Bow build failure, but learned alot. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-05-2014, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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I have been working on a bow for several months. It was my first attempt and all my info came from youtube videos on the making of it. Going for a 6' long bow and taking my time. Started with 10' oak 3 x 4 beam. I picked the one that had the straightest grain.

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Ran it through a table saw and rough shaped it with jigsaw and a sander.


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Tillered it, sanded it down a bit at a time. I had it almost perfect.

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Tonight I had the final bow string on it. Fired an arrow, dang thing must have had a 100 lbs pull on it, but it worked and was accurate. Took it in to show wife before I put a really nice finish on it. Pulled back and it sounded like a gun shot when it flew apart.



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I learned quite a bit from this experience. First I learned NOT to show the wife! Seriously I did learn alot to help with my next attempt, which I will start when I get over my depression. It was beautiful up until tonight. Once I get one made Ill post it.

Last edited by PhilipCollier; 02-05-2014 at 11:16 PM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-05-2014, 11:19 PM
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Man, sorry to hear about the failure, but my advice is to put that out of the mind, and just remember the awesomeness of the first pull and resulting shot. Harness that and make a better 2.0 version. Be sure to post it here too!!!

Ut Prosim
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post #3 of 10 Old 02-06-2014, 12:11 AM
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I don't know a lot about making a bow....but oak wouldn't have been my first choice in wood selection.....have you considered hickory for bow?


Another thought.....can you salvage the limbs and attach them to a new riser?

The tools don't make the craftsman....

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post #4 of 10 Old 02-06-2014, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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The choice woods are yew and osage orange. Oak was mentioned as a good first bow wood. Wouldnt last as long as yew but easier to work with in the tillering process. Hickory would also fall into the good first bow wood catagory.

Good thought on attaching limbs to new riser but the one side split too far along the grain to use.

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post #5 of 10 Old 02-06-2014, 10:36 AM
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Nice looking bow, great for a first time! Black locust is also a good wood for making bows. When you are making a "self bow", which is a one piece bow with no lamination, you must orient the grain laterally across the limbs. On the front face of the limbs (facing away from you when you hold and draw the bow) you need to "chase a ring" for the entire length, which means cutting down to one growth ring and following that ring the entire length of the the bow.
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post #6 of 10 Old 02-06-2014, 10:50 AM
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If you're making 1 piece long bows, yew is the wood of choice. There was recently another thread about splitting the wood radially along/from (wasn't clear to me which) the grain, rather than cutting it. Makes for a much stronger and longer-lasting bow. I seem to remember something from a long time ago about boiling it as well... but that may just be me mixing in fiction from books I've read. Worth looking into though.

Have to say, it was a fine looking first piece you built. Let us know how the second attempt works out.
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post #7 of 10 Old 02-06-2014, 11:10 AM
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You need to split the wood from the bolt, not saw it. This will give you continuous running grain, not areas with cross grain that will break under stress. Some bows are often laminated with a few thin strips. This helps share the stress so there is less chance of complete failure. Even the best wood bows are subject to breaking, eventually.
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post #8 of 10 Old 02-06-2014, 11:24 AM
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frankp, when making a recurve bow the tips are boiled or steamed to make them pliable then clamped in a curved form to make the recurve, this might be what you are thinking of.

PC, you said you watched some videos on youtube so I'm not sure if you saw this one, but it is the best video I've found on making a selfbow. There are three parts and he walks you through all the steps very well.
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post #9 of 10 Old 02-06-2014, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advise all. Will definately watch that video....bound and determined to get a bow made.
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-07-2014, 06:00 PM
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We should honestly have a lot more threads like this - what a great opportunity for all of us to learn.

Thanks for sharing

Curtis
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