I did for the kids' bows above. It's more of a bulbous handle that some people were inquiring about. I don't particularly like the way it feels, but it looks great and works well for kids as it gives them something definite to grab to keep their hand in the right place. My fancy layout jig is my trust old can of lacquer:

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The heavier your bow, the wider and thicker you'll need to make the narrow parts of the handle. Also, I can cut into the back of the bow only because it's a non-bending handle and it doesn't move there. As long as I leave enough wood in the handle, it'll remain rigid, and therefore not be subject to tension, and thus won't break. But you've got to make sure there's NO movement for about 1" tipward of where you start dipping into the back on each limb. For safety, it's a good idea to just add a beefy (i.e. thick) handle overlay on the back of the bow and then cut into that.

I haven't finished the bow yet, but you get the general idea, eh?
 
Posted by dbscott (Member # 21185) on :
 
Would you wrap this handle the same way you did the original one in the build along and would you do the same style of arrow rest?
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Sometimes I wrap it, but usually I'll mold and stitch a leather grip around it. You can use the rest I did, use a simple floppy rest, add a wooden shelf, etc. The nice thing about this handle is that the bow is narrower where the arrow makes contact than in the build-along bow, making it more center shot.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
4est. I'm brand new to the bow building, and the traditional archery world. I've built one bow out of 1"x2" Red oak that came out pretty light because of my overzealous tillering.

I really appreciate this build along. I really like the turkey bow you have pictured and am interested in the rest of the dimensions on it.

I've seen that it is 64" in length, and draws 45# at 26 inches. I didn't see the width at the fades, but assume it is 3" like the build along bow. I also didn't see the limb thickness written down either.

I would prefer a 28" draw length but it would be nice to know what your dimensions are and also know that it may be a bit heavier at my draw length.

Thanks again, for your helpful and illustrative build along.

[ November 21, 2009, 07:39 PM: Message edited by: SSGN_Doc ]
 
Posted by Greg Szalewski (Member # 14564) on :
 
Great build along!! Might just have to give this a try....... after hunting season.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
I just reread your reply to Kris on this page and see that for my draw length a 66" overall (65 NTN) would be prefered for durability.

Thanks again. It's a lot of info to absorb in one thread.

Mark
 
Posted by SoNevada Archer (Member # 14733) on :
 
Very Cool!!!
 
Posted by Jesse Peltan (Member # 20518) on :
 
One the bows, how come the bow doesn't flare and fade simultaneously? Why wouldn't you just start the fade out right after the top and bottom of the grip? It would give a smoother fadeout and you could even shorten it allowing the overall bow length to be shorter. I think the simultaneous flare/fade is better than flare in width and depth then a steeper depth fade. The simultaneous gets weaker in depth and stronger in width keeping a more even strength rather than overstressing the top and bottom of the handle. I don't know if you know what I mean. I'd post a picture but my computer doesn't like photobucket.
 
Posted by Bill Sagues (Member # 19751) on :
 
Bought my board at lowes Thursday (had to use a 1x6x10, but got the grain I was looking for). Layed out the bow yesterday - looking for 45# at 30" so I am going with a 72 inch bow. Should have it cut out by the end of the weekend and glued up on Monday - Although Duck season started today (FLA) so maybe into next week before I have it ready to tiller. Thanks again for the great build along.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Jesse: Yeah, you can do the handle/fades that way. [Smile] I stated in an earlier post that I prefer the look of that. I did it as such in this build-along to keep if simple, safe, and slightly overbuilt. That way a beginning bowyer wouldn't take off too much wood and create bend in the handle, undue set at the fades, and/or fretting of the belly at the fades. This design give the most stability to the bow's back and belly, as it allows the most amount of wood to share the work. Yes, it may be a bit heavier in physical weight, but the weight is added to the middle (non-moving) part of the bow where it has little effect on overall performance.

In regards to being able to make the bow shorter, that is true. Again, I wanted to keep things safe for the first-time bowyer. By having a longer bow, longer draw lengths and weights can be achieved within a much safer margin (i.e. more wood doing the work). Secondly, it allows for easier and more forgiving tillering for the first-time bowyer. Lastly, it gives a bow that is very sweet shooting, accurate, and forgiving. One thing people often assume falsely about a pyramid bow is that because of it's size and often long length, it must be a poor, slow shooter with lots of hand shock. The opposite is true. They are solid, accurate, and quick shooters, especially in the 64-68" range. Unless I'm looking for a short bow that fits in a blind, I prefer a long pyramid bow hands down. (In fact, I hunt with a 64" ntn pyramid bow in my turkey blind.)

I'm not sure what you mean about overstressing the top and bottom of the handle. There is no set taken here, yet the bow bends gracefully into the fades. If the wood here was overstressed, fracture, fretting, and/or set would occur. Maybe a few pictures of what you're saying would help clear things up for me.

Thanks for the commentary, Jesse. [Smile] I enjoy learning and appreciate your comments. [thumbsup] I stated this earlier, but maybe I'll trim the bow down in the fade/handle region, as well as the tips and post some pictures. Although not necessary, it can up the performance a wee bit and drop the physical weight a tad.
 
Posted by Jesse Peltan (Member # 20518) on :
 
Really? I'd think the smoother fade would be easier to make. You won't get bending in the fades anymore than you would the other way. What I mean by overstressing the top and bottom of the handle is that the riser is weakest at those points apposed to the design where the bow fades from those points in depth and flares in width. The simultaneous flare/fade keeps the bending strength relatively the same as at the top and bottom of the handle and then fades smoothly after you reach max width. I completely agree about pyramid bows. I make ALL my bows that style even my glass recurves.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Gotcha! I think what you're saying is make a tapered limb from both the FRONT profile and the SIDE profile (i.e. the limb tapers in width at the same time it tapers in thickness). Sorry I missed that simple concept before. If that's the case, here's the reasoning for the way it's presented in the build-along:

If you take a uniform thickness board/limb and then cut it to a pyramidal shape, the tiller should (minus wood inconsistency) be automatic. This is the most basic form (and one of the greatest qualities) of the true pyramid bow. One can adjust tiller as wanted to attain a stiffer inner third of the bottom limb, stiff outer tips, whip tiller, etc. This can be done by scraping the belly, thinning the width, and/or adjusting the angle of taper on the front profile. Tim Baker's article in the TBB (I think it's the 3rd volume) explains this much better than I can. For new bowyers, trying to gauge an even thickness AND width taper can be tricky and will often lead to a severely whip tillered bow, or a poorly tillered bow at best. Hinges and fretting can develop quickly. A perfectly uniform thickness is very easy to achieve and judge with the simplest of tools, especially when working with dimensional lumber, as the back is already flat and true. I've found in teaching bow building seminars that this is a very fast, effective, and easy method for the first time bowyer. Most folks complete their bow in a single day and have it stained, sealed and shooting arrows they've made by suppertime. [Smile] [thumbsup]

I hope I'm thinking correctly about what you've described. In fact, my favorite bow on my bow rack is a 1939 Ben Pearson hickory longbow that is exactly as you describe, although it is considerably narrower in width than a true pyramid bow. It roughly tapers in width and thickness (although the width taper is not a straight line). Obviously, since wood is roughly 8x stronger in thickness than in width, you could achieve the same draw weight with much less wood by adding a minimal amount of thickness while reducing a significant amount of width. Yet, the pyramid bow, with it's thin and narrow outer limbs, is really a phenomenal design in that it doesn't really suffer (in fact excels) by having a little more width, a little less thickness, and a longer length. Sure, it's not going to smoke an arrow 180 fps unless you've got an 80# bow at 28-30" or an unhealthy amount of reflex. BUT, this design allows more wood to go into tension and compression, and that is why I favor this particular design for first-time bowyers. it adds a large margin of safety and room for error in terms of wood selection (i.e. species, moisture content, grain orientation, early/late growth ration, etc.), tillering ability, overdrawing, etc.

Enjoying the commentary. [thumbsup] Thanks again, Jesse!
 
Posted by R.W. (Member # 12637) on :
 
GREAT build-a-long!

Hopefully this one goes into the "How-to" section.

Excellent tutorial, 4est!

R.W.
 
Posted by Jesse Peltan (Member # 20518) on :
 
Not exactly what I was getting at. I like the way you did the limbs. I don't taper the belly. I was thinking of in the riser. If you start at the grip and move toward the tips you get the the smallest part of the handle. The bow then flares in width. In order to keep strength the same as you move toward the limbs you need to fade in depth. Then you pass the flares and get to the limb. Here you have your fadeout. The design I'm talking about gives you a smooth quick fadeout. I really wish I could post a picture, but my computer doesn't like photobucket.
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
4est,

I have followed this EXCELLENT buildalong and have finaly ended up with an ""adult" weight bow! This thing shoots like a champ. My buddy is working n his and I'm already thinking about my next one. Thanks for taking the time. I can't seem to find any bowyers in southeast GA so this worked out GREAT!!

HMC(SS/SW) David Holt
Submarine Force Independent Duty Corpsman
Kings Bay GA
HOO-YAH
 
Posted by tradtusker (Member # 8659) on :
 
Wow very cool man! thanks for sharing
 
Posted by lone hunter (Member # 259) on :
 
Don't know how I've over looked this forum all these years. Thanks so much 4est for giving me the confidence to attempt making my own board bow. I started reading your build along last night and couldn't tear away from it. Great photo's and explanation. I was in Home Depot this morning, pricing bandsaws. Hope this topic gets put away where it can be referenced. Iam on my own where I live so will depend on this to take me step by step. Just wondering about the life expectancy of this type of bow?
Thanks again and Good Hunting. Mike
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
David: I'm thrilled you ended up with a solid, good shooter! The nice thing about these bows is they betray their looks. That is, they can sometimes look clunky, bulky, and slow. However, they often provide some of the smoothest drawing, sweet shooters. The design is perfectly suited for a board bow, is very efficient, and provides a high margin of safety. I'd love to see some pictures of how your bow turned out! Also, did you use the dimensions in the build-along or tailor them to your needs/liking? I know this bow looks a bit overbuilt, and by most standards is. However, when I had my cousin shoot a 500 grain arrow through the chronograph, it was shooting between 151-155 fps at 26 inches of draw. 26" a pretty short draw length for a bow this long, but it is performing above average. In fact, generally an average (good) bow will shoot (100+Draweight@28") fps. A shorter draw length on a bow this long will often lower the fps because the bow isn't getting into its power stroke.

Lone Hunter: Good luck and thanks for the kind words. With proper construction and care, a bow like this can last a lifetime. This will depend greatly upon things like wood selection, tiller, how and where you store the bow, the method you use to string it, abuse, the weight of arrows you're shooting, etc. But heck, even if it blows up after your first hunting season, it'll give you a good reason to build another, right? Plus, it's cheap! [thumbsup] Remember to post some pictures!
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
I'm glad Dave pointed me to this build along. We've both been experimenting with board bow building, and it's nice to find a forgiving design that yields a useful bow.

My glue up is done, and I spent a portion of my afternoon at Dave's using his bandsaw to get mine going. I'm trying the "bulbous center" handle style so Dave and I can get a better idea of which we prefer. I've still got a ways to go on evening out the belly of mine, (I don't have a lot of faith in my bandsaw skills so I left a bit more than just the cut line when I cut the side profile off the belly, and this left a lot of rasping for me to do).

Dave did a lot of sanding and burnishing on his, and I got to see the first coat of stain go on his bow. I'll have to take the camera over when I go back to fit my nock tips and finish evening out the belly. ( I also need to remember to take the string making supplies. Sorry Dave.)

Dave's bow is a sweet shooter and I can hardly wait to finish mine and try it out.

Next project will be to make a kids version for my daughter. It broke my heart to watch her cry after I broke my last attempt at a board bow for her. I think this design shows good promise for making a bow that will work out for her as well.

HMC(SS) Mark Sizemore
Submarine Force Independent Duty Corpsman
Kings Bay, GA
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Jesse: Well, after I reread your post, I figured out what you were talking about. I've pasted a picture below from one of my favorite pyramid bow makers (Kunst-Griff). Let me know if this is what you're talking about. If that's the case, man would that be a lot easier. I just never considered it before. I even like the look of it a lot better. You can make out the end of the limb flare (i.e. it's widest point) just as the limb thickness begins to transition into the handle. Thanks for the suggestion. I enjoy learning.

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Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Some folks have been asking about tillering strings. Below is a picture of the style that I use. It is made by bowyers Kunst-Griff. They actually sell it as a bow stringer, but it will serve both purposes. Your string length should be adjustable. For use a tillering string, you want it just long enough to be able to slip the boots over both ends of the bow and no longer. For use as a stringer, you want to make it about a foot longer than the bow.

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Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Well I finished the major sanding, and have to go over everything with some fine sand paper before applying a finish.

Here's where I am so far:
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You might be able to notice the package with the French Curve in it in the upper right, if anyone was curious what one looks like. I found my set of 3 at Office Depot for $9.

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I went with the bulb center handle. You can notice I put an arrow in the middle so I know which limb is top until I get the handle and rest placed.

Lower limb is a bit stiffer, but the thing shoots nice the way it is an I don't want to lose any more draw weight. She pulls 50 lbs at 26". I thinned the limbs down to 13/32". (I may have gotten a denser board, but 15/32 was probably well over 60#).

It's been a cool project with satisfying results so far. Dave and I put a few arrows through it while the handle was still just roughed out. It seems to be pretty fast shooting and puts them where you look at 10 paces.

Thanks, especially to Dave for all the use of his big power tools. (Since I lack the band saw.)
Also, thanks again for this great tutorial 4est.

For a tillering string we used a single loop Flemish twist string with a bowyers knot on the other end.

Trying to decide on color. I've got some green stain that is tempting, but the other options are Walnut, Classic Oak, Red Oak, or Gunstock.

Mark
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Yeah, buddy! Way to go, Mark. [thumbsup] I'm glad it's worked out for you, and I really enjoy seeing the pictures. Glad you were able to nail your target weight. It's difficult to prescribe "recipes" for non-laminated and unbacked wooden bows like you can for laminated wood/glass bows. A 1/16" of an inch variation isn't bad given all the factors that come into play. Congrats on a fine bow!

You mention that the lower limb is too stiff. Actually, this is a good thing, depending on where and to what extent it's stiffer. Check the bow at full draw using a mirror, camera, or friend. Most often the lower limb undergoes more strain than the top limb when the bow is drawn in the hand, and therefore should be slightly stiffer. This is referred to as positive tiller and is called such because the string will be further from the fades on the top limb than on the bottom. It will generally look slightly uneven at brace and when drawn on the tillering tree. However, it should even right out when drawn in the hand depending on how much heel pressure you use on your bow hand, where you're nock point is at, and what release you're using.

Again, congrats. Can't wait to see the finished product! [goldtooth] [thumbsup]
 
Posted by Jesse Peltan (Member # 20518) on :
 
4est trekker, that's exactly what I'm talking about. It gives you a shorter smoother fade, more working limb, better transition, etc. I also like the looks of it better. I think it would be a lot easier to make.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
The positive tiller is why I marked the bow so I would remember which is top and which is bottom. [Wink]

I wanted the lower limb stiffer for just the reasons you list.

I had Dave check it as I drew it and we think I't needed to come down just a hair, and was looking a bit stiffer at mid limb before the glue-on recurve. I just did a bit more heavy sanding and am pretty happy with where it's at.

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[ November 27, 2009, 03:56 PM: Message edited by: SSGN_Doc ]
 
Posted by Jesse Peltan (Member # 20518) on :
 
4est, I think the smoother fade would be easier for a first timer because the transition between the riser and limb thickness wouldn't be as abrupt so there would be less chance of going to deep in the limb.
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
4est, I haven't forgot about posting pics. I've been staring at the bow for a few day trying to figurer out what kind of wrap and whether or not to put on an arrow rest. I had to wait until mark was done wirh all his sanding before I could seal in up. I stained it with minwax stain ,d sealer and put on 4 coat of deft. It is 67"NtN and pulls 40# @ 28". I had a little accident with the band saw so the lims are onlt 3/8" thick. We were a little more carefull with Marks ans his wa s pulling 52# @ 25" last I saw him. I've already had two fellow hunters who have never shot anything but compound bows be so amazed at how well this bow shoots, and off the hand with NO ARROW REST! Who'd a thunk it ever possible! Thanks again. Ill send picks soon. I'm in the stand right now waiting on supper to show up!
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Hey Dave,

I just finished wrapping my handle this afternoon. It came out pretty nice and is a nice match for the Purple Heart overlays.

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I went with some of that red leather thread I had. I super glued it in places underneath as I went along to maintain tension. I used a leather shaving for an arrow plate, and another small wedge of leather that I rounded on the top as an arrow rest. It was really bright red but I coated it with Titebond III and it became a very nice purple/burgundy.

I've got more of the leather that I used if you need it, Dave.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Yeah! Looking good! [thumbsup] I'm glad they shoot well for you. Maybe your friends will get the bug, too! As I said in an earlier post, the physical size of pyramid bows often mask their actual performance. They generally do shoot very well by nature of their design.

You guys keep it up, and if anybody else is building one, don't be afraid to post some pictures! [Smile]
 
Posted by TXNeal (Member # 22097) on :
 
This is my first post here, but I've been coming and reading through this thread for the past couple of days.

I'm really interested in making one of these bows and intend to purchase the lumber this weekend when I will be making a roadtrip to a place with a Lowes or Home Depot. Should I be able to find red oak at one of these places? I'm also curious to know how much a board of the proper dimensions will cost. If they are affordable, I may even purchase several of them if I can find that many with good grain.

I've been interested in building a bow for many years now and have made a few failed attempts, but I'm still wanting to do it. In fact, I have been collecting osage orange logs for about 25 years and have a stack of them in my back yard. I recently met a bowyer who works with osage and he has agreed to help me with my next attempt, but I think that I would like to try one of these red oak bows as a practice run.

I'm a welding and woodworking teacher in a high school, so I have access to a shop with everything I need and I'm thinking that I might do this project at school and see if I can't get a couple of students to take an interest in building one of their own. It might make for a pretty cool teaching/learning experience for me to be helping my students build bows! Of course, I think I'll need to run this one by the superintendent first to make sure I'm not violating any district policies by having my students build "weapons" at school.

Anyway, I think this is a great thread and I do intend to follow through with giving it a try. If any of you guys can give me a rough estimate of what this red oak lumber will cost, I would appreciate it. Also, if you know whether Home Depot or Lowes would be the place to look for it, that would be helpful to. I live in a pretty remote area, where there is no place nearby to purchase hardwood lumber without placing a special order, so I'm not really familiar with retail stores that sell it. Thanks for any help you can provide!
 
Posted by sssnap (Member # 21988) on :
 
TXNeal- PM sent
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
I found a good board that was 8 feet long at a Lowes and a 7 foot board at a Home Depot. searched through over 30 boards to find 2 that were good enough to use. I think I paid about $15 for the 8 foot board and $12 for the 7 footer.
 
Posted by TXNeal (Member # 22097) on :
 
Thanks for the advice on where to find wood. I'll be searching for a few boards this weekend.

In the PM I received from sssnap, he mentioned having had some problems with the wood being too dry and needing to be re-humidified. Unfornutately, I live in an arid desert environment and our humidity stays very low at most times, so if the wood needs more humidification, I'm not sure how I would accomplish that.

I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced problems with the red oak being too dry and if there are any suggestions for what I might do to remedy the problem in a low humidity environment?

I've mentioned this project to some students today and already have three guys who are really excited about giving it a try, so I'm going to make an effort to get some boards and turn them into bows. Maybe we will luck out and the moisture issue will not present a problem.
 
Posted by bubby (Member # 19173) on :
 
4est, wanted to let you know the glue on recurves worked on my boo backed epe. had a bad splinter at the tip of the boo, so it went from 70" ntn to 62" ntn 63# @ 29" with just a little hand shock till the silencers went on. but i think thats normal with a bendy handle bow that short. i'll try to post some pics if i can figure out how to do it
 
Posted by R.W. (Member # 12637) on :
 
4est,

I have been shooting the board bow I built from your build-a-long. (45#@28")

Quite a bit of hand shock, I notice. This with a 50# spine POC arrow with 160 grain feild point.

Would "trapping" the limbs reduce the handshock?

I believe that lighting the limbs by trapezoid shaping of them should reduce hand shock, and improve cast.

Sorry I can't post pictures, as I am not into the "digital" age .(or even film photography)
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
R.W.: I'm glad your bow is shooting! Way to go [thumbsup] Sorry fot the long reply, but here goes:

Regarding the handshock:

1) With a non-centershot bow, you really need to shoot arrows that are lower in spine weight than your draw weight. I usually go around 5-10#, sometimes even 15# lower in spine weight. This could be the source of your handshock alone, as the arrow won't bend gracefully around the handle during release. Rather, it slams into the side of the handle. 160 grains is a healthy point, but I'm not sure it's enough to offset a 50# spined shaft. How's the arrow flight at say, 15-20 yards?

2) When you've got properly spined shafts, be critical of the total mass of the arrows. 10 grains per pound plus is where you'll be transferring nearly all the energy of the bow into the arrow (that is, and NOT into excess vibration that causes handshock). I would say that arrow tuning is the most important and most forgotten about aspect of tuning wooden bows.

3) At the same time you're checking your arrow set up, check the tiller. Make sure it's even at full drawn when DRAWN IN THE HAND. The tillering tree won't tell you much, as it can't mimic your hand placement, grip, draw, etc. Small adjusts here can take a bone-jarring bow down to a sweet shooter in a hurry...with proper arrows, that is.

4) If full-draw tiller and arrows both check out, try this step. If you've built the bow to exactly the dimensions I gave in the tutorial, it will be overbuilt by some degree. I would first gradually narrow the width SLIGHTLY in the outer 1/3 of each limb toward the tips. This will reduce outer limb mass and have little effect on tiller, as the bow doesn't do that much work in this region. A LITTLE here can go a long way. However, if you take off too much, you'll end up with a whip tillered bow, or worse yet one with a hinge or that will fail altogether. But don't be shy about it. Remember that wood is 8x stronger in thickness than in width.

5) Failing all of that you could consider trapping. There is enough wood in the bow to allow it, I believe. However, I rarely trap bows in this way, so I would not be the best resource for this. (I often use "heat trapping" [i.e. tempering the belly] which serves a similar purpose to back trapping, but is achieved through other means.)

I hope this helps you. You can get a sweet shooter out of this bow, no doubt. Take it slow and methodically. I like to keep notes as I go when tuning a bow. Also, do you have silencers on your bow? They dampen vibration, which is the culprit anyway. You could also be critical of your string (too thick or thin?), nock placement (too high or low?), release (are you plucking the string?), bow-hand grip (are you torquing the bow?), etc. Keep us posted! You'll get there.
 
Posted by R.W. (Member # 12637) on :
 
4est,

Went to a "500" carbon shaft with weight tube. 590 gr total weight.

These are shooting quite well, and am experiencing less shock.

No silencers yet. Will have to get some wool and make up a bunch.

I have lightened the end third of the limbs, as per your recommendations

If I heat treat the belly of the bow, how long should I leave it to allow the wood to re-hydrate? I don't have a moisture meter, so I will have to "guesstimate" that.

I figure about 2 weeks should allow a good safety margin in re-hydrating the wood.

Thanks for all your help, 4est.
 
Posted by Doug Treat (Member # 2365) on :
 
4est, I have been following this thread too and think I might have another go at making a bow (my wife calls it my "wood breaking" hobby as I've tried before and failed). It seems this pyramid design might just be a better one for me to try. Sounds like it is more forgiving and easier to tiller which gave me fits when I tried before. One question I have (or maybe a few :^). I want to try to increase the length, decrease the width a bit, increase the thickness, and increase the riser length so I can see better (it looks like your design would have the widest part in my vision with the way I shoot-with just a little cant). I draw 29". Here's my plan right now: 74" total length, 12" from center to widest part of the limb which I want to make 2 3/4" instead of 3", My riser would be 20" and would stop just short of the widest part. My limb thickness would be 1/2" to start with. I would leave the limbs straight (no recurve). I'm shooting for about 50# @ 29. Do you (or does anyone else) see any problems that jump out at you with this design? Would all these changes change the easy tiller design too much and make it a non-pyramid type of bow? Thanks.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Doug: I'm glad you're going to give bowmaking another go-round! And remember that breaking bows is part of the game. If wood was meant to bend in a circle it would grow that way [bigsmyl]

Now, let me see if I get your description right:

Total bow length: 74" ntn
Total riser length: 20-22" (???)
Limb width at widest: 2 3/4"
Limb thickness: 1/2"

I would be hesitant to make your riser that long. I wouldn't go over 12" max (even that would be really long for my taste.) With your dimensions you render the working part of each limb only 27" long. The bow in the build-along (which is 6" shorter than your proposed bow) has a working limb length of 30" (3" inches longer!). Combine your plan to narrow the limbs, and you have actually taken a step in the other direction. Here's what I would suggest:

70" ntn
10" riser length (that'll give you an inch more on each side than the bow in the build-along)
2 3/4" limb width at fades
1/2" limb thickness (may need to adjust this)

Others may have more insight and better suggestions. But I hope this is a good starting point. I'm excited to see what you get out of your efforts! Post lots of pictures and questions and you'll get a bow out of it! [thumbsup]
 
Posted by Doug Treat (Member # 2365) on :
 
Thanks, Yeah, my whole idea was to get that wide part of the limb out of my line of sight, but maybe your suggestion with the narrower limb width and that little extra riser length will be enough. I'll let you know.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
If you aim with both eyes open your non dominant eye should be taking in the target, while your dominant eye is looking more or less the line the arrow will take to the target. Kind of like the Benden aiming concept used for shooting red dot sights on rifles, you brain super imposes the images a bit. The sight window becomes less relevant in this more instinctive shooting. These bows point pretty naturally where you are looking. I point at my target, more or less, with my left hand and let go when I'm pointed at the target.
 
Posted by Doug Treat (Member # 2365) on :
 
I've found that my dominant eye (right) needs to have a clear view of the target or my non-dominant eye will take over and wants to line up the tip of the arrow. Then my shots will go far to the left. But now we're getting off topic...back to the pyramid bow. I have a couple more questions for 4est. Picking out the wood: I've been told that the edge grain is most important when picking out material for a board bow (looking for run-outs, etc.), but it sounds like you are saying to just look at the face (the 3 1/2" side) of the board that will be your back of the bow. Did I understand that right? Next question: I don't have a band saw but I do have a 12" table power planer. I thought it might be easier for me to plane down the thickness of my board before gluing on the riser since the thickness needn't change. I guess this would make it more difficult to get the riser taper just right without cutting into the limb, huh? Question 3: What is the reason you like to add the recurve tips? Does it increase performace significantly over a straight limb bow? I like the looks of the recurve limbs, but was wondering if it's worth the extra time to make. Thanks for your time and for doing all the work for this build-a-long.
 
Posted by Doug Treat (Member # 2365) on :
 
OK, I looked back and it looked like Razorback had a similar question about doing the thickness first before glue up. I'm not sure I understand why the glue joint would be more inclined to fail this way, but I'm sure I'm not thinking of something.
 
Posted by bubby (Member # 19173) on :
 
Doug, you should be able to narrow the bow and stay about 68" ntn if you get a good hickory board
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Doug:

Question 1: Yes, I focus mainly on the side of the board that will be the bow's future back. It's a technique described by Mark Baker and one that produces bow after bow for me. The grain on the back won't change when making the bow. Looking for perfect grain on the edge of the bow is fun and all, but will nearly ALWAYS change when you make the bow because you're shaping the profile of the limb (i.e. narrowing it). Again, Mark Baker describes this in detail and with much more clarity than I can here. I will try to post a direct quote from him in the next few days if I have time. You might need to remind me.

Question 2: When you use 1" dimensional lumber (actually 3/4" thick) and glue on a riser of identical thickness, the joint between those two pieces of wood falls midway up the radius of the fade. Therefore, it's not receiving as much stress because it's thicker there and isn't bending as much. However, if you were to plan the stave the thickness first and then glue on the riser board, your fade would start precisely at the glue joint, and would receive tremendously more force. That is, you've got the most amount of pressure (since the inner third of the bow limb does the most work) concentrated on the thinnest edge. This feathered edge of the riser board will break away and fail under the force. Another way to say it is, the further you go up the fade out radius, the less force is being exerted on the wood. So, the higher your joint between the riser block and bow blank is, the less stress it has to endure.

Question 3: The recurved tips add a slight increase in performance by placing the tips closer to the zero line between deflex and reflex. The further the tips are to being even or even reflexed beyond this line, the more energy you store during the draw. Let's take two identical bows. Both are osage flatbows with the exact same dimension and pull 50#@28". However, bow A has 2" of string follow while bow B has 1" of reflex at the tips. Although they pull they same weight, bow B will have more cast because it's storing more energy. That is, the limb is doing work sooner in bow B than in bow A.

Hope these answers help. I'm not the best at explaining things. Let me know what I need to clear up!

P.S. Estes Park, CO is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood and now with my own family are from that area. You sure are lucky!
 
Posted by cooter (Member # 149) on :
 
Total bow length: 74" ntn
Total riser length: 20-22" (???)
Limb width at widest: 2 3/4"
Limb thickness: 1/2"

Holy hanna, what kinda bow you making. [bigsmyl] Just came back from too long a vacation from here. 74"ntn. imho way to much wood to get that arrow moving with any speed. Remember you need to transfer the stored energy from the limbs to the arrow. With that much wood a lot of the stored energy is going into getting those limbs moving and wont be transferred to the arrow. I've made bows with both limbs shorter than your riser. 2 3/4" wide??? cut that in about half depending on the wood your using.

My first question what type of wood you using?
Second question what draw weight you shooting for?

Just some food for thought,
Cooter
 
Posted by Doug Treat (Member # 2365) on :
 
Cooter, 4est has me rethinking my layout now. I think I will do what he suggested: 70" NTN, 10"riser, ect. I hadn't really thought about how much less working limb I would have with my long riser idea. 4est, Thanks for all the info. That clears things up in my mind a lot. Yep, Estes is a pretty nice place to hang one's hat.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Here's my daughters bow, now that it's finished.

 -

 -
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
Nice bow Mark....sure it's not yours?

OK...workin on bow #2. This one is 65" NKN, 2.5" at the fades to 1/2" tips. It pulls about 46# @ 27" right now. The problem I'm having is that it is taking alot of set/string follow. Unbraced overnight it has about 2" on one limb andn 3" on the other. When I brace it and shoot it a few times the string follow shoots up to over 3". I poured through the TBBs and I think I may have braced it too high initially and it doesn't help that it's like 100% humidity all the time here in SE Georgia (84 degrees today). I went and bought a heat gun and put a little reflex in the limbs and heat tempered the belly. first time doing that so I probably didn't do a good job [knothead] . I then left it on the front porch overnight to soak up some moisture (might as well have been gren again the next day). The heat tempering did't help a bit. I have put it back into MORE reflex and heat tempered the belly for longer this time and left it in my garage.

 -

 -

http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow2003.jpg

http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow2004.jpg

My plan WAS to let it sit overnight and back it with rawhide from a chew toy I've had soaking for 2 days:

http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow2005.jpg

But....It was glued together too well and the long center piece was all glued together and didn't make it through the unwrapping phase [Mad] . Not sure what to do now. I have brown paper, satin and some kind of silk blend I can back it with but i don't want to brace it again until I get it backed. Any takers?

BTW here are some pic from my first success:

http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow008.jpg
http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow016.jpg
http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow015.jpg
http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow018.jpg
http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow013.jpg
http://i870.photobucket.com/albums/ab269/cumah/PyramidBow014.jpg
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
Guess I need to learn how to make my pics smaller!
 
Posted by dbscott (Member # 21185) on :
 
Here is another amateur question. How do you know when you need to back a bow and does it add draw weight to the bow? I am still working on my but haven't gotten a chance to do much with work and Christmas coming right around the corner.
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
dbscott,

1st a plug, buy the Traditional Bowyer's Bibles. they are a wealth of knowledge. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't look up something.

Backings that will add draw weight will include sinew and other woods such as bamboo, hickory etc. You can back bow with just about anything that won't stretch. Other backings include natural fibers such as linen, silk, brown paper etc. These backings will not add performance (draw weight) but will protect the back from cracking or splinters raising up. You can also use synthetic stuff like drywall tape (did that on my daughters bow). I backed the bow that's in the clams above with brown paper (bought a roll at walmart) last night. I was going to back it with camo fabric but I got lazy. The first pyramid bow I built using this thread I didn't back. Have fun and experiment. Don't forget to ask questions on this forum. These guyz are SMART!!

Just 2cnt from another amateur.
Dave
 
Posted by Tom Leemans (Member # 79) on :
 
David,
Not sure you're gonna reflex that set back out of her. That set is a result of cell compression. Usually, bending bows backwards, albeit gentle, damages the cells further and results in a failure at some point.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
David: Your technique is correct, although like Tom said, it's too late in the game. You can reflex the limbs like that while at the same time tempering the belly, but I would do it just after you've gotten the bow tillered properly on the long string. Get the wood heated first, bend it slowly and clamp it, and then heat it some more. If you just bend it first without applying heat you can damage the wood at the cellular level. (p.s. You're first bow was fantastic! You should post some pictures of it here.)

Interestingly, I was reading back through Mark St. Louis' chapter on heat treating in the TBB Volume 4 looking for tidbits I may had missed the first 50 times ( [Smile] ) and I did find that he says heat treating can be used to remove set in bows. However, in practice this generally proves to be false.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I've gotten a lot of e-mails and seen a lot of pictures of guys building bows with this build-along. I'd sure like it if everyone who has built one would share their work with the Gang and post a picture or two of their finished product. If not a picture, then at least a short message saying you did and a brief description of how it went. I'd really enjoy hearing from ya'll! Thanks!
 
Posted by Bill Sagues (Member # 19751) on :
 
Okay - here we go.
I followed this excellent tutorial and built my first bow.
72" total length, 70" nock to nock, 10" riser, 2.75" - .5" width. I backed it with 3 layers of drywall tape and it pulled to about 40 lbs. at 30 inches. I shot it off my hand without an arrow rest and had a ball for about 150 arrows.
Then.....
A picture of the belly.
 -

The back.
 -

the "CRACK" :-(
 -

Yep ... I was in the back yard shooting arrows into my target at 15 yards - and as I was drawing back one time I heard the slightest "crack" ... and that was it.

The good news is that I had to buy a 6" wide board at Lowes to find the grain I was looking for so I had about a ~ 2" wide board left from the original to start all over again - and so I have....
I will post when the next one it done - or broke; which ever comes first!

Thanks again 4est the great tutorial!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Great job, Bill! Thanks for posting. [thumbsup]

If I may, the diagnosis for breakage is most likely due to the three layers of drywall tape. One layer is perfect and is all that is needed. The more layers you apply (i.e. the thicker the backing) the more you raise the neutral plane of the bow. This makes the backing do more of the tension work. A backing of this type is meant to prevent splinters from raising, not to go into tension, which would thus raise performance. Brown paper, silk, linen, drywall tape, rawhide, etc. are all backings that will deter splinters but NOT increase draw weight/performance. Sinew, wood, and bamboo backings are designed to carry the tension load, thus raising draw weight/performance. The first type of backings will be thin, the second type thicker.

My advice would be to use only one layer of tape and glue for a backing, if you use any at all. Again, great job and good luck with the second bow! At 2" wide, I would start with around 9/16" for the limb thickness. Good luck and happy building! [Smile]
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
Tom/4rest,

Yep, The heat tempering and reflex did no help with the string follow. I took it off the board after about 3 days and backed it with brown paper. I braced it the next day and shot about 12 arrows out of it and presto...the set was back, but not as bad.

BTW, 4rest, what is the optimum brace height for these pyramid bows? I'm shooting 5" arrows but im thinking of getting a 4" cutter cause I'm kinda diggin a lower brace height and my 5" feathers are draggin.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
David: The brace height depends a lot on your arrow setup and your release style. Generally a slightly higher brace height in needed for three-under release.

In regards to fletch length, I prefer a minimum of 5". If the bow is centershot or near centershot, you can usually get away with 4" fletches. The 5" to 5 1/2" fletches really help the arrow stabilize a whole lot more quickly than 4" do.

HOWEVER, if you find a setup that works, than you can't really argue with it. It the arrows fly well, hit their mark, and leave the bow quietly, then you've found the pocket, so to speak.
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
4est

Hate to bombard you with more questions (not really) but I have another. Here are some pics of the bow Im working on. I can't tell if this is a good positive tiller or if I need to take more off the stiffer left (lower) limb.

Initial Brace
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tiller @ 27"
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Brace after excersizing the limbs about 50 times
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Posted by Bill Sagues (Member # 19751) on :
 
4est
I take it that it is a case of less is more (with the drywall tape backing). On the next one I will try just one layer of tape.
Since the next bow will only be 2" wide at its widest point I have also tapered the thickness from 3/4" at the fade to 3/8" at the tip. I plan on tillering it slowly and working the limbs as I take off the wood on the belly. I will post pixs when I get it close.
Thanks for the reply and the help.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Alright, you asked for results pics. No big game, but here is the frist kill from my "build along bow" It may have been a bit overbowed for the game, but he did not suffer (both lungs and heart were hit). Shot was taken from my back patio to our distant oak, somewhere between 40-45 feet (17 paces). This bow puts arrows where I look.

If the pic is too graphic let me know and I'll modify it.

 -
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
AWSOME MARK!! BTW, i trimmed up your other bow.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Unfortunately my dogs got ahold of the little guy when I went in to get my knife to skin the fella. The tail is about the only salvageable part. I thought I had him up high enough but the little acrobatic Yorkie/Pommeranian mix can get a lot of places I don't give him credit for.
Between him and the black lab they did a number on it.

Oh, and thanks Dave.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Very, very good work, and excellent shooting! If you can hit a squirrel at 17 paces, all the other critters in the woods (big and small) better keep their head down! Again, excellent work!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Many are asking what to do if they don't have a bandsaw. (In actuality, the bandsaw can be a tool that can spell the end of a bow...or more!...in a hurry if not used properly. However, it can also knock a bow out in a blazing hurry if used correctly.) SO...for those of you without a bandsaw, and for those not comfortable with its use, here's what I recommend to take the limbs down to thickness, cut the fades, and shape the handle.

I would assemble a tool kit consisting of a drawknife, Stanley Surfom rasp (or similar), a 4-in-1 rasp, a flat-bladed knife or cabinet scraper, sandpaper, steel wool, and a coping saw.

To take the limbs to thickness and rough out the fades, start with the drawknife, but TAKE IT SLOW! You can tear wood up in a hurry with a drawknife. When you get close to your taper lines, dig in with the Surform rasp. These things can take wood off in a hurry, but do so in a much more controlled manner. They will leave behind a slightly gouged surface, so follow that up with your drawknife or flat-bladed knife used as a scraper, or a dedicated cabinet scraper. This is where you can true the belly up and make sure it doesn't have a crown (i.e. radius). Follow that up with some sandpaper (optional) and steel wool, and you're set!

Use the coping saw to rough out the handle. Then continue with the 4-in-1 rasp. Hit it with some sandpaper, and finally steel wool.

I also like to burnish the entire bow with a round piece of glass or metal to give it a nice appearance and keep inhibit splinters from raising on the back.

Hope this helps!
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
I found that the burnishing trick also helps to show any sublte tool marks that may still be remaining. This was useful after using a orbital sander to get final leveling of limb surfaces, as it makes some fairly subtle swirl marks in the wood that can be missed when final sanding.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
David: In regards to you question about positive tiller, the best test it to take a picture or video of the bow at full draw in your hand, or simply look at it in a mirror. That will tell you more than a braced picture. However, if you've got more clearance between the string and the top fade than you do at the bottom fade, you've got positive tiller. How much you need will be dependent upon the tiller at full draw in the hand.

Keep 'em coming! [thumbsup]
 
Posted by Bob Barnes (Member # 47) on :
 
absolutely wonderful job! I also teach kids at school to make bows and never tried a bow of this type...we have used 1 by 2s and broken a lot of boards... yours may cost a little more initially, but the results will be much better I think.
thanks much.
Bob
 
Posted by Bill Sagues (Member # 19751) on :
 
Well I have mostly finished my second attempt at an oak board bow. I had about 2 inches of width left from the original 1x6x6 board I bought for the first attempt. Since the next bow was going to be slightly less than 2 inches wide I followed a different design - I tapered the thickness as well the width on the limbs. It has gone reasonably well so far and I have it to about 45# at 28 inches. I have shot a few arrows out of it and so far and it has held together. Here are a few pictures of my second attempt.

At brace height.
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At 28 inches.
 -

A group from ~ 12 yards.
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Thanks again 4est for the inspiration and great build along.

Merry Christmas!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Looks and shoots great, Bill! Great job. Could you post a picture at full draw in the hand?

It must be nice being where you can practice outdoors year round. We've got about 18 inches of snow on the ground and plenty of wind to blow it around! They're calling for 4 more inches tonight. Oh well. Makes chasing those bunnies a lot easier!

Again, good work and thanks for posting.

PS. Could you share your dimensions so that others might benefit? Thanks.
 
Posted by Bill Sagues (Member # 19751) on :
 
Yeah - LOL - It got to about 78 degrees this afternoon. Didn't feel a whole lot like Christmas but then again that is why we live in FLA.

The bow is 72" total length, 70" ntn, 2" wide at the fades tapered to 1/2" at the tips.
Been a lot of fun so far.

I am going to attempt an Ipe - Hickory backed bow next.

Thanks again for everything.

Ps. I have been following your Osage Flat bow build on the other thread - GREAT JOB! - one day I will have to give it a go....
 
Posted by Grizzzly (Member # 15270) on :
 
Great build along, going to find a board in the AM.
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
I'm about 2 hours north of Bill....almost 75 degrees here on xmas day....!!!!!!

Dave
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Looks great Bill.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Sorry, double tapped it.
 
Posted by Russell S. (Member # 21618) on :
 
wish my doc was a bowyer!!! he saw my hands the other day and asked, as i explained fiberglass and coco dust messing them up he just didn't understand. your bows look great doc! plus that was one heck of a shot on that squirrel!! you should get with Marty and make one like that on a pig we usta hunt together in your neck of the woods!
 
Posted by David Holt (Member # 21927) on :
 
Which DOC? We met marty last week in brunswick. Great guy, gave me an elm stave! He's gonna invite us to hunt that pig in Feb. Camping and hunting....can't beat that!
 
Posted by Russell S. (Member # 21618) on :
 
I didn't realize you where both doc's!! that makes it twice as bad!!! My wife is gunning to come back to K-bay next year so maybe we can get a decent hunt going, i love pigs and swamps!
 
Posted by Tom Leemans (Member # 79) on :
 
SSGN_Doc,

OMG! The horror! Thank goodness you dispatched that vicious beast.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Tom, that squirrel had claws and pointy teeth. At least I didn't have to resort to the Holy hand grenade.

'Twas more a test of the accuracy. If I can get a half dozen squirrels I'll be trying to make some Brunswick stew. If I can keep my dogs away from them.

Next bow is going to be a bit more compact and of lighter draw weight to be more appropriate for turkey, rabbit, squirrel, and such. Of course the flatter trajectory of this bow was a contributing factor to making the shot.
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Russell,

Let us know if you make it down here. My wife wants to get back to Washington. But that is not likely to happen unless I make Senior Chief and decide to delay retirement. Or we relocate that way when I retire.

I'd be alright hunting in the Olympic range again, or in the Cascade foothills to the south of Olympia where my father-in-law likes to hunt.
 
Posted by Pac'em out (Member # 12109) on :
 
Wow! Awesome build along, 4est. I'm going to give it a try. Thank you so much taking the time.
 
Posted by R.W. (Member # 12637) on :
 
TTT for Pokeanhope
 
Posted by riivioristo (Member # 4012) on :
 
Cool !! Makes your fingers itch to begin with one your self - Thank you !
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Many folks have asked how to shape the profiles of their bow without using a bandsaw. So, here's a little description of how I do it. This is a maple pyramid bow that I just started. Go ahead and lay out the bow as described.

The first thing I do is cut the fades and along the thickness taper for about an inch with a coping saw as such:

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Next I shape the THICKNESS (side profile). I use a sharp hatchet and go WITH the direction of the grain. If you go against, you'll tear out wood past your line. Generally, you'll work one limb towards the grip, the other away from the grip. I start by angling the sides from the middle of the belly down toward the thickness line. This will leave a crown on the belly. Here's a few pics of that process:

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Then I knock the crown off to flatten the belly out:

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The next thing I do is cut the front profile (limb tapers). I do this before truing up the limb thickness so that I don't have so much wood to work. I use the hatchet to get it close, then a Stanley Surform rasp and block plane to true it up:

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Then I have to redraw the side profile (limb thickness) line:

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I use the Surform rasp and to flatten and true up the belly, then round the edges of the limbs and it's ready for tillering. Total time from beginning the layout to getting it on the tree was 1 hour and 45 minutes. Didn't take long at all, and sure cut down on the dust in my shop! Just keep your hatchet sharp and your fingers clear.

PS: I find that I have much more control with a hatchet. A drawknife works fine, too, but I just don't have enough finesse with one to work a board stave with it.
 
Posted by NEProf (Member # 22135) on :
 
4est,

Thanks. That is very helpful. I hope you will show your maple bow when it is done. I love maple boards for bows. Where do you get your maple boards?
 
Posted by tradsniper (Member # 22489) on :
 
I just picked up my board today and I can't wait to get it finished. This will be the first bow I make
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Alright, fellas...I've counted 21 people who've told me via pm's and e-mail that they've successfully completed their bows, but so far not many have posted their pics or stories here. So, let's see 'em and hear how it went!
 
Posted by tradsniper (Member # 22489) on :
 
im just about to the tillering process and I learned really quickly that im not very good with a bandsaw. I'm using black walnut for the tips and for the peice that you glue onto the riser so I hope they look good
 
Posted by WestTexan (Member # 21690) on :
 
Posted mine here http://tradgang.com/noncgi/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=125;t=002537
But I thought about posting on your thread..should have. I need to get a picture of the first that I built like yours but it was only 11/2 wide and 66" ntn pulls 32# at 28"...my wife shoots it. My next one will be hopefully 55 at 26"...I kinda overbuilt the first one,it was pulling 50 at 20" so I took some off and wound up a little light.This is my favorite bow.
 
Posted by dutchwarbow (Member # 20514) on :
 
the axe is the greatest bowmaking tool!! yeah [Big Grin]

here's my favorite, it's now in my posession and it's the best one I've ever handled:

http://www.dick.biz/dick/product/710806/detail.jsf

it just rocks. [Smile]

Nick
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Oooo, Nick...I must have one of those hatchets! Thanks for sharing!
 
Posted by dutchwarbow (Member # 20514) on :
 
You sure have to get one!! you won't be dissapointed [Wink]

Dick.Biz is a great and reliable supplyer, even though the shipment to USA might double the price, it's more than worth it.

Nick
 
Posted by DLH (Member # 22310) on :
 
trad sniper I built my board bow just like yours with the walnut tips and riser... I am planning to make a bow out of walnut in the future.
 
Posted by postercommon (Member # 22593) on :
 
Great build-along!
My bow still shoots a little to the right, and I've come to believe it's the fletching, bouncing off the arrow rest. Is there a simple solution to this that I'm just looking over?
 
Posted by dutchwarbow (Member # 20514) on :
 
poster, try a stiffer spine.
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
4est,
Like you said in a PM you sent me, that I kinda pushed this along. I got all wrapped up in osage before I got started on my board bow. However I do have it roughed out and am getting ready to start tillering it after I get it cleaned up some.

I'm gonna do a purple heart and bocote tip overlay and the same on the handle and am shooting for around 35lbs at around 26". It's gonna be my wifes bow and she is kinda excited about it so my stuff is on the back burner now. LOL But I think it will get her into archery as she has showed no interest what so ever until I told her it was gonna be her bow so I think it might get her going.
I'll post some pics when I get it on the tiller tree, I'm sure it'll need some critiquing.
Kris
 
Posted by klm5121 (Member # 19210) on :
 
This is my first attempt at a board bow. It measures 64" and I am just guessing around 40 lbs @ 26". Thank 4est for a great build along. sorry no full draw picture yet

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Posted by razorback (Member # 4736) on :
 
Like several others I am doing an Oak bow with Walnut handle and tips. I am also going to do Osage tip overlays. I have been substitute teaching in the Technology department at our school, for the last 2 weeks so Have been bringing it in to work and getting some done on it. Unfortunately I didn't bring a big enough piece of Osage today so only one tip is getting glued up at the moment [knothead]
I am going to do a stringing groove like you put on yours 4est. I will post pictures as soon as my wife finds my camera that she borrowed.
 
Posted by Jeff Smith (Member # 6017) on :
 
klm,
You may want to put the handle lacing on the backside rather than the belly side. Looks great, hard to find such nice boards.
Jeff
 
Posted by Harperclan7 (Member # 21564) on :
 
I wanted to say thanks for the great build along I have completed 2 bows using this build along. When I get the chance I will post some pics thanks again
 
Posted by tradsniper (Member # 22489) on :
 
I just finished making the tillering tree so I am going to start the tillering process tommorow. My bow isnt going to turn out nearly as nice as 4est's but all I really care about right now is making the bow shootable
 
Posted by razorback (Member # 4736) on :
 
Will post pictures later, found the camera, but have question first. I found I nice straight grained piece of oak, layed it out, picked the best side for the back and have the bow just about finished. The question is; the grain was straight to start with but the taper has left a run out or two that have me worried. Seems like this is inevitable with this design and was wondering if I should worry about it. Don't really want to back it and all I have for backing at the moment is drywall paper and havn't had a ton of luck with that as a backing. Please let me know.
 
Posted by Harperclan7 (Member # 21564) on :
 
I saw on here a couple of times that one or two run outs isn't bad. I also haven't had too much luck backing with the drywall tape. I like silk, or burlap most prefer burlap. I hope this helps
 
Posted by stickytoes (Member # 20088) on :
 
4est i wanted to thank you for the build along i am half way thru tillering and have really enjoyed the process .... i would also like to add that a grinder with an abrasive sanding wheel worked well for thinning the board to 15/32 it is very agressive and a respirator is a must but i am a welder by trade so use what you got and improvise....also, iam wondering with this basic design as a template would it be feasible to make the handle longer , the limbs longer, riser skinnier (about 1 1/2 to 2") a cut out arrow shelf and hickory backing? sorry so long.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Glad the grinder works...takes wood off in a hurry, doesn't it?

Yes to all of your questions, although making the handle longer will shorten the overall working limb length if the bow is left the same ntn length.
 
Posted by stickytoes (Member # 20088) on :
 
that is what i was wondering. i have big meaty paws so i would love to build the next one longer handle and longer limb.....this stuff is addictive! thanks again
 
Posted by Stiks-n-Strings (Member # 21118) on :
 
4est I think you have created some bow building monsters.
I'm getting mine there. I'll post some pics shortly.
Matter of fact I think I'll go work on it a little now.
Later
 
Posted by tradsniper (Member # 22489) on :
 
Short of putting something on the handle, putting on a rest and putting on some finish, my bow is finished!!! I took a couple shots with it today and I am amazed at how well it shoots for how little it cost. Thank you so much 4est for this great build along. I'll post pics once my sister brings the camera home from college.
 
Posted by Bill Sagues (Member # 19751) on :
 
This is a picture of number 4; #1 and #2 broke and #3 and #4 are still shooting. Number 5 is on the bench now. Has been a lot of fun - thank you 4est. Once you get started it is hard to stop!
 -
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
4est, can't thank you enough for opening the world of bowyerism to amateurs. It truly is amazing fun, and nothing beats being in the shop.

But a question for you, wouldn't it be easier to cut the bow's edge profile while the bow is still squared up, and then cut the tapers? I wasn't sure if the steps were as they were for a reason. I don't have a band saw, so it doesn't quite matter yet, but it was something I thought about while pencilling in the profile's edge (while i was thinking about how to cut it! lol)

Can't thank you enough man. Keep it up!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Fish n Chicks: Sure, you can do it that way. I just have a small bandsaw (as do a lot of hobby bowyers). Doing the steps in this order eliminates the need to resaw the entire width of the bow blank when cutting the limbs to thickness. This can be taxing on a small band saw. Since this is the most crucial step, I like less room for error. But, I have done it the other way. Good question! Glad you enjoyed the buildalong.

Bill and Tradsniper: Glad to see you've both gotten the bug, and that you've gotten some shooters out of the deal! Good work!
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by 4est trekker:
Fish n Chicks: Sure, you can do it that way.

Nice! thank you! I lack a band saw altogether, and am having quite a time figuring out how to cut the profile. My sabre/jig saw is useless after about 1" of stock. Coping saw is like trying row to england. I asked a bud if I can hit his band saw tomorrow, but we'll see.

Got any suggestions?
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Yeah...check out page 12. I show you how to do it with little more than a hatchet.
 
Posted by MACT28214 (Member # 22651) on :
 
4est,
Thanks for the build. I was looking for a model for a new build, because I broke my last two board bows. Just waiting for the rain to stop and the temp to climb again (no heat in the shed).
Tim
 
Posted by Pac'em out (Member # 12109) on :
 
Hey 4est,
What is the black lam in the riser of your maple bow on pg 12? Please post picks when she's done.

Oh yeah, where do you get most of your boards? I've checked the local HD and Lowes with zero luck. Thanks.

Tim
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Pac'em: That's wenge in the handle lamination. If you check out this post, it'll show you the finished bow:

http://tradgang.com/noncgi/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=125;t=002740

I get a lot of my boards from Menards, which is more midwestern than national, I think. I also have good luck at HD and Lowes. However, you sometimes have to get there when they get their new shipments in to ensure you get the best selection. Also, if there's not a lot of turnover in stock, the same boards can sit there for weeks and months at a time, which can be a bummer if you're limited on wood suppliers.
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by 4est trekker:
Yeah...check out page 12. I show you how to do it with little more than a hatchet.

Bro you are out of your nugget if you think I can finesse a hatchet like that.I talked my buddy into letting me hit his band saw up in the am. I just got done laying out the riser form I'd like to see, so we'll see how it goes.

Really dig the wenge in your wife's bow. That looks awesome. Very nice work all around.
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
Hey 4est - thanks a million for creating this build-a-long. I'm humbled by the pictures that have been posted, all great looking bows! I can't seem to rasp my recurves smooth.

Also, thanks to fish n chicks - I'm going to try and duplicate the riser you posted on the bow trade/swap thread.

-Wood
 
Posted by twitchstick (Member # 19043) on :
 
Well I finally found a board that should work. I was shaping the recurve tip out and hit it shortly with my sander and caught the back with it. It is maybe 1/32 deep but should I be worried? Or will it be fine.  -  -
 
Posted by PM_Mining (Member # 21435) on :
 
For those that may be looking for the Masakari Ono hatchet in the U.S. here is a source I found.

http://www.duluthtrading.com/28176.aspx?src=T28WSHOP1

Can't tell for quality simply based on the pictures, but have purchased tools from this source before and had no problems
 
Posted by stickytoes (Member # 20088) on :
 
4est , i want to thank you again for the inspiration and the excellent build a long. i just finished shooting arrows from a bow i built at full draw and there simply is nothing to compare to that. i will post pics when i figure out how to do it....thanks again
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Twitchstick: Hmmm...good question. The only thing you can really do safely is smooth the transition of the boo-boo out. Then, after you've rounded the limbs' edges, see what the bow's tiller looks like. If it looks like that part of the limb is working too much, then you'll have to thin the rest of the limb down to compensate. I nicked that area with my bandsaw once. I feathered it out and found no ill effects because there is comparatively little work being done here in contrast with the inner third of the limb. Generally, the closer the mistake is to the fades the more prominently it will manifest itself. Good luck, and keep us posted.


PM Mining: Thanks for finding that supplier...that's a steal for that thing!

Happy building, all! Post some pictures!
 
Posted by Bill Sagues (Member # 19751) on :
 
Fish-n-chicks - I just finished my "7th" board bow since first following this excellent build along before the holidays. Check out craigslist and find yourself a bandsaw - it will be the best investment you can make if you are going to keep at it.... best of luck.
 
Posted by JGoemaat (Member # 18887) on :
 
Here are pictures of the bow I built using this build along, the bow turned out phenominal, I am really excited to stalk turkeys with it. The bow is around 52 lbs at 28".

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Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
REALLY nice work, Justin. Thanks for posting! [thumbsup]
 
Posted by twitchstick (Member # 19043) on :
 
Well the smoothing out job on the transtion of the boo-boo went good. Started tillering it and it seem pretty good so I started to shape the handle then a chip came out on the back. It chiped out on the back side of the fade out portion of the handle. It's about inch long and 1/8 deep so I think she done. It's not in the working portion of the limb but even if backed I think it might spiter further. I would show a pic but the flash hides the boo-boo. [banghead]
 
Posted by twitchstick (Member # 19043) on :
 
Well I did get one picture that shows it. Its on the right side of the fade out. I did have to say thankyou to 4est trekker for the time you put in .I learned alot. Now I can make strings,string jigs,and  - started collecting tools.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Twtichstick: it doesn't look like you rounded over the edges of the bow. That may have given the splinter a starting point. Get back in the saddle and build another! Thanks for posting. [thumbsup]
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
4est... In this pic you say you used a leather wrapped wooden arrow shelf. I was wondering if the shelf was cut into (or out of I guess) your bow, or was it something that was added? If it was added, have you ever done any bows where you cut the shelf out of the riser?

[IMG]  - [/IMG]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
The shelf is another piece of wood covered with leather that is glued onto the side of the riser. This horsebow would NEVER accept a cut-out shelf, nor does it need one. Yes, I've made bows with cut-out shelfs, but to be honest with you, that's best left for glass and laminated bows. Wooden bows are a different beast. And don't assume bows with shelves cut into them shoot better or more accurately...false. It's the arrow that's the key. I would suggest adding a floppy rest to your bows like the ones shown in this build-along or the pictures below. Much safer, easier, and better-suited to a wooden bow.

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But, just for your reference, here are two with cut-out shelves:

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Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by 4est trekker:
The shelf is another piece of wood covered with leather that is glued onto the side of the riser. This horsebow would NEVER accept a cut-out shelf, nor does it need one. Yes, I've made bows with cut-out shelfs, but to be honest with you, that's best left for glass and laminated bows. Wooden bows are a different beast. And don't assume bows with shelves cut into them shoot better or more accurately...false. It's the arrow that's the key. I would suggest adding a floppy rest to your bows like the ones shown in this build-along or the pictures below. Much safer, easier, and better-suited to a wooden bow.

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But, just for your reference, here are two with cut-out shelves:

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Thanks bro. I understand what you're saying about leaving such things to the more complicated bows. And about the arrows. I also learned the other day, that traditional bows MUST shoot arrows with feather fletchings. I din't know that. I was still using my compound arrows, and getting all kinds of tailwag.

I am currently trying what you did on that one bow with what looks like a wenge laminate but i'm going with yellowheart at the riser & kentucky coffeebean recurve overlays. Glad I saw that bit of encouragement. Looking forward to showing you this one, and brother, I can't thank you enough for the knowledge you've passed on.
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
I'm finally ready to start tillering. Is there a reason not to glue on the nock overlays & cut my nocks before starting the tillering?

Also, I'm curious about the reason for only using feather fletching.

Finally, would you post the dimensions for the leather floppy shelf you made for this build?

Thanks again for all you've posted - I can't remember the last time I've enjoyed working on a project as much as this one!!
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by bigwood:
I'm finally ready to start tillering. Is there a reason not to glue on the nock overlays & cut my nocks before starting the tillering?

Also, I'm curious about the reason for only using feather fletching.

Finally, would you post the dimensions for the leather floppy shelf you made for this build?

Thanks again for all you've posted - I can't remember the last time I've enjoyed working on a project as much as this one!!

Great questions! I'm new to this too, but the other day a local dealer explained to me why trad-bows use feather fletchings. It's cause they give. Unlike plastic or regular vanes that are rigid, and can be shot through biscuits and off rests, feathers move, so when passing your sight window, or rest or whatever, the fletchings don't rip off your rugs, or throw tailwag into the mix. I noticed after shooting a few arrows I had from my compound, my rugs were already starting to get peeled off. Feathers = awesome.
 
Posted by WestTexan (Member # 21690) on :
 
Bigwood mine was ready other than stain when I put it on the Tree. The one thing I did do was run a Mic down the limbs to make sure they were even thickness. Maybe I got lucky but it was spot on.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Bigwood: I sometimes use those tie-on nocks just in case I have to pike (shorten) the bow to increase the weight. You can just cut shallow tillering nocks if you want to, but I don't like going to all the trouble Plus, if I have to shorten the bow, sometimes I can't work around the original nocks. Hope that makes sense!

I generally make the floppy rests about 5/8" wide by about 1" long.

Glad your project is going well. Be sure to post some pictures! [thumbsup]
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
4est,fish, W-Tex,
Thanks for the info.

4est: First of all I've got to say - You make some beautiful bows!!
Are "tie on nocks" the pieces of wood you taped to the ends on page 2?

I haven't worked on the bow itself for a couple of weeks. Instead I've made a tillering tree & pully system (which I hope will be stout enough), and a bow string. So many preliminaries, exacerbated by the fact that I'm always "one more trip to the hardware store" from having everything I need to finish the job.

Anyway, I've managed to make a crude flemish string & hope to start the tillering process over the weekend.
 
Posted by Pete W (Member # 1293) on :
 
What a great build along! Thank you.
I wish I had this earlier on, but it will definately be a saved reference now.I am going board shoping today and with luck I can turn out some good bows from this .
Thanks
Pete
 
Posted by 4nthony (Member # 22909) on :
 
not sure if this helps but i found some youtube videos of this guy building an osage bow from scratch. if your not quite sure on how to rasp correctly or safely his techniques are great. i figured a video would compliment the written instructions pretty well. the second video shows him using a scraper. the 3rd video really helps for tillering.

Osage Bow From Scratch Part 9, More Limb Reduction:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoX8PUI9g1M

Osage Bow From Scratch Part 10, Finishing the Handle:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDksBdzy2jA&feature=related

Osage Bow From Scratch Part 12, Long String Tillering:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH5HZwe9j2A

hope that helps anyone, like me, that is sorta new to these tools.

Anthony
 
Posted by 4nthony (Member # 22909) on :
 
ok i'm not finished yet. It's tillered to 35 lbs. and backed with contractor's paper and diamond back rattlesnake skin. i still have to sand down the edges of the snake skin, descale it, and apply a finish. I also think i might heat temper the belly to see if i can get rid of the 2 inches of set. we'll see [Smile]

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 -

 -

Anthony
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Nice job, Anthony. Glad to see it worked out for you. However, I would NOT induce heat to reduce the set for three reasons: 1) you'll separate the glue joints, including those holding the backing and snakeskins on, 2) 2" of set is nothing to scoff at for your first bow, and 3) you can't really reverse set (that's the simple way of putting it). Once it's there, the wood has been compressed and can't be recovered to its previous state.

String it up, shoot it, and get started on your next one! [thumbsup]
 
Posted by 4nthony (Member # 22909) on :
 
yeah i was sorta thinking it wouldn't work. i was gonna try it anyway. i'll just save it and heat treat the next 2 that i'm in the process of making.

oh and because i can't brace it yet. heres a braced pic before the backing [Smile]

 -
 
Posted by SSGN_Doc (Member # 21966) on :
 
Tried my hand at a lighter bow with an arrow shelf.

This one is 64" nock to nock and draws 41 lbs at 28"

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Still have to serve the string, and wrap the handle, and put some mole skin on the arrow shelf.

I thought I was really messing up when I roughed out that grip, but it shaped up nicely in the end.
 
Posted by NEProf (Member # 22135) on :
 
Wow, 4est. You have created quite a following! Nice to see.
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
Those are some really nice looking bows!

I'm probably the last guy following this build along who's still working on his first bow, but I'm slowly making progess, and I hope someone can answer the following questins:

On tillering - I'd like to end up between 45 & 50 lbs. Right now I'm at about 45lbs at 16" - do I just keep removing wood and increasing the draw an inch at a time until I'm at my final draw lenght?

What are the consequences of uneven tillering?

On the flemish string - what's the formula that takes me from my unstrung nock-to-nock length to the correct setting on my flemish string jig?

Thanks,
Wood
 
Posted by 4nthony (Member # 22909) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by bigwood:


On tillering - I'd like to end up between 45 & 50 lbs. Right now I'm at about 45lbs at 16" - do I just keep removing wood and increasing the draw an inch at a time until I'm at my final draw lenght?


Pretty much that is the gist of it. What i'm getting in the habit of doing is marking the thinner spots on the belly with an X in pencil so u know not to remove wood there. and i sorta make swirls on the spots that i can remove wood. then i rasp/file/sand the swirled area until the pencil mark is gone. this pretty much ensures you don't take to much wood off of any one place as long as you are careful. if it's tillered correctly and u just need to thin it up. u can use the same method to remove fairly even layers of wood. hope that helps. and hopefully someone with a bit more experience can confirm that.

Good Luck,
Anthony
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
Hey Anthony - thanks for the reply.

I'm only spending a couple of hours per week, but would really like to finish up this weekend.

I still need to glue on the overlay nocks, but, other than that, its just a matter of tillering it down to my draw lenght.

I've really been inspired by the pictues of the completed bows - including yours!

Thanks to all who contribue to this site.
 
Posted by Fantom_42 (Member # 23400) on :
 
Finally after years of dreaming on making my own bow I started the process thanks to the inspiration from 4est Trekker's build along of the pyramid type bow.
Right now I'm at the building phase in which I put the soon to be bow in the tilering stick and immediately found a problem....one of the staves doesn't bend even...it twist sideways and looks like a low pitch propeller.
I'm wandering what to do to correct the problem and would appreciate suggestions. Thanks.
 
Posted by WestTexan (Member # 21690) on :
 
Fantom you might check that limb and see is it's a little thinner on one side....if it is that side will bend more and twist that limb.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
l've been super busy and unable to respond properly, but I"ll get to the questions ya'll posed soon. Hate to leave you hanging when you've gotten this far! Glad to see bows are getting built!
 
Posted by Fantom_42 (Member # 23400) on :
 
Two days later.......Went back to Lowe's, got another piece of wood and started again. This time, it bent correctly. Went back to the previous bow attempt, and checked the wood carefully, both in the would-be bow, as well as in the sawed of piece. There I discovered a spot of soft wood. No wonder! To bad that the fireplace season is over down here in Florida.
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
My Bow!!!
I like this pic because of the shadow.

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Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
 -

Another picture...

The bow is at about 45lbs @ 22 inches. I wanted to post a couple of pics in case something happens during the final tillering.

I'd like to end up at about 46lbs.
 
Posted by pditto613 (Member # 19783) on :
 
Bigwood i would stop at 48 or 49 to allow for final sanding and shooting the bow in. I am also working on one and that is the stage where I am at. Did shoot it a bit tonight and I was really impressed. A lot of fun to make and to shoot.
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
Hey pditto- I'm still working on mine. I keep removing wood but nothing seems to change. I decided to try it out anyway, and just not pull it back all the way. Even with no arrow rest and the arrows way too loose on the string it was fun to shoot. Very quiet and smooth, I couldn't believe how smooth it felt. Only problem was so much of my attention was focused on the bow that there wasn't much left to focus on the target.

Wood
 
Posted by fdlz58 (Member # 16830) on :
 
I've started mine! I've gotten it glued up and roughed out. Now I need to go buy a rasp and 4 n 1 file. Will try and post pictures when done. Haven't figured that one out yet.

-Jeremy
 
Posted by waldo320 (Member # 23226) on :
 
Well here we go I think this bow turned out pretty darn well. Hickory with black walnut handle and tip overlays. She is pulling 57 at 27" after 50 arrows. All need now is some practice and a deer to shoot!!

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Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
Nice job, beautiful finish!
 
Posted by Paka (Member # 23571) on :
 
one more done, will post more info and pics soon as possible. Thanks 4est , great work.
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
where did you get the hickory board?
 
Posted by bigwood (Member # 22991) on :
 
Hey 4est - I'm already thinking about my next bow, would it be possible to get your layouts for the recurve tips and fades?
 
Posted by waldo320 (Member # 23226) on :
 
I am luck in NE Ohio there are two hardwood lumber yards who get a pretty constant supply of hickory. Its called terrry lumber.
 
Posted by George Tsoukalas (Member # 92) on :
 
That was a super buildalong, 4est. It's great the the way you got people building bows. Keep up the good work. Jawge
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Thanks, George. Coming from you, that means a lot! You've gotten countless people (including me!!!) on the path to successful bow building. I've read your site tons of times and have many of your pages bookmarked for reference. Thanks for all YOU do.

I'm glad to see so many of you having success with the build-along. Like I've said, the bow is overbuilt (3" wide makes it a convenient emergency canoe paddle!) and not the prettiest design (yes, I know the fades could use a little finessing), but it's a solid shooter with a fair amount of insurance built into it. And at the end of the day, a piece of wood that's properly and successfully tillered into a working bow is, no matter the bow, both efficient and graceful. Sure, there's always room for improvement, but the bow is just a fraction of the successful archery equation. I think Ishi said something to the effect that "any old stick him do for bow, but arrows kill deer."

Nonetheless, I'll try to post some ideas later on how to make this bow more efficient and graceful. The first, however, would have to be shortening the handle section down to around 8". That'll give you more working limb for starters, plus a few other benefits.

All for now. Keep it up, folks! I love to see the pictures!
 
Posted by dutchwarbow (Member # 20514) on :
 
4est, you did a great job doing this buildalong, but you really should have done your fades differently for this buildalong's sake!!

It's now vlike... OH NO! once again a nice bow with an ugly handle... [Frown]

gr.

Nick
 
Posted by fdlz58 (Member # 16830) on :
 
So I was rereading the tillering section to refresh my memory before starting this step. I look at the picture you posted of the initial tiller. The one with the level across the top of your bow, How far are you pulling the tillering string? I obviously don't want to pull it too far. Thanks.

-Jeremy
 
Posted by fdlz58 (Member # 16830) on :
 
TTT for my question...

-Jeremy
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I use the long string only until I get a nice even tiller at around 6 inches of tip movement. Then I go to the short string with a low brace height (about 3"-4") and work the draw length/brace height up slowly, all the while not pulling past 1) perfect tiller, 2) my intended draw weight, and 3) my intended draw length. Hope that helps!
 
Posted by Paka (Member # 23571) on :
 
Hey All,
Finished staining (walnut color) and polyurethained bow . She's a beauty. Being new to this I dont notice the handle as not bieng un pleasant , I culdnt be happier.
4est, and everyone else. . When I shoot at 10 yards I anchor at my mouth, look at the top of the fades line and can hit my target dead on . But Im new to this trad. archery and am trying to figure out the way to shhot these bows so I'll keep reserching. But , I should be looking down the arrow right?? How do I know If my rest is to high , or too low?If I look down my arrow my anchor is almost under my eye.
Any ideas or links would be greatly appreciated.
As soon as I can Ill post pics of my bow. Again 4est , am so thankul for this build
 
Posted by Paka (Member # 23571) on :
 
am figuring it out
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Sorry I didn't think of this before. I've converted the scanned images of the templates to a jpeg and uploaded them to Photobucket. Here's the link to the file that you can download and/or print. Hopefully this helps!

JUST BE SURE IT'S SCALED TO 8.5"X11" WHEN YOU GO TO PRINT IT! Photobucket won't allow an upload that big.

http://i984.photobucket.com/albums/ae321/isaacscr/Archery%20Tools%20and%20Jigs/FadeandRecurvedTipTemplate.jpg
 
Posted by Fourarrows (Member # 23831) on :
 
Perspective...$12 and 3-4 hours of work.
 
Posted by Fourarrows (Member # 23831) on :
 
Really enjoying the pictures whith all the construction details. Thanks!
 
Posted by David Dumke (Member # 23777) on :
 
I have a question concerning beautification of the limbs. If I were to use a woodburner to etch a design in to both of the limbs would it create a risk of breaking too easily?
 
Posted by Dave Bowers (Member # 9155) on :
 
Got my board this morning and laid everything out. Hopefully start working on over the next few days.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I would never ech or burn into a working section of the bow, be it belly or back. Some do it successfully, but it can be risky for the vey reason you stated. However, it poses no problem in a non-working portion of the limbs.
 
Posted by walrii (Member # 23861) on :
 
I got two red oak boards today...

I have thickness planer. Instead of cutting the limbs down to 15/32" after glueing on the riser, can I plane the board to 15/32" at the beginning then glue on a slightly thicker riser and feather it into the limbs like you did the recurve blocks on the tips? Obviously, I'd only plane on the the belly side.

Thanks.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
walrii: nope, bad idea. You want the joint between the bow and the riser block to be in the neutral plane (i.e. non-bending cross- section of the limb). When you go to bend the bow it will try to flex in the handle region. You're riser won't, and will thus pop off. You might try and do several thin laminations instead of a solid riser block, but that's more work and time than just cutting the limb thickness after glueing on the block.
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by 4est trekker:
walrii: nope, bad idea. You want the joint between the bow and the riser block to be in the neutral plane (i.e. non-bending cross- section of the limb). When you go to bend the bow it will try to flex in the handle region. You're riser won't, and will thus pop off. You might try and do several thin laminations instead of a solid riser block, but that's more work and time than just cutting the limb thickness after glueing on the block.

Your explanation is the whole reason I have not done the same thing myself. However, I have on the bench an idea that'll hopefully prove effective. I basically took the board to my table saw loaded with a dadoe blade (I use stacks, not wobbles) adjusted to 1/4" high. The dadoe's width doesn't wuite matter. So what I did was mark where my riser fades would begin, and trimmed from my bow's tips, to the riser, but stopping before where i'd glue on my riser. Now I don't have so much work to do on the band saw. Reason being is my p.o.s. craftsman is not good for resawing AT ALL. Saving my chips for a grizzly ultimate isn't easy but it has begun baby!

This pic describes what i'm talking about... somewhat. This is post shaving and glue-up. I'm going with a little purpleheart in the riser and the recurve tips. Hope this helps some with thickness issues.

 -
 
Posted by walrii (Member # 23861) on :
 
Thanks for the reply 4est. I did finally finish reading this entire thread and found where you'd answered this question earlier.

I have a question about tillering trees. How do the guys who put a pulley at the bottom so they can stand back and watch from a safe distance hold the bow at a particular draw length so they can study the limbs and decide where to make the next adjustments? I've looked at several pictures on the web and can't see any pegs or attachments to hold the string in place on these style tillering trees.
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by walrii:
Thanks for the reply 4est. I did finally finish reading this entire thread and found where you'd answered this question earlier.

I have a question about tillering trees. How do the guys who put a pulley at the bottom so they can stand back and watch from a safe distance hold the bow at a particular draw length so they can study the limbs and decide where to make the next adjustments? I've looked at several pictures on the web and can't see any pegs or attachments to hold the string in place on these style tillering trees.

I used a cleat (like you'd see on boats) that I got from meijer. A simple $3 rope cleat screwed to the front of the tree's base.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
walrii: You hook the rope to the bowstring (using a d-ring, caribiner, etc.), run the rope down through the pulley, and then pull on the other end to flex the bow (attach a simple handle, loop, etc. to the end of the rope). The point of the pulley set-up is to NOT hold the limbs at flex. A tillering stick is pretty hard on a bow in that the bow is drawn and held for long periods of time, which can induce undue set. A tillering tree with a pulley affixed allows you to pull the bow, study it, and immediately let off. Also, you can watch the limbs work, something that's critically important and that is impossible with a tillering stick. Hope this helps.
 
Posted by cpk86 (Member # 23892) on :
 
hey 4est trekker. I sent you a pm. Desperately need help haha.
 
Posted by nayand (Member # 23925) on :
 
what size of string did you put on yours?
 
Posted by walrii (Member # 23861) on :
 
How about if I mount a pulley-style tillering tree upside down? I clamp the bow, back facing down, about waist high then put a pulley at the top and pull out and down on the rope, flexing the bow tips up. I study the tiller, release the tension then scrape the limbs still clamped to the tiller tree. Go back to the rope and repeat as necessary. Is there a good reason the bow tips go down on a tillering tree and not up?

Thanks for all the advice - I get insatiably curious when I start a new project.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Hmmm....good thought, and good question. Give it a shot and let us know how it works out.
 
Posted by cpk86 (Member # 23892) on :
 
A friend and I are working on this together.
We are (trying to) follow this build-a-long to the tee!
This is a first for both of us and it's a blast!

Here's what we have so far...

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We are going to start the tillering tomorrow morning (hopefully...haha).

Also, big thanks to 4est! I've been constantly bombarding him with questions and he's been a great help!
Thanks buddy!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Looking good! By my count it appears you went through 10 bottles of beer getting that thing glued up. Hope you let that settle before you cut it out! [biglaugh]
 
Posted by cpk86 (Member # 23892) on :
 
haha

My buddy makes mead and uses old beer bottles sometimes when he bottles it.

We did add to the pile a bit though [Wink]


Also,

What's the best way to use a rasp like the one I have? I have been using it by scraping with the grain and feel like it doesn't do much at all. Is there a better way or is this just real slow goin?
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
With that Sureform rasp you have to pull with the grain but with the rasp tilted at like a 30-45 degree angle. You'll find the sweet spot where it cuts good.
 
Posted by cpk86 (Member # 23892) on :
 
Cool. Thanks, I'll try that
 
Posted by cpk86 (Member # 23892) on :
 
Here's what we got today:

The tillering tree...
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...and the shaping of the handle.
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As far as I could tell, the tiller looked good. Obviously the left side bends slightly less than the right, but that's what gives you positive tiller, right? Does that look ok to anybody else?
 
Posted by walrii (Member # 23861) on :
 
I'm working on the upsidedown tiller tree. Life has intervened and it's going slow. Pictures to follow when I get it built.

I've seen several rule-of-thumb formulas for the minimum bow length as a function of draw length. What about maximum bow length; is there a rule-of thumb formula for that?

Reason I ask is I found an almost perfect 8-foot red oak 1x2 in Lowes the other day. Wasn't even shopping for wood, just walked by the oak rack and there it was. The grain is dead straight the whole length minus the last six inches where there is a gentle curve - and the grain is that way on all four sides. It looks like it could make a 90" bow with no trouble.

I have a 29 1/2 inch draw and would like to make a 40-45# long bow from this piece.
 
Posted by walkabout (Member # 22412) on :
 
90" is pretty long,im not sure how the pyramid styles hold to the rules of thumb but for most people with a 28 inch draw length the general consensus is 65" for longbows. i build from 1x2's and unless i build a bend through handle i shoot for 65" and even up to 72" my last bow is a bend through handle, 61 overall and it pulls 50#@27", so you should be able to get a 45# bow from a great piece of wood.
 
Posted by TREESLEEPER (Member # 19961) on :
 
Thanks 4est for the build along. Very informative. I want to build one too!
 
Posted by jackthepointer (Member # 23877) on :
 
I've got two started,if all goes well I'll post pics.My lust is to kill a deer with home made bow,arrows.Maybe 4est can show me how to make the arrows
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Go for it, Jack. Maybe I can do a build-along on how I make arrows. I make my hunting arrows from near-scratch with homemade tools and jigs.
 
Posted by matt g meyers (Member # 16335) on :
 
Hey 4est,
I cant belive this build along has gone for so long.I can remember tuning in to this every day last november while building a couple myself.I'm so stoked to see such a solid recruitment to the art of bow building.

Good luck to all the up and comming bowyers and thanks 4est for all of your quick and helpfull replies!
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I'm glad to see it, too, Matt. You know, it's not a perfect design, and there are definitely some things I would do different. BUT, at the end of the day it creates a bow that has a wide margin of safety, little hand shock, and respectable speed.

Keep the building and questions up, folks!

I would also like to recommend George and Sam's site. I've built bows from both of them and had success and fun doing it:

http://georgeandjoni.home.comcast.net/~georgeandjoni/archer.html (check out the "Building a Board Bow" page)

http://poorfolkbows.com/index.html
 
Posted by jackthepointer (Member # 23877) on :
 
well i got one done I had a bout with stupid and had to cut the bow to an over all length 64 1/2".i also reduced the board thickness i deciced to make it for my daughter.tried it today she says it is to heavy for her,so i checked the poundage with a fish scale.it pulls 57# at 27" measured from front of bow.it has been drawn to 30" i don't know if i got lucky,or it is just that stout,but i shot it 30 times and it shoots excellent off the hand.it is now laying in the shope with the handle wrapped with blind cord,and the leather floppy rest glued on.i can'twait for every thing to dry up,so i can put it through it paces.do you think the bow is safe for me to shoot?i have,and so far so good i draw 28" when stretched out but can shoot scrunched up to shorten draw.
 
Posted by jackthepointer (Member # 23877) on :
 
oh yea I will post some pics by the weekend
 
Posted by jackthepointer (Member # 23877) on :
 
well I tried,but I can't deal with photobucket at this time will try later
 
Posted by jackthepointer (Member # 23877) on :
 
Hey guys try this and let me know if it works
www.photobucket.com/albums/ac48/jackthepointer/
 
Posted by tim-flood (Member # 133) on :
 
Walrii, Put the bottom pully on an eye bolt and tie the rope to it along side of the pully then run up to the pully for the bow string and back down to the pully on the eye bolt at the bottom. this will half the pull weight if you just want to stand back and look at it you do not need two pullies, it help it you make a lot of heavy bows
 
Posted by sammyrulez (Member # 24115) on :
 
Hi folks

Thanks to this tread I'm approaching my first bow build. I have to use ash since I could't find red oak. What is the suggested limb width for a light 40# at 28'' draw length with ash wood?

Thanks
 
Posted by rover brewer (Member # 23324) on :
 
I've got water buffalo horn for nock overlay what glue should I use???
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I've used Titebond III and good superglue gel, both with good results. If using TB III, make sure the mating surfaces are smooth and that the joint doesn't have any voids. TB doesnt' fill gaps. I used the quick-set epoxy you find at the lumber stores, Wal-Mart, etc. once. It worked fine, but it's mighty hard to keep everything clean. I taped it all off, but that stuff can get everywhere in a hurry.

BTW, don't use thin superglue, though, or it won't take. Best of luck!
 
Posted by rover brewer (Member # 23324) on :
 
thanks I have the tb3 like you said to use on the handle so I'll stick to it hahaha stick to it.
 
Posted by rover brewer (Member # 23324) on :
 
This is the coolest post so far the the bows I've seen made from this post look great I hope mine will also.I've got one made from the tn classic its a hickory self bow that I'm very please with but I had a lot of help doing it Greg B and others so this will be one in which I'm doing all the work myself other than the help here. thanks
 
Posted by tishtail (Member # 23897) on :
 
i'm in the process of doing this but just a bit different i took the same dimention red oak wood and split it into two bow blanks one is 1.25" wide the other is 2.25" wide then took the last 12" cut off glued it to a 12" piece of mahogany let it dry and made two risers turned the wood over so to get different color then glued to both bow blanks or planks then just layed out both i then cut limb thickness to 5/8ths and started designing and shaping looks like it will go well one will be a longbow the other a pyramid design longbow i will post pics when finished both bow i'm useing as an experiment as to what i can do with wood i plan on trying to steam bend one set of limbs maybe a r/d from a press add some form of backing two different handle designs and such. LjT
 
Posted by rover brewer (Member # 23324) on :
 
that sounds great I would love to see pictures of them,while I was looking for my plank I did see some nice 2" wide planks and was thinking could I make a long bow useing these same steps.
 
Posted by fdlz58 (Member # 16830) on :
 
I just had to bring this back to the top. Almost finished with my first one and looking forward to using it this fall. Thanks again 4est for all the effort put ito this thread!

-Jeremy
 
Posted by AZ_Shooter (Member # 24114) on :
 
Would this design work with a shelf cut to center rather than a handle?
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Yep, if that's your preference. Just leave enough wood and round all edges. Be sure to start the cut out for the shelf where you're certain the bow isn't bending, then add a 1/2" or more for safety. I wouldn't make it a true center shot, though. Stop short and match your arrows accordingly.
 
Posted by Jason/Woody (Member # 24431) on :
 
I read this in depth yesterday. I'm hooked. I bought my boards today to make a bow. I plan on using it for bowfishing. I will be about a 29" draw, and would like to make the bow a bit longer, maybe 68". Would making the limbs 1/2" thick be too much or too little if I want a strong draw?

Also, thanks for the write up. This is what has REALLY made me decide to try and make my own. Also, I am left handed and plan on making an arrow rest. I thought the rest would go on the left side of the handle, but I think I might be wrong. Would the rest go on the right hand side? If so, why?

I am a woodworking, but more of a woodturner, so I plan on adding some accents to this because I have some exotics on hand already. Pictures will be posted when completed.
 
Posted by Jeremy (Member # 4149) on :
 
Jason,
My draw lenght hovers just over 30". The last pyramid bow I made was 68" ntn (about 70" total length) the limbs were 1/2" thick and it came out around 55# at my draw. It was ash though... red oak would behave differently.

For a left handed archer (holds the bow in the right hand) the shelf or arrow pass would go on the right side of the bow. It has to do with all the forces that are in play when shooting, including the natural tendency to turn the bow slight away from the body (called cant) instead of keeping it completely vertical. Do you shoot at all now? If not, you might want to make your first bow a bit lighter in draw weight.
 
Posted by Jason/Woody (Member # 24431) on :
 
Thanks for the input. I made the initial cuts and glued up last night. I made it 70" and planned on it being 68 NTN.

I don't currently shoot all the time. I have here and there, but never really knew what I was doing, just having fun. Maybe I'll end up going with the 15/32" limbs after all. I narrowed the taper to start at 2-1/2" figuring that would lower the weight some, and that is why I was going to go with 1/2" thickness.

The shelf makes sense, and I figured it was something like that.

Thanks for the help.
 
Posted by fdlz58 (Member # 16830) on :
 
Finished my first bow. Well almost. I'm going to add a floppy rest and stitched leather handle. But, here it is in all her glory. I named her Genesis as this is the beginning of my bow building. Thanks so much to 4est for putting this together. My sone is already asking to make one with me. What a great opportunity it's going to give me with my son. We'll see if the Lord blesses me with a deer this fall. It pulls 50# @ 28". She's 68" tip to tip. Can't wait...

-Jeremy
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Way to go, Jeremy...nice work! Get your son involved and you'll have yourself a ready-make shooting partner. Mine's only 3 1/2 years old, but he's up for shooting any day of the week!

Again, nice job. So glad it worked out for you. Like the name, too.
 
Posted by beetlebailey1977 (Member # 24993) on :
 
Ok I am gonna try making this bow.
 
Posted by fdlz58 (Member # 16830) on :
 
I don't know what happened to my last post. That's not my board bow. This one is:
 -  -  -

-Jeremy [coffee]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Nice looking bow, Jeremy. You did well! Thanks for posting.
 
Posted by Byron Epting (Member # 25407) on :
 
Hey all, my uncle told me about this page and gave me and oak board to use. I'm not sure of the draw weight, i'm thinking around 50# at 29 inches. The bow is 70 inches long. I used countertop laminate to back the bow. Then i used camo duct tape to cover the bright white front and I clear coated it. She's hanging up drying right now. This has been awesome, i've always wanted a longbow i just couldn't afford to go buy one.
 
Posted by Jeff Smith (Member # 6017) on :
 
Its great to see someone help so many others get started.
 
Posted by Dr. Dan (Member # 25229) on :
 
4est,
great build along. I tried to make a board bow from som ash I had left over from making molding for the house using the best piece I could find and got a sore nose for my troubles. I will be doing an oak board to make a bow for my grand daughter (14 and weighs 70 lbs socking wet) that pulls about 32#. Thanks for the great build along.
Dr. Dan
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Good luck on all your builds, fellas! Be sure to post some pictures [Smile]
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
once i get the wife's white oak Sam's style , i am going to get to a hickory pyramid via your series here 4est. after visiting a true sawmill/lumber yard , the difference in wood was inspiring.

as a side note , have you ever tried adding a second set of limp tips to get more curve?


-hov
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Hey, all. Some have asked me to update this buildalong with some of the information I've provided them in pm's. So, here's a few more bits of information that may be helpful to you. Also, I KNOW there's a lot of bows that ya'll haven't posted here that I've seen in pm's and e-mails. Don't be shy and post them on here so all can see!


1) To increase the working length of the limbs and reduce the static riser area, make the center mark as usual and then put a mark 2" and 4" on either side of that. That will give you two marks that are 4" apart that locate the end of the fades and two marks 8" apart that locate the beginning of the fades. By allowing more limb to work, you can:

A) slightly increase the draw length to 29"

B) reduce set


2) By backing the bow with a simple backing of brown shipping paper (i.e. grocery sack paper on a roll) you can add insurance and possibly draw length. I buy this type of paper at Target in their mailing supplies. You can back a bow with paper before or after tapering the limbs to profile. You can also add it to a finished bow, provided you removed the finish on the back so the glue can properly adhere. Either way, it's easiest to apply BEFORE you round the edges of the limbs. Here's what I do:

A) Cut two strips of paper that are 2" longer than half the length of the bow and 1" wider than the profile of the limb.

B) Using Titebond II or III, spread a very thin layer of glue over the entire back of the bow. When it dries, lightly sand it. This sizes the back. To size the paper, lightly DAMPEN (not soak) it with a sponge.

C) Beginning at the center of the handle and working toward one tip, spread a thin, even layer of glue over one limb. It doesn't need to be very thick, as that will cause problems. However, cover every square inch of the limb.

D) Lay the paper on beginning at the center of the handle and then gently lay it down along the entire length of the limb, being sure to keep it aligned.

E) Using your fingers, gently work the excess glue and air bubbles out bow rubbing toward the tip and edges. Be care, as you can rub a hole in the paper pretty quickly, especially if there is any glue or moisture on your fingers.

F) Next, use a smooth, round object such as a glass tube to further work the glue and air bubbles out in the same fashion you did with your fingers.

G) Repeat for the other limb.

H) Once dry, you can stain the paper if you'd like. Doing this now will allow you to leave the wood natural (see first two pictures below).

I) Using a file and sandpaper, simply round the edges of the bow, thus removing the excess paper.

Here are some pictures of a few bows backed with stained brown paper:

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 -

 -


3) A third update is that hickory is most suited to this project. Many guys have asked as such. It you can find a fairly straight grained piece, have at it! Hickory will take a beating and come back for more. You can make it shorter and narrower than the dimensions given in this buildalong, although if it's your first bow I'd start with those given and work down from there. There are two things two be aware of with hickory, however:

A) Make sure the belly is perfectly flat. Hickory is weak in compression and crowned belly will concentrate the compressive forces along that crown leading to fretting.

B) Keep the wood dry. It is notoriously prone to soaking up a great deal of moisture. This will lead to sluggish cast and excessive set.


4) Lastly, in order to give your bow hand more room, you could consider shaping your riser like the following pictures. In doing so, you should add another layer of wood to the riser. That is necessary because as you thin the riser section, you must be sure to compensate by adding thickness.

 -

 -
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
This one build along has given me more insight and knowledge than any article or web site I have come across. Since January I have made 7 board bows, not one of them like the other. Here they are in chronological order.

My first build, 60" ntn, pulled 25# @ 28". Red oak with Tamboti.

 -

Bow #2, 64" ntn, 55# @ 28". Red oak, yellowheart, and bolivian rosewood. Please don't make fun of my draw, I was a wheelie boy my whole archerious life, so there was/is a bit of a learning curve for me.

 -


Bow #3, firewood. It was an experiment with grips, and some valuable lessons were learned.

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Bow #4, Purple Passion, went to Bobby Boswell during the Tradbow swap. 64" ntn, I think it pulled 45# @ 28". Red Oak and purple heart.

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Bow #5, went to my mentor and friend Rip White. 64" ntn, 55# @ 28". Common Cherry, Padauk, and Ebony.

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Bow #6, I made for myself. It's my pride and joy, as of now [biglaugh] Made from the same board as #5, but with purpleheart and ebony.

64" ntn, 45# @ 28".


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Bow #7 was on the bench. It was red oak and purpleheart again (my wife wants one like purple passion) but a ridiculous looking run out became very real prior to tillering so she is just a model now.

Like I said, this BA has been nothing short of incredible for me. I have a connection to my passion like I never thought I could, and it has helped me work out my creative side as well.

Thank you 4est, I can tell you now that is a name I will not soon forget.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Awesome post, Fish...I'm so glad it helped you along. I like seeing the progression of your bows. Can't wait to see what you're making next year! [Smile]
 
Posted by DLH (Member # 22310) on :
 
So basically you will taper the limbs from the 2in marks to 1/2in on the updated version correct?

How much more thickness do you personally add to your handles 4est another 3/4in?
 
Posted by LoneMaverick (Member # 25870) on :
 
Hi there, new here but just finished this bow about a week ago. After countless stupid mistakes and idiocy it actually turned out great, shot very well 55# @28in.

Sad part is a splinter in the bow caused about halfway through the build caused one of the tips to split about 6" down straight through the center while trying out homemade arrows. [Frown]

Currently on bow #2 using the same buildalong and doing a bit more fancy stuff, and I've only put about 1/4 of the time into it, bout to tiller now.

Anyway, had a question or two, Would I be able to salvage the other bow as a kids bow or longbow by piking it or do I need to take the thickness down as well?

Will post pictures of both when I can, atm I'm busy making dust [Smile]

Thanks alot for the build 4est I've definately found myself a new hobby!
 
Posted by Pennsyltuckey pete (Member # 15941) on :
 
After reading this thread I just had to do one. Started tonight. Went to the local home store. I still struggle reading the grain. found what I think is a good board. Little later...

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pete
 
Posted by KellyG (Member # 7924) on :
 
pete,
keep the pics comming
 
Posted by sammyrulez (Member # 24115) on :
 
Hi there

I'm at my second attempt to build a boardbow following 4est directions. I don't have a bendsaw and I'm foundig big dificoultis in shaping the handle profile.
With a hand saw is almost impossible to follow the curve on page 17. I tried also with rasp but with little success. Should I consider other shape options for the handler? Any tips?
Thanks
 
Posted by KellyG (Member # 7924) on :
 
Sammy,
I have not tried but maybe a coping saw might work. you may have to cut proir to glue up but I bet it would work
kelly
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Sammy: check out page 12. It should help you out a bit. [Smile]
 
Posted by fdlz58 (Member # 16830) on :
 
Hey Sammy,

I did most my shaping of the handle with a 4-1 file. Took quite a bit of time but I was able to get my handle "just right". Good luck.

-Jeremy [coffee]
 
Posted by fdlz58 (Member # 16830) on :
 
Sammy,

Now that I think of it I did go to my father-in-laws house and use his bandsaw. If you don't have one, like me, I had thought of contacting the high school wood shop and seeing if they had one I could use. Just a thought.

-Jeremy [coffee]
 
Posted by Jeff Smith (Member # 6017) on :
 
You can cut the bulk off with what ever saw you like then shape with a rasp easy enough. I have a bandsaw but have built quite a few this way also.
Good Luck and keep us posted.
Jeff
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
I use a coping saw to remove the bulk of my handles, and then go to town with a 4 in 1. It'll take time, and rhythm to get great consistent results, but turn the radio up and find your happy place. You seriously don't need a band saw. I have one and don't use it for the handle. Before you know it you'll have a pile of shavings and a sweet handle.
 
Posted by rover brewer (Member # 23324) on :
 
great to see this still going strong, I'm still working on mine close to finishing I think I'm going to back it brown paper like you have shown and than black snakeskin.
 
Posted by Pennsyltuckey pete (Member # 15941) on :
 
A jig saw will cut it easily if you have one. Before I had a band saw I would use a regular wood saw. I would cut straight to the edge of the grip in the middle and then aim for it from the sides taking out triangle shaped pieces of wood. I would then make another cut towards the grip and take out additional triangle sections. Little piece after little piece and soon it is time for the rasp.

pete
 
Posted by Rattus58 (Member # 20802) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by 4est trekker:
Round 11: Final Pictures and Thoughts


Here’s a couple of pictures of the finished product. I don’t have any at full draw, but if you watched the video earlier in the thread it hasn’t changed. It came in right at 50#@26” after shooting it in.

Here’s a couple of pictures with it next to my turkey hunting bow. That bow is dyed with homegrown raspberry and blueberry juices mixed with ink and cut with denatured alcohol.
Just a couple of final words. I hope that at least someone has gained the confidence and enough information to get their first bow built. It’s a cheap and easy project that you can do in a weekend. This particular bow is overbuilt by most standards, and comes in slightly heavier in physical weight than is most efficient (I’m referring to the Mass Principle as discussed in Volume 4 of the Traditional Bowyer’s Bible). However, the wide limbs allow more wood to do the tension work, thus adding a margin of safety that the bow will not raise a splinter and fracture. The longer length allows it to be pulled to 28”, and perhaps a bit more. You could always narrow the limbs some and compensate by making it a touch thicker to keep the weight up. This would reduce mass, but the further you go in this direction the more the moisture content, tiller, grain, early/late growth ratio, etc. will need to be spot on. (That turkey bow above is 44#@26”, measures 64” ntn, and weighs 18 ounces. It sure is nice to carry, as you hardly know it’s there. It also shoots slightly above average in speed for its weight @ drawlength.)

At the end of the day, a bow is a bendy stick with a string. Is this the prettiest bow? Nope. The fastest bow? Nope. But I haven’t met a turkey yet that stopped me mid-draw and begged me to shoot him with a prettier bow. “Dead as a doornail” is dead enough for me, and if I can do it for $12 and three or four hours of work, I’m in!

Good luck, ya’ll, and if you build one please post some pictures. Thanks for following! God Bless.

Question.... what happens when you have a 31" drawlength, such as I do? Is this at all a problem or, if so, is there anyway to compensate?

I loved this build_along. Thank you for you unselfishness in producing this. You have definitely given me confidence.... till the 28" thing came up.... [Smile]

Much Aloha... [archer2]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Follow the same dimensions/instructions, except make the bow 72" tip to tip and follow the instructions for the shorter riser (that is, the post that describes making a 6" inch riser). These two things will give you more working limb and a safer draw length. Best of luck!
 
Posted by Rattus58 (Member # 20802) on :
 
Thanks... I'll look for that riser post...

Much Aloha... and have a great Thanksgiving..

PS... I've looked all over for that 6" riser post (search features) and cannot find it. Any idea where it is exactly... not trying to put you to any extra but I've searched every page and can't find what I think you are pointing me to.

Again, much Aloha... Tom

[archer2]
 
Posted by Pennsyltuckey pete (Member # 15941) on :
 
Somebody asked for pics so here they are.

a couple of quick comments. I am building this one for fun. I decided that I was just going to build this quick like. Well I have. What is amazing is how nice it is coming out. The layout was a snap and the 15/32 continuous thickness makes initial building a breeze. I haven't gotten to the tiller tree yet but the floor tiller is SAWEEEEEET. All in all I have to classify this bow a waste of time! [Eek!] And Why you ask? It is such a nice bow I now want to build one and take my time on it and make it right! [bigsmyl]

When I started I questioned the grip but said follow the plan. The next one, and there will be a next one soon!!! will have the bulbous grip that I learned from Torges' book Hunting the Osage bow."

All in all I cant wait to finish this one and shoot it. My plan is to back the bow with a fake snake skin print that I got from Rudder Bows or brown burlap. But then again I may go with brown paper and paint it with paleo indian style art! Who knows. Guess I will have to stay tuned to figure that out.

now the pics. I seem to have misplaced a couple. Sorry.

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I just had to go with cedar for the grip. I had it. oh well.

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a quick rasping for the sides of the grip

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cleaned up on the spindle sander

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final thicknesing to 15/32 +- using scraper and caliper.

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getting there!
pete
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Hey, all. If you check out page 21 there are a few pictures of some different handle designs that are more traditional/comfortable. I will also post a few of a bow I'm making for a friend that has a nice handle design with smoother fade and handle contours. I chose to make the fades rather blocky/stocky in this buildalong to help ensure the bow wouldn't lift a splinter near the end of the fades on the back of the bow. This is common on pyramid bows if you're not careful.

Also, regarding the shorter 8" riser length, see page 21 as well.

[Smile]
 
Posted by Pennsyltuckey pete (Member # 15941) on :
 
I found those lost on the puter pics so here they are. Yea it is beyond that now. Also pics on the tillering tree. Pulling 49# at 26" inches of pull on the long tiller string. Going to lighten it a little.

marking the tips using a thin paper template


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I had the thin blade on and just stayed away from the line. Man is that cut wavy!

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Surfoam to the rescue!

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As far as the tillering, I know what I am seeing. I am not going to say but I do see a problem that needs to be addressed.

 -

pete
 
Posted by John Lipinski (Member # 24927) on :
 
Left limb's quite stiff compared to right, and there appears to be a slight hinge forming right after the right side fade. Go slowly and make sure you're doing things right. Do you have a gizmo made?
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
yeah im not really a bowyer , but i did stay at a holiday inn express last night..

i agree with john. at first i thought the right limb was shorter , but after blowing the pic up , theres a definite hinge at the fade...

a gizmo should show you not to touch that at all , and just even it out. the other limb almost looks thicker.


looks better than my pyramid though!

-hov
 
Posted by K. Mogensen (Member # 21042) on :
 
I'm gonna have to try one of these...
 
Posted by Pennsyltuckey pete (Member # 15941) on :
 
Yup. Left limb heavy and a hinge on the right followed by a stiff spot and I think another hinge.

I have been slowly working it taking my time but the edge of the bow let go. [dntthnk] There was a nick and it took off. I now have a two inch crack in one limb so it is going in the fire pile and I am going to get a new board tonight if I can find one at the home center. [Big Grin]

pete
 
Posted by Pennsyltuckey pete (Member # 15941) on :
 
Went to the Home Center to find a new board but there was none to be had. I pulled the cracked limb board bow and decided to give it a shot. Here is a pic of the crack.

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What I did was fill it with super glue and then clamped the crack shut. after allowing the glue to set for about 2 hours I pulled out some backing material. Decided to use the burlap. Keeping with the Tightbond III I laid a heavy bead on the bow, and then put the burlap on the bow and then added more glue to fill not only the thread of the burlap but also the gaps. I like the finished look. Next step was to trim it all up after the glue had dried for 12 hours.

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Then To test the bow I took it out and pulled it back little by little. Finally at close to 28 inches I started letting arrows fly. All is going well. I then put the bow on the tiller tree and pulled it the full 29 inches that I shoot when I am collapsing my form. The bow shoots fine. I just have to detail the back with whatever artwork I decide on.

pete
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
i like it. happy it worked out for ya.

what did you start with , a 3/4" thick board? looks like you ended up taking a good bit off the limbs compared to the handle.


i think i may use the 4"x3/4" that i have layin around and whip one of these up . i like em more and more all the time.

-hov
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
hey 4est, got out my 1x4 today and was looking it over. I drew it all up on paper and I just figured I'd get some input on the specs.

white oak.
OAL 66" (the board itself)

the bow I had drawn up is:

52" tip2tip
6" handle
2" fades
21" limbs.

I'm looking at maybe a inch or two more in length, but a knot has to be worked around . the excess will be used for tip overlays and handle area.

what is your experienced opinion? I'm mostly just comcerned with the length , of the limb and overall.

how wide do you think I should go?


thanks bud
-hov
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
52" with a rigid handle is short, man. If you made it bend in the handle you could get a serviceable short-draw plains style bow out of it (say 21-22"), but I wouldn't attempt a full-draw bow that short with a rigid handle out of white oak.
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
yeah after looking at others' outcomes,I was thinking I may have to go 55 long,and keep my draw a little short.

now that I look at it though, i don't think the grain will like more than 52 or 53" max.

I may work with the handle/fade numbers to see if I can squeeze a little more limb out of it.

ever heard of using a furniture type veneer for backing ?

-hov
 
Posted by rover brewer (Member # 23324) on :
 
4est,has anyone tryed black landscape fabric as backing, I'm not talking about the thick stuff but the thin stuff that looks almost like fiber glass it real tuff to cut.anyone out there,try it. any toughts on it.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I saw it used once, but can't attest to it's effectiveness. One bow isn't really grounds for a yay or nay answer. I personally wouldn't use it when there are many tried and true options out there that are readily available (i.e. brown paper, silk, linen, burlap, rawhide, etc.).
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
you talkin to me or rover?


-hov
 
Posted by rover brewer (Member # 23324) on :
 
thanks, I'm going to use brown paper I just found some of the fabric left over from yard work and the light bulb came on in the brain.about the linen is that like bed sheets or can you use bed sheets.
 
Posted by fujimo (Member # 17720) on :
 
hey HOVA
if your board is 4" wide, why not build 2 halves and splice them, then glue the handle riser on afterwards.
then maybe glue a thin "back riser"( dunno what the correct name for it is!!!) i have seen that done with the limbs simply butt joined - but i would rather scarf join them( real easy to do!!!) -just to be safe. the idea is to avoid the complexity of a Z splice join- as you are trying to keep things as simple as possible.
that way you can get a full length bow, and really get a close match on the risers.( cut them right where the handles end on the limbs)
or make aatake down bow- i have used those sleeves from 3 rivers- i like em- some dont!!!
good luck
wayne
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
splicing hadn't even crossed my mind. ill look into it , but I could always use an example

I was pondering trying to do the pyramid layout, and narrow the handle, but not use a rigid riser. the superglued layers of leather would give me some bulk for the hand, but I think I'd have to be really careful as to my thickness and quasi fade area... I'm gonna hit the drawing board...

-hov
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
splicing hadn't even crossed my mind. ill look into it , but I could always use an example

I was pondering trying to do the pyramid layout, and narrow the handle, but not use a rigid riser. the superglued layers of leather would give me some bulk for the hand, but I think I'd have to be really careful as to my thickness and quasi fade area... I'm gonna hit the drawing board...

-hov
 
Posted by fujimo (Member # 17720) on :
 
with a scarf, all you are doing is increasing the glueing suface area- much like a Z splice does.
all you do is taper the one side down - kinda like a wedge- then do the opposite wedge- and glue together- so that when viewed from the side there will be a diagonal line- but from front or back, just a short side to side line.
send me a fax no. and i will fax you a drawing first thing in the morning.
when i build boats, we work with a minimum of a 8:1 joint- ie. for each inch of thickness- there is 8 inches of length to the joint.

now that ratio may not work- because you dont want thejoint extending out into the working area of the limbs or fades!!!!!!!!- so feel free to shorten the ratio to match your handle- as this joint would be re-inforced by both the belly riser and the back riser. and would be more than strong enough- considering that it is also going to be a stiff handled bow.
if you were wanting to build a bend thru the handle bow- i would certianally Z splice it.
they are not to hard to do- but i would glue them with epoxy or urac.
i really like urac- so easy to use- easy to clean up with water- easy to get it to set- and has some good gap filling properties- i glue all my backings on with it.
regards
wayne
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
i just did a little googling , and searched for a scarf joint trad bow. got a paleo site post about a rawhide handle takedown. not really my style , but it got me thinking.

im gonna go do some paint work cause a picture is a much better narrator than me...
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
ok , so heres my splice idea. the handle area would be a little smaller , the pic isnt to scale , and im pretty sure i would have to make like a bulbous handle , out of wood , and have it fit in between the fades. basically i am thinking the limbs are going to have to have the fades in them , and just spliced for about 6-8" (15/32 i could probably get away with 4.5" of scarf , but if the handle itself is 5-6" or more , then there is no reason not to take advantage of it.

im also curious if it would work without a pin , if i ran the scarf a little longer into the opposing joint.


id have to slice into the fade though if i tried that , so i cant say its possible with my current design idea.

 -

so basically , im thinking if i can somehow split the board i have (handsaw is all thats available right now) , then i might be able to make a little heavier/more realiable pyramid , and possibly with the option of takedown...


come to think of it , the sawmill had blocks of exotics for 4.99 each... hmmmmmm...


-hov
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
come to think of it , heres a little more of what i was thinking...

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Posted by fujimo (Member # 17720) on :
 
hova.
i wouldnt worry about the pin, it you are glueing on the back and belly risers over the scarf- as i remember one guy butted the two limbs and then glued on the two reisers, and for his50lb bow it worked fine. but i would rather scarf the limbs, just make the scarf as long as you can, and stay outta the fades-
do the scarf before you cut the side shapes on the handle area.
after dry trim up the sides, and glue on the risers.
because the faces are tapered, clamp a block at each limb tip on your bench, cos as you tighten the clamp(dont over tighten) on the joint they will wanna slide apart- two tapers lubed up with glue!!!!- so the end blocks will stop that.
draw a line down the center of each limb, so that you can line them up with a string, or long straight edge befor youy glue up.
and either draw around the two limbs, or make some register marks, so that when you glue and clamp, they will be perfectly lined up- remember your clamp will be in the way so you wont be able to see once you glue it.

scarf joints are incredibly strong- and on the tests done for boatbuilding. the scarf is stronger than the surrounding wood- think of a 50' mast- they are allscarfed- and flex plenty!!!!
i would keep the back riser nice and slim and pretty- no need to make the handle huge and bulbous and unwieldly, all you wanna do is stop the end points of the scarf lifting- and the joint starting to fail.
it is just added security, in case your handle ends up flexind slightly .
but keep it stiff- and it will be good.
wayne
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
fuji : the illustrations have a scarf joint , and it makes sense, so i plan on using it if i end up splitting my board into billets.

the more i think about it , its something i want to do , but maybe with something worth all the time.

i have been kicking it around in my head all morning , and what i am thinking of , is getting a block of purpleheart or some other exotic that the local sawmill has , and making a sort of mini riser-takedown tube sorta thingy...then i would make the limbs so that the fade was glued to the limb , and the scarf cut would be where the handle of a normal pyramid is , but the two pieces would slide into the tube , locking them thusly. thats where the idea for the pin came into play. i would probably make the pin one of the exotics that would be in the handle.

my main issue is the fact that hollowing a chunk of something hard as purpleheart would probably be horrible. basically what i came up with to solve this , is split the outer shell in the middle of the belly and back , longways. then cut a half a square into each halve. then basically make a smaller sleeve out of phenolic or something similar , into square tubing. the only difference is the inside of this would be formed to the male ends of the limbs.


it would be a lot of work , and im sure theres easier ways , but i want to work with cherry , i can get it locally , but grain may be tough to find long.


i think with the board i have , im going to go ahead and make it 53"tip to tip , with the 4est glued on recurve tips , but carve some brush nocks into it. make it a brush stalker.


picking up a new straightedge and some other small tools today to start cutting into this stick.


-hov
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Let me go ahead and add mine!! Started working on my version a couple days ago,I went and bought a new bandsaw blade {10" craftsman} Set it up,2 inches in,blade broke. Went and got another blade,2 more inches,blade broke. Said lots of bad words,glad no women or children were in the shop,,So i decided to cut the side profile with my jigsaw,{LONG BLADES} And my scroll saw. Then finish off with the drawknife,scraper ect,,That is not the recomended way to do this!It took almost all day and I still aint done.The only mistake I made I think, was I had to go about an eighth of an inch thinner than the original plans,Yall think that will be OK? I hope so,cause until I get that new bandsaw I have been wanting im not doing another one of these! I normally build the Sam Harper style red oak bows,This one is an adventure!! But it is fun!!! Rick
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky Wallace:
Let me go ahead and add mine!! Started working on my version a couple days ago,I went and bought a new bandsaw blade {10" craftsman} Set it up,2 inches in,blade broke. Went and got another blade,2 more inches,blade broke. Said lots of bad words,glad no women or children were in the shop,,So i decided to cut the side profile with my jigsaw,{LONG BLADES} And my scroll saw. Then finish off with the drawknife,scraper ect,,That is not the recomended way to do this!It took almost all day and I still aint done.The only mistake I made I think, was I had to go about an eighth of an inch thinner than the original plans,Yall think that will be OK? I hope so,cause until I get that new bandsaw I have been wanting im not doing another one of these! I normally build the Sam Harper style red oak bows,This one is an adventure!! But it is fun!!! Rick

Bansaws can make or break your bow. lol. That's not literal enough is it? Plus, where are the pics?
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Ill get some up tonight,,{when my daughter gets home}I still cant figure out how to post them. Give me a pile of lumber and I can build anything you want but im very illiterate with a computor! Im trying to learn!
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
i doubt you should have any issues with a little bit less. just make sure you take your time tillering and you should be fine.

and update on mine , is the siyah arms are cut and angled , they need shaped and glued , and some black locust is drying , and im going to work on a short skinny pyramid , but bend through the handle.
lets see some pics wallace!


-hov
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
 -

 -

 -

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I know,it looks strange,,I cut the handle 1 1/2 inches and immediatly had a problem.So I cut the arrow pass which I prefer anyway,and it is still 3/4 inch thick at that point.If it dont work I have more boards! The little red one I made for my granddaughter.
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Are yall still laughing at me [laughing] ??
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
looks good! that last pic i thought you had all your tools mounted on the peg sideways...i thoughht , hmmm thats kinda interesting and different... then i realized you turned the camera....lol...

-hov
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
ha ha,Thats some of my camera skills! I also noticed the little bow is upside down,,geez,I dont know about me sometimes! I should find out today if it works or not.Ill let yall know how it works out. Rick
 
Posted by SEMO_HUNTER (Member # 24819) on :
 
Great build along, I'm learning alot and I've already built 4 Osage bows. It's nice to see how other guys do it and compare notes. I've learned some neat little tricks from reading your posts so far. I'm not even half way through the build along, but I needed to make a post here so I could watch this topic.

Great tutorial. [thumbsup]
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
yeah it took me a few days to read the whole thing...
 
Posted by Aznboi3644 (Member # 26081) on :
 
I'd be wary of that handle breaking at the arrow pass cut out. How thick is it there?
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Its 3/4 right there
 
Posted by Jeff Smith (Member # 6017) on :
 
That handle probably wont last. The pass looks too small to be usefull.Sorry for sounding so harsh .
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
looks fine to me. i thought it was a bit small , maybe open it up a little taller...
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Thats not harsh at all Jeff,you guys have alot more experience than me.I think I will open it up a little more,at this point this is an experiment bow.If it dont work,I will learn something! Just like the day before Thanksgiving I learned that my joiner will cut the end of your finger off if you try to run a small strip of bamboo thru! [nono]
 
Posted by SEMO_HUNTER (Member # 24819) on :
 
Oh my Lord Ricky......are you OK?

My cousin did that in shop class when he was about 16 years old and they had to graft skin and everything. Man, you got to be careful with those jointers.......they'll get ya!
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Oh yeah,im OK,I just lost about 1/2 inch of my left index finger,6 hours in the ER ,follow up at the orthopedic,big ol bill to pay,,,, Were going to just let it heal as is,since there wasnt anything left to reattach[GROUND UP] If it dont heal properly surgery is still an option. I think I will use the belt sander on Boo strips from now on!!
 
Posted by Aznboi3644 (Member # 26081) on :
 
3/4" will break.

I would say glue on 1/8" lams and build up the thickness.
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
depends on the weight hes going for and draw. if youre going more than a lightweight bow , id reinforce it , just to be safe , but my d-bow has a handle similar to yours without the pass , and its not even 3/4"...just be safe...


-hov
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Where should I put the lams? I am going for a lighter weightI didnt get a chance to work on it today,im on it tommorow. Thanks for all the input
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
how light are you talking ?

if youre talking 20# or so , id say you should be good. any more than that , i would throw no less than an 1/8" on the back and belly ,just to be safe. id end up rasping most of the back overlay off , just so you had a little extra buildup where your pass is. on the back , id leave as much there as you can. provided you will need to shape and do things like that , but i wouldnt glue the strip on , then make my grip smaller than what you just glued on...know what i mean?


-hov
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
I think I know what you mean,I want to go for around 35# I have some pretty red cedar and some nice black walnut,You think the cedar would be to soft?
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
i am not the one to trust fully , but the cedar should give you some stiffness. the walnut would be better , or just about anything that is stiff should do you. you could also order some phenolic pretty inexpensive , then you would have a nice color accent as well...

i personally dont think you should have a whole lot to worry about...you even using a scale or just winging it?


-hov
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Im using the bathroom scale method,Walnut it is,,I know its harder than the cedar,I used walnut for my first riser on my very first red oak bow,it looks good and still seems to be fine.phenolic? whats that? [dunno]
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
3 rivers carries it , im not sure who else...its sort of like fiberglass , but im pretty sure it doesnt have the glass in it , sort of like micarta...


lots of people here use it for accents in risers. when you see black or white stripes that go through the riser , thats usually phenolic. its pretty nice stuff.


and yeah , id go with walnut too , just to b safe. cedar can be used from time to time , but im not familiar enough with the different types to recommend using it...


good luck and make sure to post pics as ya go!


-hov
 
Posted by SEMO_HUNTER (Member # 24819) on :
 
I'd use Osage myself. It's super hard, maybe even tougher than walnut? Not sure on that, but it's tough for sure.
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
I dont have acsess to osage without ordering it from someone,{im cheap,,] I got the walnut glued up today,Ill work it tommorow and post pics. Hopefully ill get off some arrows as well.
 
Posted by SEMO_HUNTER (Member # 24819) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky Wallace:
I dont have acsess to osage without ordering it from someone,{im cheap,,] I got the walnut glued up today,Ill work it tommorow and post pics. Hopefully ill get off some arrows as well.

Too bad you don't live closer, you could come over and take home an armload of off fall from my staves.
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
time to move to missouri ... lol...
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Hows this? I have a little twist problem on the bottom limb,but I think I can fix it.It is pulling bewtween 30& 35 pounds which is ok with me

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Posted by SEMO_HUNTER (Member # 24819) on :
 
I think it looks real good Ricky. Have you shot it yet?
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Yeah,I put about a dozen shots thru it,I was pleased! That twist bothers me,I want to get that taken care of before I shoot any more,I have a snakeskin coming to put on the back,that will look good I think.
 
Posted by fujimo (Member # 17720) on :
 
notice the battle wound on the left finger, hope thats not going to be the only blood drawn by such a pretty bow.
well done, these are prettiest gaggle of board bows i have ever seen!!!!
well done to 4est too!!!!
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Yeah Buddy!! We couldnt do without 4est!! He is a good teacher! This bow is intended to be a gift for my Chief,,but Im not so sure now!! I may have to keep it! [archer2]
 
Posted by fujimo (Member # 17720) on :
 
you know, paul comstock says that a bit of natural twist in a stave is not a problem, however if it was due to the tillering, i would fix it, just check either side on the offending limb for thickness, if one is a tad thicker , sneak it down with a scraper, you will be surprised how little you have to take off, make sure you exercise it well after each tiny bit, wood "training" becomes very apparent with an exercise like this- its easy to land up with twist in the other direction if you take too much off, and will only notice it after the wood settles in during the exercising.
wayne
 
Posted by SEMO_HUNTER (Member # 24819) on :
 
Ricky, with everything you have been through....I mean losing a finger and all. [knothead] [nono]

I know......it's not funny at all.... [goldtooth]


I'm just kidding, seriously I hope you know that.

There's alot of history in that bow already, and who knows....you may kill your biggest buck ever with that bow?

I would keep it! [thumbsup]
 
Posted by Red Tailed Hawk (Member # 23617) on :
 
Ricky I 2nd that praise to 4est. He really has helped give me confidence and I am having a great time tinkering in the garage with the new band saw and sander.
4est has put together a great build along. [thumbsup]
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Ha Ha,There is some feelings with this one,My Daddy taught me to keep going no matter what,If he was still here he would shake his head at me!the finger is a minor injury compared to others over the last 35 or so years!Im not hunting this year but yall just watch what goes on next season! [saywhat] Im still torn whether to keep it or not,Ill decide next week. Ill post up pics when the finish is done.BTW This is the most incredeble thread I have ever been a part of!
 
Posted by fujimo (Member # 17720) on :
 
4est, i saw on the maple bow post , that you had glue on nock tips, on the belly side of the bow, wanna tell a little more!?!
thanks
wayne
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
going to get some pics up later of my new 51" ntn white oak pyramid. gonna go pick up some good sandpaper ($1 big lots stuff sucks!) , and try to find either a hickory board or something to back it with. i am not doing a riser piece , but i did cut out an ergo grip on it and a small shelf that i may end up removing in leu of a floppy rest.

still considering sinew backing it just for safety , but i think an eighth or sixteenth of hickry should do me up just right. im going to just end up tillering it as far as i can , and short draw it. if i can get my hickry sliced thin enough , i may do some small brushy's.


-hov
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Glad you all are having a good time with this one [Smile] Nice to see new folks building some bows! Fujimo: the nocks you are referring to are called brush nocks. They prevent brush from snagging between the limb tips and string.

Keep 'em coming, guys, and be sure to read all of the updates throughout. They include an 8" riser (which is way better in my opinion) and a better handle design that's not so beefy and chunky. The one I did for the build-along is designed to be WAY overbuild to prevent problems there, which is common in first pyramids. However, it's heavier, bulkier, blockier, etc. than need be.

[campfire]
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Hova,if you have a harbor freight close by,they have good norton sandpaper for way cheaper than the big box stores.Thats where I get mine Look forward to seeing your new bow!
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
ill have to get up there tomorrow. i literally just went by there , but we were doing clothes shopping for the wifey. no tool talk allowed...


and yeah , i thought a buck a pack was good even if it sucked. it sucks royally. cheap tp has a higher grit rating...


need to pick up some moar clamps too...yay harbor freight..

-hov
 
Posted by Jeff Smith (Member # 6017) on :
 
Ricky,
just to ensure no more accidents you may consider placing the bow on the tiller tree or stick and putting a flat piece of wood same length as the riser on the hadle area then flexing the limbs to full draw. If the area under the riser shows daylight the grip is flexing and it may very well blow up right at the cut out shelf.D bows are supposed to flex through the handle and have no cuts to create weak points so there is a big difference.Good luck and keep asking questions.
Jeff
 
Posted by DLH (Member # 22310) on :
 
Would it be better to use a light wood for the overlays to keep the weight down towards the tips?
 
Posted by Aznboi3644 (Member # 26081) on :
 
I wouldn't use a light wood...the overlay is so small the weight difference will have no effect.

A soft wood will compress and possibly fail. I'd use a hard wood to protect the string from cutting into the back.
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
dlh : it depends on what you want. the weight shouldnt matter , but you may find out that it causes handshock , so wait till some more experience chimes in...


-hov
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
All right boys,,Ill have pics up tommorow night! Almost done!!!Sorry Jeff,I dont understand? I had another kind of accedent!Not with the bow........ [archer]
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
i might be starting a new one and finishing one tomorrow. hoping the sawmill will rip me a 3/4 board in half for less than the 20% they want to plane it down...


going to back the white oak with hickory. working on a skinny pyramid bend through the handle ...

-hov
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Here it is!! All done. I wrasseld with the thought of keeping this one but it was intended as a gift so thats what it is! I need an excuse to make another one anyway! Special thanks to Cesar over at Legionare Archery for the skin and all the advice.Thanks to all you guys to and to 4est for his buildalong! Back to the shop!!!!!!!! Rick [archer2]

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Posted by Red Tailed Hawk (Member # 23617) on :
 
she's a beaut [thumbsup]
 
Posted by red hill (Member # 22638) on :
 
Nice bow, Ricky! How does that handle feel?
Stan
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Feels good! I cant sense any movement in it,It would be better without this bum finger,I could really feel it better but I think its going to be good.
 
Posted by Red Tailed Hawk (Member # 23617) on :
 
Is the shelf cut to center?
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
Its a little short of center,just a smidge,its a little more than 3/4 wide
 
Posted by Hilton (Member # 27279) on :
 
I've really enjoyed this build along!! Exactly what I have been lookin' for!! If you would e'mail me the curves for the tips and the fade out I would really appreciate it!!
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
It's been said before, but this thread needs to be made permanent somewhere. Maybe not all the responses like they do in the "how-to" section, but definitely made for forever. It would be a huge loss for future bowyers.
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
yeah a slimmed down version would make a nice sticky.

-h0v
 
Posted by Red Tailed Hawk (Member # 23617) on :
 
Ok here's the new Red oak pyramid bow ive been working on. It's 2 1/2" at the fades to 1/2" at the reflexed tips. The riser is the updated riser from this build along and is 8" overall length.
The overall length of the bow is 75". I know that's long but my draw is 31.5". I am not planning on backing this bow because the grain looks good,"would like to hear any suggestions if you think not backing the bow would be a mistake".
In the pics I got the bow down to 23" on a just barely braced string.
Still got a long way to go with my draw length.
Any Tiller input would be appreciated, How's it looking so far?

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Posted by tenbrook (Member # 14234) on :
 
Tiller looks real good IMO
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fish n chicks:
It's been said before, but this thread needs to be made permanent somewhere. Maybe not all the responses like they do in the "how-to" section, but definitely made for forever. It would be a huge loss for future bowyers.

I got it printed out and in its own little folder!!
 
Posted by 1oldbowguy (Member # 26890) on :
 
[clapper] I am very new to the site and must say I love it! I enjoy the build along very much, great info and some of the best looking bows I have seen. Thanks to all for sharing with us and it really helps the new guys like me. Even though I have been bow hunting for over 40 years, I have never tackled a build, that is about to change. I think a board bow first. Again thanks to all who build and share. [Wink]
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Red Tailed Hawk: Hey, it's looking good so far. I believe the right limb is a touch stiffer than the left, and that you need to get the middle third of the limb moving more. Also, get it brace a touch higher on the short string. It will pull the limbs differently. Spending too much time on a long string can give you a false tiller reading. Lastly, be sure to make Erik Krewson's tillering gizmo. It will save you a LOT of time and produce a much more evenly tillered bow.

It looks like you followed my updated advice on handle construction and riser length. [Smile]

Keep the pictures coming!
 
Posted by Ricky Wallace (Member # 26250) on :
 
4est,did you do a buildalong on your turkey bow that was pictured with this one? I got to have one of those to!!!
 
Posted by Hilton (Member # 27279) on :
 
Red Tailed Hawk:
The bow looks great! How did you design your handle?
 
Posted by Red Tailed Hawk (Member # 23617) on :
 
Here are some more pics of the new bow. Finally got her to full draw and shot a few arrows.
really sends them arrows with authority, much faster than I expected. Still need to put a finish on "tru oil" and arrow rest.

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Posted by KellyG (Member # 7924) on :
 
[clapper] [saywhat] [clapper]
 
Posted by fish n chicks (Member # 22648) on :
 
Hey red tail, the bow is looking sweet. If I can make a couple of suggestion, I would say your bottom limb could use some more off the belly from about 8" from the riser down. If you haven't made the tillering gizmo yet, it'll point out what the eyes may falsely tell you.

The other thing I would suggest is to get your hands on some boiled linseed oil. You can get a decent sized can from the big boy toy stores, for lik3 7$. It's what's used on gun stocks, and will bring the grain out of your wood naturally. Just apply about 10 coats every 20 minutes or so, and let dry for a week till the smell is gone, then spray with lacquer from a can a few times. Professional looking and on the cheap, and it looks natural.

Otherwise, you've got yourself a sweet shooter that came from your own two hands. Cheers!
 
Posted by kountzer0 (Member # 27645) on :
 
First I'd like to say thank you for the build along to 4est! And let's not forget everyone else who added a little special touch or adjusted the spec a bit here and there. i have learned alot about the practical/specific side after all the theory I've read (I'm about 1/2 way through TBB 3). Actually seeing it is helping tremendously.

I just finished my daughter's kid-bow from the same material. 47" NTN 3/4" wide at grip with a straight taper to tips. 7lb at 18" for her 7yr old frame. Belly taper according to tillering stick tales (what it seemed to need). I did make a few mistakes, which shows in the 1" set, but it shoots and hasn't broken (yet)!

I got paranoid and backed it early on (at floor tiller) with linen from the fabric store - set in wood glue.

I'm going to try my bow next following the pyramid pattern used here. I don't have a bandsaw so I was thinking of using my router table to remove the bulk off the belly. Just throwing that out there for those who's tool situation might be similar. I'll try to remember to get pics of my set-up etc as I go.

Chomping at the bit to get started, but it will have to wait till this weekend before I start (assuming I can find a decent board).

Thanks again!
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
i havent used a router table , but im sure as long as youre careful , and stay outside your lines , you should be great.

i use a sur-form and files/rasps. anything more than that is gravy.


lets see that daughters bow.

-hov
 
Posted by kountzer0 (Member # 27645) on :
 
My Daughter's bow is nearly finished (the finish is drying as we speak.

I'll post a picture or two tomorrow.

I just recieved the dacron, serving and 6 kid arrows form an online supplier, so I made her an endless loop type string. The upper limb is bending quite a bit more than the lower - but hey it didn't break - which astounds me still.

I also acquired a beauty of a hickory board - almost all heart wood with enough really really straight grain for 2 2" bow staves! A paltry $12 and it was mine. [Smile]
 
Posted by kountzer0 (Member # 27645) on :
 
OK here are a couple of pics of the kidbow:

On the tillering stick at 18" draw...the lighting is kinda funny...

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On the floor (the tiles are 12"

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I scraped through the finish on the handle for a glue-on arrow shelf which is in process now.

Thanks for all the great posts!
 
Posted by 1oldbowguy (Member # 26890) on :
 
kountzer0 that sure looks nice congrats!
 
Posted by KellyG (Member # 7924) on :
 
Nice bow
 
Posted by paparick (Member # 25945) on :
 
I want to start one, and I went and got some wood, but I accedentally got 1x2 instead of 1x4. I want to make one out of this and back it with some fiberglass cloth I have. I will use TBIII or URAC to glue up the wood, then epoxy on the backing. Do you think that will work? Thanks for the great tutorial by the way! Too bad I missed the 1x4 instructions.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
I wouldn't use fiberlgass cloth. It's both heavy and much too strong for the compression strength of oak. Simply back it with brown paper, which is easy, cheap, and effective. Here's a link to George T.'s site where he gives directions on making a red oak bow from a 1x2. Hope this helps!

http://georgeandjoni.home.comcast.net/~georgeandjoni/boardbowbuildalong.html
 
Posted by hova (Member # 25148) on :
 
i have a 1x2 that i have in the works for a brush stalker , and its sort of layed out like a pyramid , but i have a feeling i will have to tiller the belly a bit.

it might come in under weight , but the 50" pyramid that is 2.5 at the fades to .5 at the tips , needs some good reinforcement at the handlle , or it will end up breaking or being a 10# kids bow... i love the way it looks , but im not sure if i should have shaped the handle before adding overlays and whatnot...


-hov
 
Posted by rover brewer (Member # 23324) on :
 
I want to do a jute twine wrap handle is ther somewhere I might get directions on how to do this.
 
Posted by sawtoothscream (Member # 27299) on :
 
well im deffinatly going to try building one. really really good detailed build along. mine will most likly suck but be fun anyways.

thanks the bow looks awsome
 
Posted by Aznboi3644 (Member # 26081) on :
 
If you have a 1x2 I'd suggest on a lever tipped bow that bends through the handle like a mollegabet.

Very easy to tiller..You only have half the limbs to scrape. I've made one 50@26 with moderate set. Still a fast shooter because of the very low mass tips
 
Posted by twitchstick (Member # 19043) on :
 
4est trekker I have question regarding the handle. On my frist failed board bow I felt the handle section was a tad to small for my hand. I like the updated handle idea on page 21. When I shape the handle can I just round the fades more or do I have to change the width of the limb too?
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Twitchstick: You can round the fades more in the non-working (i.e. thicker) section. I hope that helps. [Smile]
 
Posted by twitchstick (Member # 19043) on :
 
Yes,and again thanks for all your time.
 
Posted by DaveKing (Member # 27546) on :
 
I came along recently and found this build-along. I recently retired and have a little time on my hands so I figured I could pass some of it by giving this a try.

I didn't take any pictures during the basic building steps but I did make a bit of a video when I first tested the bow (linked in here).

I used a 1 x 3 instead of a 1x4 and left the limbs about .480".

Here's a video of the first shots and a little of the bow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3u1mWoIwXI
 
Posted by Red Tailed Hawk (Member # 23617) on :
 
Nice bow DaveKing, What poundage did you wind up at?
 
Posted by DaveKing (Member # 27546) on :
 
I used the family scale and measured about 41# at 26"
 
Posted by 1oldbowguy (Member # 26890) on :
 
Nice looking bow, seems to shoot well also. Congrats!!
 
Posted by paparick (Member # 25945) on :
 
Ok I'm gonna try the mollegabet. I have some cool looking linen to back it with. I'll post a build on it if it doesn't explode. d;^)
 
Posted by matts2 (Member # 29477) on :
 
Looking at this build, I am wondering about the recurve style tips. Do they have to be same wood or can they be layered with other woods mainly for cosmetics.

Matt
 
Posted by Aznboi3644 (Member # 26081) on :
 
the glued on micro recurves are non working so they can be any type of wood you want.
 
Posted by elkhunter1 (Member # 30314) on :
 
I am new to tradgang. I have been shooting traditional for about 20 years now and have finally become interested in trying to make my own bow. I want to have that connection that only making your own could have. I am in Vancouver Washington and was wondering if you know anyone close enough to drive to for a class. I don't want to " wing it" for the first bow. I need to learn some before trying it on my own. I would appreciate any help.
 
Posted by elkhunter1 (Member # 30314) on :
 
Forgot.... please send me a PM or e-mail me at kingvw1@yahoo.com Thanks all!!
 
Posted by Dave Bowers (Member # 9155) on :
 
Mike trying it for the first time is all about the experience. Follow 4est's thread here and you'll have a bow.

Pretty everyone that posted pics was in your shoe's

Go grad a board and go for it
 
Posted by k-hat (Member # 27404) on :
 
A question for 4est or whoever can answer: What about a pyramid red oak bow that's about 1 1/4 inch at fades to 1/2 inch at tips? Will this work if i make the belly thin/flat enough? Should i use the pyramid uniform thickness, or more of a tapered thickness with these width dimensions? I'm using a piece i was gonna layout for a somewhat elb profile for my wife, but she wants a handle with fades, etc., so i'm changing it up. Wanna keep the draw light for now, bout 20-25#.
 
Posted by WestTexan (Member # 21690) on :
 
I think I built one pretty close to that about a year and a half ago and it turned out nice....had about a thousand shots or more run through it. I think it might be about 28# at 28in.
 
Posted by k-hat (Member # 27404) on :
 
Thanks West. Nice to know someone's gone before where you're headed! My first two flatbows are still functioning beautifully, but my last two, which were elb experiments (modified for red oak) blew on me, so i'm a little apprehensive about this one. Worst case scenario, it doesn't work and i get to build another! Lookin forward to trying this pyramid on a larger bow after this! [Big Grin]
 
Posted by hardwaymike (Member # 13963) on :
 
Let's say a guy is kind of lacking in the power tool area. Could a hand held jig saw be used instead of a bandsaw? I am referring to the handle cutouts and fade cutouts. I will be using my skilsaw for cutting out the limbs so no worries there. But that is the only area that I have seen that I would need a special tool for. Well not really need, but to make it go faster.
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
hardwaymike: see page 12 [Smile]
 
Posted by k-hat (Member # 27404) on :
 
Mike,
Jigsaw takes a lotta wood fast, so if you do be super careful and slow and leave plenty of line. Most would probably say don't do it. I used one on my second bow for the handle cutout like your saying, wound up going a little to far in on the back side of the handle, but was able to correct it with the shaping. I use a small curved stanley sureform for the handle profile (don't have a good rasp yet). Cost about $5 at depot and takes some elbow grease. Maybe do a practice run on a scrap piece b4 you go for it? I've only got 4 bows under my belt, so take it with a shaker of salt [dunno]
 
Posted by hardwaymike (Member # 13963) on :
 
Thanks guys!
 
Posted by crgibson (Member # 9237) on :
 
Hi 4est

I have a oak board w/ good grain that I had salvaged. It had brad nail holes in it so I worked around them and and ended up with 68"long 9" riser, 4 1/2" handle, 1 3/4 fades to 1/2" tips. Cause this is not as wide at the fades as your build along bow and I have changed the handle size do I make my limb thickness the same 15/32 or thicker.. Thanks your friend Chuck
 
Posted by crgibson (Member # 9237) on :
 
A page back K-Hat and WestTexas built a bow with about the same dimensions. Can I up the Lbs to about 40-45lbs or better if I back the bow with Paper,rawhide, or denim? Also should I taper my profile? Cant wait much longer I'm chomping at the bit to cut it out.. Thanks Guys Chuck
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
crgibson: If you made the bow narrower than the buildalong, then I'd made it a full 1/2" thick for the entire length of the bow (minus the fades, obviously). However, wooden bows don't follow a recipe, so this is only a starting point. A lot of factors come into play when actually nailing a target weight/draw length. Also, paper, rawhide, denim, linen, silk, etc. are all protective backings and will NOT raise the draw weight effectively. They simply help protect against a splinter raising on the back of the bow.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.

Regards
 
Posted by crgibson (Member # 9237) on :
 
Happy so far the way its turning out. 68" 67"NTN 1 3/4 Fades to 1/2" tips, and 1/2" profile. Shot 20 arrows at about 26" 27" has taken about 1" of set. I have no scale thinking its around 40+lbs. my brace is at 7 7/8 is that to high? Thanks for looking, Could use some advice  -  -  - [img] [IMG]http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff371/enterprise401/about1inchset.jpg [/img][/IMG]

Hope the pix copy here it go's Thanks Chuck  -
 
Posted by 4est trekker (Member # 21178) on :
 
Thanks for sharing, Chuck. Although the pictures look small, it looks as if it's a well-built bow. I really like the riser...much better than the one in the buildalong. I would say that the brace height is much too high, though. You'll shorten the life, increase the set, and/or decrease the efficiency of the bow with a brace height that high. Got any full draw pics? Again, NICE job! [thumbsup]
 
Posted by crgibson (Member # 9237) on :
 
Going to try this again. Hope the pix are not to large now. [img] [IMG]http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff371/enterprise401/Red%20Oak%20Board%20Bow/IMG_01371.jpg [/img][/IMG] [img] [IMG]http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff371/enterprise401/Red%20Oak%20Board%20Bow/IMG_0146.jpg [/img][/IMG] [img] [IMG]http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/ff371/enterprise401/Red%20Oak%20Board%20Bow/IMG_0154.jpg [/img][/IMG] Still want to paper back the bow, handle wrap and work on the brace height. Thanks Crg
 
Posted by Johnny_Cash (Member # 31135) on :
 
About what brace height would you recommend for a bow the same specs as the build along?
 
Posted by stretch2 (Member # 19756) on :
 
here is what i did with this build along it is 72 inch tip to tip about 40lbs it is red oak and it is 2 1/4 wide i did make the handle section longer to fit my big mits in it but it shoots good and it was fun. when i took the pics i did notice that the upper limb has a week spot in it and i can see how i could of tillered it different so i can get more wood and make a better one next time. thanks for this buildalong and all the info on here
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Posted by Johnny_Cash (Member # 31135) on :
 
Nice looking bow stretch. What thickness did you limbs end up being? I want to make one of these 2-1/4" wide and I'm trying to get an idea what thickness I should shoot for to get 55#@28". Thanks
 
Posted by crgibson (Member # 9237) on :
 
Hi Johnny,

I just finished my red oak bow. I followed 4est build along but did make some changes. See my specs a few post back and 4est answers. So got an old bathroom scale and got some approx weights

40# @ 28"
45# 29"
47# @ 30"

So I did the full 1/2" thick for the entire length of the bow like 4est suggested. Over 100+ shots so far My first shots I only pulled around 24" for awhile now i'm up to full draw between 29-30". Its going to a 3d shoot this coming weekend we'll see if it holds up. Oh by the way my brace height is at 7 1/4 now.
Take care, Crg
 


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