New thoughts on pine for a bow wood

Bowman AKA THE HUNTER
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Joined: March 19th, 2006, 8:17 pm

March 23rd, 2007, 11:48 am #1

A couple of weeks ago I found a long piece of pine board lying in the garbage. Well I didnt want to see it go to waste so I took it and made a huge flatbow. It was a quick bow so I duct taped the handle on and began to tiller. Well it worked and didnt have any compression problems until a knot made a crackling sound which I fixed with duct tap.

Anyways the bow was nice and fast and big. It was 6 feet tall and 2 1/4" wide and about 35#@24, so yeah it was big for the draw length but it worked fine. The only thing that worried me was the fact it only weighed 350 grams. After 20 shots it blew at the handle. If only I were to glue it instead.......:"> Oh well, I now think pine can be made into bows because if this light board can make a bow I wonder how good the denser stuff will be????

Anybody else Have any experiences with pine?

-AlexThe bow may be bent until it breaks. [Danish Proverb]
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Rod
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Rod
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March 23rd, 2007, 3:32 pm #2

No thought except that I am wondering what the best (or most authentic) pine would be for a Stellmoor.
Rod.
It's meant to be simple, not easy.
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Peter
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March 23rd, 2007, 3:57 pm #3

I just started a red pine bow the other day, my first pine bow. The tree was 8inches in diameter.It's roughed out at the moment, going to be 72 inches long, two inches wide, about an inch nocks. Hoping for 40 #s....we'll see if it holds up, i'll post my results soon.

...i was begining to think i was crazy for trying this so it's good to hear other people have tried it.

Rod, could you explain the stellmor?

-peter
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badger5149
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badger5149
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March 23rd, 2007, 5:19 pm #4

I have made several pine bows over the years with mixed results, the denser is better I think, if they stay together they are good shooters. steve
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mole
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mole
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March 24th, 2007, 2:41 am #5

How odd. HuFlung and I were talking about trying a pine bow last night. I figured 3 inches wide, 68 inches long, and 40# at 25 inch draw. I went and found a suitable log this morning. Might rough it out to dry tomorrow. Great minds think alike.
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Tim Baker
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Tim Baker
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March 24th, 2007, 3:38 am #6

Adjust limb width per wood density and even the lightest pine will make a bow. For example, if a present 50lb bow of .70sg wood is 1.5" wide then .35sg pine at 3" wide will have about equal set and safety. Here are some pine density stats:

PINE: eastern white .35; sugar .36; western white .38; ponderosa, lodgepole .40; red, Scots .45. slash pine Pinus elliotti .59. Up to .65 in older trees of Pinus elliotti var. densa, also know as Dade County pine.

I grew up in Miami - Dade County- Florida, dulled many tools on old DC pine during misc. woodworking. This was before bowmaking came along though. Does anyone out there live in that area? I'd sure like to hear of bowmaking results. Tim
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Guest
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March 24th, 2007, 9:23 am #7

One could try Hemlock or Tamarack also in my experience both dry quite hard. I have some old hemlock 2"x2" under the porch, they were under there when I bought the place 20 years ago so I'm guessin their at least 50 years old. Anyway thought I would try usin them to frame up a blind. I couldn't pound 16d nails thru them the nails bend. Pretty tough stuff.
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Tim Baker
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March 25th, 2007, 3:14 am #8

Western Hemlock: .49sg.
Eastern Hemlock: .41sg.
Tamarack (Larch): .51sg

Several good bows have been made from Tamarack. Tim
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thebarbariansam
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thebarbariansam
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March 25th, 2007, 3:39 am #9

ok i know this has been discussed on other threads before, but i have to mention it here but compression wood will greatly improve the quality, and a backed compression conifer bow would be just as good/better than most other backed bows.

Also Tim tamarack is kind of a nickname, like ironwood. There is tamarack the larch and tamarack pine (lodgepole pine) here is the wikipedia link
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tam...guation%29
-samsquatchIf its tourist season, how come we cant shoot them?
If its tourist season, how come we cant shoot them?
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YTBM
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March 25th, 2007, 3:43 am #10

I met a guy at a gas station once with a Tamarack (western Larch actually) bow. I noticed him cause he had a real nice buckskin jacket on. We went around back and he let me shoot his bow a couple of times. It was a good bow. He said he'd made several of them. He had some lodgepole pine arrows too.
He was a real character, definitley a backwoodsy, conspiracy theory kind of guy. Seemed like he just kind of had his own way of doing things.
"The world needs both perfume-makers and tanners; happy is he who is born to be a perfume-maker, woe is he who is born to be a tanner."
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Tim Baker
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March 25th, 2007, 6:48 am #11

Samsquatch: "Tamarack" isn't a nick name. Unlike 'ironwood' the name only applies to one tree.
Tamarack is a stand-alone name. When used alone it always means Tamarack, the Larch. It's the common name of Larix larcina, one of our three native larches. "Tamarack Pine" is always two words, to identify it as a pine. We can continue the argument tomorrow at the meet. Your short bow. My longbow. Fire at each other at will from 200 yards, ok? Tim
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sumpitan
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sumpitan
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March 25th, 2007, 9:30 am #12

Quote:
PINE: eastern white .35; sugar .36; western white .38; ponderosa, lodgepole .40; red, Scots .45. slash pine Pinus elliotti .59. Up to .65 in older trees of Pinus elliotti var. densa, also know as Dade County pine.
And with every species, variability within is greater than the published averages above. There is Scots pine between .35 and .55 SG, even excluding abnormal compression growth that is up to 100% denser than average pine. It really is a stave-specific thing.

Tim,

I much admire your research on bow wood, but one thing that has bugged me and many other bowyers outside the US (and there, too, I presume) is the lack of scientific names for the woods discussed in your otherwise exceptionally solid articles. All those hornbeams, cedars, mountain mahoganies(!) et al can be very confusing, whereas Latin names point to the exact right tree anywhere in the world.

Give me Cytisus scoparius and I know instantly that you're talking of the common European weed Americans call Scotch broom. This is just one example where I had to do some research just to get the name of a tree that's being extolled as a great little bow wood (most dictionaries are woefully lacking in commercially unimportant tree names).

I hope your future bow wood articles contain the scientific names alongside common ones. They'll be much more valuable for this little extra.

Tuukka
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Tim Baker
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March 25th, 2007, 4:34 pm #13

Tuukka: Agreed, that's been a weak spot in my big list of bow woods. I'm presently redoing that list, much of it for Volume 4, and including scientific names. Lots of work as you can imagine. Your valuable point about sg variability will be made more pointedly too. Also trying to include more non American woods. And tips on determining sg of a particular stave, given the mentioned variability. Possibly the most important and happiest point of all is that there are literally hundreds of woods out there capable of becoming top-notch bows when designed to the wood. Thanks. Tim
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sagitarius boemorum
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March 25th, 2007, 8:44 pm #14

Peter, stellmore bow is ancient pine bow. The artifact itself was lost in WW2.

One (!) of Nydam ship bows is made of Pinus Silvestris, but it well might be grave goods as the bows and arrows are real motley crue. Also pine is stiffer than yew, so to the same profile it wont work. Harm Paulsen says that when made from pine these bows break with sufficient regularity when I spoke with him.

Jaro
32 down on the Robert McKenzie
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Peter
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March 26th, 2007, 3:05 am #15

Jaro, thanks for the explanation. I'll have to look into it some more.

-peter
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Rod
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March 26th, 2007, 11:11 am #16

Peter,
The Stellmoor find included a pine bow tip which might have been from a longbow type.
At the time it was probably the oldest known European bow fragment.
I figure Scotch Pine to be a suitable choice of bow wood if I ever find a reasonably clean piece... :-)
Rod.
It's meant to be simple, not easy.
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GHOUD
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GHOUD
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December 17th, 2014, 11:57 pm #17

hey guys im from south africa and im studying bow making 
i was wondering if sticky pine would make good bows if anyone has some information it would really be helpfull
at the moment im using chineese bamboo and ashwood getting good results on them
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