Tapering

mrmt
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mrmt
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Joined: November 13th, 2006, 7:29 am

March 10th, 2007, 4:20 am #1

Whenever I make my bows I can never seem to get the belly perfectly flat and evenly tapered. The tiller on the bow may look fine, but there are usually spots that are little bit thinner or thicker than the spot preceding it. Does anyone have any tips or techniques that could help me with this? Thanks!
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James Wolfden
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James Wolfden
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Joined: January 22nd, 2006, 3:09 am

March 11th, 2007, 5:22 am #2

If the tiller is looking fine and the bow is shooting fine, then don't worry about it. Perhaps the wood is just stronger or weaker in that particular area and needs to be thinner or thicker to compensate.
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PaleoAleo
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PaleoAleo
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Joined: April 14th, 2003, 9:09 pm

March 11th, 2007, 7:25 am #3

I used to have the same problem when I first started out. Tools like spokeshaves and scrapers ride into dips and over bumps so you can have a tough time flattening the bow limb. What really helped me was to use a big rasp (like a farrier's rasp, or a shinto rasp) to make the limb flat right from the start. Then you can use the other tools (or just continue with the rasp) to finish up.

Tom
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toxophileken
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toxophileken
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Joined: January 15th, 2006, 4:55 am

March 12th, 2007, 7:39 am #4

You can cut down on dips by useing a longer tool (as Tom mentioned), but you must keep it as close to parallel to the stroke as you can. Sawing across your limb helps create those dips and low spots.

When using your spokeshave, angle it as close to parallel to the limb as possible, too. When you start getting "chatter" (mini dips, like "washboard" on a dirt road), go to the rasp, and get the limb flat again.

A good tip from Tim Baker is to not try and get the whole limb width in one stroke of the tool. You make a pass on one side, taking down the corner by angling the tool so it only cuts part of the width. Then, you change the angle to cut the adjacent strip of the limb. You can alternate between sides, then take down the middle. This also helps you keep from cutting into a line on the side away from you (when looking at the side facing you, it is easy to cut too far on the opposite side, if trying to take it all in one bite).

Sight down the limb as much as possible when trying to get it flat. Angle the tools, as mentioned. Cut along limb, not across it. Don't stop and start repeatedly in the same place. Feather your strokes.

Ever notice how "washboard" on a dirt road gets worse and worse? It is self feeding... The "chatter" makes the wheels bounce and make the dips deeper... On wood, once you start to get dips, go to a longer tool, and get it flat before going back to the spokeshave or scraper.

Ken
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George Tsoukalas
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George Tsoukalas
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Joined: May 24th, 2005, 3:38 am

March 12th, 2007, 9:59 am #5

The proof is the tiller. To add-The belly should mirror the back. Back dips, belly dips, etc. Also, the longer you make the passes with the tool the less the chance of hinging. Jawgehttp://mysite.verizon.net/georgeandjoni
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