lob lolly pine bow, first try

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lob lolly pine bow, first try

Araverus
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Araverus
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Joined: April 22nd, 2017, 9:29 pm

May 8th, 2018, 4:27 pm #1

So I've never made a bow before, and last time I tried I found out the stave was burnt in one end and too small (as cracked). Just cut this down yesterday, 3 3/8" diameter at widest point, no knots for about 6 feet. Straight most of the way, quite weighty green (maybe around 60#). Any ideas?
20180508_112106.jpg
Mostly straight as can be seen here
20180508_112136.jpg
The angle is from cutting, the ground bit from dragging across the road back home lol
20180508_112106.jpg
Mostly straight as can be seen here
20180508_112136.jpg
The angle is from cutting, the ground bit from dragging across the road back home lol
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Araverus
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May 9th, 2018, 6:01 am #2

So I know pine is generally a lightweight wood, but this is the best I can do for now (maybe in a year or two I can get my hands on some holly, gallberry, water locust, mesquite, live oak, sweet gum and / or palm). I'm hoping to make this a Gullwing style bow with a rounded D cross section - I know it's ambitious but I've lurked here enough to (hopefully) scrape by.

On a side note, it smells pretty good! Heck, I might even fetch some dewberry canes to make threads and some Spanish needles for arrows (they make for lightweight, stiff bits of wood).

Any advice is appreciated!
bidens1.jpg
Spanish needles. In the right places they get big, thick and woody. Most are brittle, but stiff and tough enough for use.
Spanish needles. In the right places they get big, thick and woody. Most are brittle, but stiff and tough enough for use.
jkm151008_021.jpg
Dewberries look like this. Some by the woods grow huge, arching over 7 feet (amongst the regular blackberries) reaching thicknesses of half an inch to an inch at base.
Dewberries look like this. Some by the woods grow huge, arching over 7 feet (amongst the regular blackberries) reaching thicknesses of half an inch to an inch at base.
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Tim Baker
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May 9th, 2018, 7:35 am #3

Araverus:
 
That's one of the denser pines, so with the right design you can get a decent bow out of it. What part of the country did it grow in? That can affect it's specific gravity by up to 10 or so points. Also can you say the % or summer growth compared to early wood in the annual ring.
 
If you'll say how long the bow can be without being too long for your taste that will help suggest a safe and efficient design. The longer the better.
 
And say your draw length, and the lowest draw weight you'd be happy with. If willing to go to the trouble of drying a sample and doing a float test that will reveal it's SG, and allow fine tuning of the design.
 
With no further information to go on it's best to assume it's about .45 SG, which at 72" long and 1.5" wide at the grip, should safely give you a 45 pound bow, if tillered well. 
 
Here's a link to a how to make your first wood bow posting. Follow the step-by-step and you're almost guaranteed a good bow.
 
tim-baker-s-your-first-wooden-bow-repos ... 47638.html
 
But ask more questions anytime you'd like.
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Araverus
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May 9th, 2018, 5:48 pm #4

Oh, thank you - I appreciate the advice. I like in the southern US, and the sapling was growing by a swamp (the land can't be legally developed). 72" seems alright, I'm a little short but it's not like I'm carrying 12 feet of wood 😅. I thought gull wing design for the speed, but I'll read up on there.

Thanks again!
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Rod
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May 10th, 2018, 9:11 pm #5

How far back do you want to pull it?
It's meant to be simple, not easy.
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Araverus
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May 11th, 2018, 5:29 am #6

So I peeled the bark off today. Found centipedes and some black spiders watering in the fissures - the bark had some really deep fissures... which led to a small issue. I nicked the first ring - per inch radius there are 8 rings; each is 1/8 inch per side (total 1/4 inch of diameter or 4 rings per diameter inch). When I nicked it - it may as well have been inevitable - I was fortunate enough to find a way to correct it. Heck, by peeling that layer, I was able to safely and quickly remove the rest of the bark! I also cut the length down from 12 feet to 9.

Rod, I don't have any particular length in mind - probably 25" draw.

Anyways, here's a pic of the stave. Will get a better one tomorrow morning. I see why they call them "yellow" pines!
20180511_001023.jpg
This doesn't show the 2 foot scar I discovered on the bottom... will show tomorrow.
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Araverus
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May 11th, 2018, 11:06 pm #7

So I got some better pics, one of side with scar and the other side 90 degrees anticlockwise of it.
20180511_175138(2).jpg
20180511_175225.jpg
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Tim Baker
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May 12th, 2018, 1:02 am #8

Araverus:
 
Choose a 1.5 wide run that has the least knots or other flaws and let that be the back of your bow. Then if you precisely follow the how-to in the earlier your-first-wooden-bow link. I guarantee you'll have a safe, accurate and fast-shooting bow. That's a money-back guarantee, of course. 
 
While waiting for the stave to dry it would be a good idea to buy a 1" x 2" redoak board--board selection how-to included in the link--and practice tillering.  

Welcome to this 10,000-plus year old association. 
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Araverus
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May 12th, 2018, 8:21 am #9

Cool beans. After the window guys take care of the doors and what not I'll find the longest unblemished streak in the stave.
There's a shop nearby with a good variety of woods; there I'll pick up the red oak (and maybe some teak sometime since it's moisture resistant [so I hear]).
Thanks again for the guidance.
Screenshot_2018-05-12-03-15-43.png
The selection of woods here is good.
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Tim Baker
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May 12th, 2018, 8:45 am #10

Araverus:
 
Of the woods listed there, red oak is the best choice for a first bow. Teak is not a good first-bow wood.
 
If you happen to have TBB-4 read Selecting Board Staves on page 31.
 
If not, failing to do the following means there's a good chance the bow will break:
 
Look through board after board until you find one where the ring lines on the future back of the bow are perfectly straight from one end to the other, and almost perfectly parallel with the board. The importance of this can't be over-stressed.
 
On average you'll have to look through 50 board to find such a stave. If your first locations is a dry hole go to Home Depot, Loews, or such. 
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Tim Baker
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May 13th, 2018, 11:38 pm #11

Look for ring lines like this from end to end
f - straight ringed.jpg
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Tim Baker
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May 13th, 2018, 11:49 pm #12

This is a good tiller shape to aim for. Err on the side of less bend in the grip and near-grip area.
DSC06717. 20 jpg.jpg
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Araverus
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May 14th, 2018, 6:11 am #13

I'll update again soon, door guys cancelled and are showing up tomorrow. Stave is drying well, still moist but the outside is hard. I think I've found a length that's about 2 inches wide and free of knots, and is about 6 feet ling, maybe shorter. I'll find out soon enough when I can work it again. Cheers.
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Araverus
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May 14th, 2018, 6:12 am #14

Oh yeah, I agree. The stresses are more even the more it's like that. Strain should be even, likewise the curve will follow. Useful advice, certainly!
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Araverus
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May 15th, 2018, 5:01 am #15

Update: I've got to split the stave soon. This humidity is getting bad; the stave has the beginnings of mold on it. I have a garage and my room to store it in, I'll try one of those.

On a side note, since I have to shorten and seal it, what glue works best for preventing checking? And do you have any particular methods of splitting it with out fear of cracks / misses (like going too short or cutting at an angle)? I have a hand saw, a circular saw (though I'd rather avoid that, since it's modern), and a hatchet.
I can buy new tools if needed, like a proper splitting axe. Sorry for all the questions, I want to be sure I don't mess this up. Florida summers are ridiculous.
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Tim Baker
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May 15th, 2018, 6:34 am #16

Aravenus:

Suggestion: No need to seal it if you reduce it down to 1.5" wide it's full  length, 1" thick at the grip, tapering to 5/8" at each end. This will allow it to dry as quickly as your humidity will allow, and without checking. Leaving it full bow width it's whole length will help prevent lateral warping as it dries. Let it rest horizontally in the warmest, lowest-humidity place you can, suspended so that air can circulate over all surfaces. If it tries to warp anyway strap it down straight to a rigid board, with spacers separating the two.  A two-pound scale is valuable here: weight it every few days and when it stops loosing weight it's as dry as it can be in its ambient humidity. 
 
Suggestion for splitting: Since this is a small diameter log, buy a cheap 99-cent store cleaver, and begin the split at the center, not at an end. A split starting at the grip is way more likely to split straight enough to each end than if starting at one end and splitting all the way to the other. The reason for the cheap cleaver: Starting at the grip with a hatchet, ax or wedge can damage future grip wood. But a cheap cleaver, being so thin, slips into the wood without much trauma. Once the split is well started then hatchet or axe blades can finish the splitting.
 
But argue back or ask all the questions that come to mind.
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Araverus
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May 15th, 2018, 11:33 pm #17

Okay, I've got it cut down to 77" and I have my marker. I've got it next to my bed since that's probably the only dry place I can keep it for now. It's still full thickness, but it has its markers. I'll have to steam shape it later on but at least I've got it going.
2018_05_15_18_32_30.jpg
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Araverus
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May 16th, 2018, 6:25 am #18

On a side note, I best not leave my hoes lying around...
treadmeme1.jpg
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Araverus
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May 18th, 2018, 6:05 am #19

So I witnessed some checking on my stave. Thought it was bad... 20180518_004148.png
Until I realized that it was helping me. The check went way down the grain, right along where I was going to start sawing. It's lost almost a pound since I brought it in to dry a couple days ago. At this rate it'll be dry in a week - and not molding either!
Dreams are distant yew trees, and hope is a short osprey among them.
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Tim Baker
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May 18th, 2018, 7:43 am #20

Araverus::
 
Just the surface is drying, and therefor starting to shrink.  If the surface shrinks before the inside, checking could become severe. Best to split it at least in half, so the inside can begin to shrink too, reducing the need for the surface to check. Better still, reduce one of the halves to near finished bow dimensions, this allowing quick, but more importantly, safe drying.
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