Spike Camp

Long bows and boredom.

Long bows and boredom.
« on: December 13, 2012, 04:11:16 PM »
Disclaimer: Long & picture heavy.

So...I've found myself with a lot of spare time lately. That used to be taken up by video games, but I guess I'm just gettin too old for that stuff. So I got to thinkin about it and I've always wanted a long bow. And I made a pretty good lookin clock from wood back in middleschool...why not take a stab at makin one and see what I get?

I grabbed some redwood and a little pine and got to work. Rough form:

Partially braced and about halfway through tillering (Making the limbs bend properly) :

And final product:

I got lucky all the way around with this build. Found a board with perfect grain for a bow, which is rare. And somehow even though it was my first build the thing survived the entire process.

End result: Modified 72" long bow, 70 inches knock to knock with an 80 lb draw at 30 inches. I call it modified because the original design called for the use of a 1x2, and I went with a 1x3. And I tweaked the handle shape a little. Instead of a uniform curve opposite the sight notch I made it belly out so I could cut the sight notch a little closer to center and not have to worry about that area being too weak.

I wish I had a bandsaw, because rasping the limbs into a rough form was a royal thorn. And making flemish strings is kinda boring. Those were probably my 2 least favorite parts of the process. Everything else was actually kinda fun. Maybe I'll take a little more time on the next one and get all the tool marks out.

I'm also glad to have my modified tillering post and other tools completed. Half of the time spent on this over the passed 3 weeks was just making tools like a string jig or the tillering post. Next time I get a wild hair I won't have to make any tools, unless I decide to make it a recurve. In which case I'll have to improvise a steam box and make a jig for giving the bow a bend.

I'll probably play with backing next go around too. I got really lucky with this one, because it's hard to find a board with the perfect grain. Usually backing is a necessity to keep it from lifting a splinter and snapping a limb, especially with red oak. I'm thinking diamondback skin for the next one, but nothing's set in stone yet.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012, 04:13:04 PM by Marshal_ »

Re: Long bows and boredom.
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2012, 06:08:08 PM »
Marshall:That looks great and quite an accomplishment,also a lot of of work.How does it shoot,using wood arrows,going to hunt with it?
Faster horses,younger women,older whiskey,and more money.

Re: Long bows and boredom.
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2012, 06:18:56 PM »
Cool project. 80lbs is a helluva draw weight!  I am looking at doing one of the Bingham's kits over Christmas with my boys. 

Re: Long bows and boredom.
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2012, 09:14:45 PM »
Roger: Only parts that seemed like work was roughing the limbs with a stanley surform rasp and maybe making the string. Haven't had a chance to shoot it yet. This is the first bow I've owned, so there's a lot of learning involved. Like how much it hurts when the string slaps your wrist. I learned that the hard way while giving the bow it's first real test pull.

For some reason I always thought of arrows as a 1 size fits all type of deal and that assumption was WAY off. I'm leaning towards aluminum arrows, mostly because aluminum is more uniform and I don't trust carbon fiber. Obviously it's strong enough, but I've seen pics the damage an arrow can do if it breaks mid shot. The splintered carbon fiber ones looked the worst of the bunch. I might setup to make my own wooden arrows eventually but that'll be much later down the road.

It might get hunted with. Hard to say for certain. I suppose it all depends on how fast I learn to shoot and whether or not the bow earns my trust. It looks good, doesn't creak or make noise as it's being drawn. But it's still my first one and I don't trust it one lick. Everytime I pull that string it's in the back of my mind that it might break.

txpitdog: I agree with you 80# is a hell of a weight. When I measured it last before  staining it my scale told me it was 60#. I didn't realize it til later, but the curves in the handle had it sitting weird on the tillering post and threw that last measurement off. Doesn't really bother me though. Go big or go home right? lol.

I've seen a few of the Bingham's patterns and drew a little inspiration from them. Most of it was done according to the Red Oak bow build along guide from http://poorfolkbows.com/ though. It was definitely worth all the bloodshed and tears though. You'll have to let us know how your kit turns out.