Time for another build-a-long!

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Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:16 am

Here we have the makings of an Apex Predator Ossabaw, one of my pronounced R/D longbows. I'm shooting for a 60" bow which draws in the upper 40s at 28". This one was originally slated to get an osage riser and eastern red cedar lams. I found this piece of canary wood and bought it for risers. Lea said "perfect" when I ran the idea by her. It won't get as dark as osage over time, but has some pretty darker streaks. It's the piece on the left.

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I decided to laminate a couple of red phenolic accents in for strength. Here is the block with some layout lines, and the pieces laid out.

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I finished and shipped another yesterday, so now I'm full time on this one. Here is the glued up riser blank.

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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Okie » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:21 pm

Nice Marty! I'll be watching this one for sure.
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:13 am

I cut the back contour on my riser and put it on my form to check for fit, and noticed a problem. The aluminum strip glued to the top of my form had lifted in the middle. There was a 1/8" gap! I had to pull the whole thing off and glue it back down again. This time I used CA gel. Here is the strip setting up.

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Here I am checking the fit. After getting my lams prepared, I will try this fit again to fine tune it. I'm using four .001 per inch tapers, and will cause the riser to fit differently.

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Here are all the parts layed out. The cedar is awesome! I ordered this without knots for this design, but there is good color contrast. They will get much darker under glass.

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I use this jig to make matching bevels on my 36" lams to join them in the middle.

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This is a bad photo, but shows both lams after sanding. If the angle is correct, they will match perfectly when flipping one over. I glue them together with CA gel, and then sand the joint smooth.

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Here is one of the eastern red cedar lams wetted with alcohol to show a little better what it will look like under glass.

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Good stuff!
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby TradRag » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:00 am

very nice Marty!
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Tue Dec 22, 2009 7:14 am

Alright, I have scrapped that other "new" camera. My old one takes much better photos!

I'll start by showing some better, but not good, photos of the lam joint. The tighter the better. I've seen a lot of bows with thick joints, or even seperations here, and I can't stand it.

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Next step is to cut out the riser fades on the bandsaw, and sand them until they are see-through thin at the ends. I use an aluminum faced piece of wood which is cut to the same back profile as my riser. This backing piece enables me to sand the fadeouts really thin on my spindle sander. That canary wood is pretty stuff, and you can see it when I can catch it right in a photo!

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All the lams have to be sanded lightly on the edges. See these splinters? They will cause problems if you don't knock them off. They will get all in the epoxy and cause thick glue lines, and worse.

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There is a lot of work involved in building a bow, even before gluing up the bow blank. My shop is not heated, so I have to wait for a day where my shop is approaching 70 degrees or buy a space heater before glue-up. Tomorrow the weather should be good.

Stay tuned!
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Okie » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:31 am

Lookin good Marty!! I know what ya mean about no heat. I finally broke down and bought me a space heater last week... and now it's warmed up. :? Well until tomorrow anyway.
That's for doing this build along, I really enjoy watching you build bows. Could you post your string groove jig on here for all the TradRagers too see?


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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Dave Beeler » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:56 pm

Hey John, Marty says it's gonna get up in the 70's tomorra, we been in for a blizzard watch for Wed. through Fri. since Mon. I might move down with Marty.

Thats gonna be a great lookin bow Apex, can't wait to see it done.
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Wed Dec 23, 2009 7:32 am

I forgot to show you guys my workbench earlier. Those lines are what I use to align the two 36" lams when gluing them into a 72" lam. The blue tape is holding down some plastic wrap so that I don't super glue my lams to the work bench.

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Now it's time to cut the lams down to size so they will fit my form. This form will build a bow 60-64" so the lams all have to be trimmed down. I start by reading the max length off the side of my form, and then cut the glass. I use the glass as a template for the wood lams. The full length glass is marked in the center to use for aligning up on the glue joint on the wood.

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I use a dremel to cut off glass and wood lams. It works very well on the glass, and not quite as well on the wood.

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Here are the power lams. I started with two .060 parallel hickory lams cut 12" long. I tape them to this aluminum faced, square cut, 1.5" piece of stock. I then taper by eye the last 6" of each piece. I want them to disapear on the ends!

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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:11 am

Here we are checking the riser fit on top of the lams it will be on top of in the stack. There is a little light showing in two spots. I made it right with some tape. :)

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Here is everything layed out, including the pressure strips. Notice the power lams running up the fade ramps. They will extend four inches past the riser.

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Here is a close up of my pressure strip. Rubber on the bottom, aluminum in the middle, and a piece of pvc lattice on top.

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Here is a fit test of the power lam. See how it fades to nothing, with no gap. It's the lam just beneath the top cedar lam.

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Here is a check of the riser fade ramps. After wrapping it well with my rubber clamping strips, there will be no gaps. It's hard to apply enough pressure with one hand, while stooping down and taking a photo with the other. :)

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With a little luck, I'll lay this one up tonight!
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Kirkll » Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:53 am

Great build along Marty. :D love those fades on this one bro. :D
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Sapphire » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:45 am

Marty, I bet I've seen it somewhere before, But I love the way you clamp that riser in place... man I fight that!! Thanks for the great idea!!!

Looking forward to seeing those lams under the glass!
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Kirkll » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:52 pm

Sapphire wrote:Marty, I bet I've seen it somewhere before, But I love the way you clamp that riser in place... man I fight that!! Thanks for the great idea!!!

Looking forward to seeing those lams under the glass!


Jwillis has a great clamp built right into his form that's kinda cool. i do mine like Marty does only i use a bar clamp, or a pipe clamp. sure keeps those buggers from sliding around, eh Marty?
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:26 am

Yep, the clamp works well. I guess it's time for an update.

I pulled this out of my laminating oven this morning.

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Let's see what's under all those rubber clamps.

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Plenty of epoxy on the limb edges!

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Of to the belt sander to clean this bad boy up a little. I like it!!!!

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I just love that eastern red cedar!
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:27 am

Last nite after work and dinner, I prepared the buffalo horn overlays.

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This morning I started by finding the centerline of the riser. I use a little jig that I made.

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I then run a line from tip to tip. By sighting down the bow I adjust the string at each tip until the line is bisecting the riser center and the limbs.

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After marking the tips center, I will make marks to draw in my bows back profile. I make my tips 5/8" wide at this point. I draw straight lines from 3" outside the fades to these tip lines.

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Now it's off to the belt sander to take the limbs down to the lines. I will further narrow the tips until they fit in my string groove marking jig.

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Now I cut rough string grooves in and put a string on her. She was way heavy at around 61 pounds! No worries though, because a lot of excess bow material removal left. :)

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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:28 am

I now need to narrow the limbs to final profile. I first draw some lines on the limb edge, so that I can visually tell if I'm taking too much off one side. Right now the string tracks down the center of the limbs, and I want to keep it that way! I use another home made jig for this. It's a little piece of plastic with a 90 degree angle on it. I drilled some holes to fit an ultra-fine tip sharpie. Works like a charm!

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Here she is at brace, and full draw. I need to do some tweaking to the tiller, but both limbs are timed pretty well at full draw. I want to get those outer limbs bending just a touch more, and will get that with trapping the belly.

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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:29 am

This morning I got her down to 53#, timed, and got the overlays glued on. Next step is to file the string grooves into the new tips and shape the overlays.

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With trapping the belly of the limbs and final sanding, I should bring her in at 49-50 pounds at 28".
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Okie » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:15 pm

OH Yea!! That thang is gorgeous. Great job.
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Kirkll » Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:52 pm

great job there Marty. :D
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby VT Surf-N-Turf » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:25 am

Wow! Phenomenal work! You were right about the look of the cedar. Its a beautiful bow.
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Jimnv » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:02 am

You know, if I didn't know any better, one would get the idea that you used to be a Fire Control Tech in our fine Naval services! (Think I read that somewhere. Mk 92 Mod 2 here).

Great build along. You make it look so...clean. :shock: I can take a perfectly clean shop area and make it look like a tornado went through after I am done. Like the idea of the groove jig you have there. I got an angle finder I just flip over but that jig is tight! Great ideas there. Beautiful work as well. Thanks for one of the best build alongs I've seen.
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:32 pm

Actually, I was a surface warrior, and a Firecontrolman. :)

Here are the overlays photos. Ain't they pretty!

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After sanding a little, they start to come around nicely!

I just realized some of these are the bottom tip (shorter one) and some are the upper tip.

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Here you can see the old string groove that I will use as a guide for the new one.

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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:37 pm

Here I extend the groove with my chainsaw file.

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Then I eyeball things very carefully, as I take the grooves around the back of the tip.

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Here you can see the front edge of the string groove that must be relieved. If not, the string will pop in and out of the groove while drawing.

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That's much better!

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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:49 pm

Now I'm going to trap the belly slightly. I first draw some lines on the belly to use as a guide. This is 1/8" from the edge.

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Here is one a buddy made me that is pretty radical. The entire edge is trapped from the fadeouts to tips.

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I will use this 4 in 1 file to cut the limb facet.

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I start 14" from the string groove and work almost to the tips.

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She is down to 49@28, and will finish right at 48@28 after final sanding. Tomorrow I will cut away everything that doesn't look like a riser! :)
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby JuanR » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:38 am

AWESOME!!!
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:52 am

Here is what enables be to do temp sensitive bow building steps. It will use up all the oxygen, so I cut it off before working. My garage door has a 1"+ gap all around the edge, so I feel pretty safe.

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I mark the center line on front and back of the riser. I then draw the site window, front and back to act as guides. Then it's on to the hacksaw!

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Some careful work with a hammer/chisel and rasp gets me to this stage.

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From here I use my Rigid oscillating spindle sander to contour the grip. When the major facets are cut, I will switch to my 1X30" belt sander and a 4 in 1 rasp.

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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:54 am

Here she is before final sanding. I wiped her down with alcohol to see a little better what she will look like under a finish.

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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Okie » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:59 am

Great build along Marty!! She's coming around nicely.
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Bigperm71 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:37 am

Nice one! I cannot wait to see the finished item. The horn is a nice addition.
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby TradRag » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:44 am

have to agree on the horn tip overlays... lookin' real good!
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Re: Time for another build-a-long!

Postby Apex Predator » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:02 am

This one turned out very well! I hit the 48@28 right on the button. She is 60" NTN.

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