Small diameter rowan branch for a flatbow?

WoodenBow
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WoodenBow
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Joined: August 9th, 2018, 11:19 am

August 9th, 2018, 11:55 am #1

Hello everyone! I'm new here.
I've got a small diameter rowan branch, and would like to make a primitive flatbow out of it. The branch is around an inch thick at the narrowest end, and an inch and a half at the thickest end. The bow will be 180cm long, using the thickest portion of the branch, removing the very narrowest part at the top. I'll be aiming to make the bow around 30lbs @ 25".
My only concern is that this piece of wood is simply too thin to make into a bow. I've mostly seen flatbows made from a much larger stave spilt into halves or quarters, with limbs around 2 inches wide when finished.
Anyone got any ideas on how best to turn this stick into a bow?
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The rowan stave
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The rowan stave
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Simk
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Simk
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Joined: August 15th, 2018, 7:36 pm

August 15th, 2018, 7:49 pm #2

Hi, I did some rowan bows and will do more. It's good bow wood for flatbows - thicker/smaller limbs are possible but risky, especially if they are not perfectly clean. Your stave has a very very small diameter - too small for a flat bow. I'd say it's not ideal. Though it will may be possible to do 30# @ 25" with a length of 175 cm and a bendy handle. Try it as an exercise and try to find a 3"stave for the next one. Good Luck
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WoodenBow
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WoodenBow
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Joined: August 9th, 2018, 11:19 am

August 15th, 2018, 8:35 pm #3

Thank you Simk.
I will have a go with the tiny stave but if it doesn't turn out very well it won't matter. I'm only just getting started in bowery.
I do also have another stave, a bit thicker than this one, which I partially worked on a year ago, intent on turning it into a flatbow, before realising I had done the wrong measurements and put the handle in the wrong place. Silly mistake! Well I abandoned it for that reason, and it has been outside ever since. I thought recently that perhaps it could be salvaged and continue to be worked on? I would need to move the handle position but I'm not sure how to do that without shortening the upper limb. I had already begun to taper the upper limb towards the tip, although not at the very tip which is why it looks wider there. The lower limb hasn't been tapered but is naturally thinner. I noticed a bad twist at the bottom of this limb, and wondered if it could be worked around.
Do you think there's any hope for turning this into a bow? (By the way, I have only referred to the limbs as 'upper' and 'lower' because that's how they appear in the photo. They might not actually end up that way if you see what I mean).

EDIT: I should've mentioned that this stave is also rowan.
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Simk
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Simk
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August 17th, 2018, 8:52 pm #4

dimensions of that stave? length? thickness at the handle? thats what defines the possibilities. Where are you located? Isn't there maybe lots of hazel around? this usually provides much easier staves that can be dried within 2 weeks! my rowan...cheers
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WoodenBow
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WoodenBow
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Joined: August 9th, 2018, 11:19 am

August 17th, 2018, 9:26 pm #5

Hello Simk!
Forget about that stave, it's at a friend's house and when I posted that I hadn't seen it properly for nearly a year (my friend sent me the photo). I've seen it now and it's far too short to make a bow in my opinion - about 160cm long, and part of that would've had to be removed to get the handle into the right place.
Well, today we began roughing out a new rowan stave. It's green, as it was only cut today, but we will let it season for a while once it's completely roughed out, the tips haven't been tapered yet. How long would you recommend to season it for? This piece is 190cm long, and about 4.5cm wide at the widest point.

We're in North East Wales, and all the wood I use comes from a bit of woodland that belongs to my friend. There's no hazel there that we could use, and I don't know where else we'd get it.
By the way, your bow looks great! And I'd love to have so many rowan staves!
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Simk
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Simk
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Joined: August 15th, 2018, 7:36 pm

Today, 8:45 am #6

Hi WoodenBow

This looks like a reasonable stave. You can speed dry it if you want: Put it in a warm and sunny place, e.g your car. completly removing the bark also will speed up a lot the process (it's easier to remove also when it's green). Be careful you dont damage the outer ring on the back when removing the bark. And Important: Seal well the ends and the whole stave in the handle-area with white wood glue to prevent drying-checks. Like this you can start the bow making process within 2 to 3 weeks... Cheers and feel free for further questions

[you can also start working on it when it's green - just don't bend it before it's dry. the less wood there is left the faster it dries]
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