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Author Topic: Board wood pairings
YosemiteSam
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Well, it has been a merry Xmas for me. After many failed attempts to find good boards at the hardware stores, I'm suddenly sitting on a stack of good maple & hickory boards. There's probably enough to make 7-10 bows, depending on how I cut them or whether or not I back them. It's mostly maple but I found some good hickory pieces at a smaller lumberyard in town -- just got lucky this time.

I may opt to cut some of the better pieces down to backing strips. My table saw isn't the best so I may chicken out. We'll see. But it has me thinking about the best wood pairings for laminated board bows.

From widely available woods, what are the best pairings for these if I chop some of them into backing?

Hickory backed Hickory
hickory backed _____(oak? walnut? other ideas?)_______

Maple backed Maple
Maple backed ______(does anything else do well with maple?)____________

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

Posts: 719 | From: CA | Registered: Sep 2016  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
John Malone
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Congratulations, its nice to find a winning ticket now and again.

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If I'm breathing, I have nothing to complain about.

Posts: 285 | From: Richmond County North Carolina | Registered: May 2017  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Yellowwood
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I love working with maple it is a great wood but I had one of my favorite maple bows frett on me after about 1200 arrows but it was only my 3 or 4 bow I ever made and the tiller was not perfect but the design was short for my draw ,sense then I know not to over stress the design with maple it can be a tad compression weak but if made wide & long enough would make a great bow maple on maple with moderate reflex ! maple usually will make a fast bow.
Posts: 78 | From: Illinois | Registered: Nov 2017  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
John Malone
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I saw a maple longbow once with a walnut riser and tip overlays, she was a beauty. Would have bought it but it was $300 bucks in the early 90s!!

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If I'm breathing, I have nothing to complain about.

Posts: 285 | From: Richmond County North Carolina | Registered: May 2017  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pat B
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Any combo of those 2 woods will work well. Both hickory and maple will make good backings for the oak or walnut. The maple may be a better choice for the walnut but hickory will work.

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

Posts: 13326 | From: Brevard, NC. | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
YosemiteSam
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quote:
Originally posted by Pat B:
Any combo of those 2 woods will work well. Both hickory and maple will make good backings for the oak or walnut. The maple may be a better choice for the walnut but hickory will work.

Maple backed walnut sounds like a sexy combo of wood colors. If I was making a simple pyramid design for this combo, should it be a little wider, say 1.75" at the fades? Or is 1.5" sufficient (assuming something in the 68-70" T2T range)? I'll pull out the TBBs to see about trapping & heat treating these combos.

Hickory backed red oak could be fun.

There were some awesome slabs of white oak at the lumber yard -- 1.5" thick x 10" wide x 8' long. Grain was straight & mostly all clear. I've got enough wood. But it has me thinking...

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

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Pat B
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At 68" to 72" @28", 1 .75 will be fine. You might even go 1 1/2" but start wide and reduce the width later if needed.
I made a hickory backed red oak pyramid bow a while back that is 66" t/t, 50#+/- @26". This bow is about 2 1/4" wide at the fades with a straight taper to the tips. I've let everyone in the world shoot this bow to see what would happen and she's still holding a slight reflex. I think I added 3" of reflex at glue-up.

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

Posts: 13326 | From: Brevard, NC. | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Wolftrail
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Yep all the woods are good. I have used White oak as a center lam between maple. With maple pay attention to the edge grain having no run off or very, very little.
Posts: 781 | From: BC, Canada | Registered: Mar 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
YosemiteSam
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quote:
Originally posted by Pat B:
At 68" to 72" @28", 1 .75 will be fine. You might even go 1 1/2" but start wide and reduce the width later if needed.
I made a hickory backed red oak pyramid bow a while back that is 66" t/t, 50#+/- @26". This bow is about 2 1/4" wide at the fades with a straight taper to the tips. I've let everyone in the world shoot this bow to see what would happen and she's still holding a slight reflex. I think I added 3" of reflex at glue-up.

I'm still new at this so pardon me for asking an ignorant question. I never even considered adding reflex at the glue-up stage. Never knew I could. Now, having a few bows under my belt, it makes sense. Did you raise the tips with blocks or did you make a form (caul?) and clamp it to that? I might want to try it.

Any good ways to ensure a fairly even bend at the floor tillering stage? I use a gizmo to do my tillering because I don't yet trust my inexperienced eyes.

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

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BMorv
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Yeah that's one of the advantages of gluing a backing. If you are strictly adding reflex, you can just block up the tips and secure down the middle of the handle. I've seen some people suspend the bow between 2 saw horses and hang a gallon jug of water from the middle. There's a few ways to do it, and a caul isn't necessary. If you floor tiller it before glue up it should bend nicely.
Before glue up I check the thickness with a caliper every 4" or so down the limb, and make sure that it is tapered properly. Then I bend it on floor and ensure that both limbs are bending the same, and make sure it's not too thick. I grab one of my finished bows that's similar in weight to compare limb strength to see if I'm close.
I guess the experienced guys skip the caliper step and they know if it's too thick by floor tillering, but it works for me.

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Life is too short to use marginal bow wood

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Pat B
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I don't use calipers but use my thumb and fingers to lightly feel the thickness along and across the limbs. I can feel differences that I can't see sometimes.
Try to get the limbs bending evenly and together before glue up so they are bending evenly and together after. You should be able to pre-tiller the belly at least to brace height before glue up to insure everything lines up. If you glue a twist into the bow, it's twisted!
For glue up I use a 2x4 as a base and clamp the handle to the middle of that, the fresh glue-up. Then lift the tips to rest on blocks. I use cut off 2x4 for this so it's not quite 4". The depth of the riser or thickness of the handle area will affect the amount of reflex. More is not necessarily better in this case. 3" to 4" is plenty to use. I also use big "C" clamps at the handle and small ones at the tips. I use bicycle tire tube band to wrap the limb as a clamp.

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

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ty_in_ND
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quote:
Originally posted by YosemiteSam:
I've got enough wood. But it has me thinking...

Trust me, you'll never have enough wood. [Big Grin]

If your boards are straight and you don't mind a little waste, you can saw either your maple or hickory into 1/8" strips and then glue them back up into a bow. You would be able to add some good reflex/deflex this way (or a recurve) without heat or steam. I'm pretty sure that's one way the old time wood bows were made (like pre-fiberglass Hill and Pearson bows for example). Plus, if you have any left over strips, you can save those and use them as backing strips.

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Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Posts: 94 | From: Grand Forks, North Dakota | Registered: Mar 2015  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
YosemiteSam
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Thanks for these ideas. I ripped a bunch of strips from 3 of the boards. Now I have enough backing strips for 9 bows plus some extra belly wood with the other boards. And now I need some more belly wood to go with those backing strips. As you said, Ty, never enough wood.

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

Posts: 719 | From: CA | Registered: Sep 2016  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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