It's finally time! My First Bow Build

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It's finally time! My First Bow Build

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:19 am

Well it's finally time. I have my bowyers bench ready to use and break in, so I am going to start my first bow. :dance: .

I'm very nervous and excited about it. I have 2 Elm logs that I was given. I split them both and now have 3 good looking staves and one that may be a bit light.
2 I'm setting aside for now as they split and look to be more of a character stave, and I know that is probably not a good place to start. So I'll be working on the 2 straight staves for now.

I'm off until the 4th, and if possible I would like to have one roughed out before I go back to work. I would love your advice and suggestions, as like I said this is my maiden voyage into bow making.

I want to take it slow and careful and not rush. I'm hoping to keep it all as simple as I can, thinking maybe of going with a Pyramid style. What's your thoughts, I'm gonna start peeling the bark and chasing a ring tomorrow/ oops, I mean today ;) .

Please chime in with any thoughts, advice or suggestions. I will try to take and upload some pictures as I can.

Thanks for your help, wish me luck

Frosty
Last edited by Frosty the Bowman on Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby TradRag » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:55 am

Sweet! Keep us posted!!!
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Okie » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:23 pm

Good luck and post lots of pics. It's much easier to help if we can see what you're talking about. I know you'll have plenty of help, so don't be afraid to ask if ya get stuck.

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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:58 pm

Well I did get started today. I decided to start with the really thin, light stave.

I figured since I have essentially no idea of what I am really doing at this point, that it is best to start small. I figured that more than likely this one will only be practice anyway, hence my decision.

My hat's off to all of you who are skilled and experienced at making self bows. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but wow! :shock: It is a lot more work then I had thought, but it was fun.
I see that the art of chasing a ring is going to be a tough skill to master, but I'm excited to learn.
I have a question that I have been wondering about lately. When making a self bow, are there any woods that you do not have to chase a ring on? Are there any woods were it is OK, or better to leave the sap wood on as a backing? Just curious seeing as Im definitely a greenhorn in this area.

Here's a pic of me removing the bark today, God bless my wonderful wife Michelle. Seeing as we do not have a garage/shop or any kind of out building to work in, she has allowed me to set up shop for the winter in the living room.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby campcook » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:17 pm

Frostie if you cut your white woods (Hickory, elm, hackberry) in spring when the sap is rising in the tree then you can peel the bark off easily with a pocket knife and your fingers not easy in winter. After bark is peeled off in those woods I mentioned your done chasing the ring you make bows out of the sapwood in these mentioned woods. Alex
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Fri Jan 02, 2015 11:49 pm

Thanks Alex, that's great to know. This first piece is sure interesting. It sure is going to be interesting and fun as I learn the way of the draw knife.

You all are so amazing, I could not and never would have even been able to even try to do this if it was not for all of you and all your help.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Winter Hawk » Fri Jan 09, 2015 4:45 pm

Frosty the Bowman wrote:God bless my wonderful wife Michelle. Seeing as we do not have a garage/shop or any kind of out building to work in, she has allowed me to set up shop for the winter in the living room.


You have a real winner there, Frosty! :77: I've gotten away with some small projects in the dining room (where we seldom dine) but the living room would cause a real battle, I think! :lol:

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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:43 pm

Thank you very much for the kind words Winter Hawk. I may be biased, ;) but I completely agree, I do have a real winner.

If we had another room for me to work in I too likely would not be in the living room.
Her only requests are that I clean up my messes and that I remove it from the living room for our youngest son's birthday party tomorrow. We have kinda a small place, so we need all the space we can get for the descending horde of little party goers.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:33 am

Well decided that I better get an update on this project.

Well initially I got ofg to a slow start, what with no experience and the fact that my bowyers bench was not clamping down like I needed it to.
Between that and the slew of car trouble that ive had im afraid that I have not made much progress yet.
The good news is that I have solved the problems with my bowyers bench, it is now functioning as I want. I added an extra set of holes in the clamp head arm which doubled my adjustability. I then lengthened the slot that the clamp head arm moves in, between the two adjustments it is now securely holding my stave in place as I work.

So far I have managed to peel all the bark off the back and am next going to smooth the belly side down so I can start trying to lay out a design on it to get it roughed out.
Once I got the bark off I found that my wood has a lot of knots in about 2/3 of the stave. Ill have to try to upload some pics in the am so you all can see what I am working with. I have to take them with and post from my phone so the quality is questionable, but ill do my best.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Winter Hawk » Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:34 pm

I'm not a bowyer, have never built one in my life, but I am sure interested in seeing your photos!

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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:08 pm

Well I'll see if my phone will cooperate and let me upload some photos, I may have to do them 1 at a time, if so I am sorry.
My phones memory is about tapped out, so its not being as smart as it should be.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:17 pm

Here's another picture.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:18 pm

Another one.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:19 pm

Sorry, still another one.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:20 pm

One more after this one.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 24, 2015 5:27 pm

Last one, its the best full length shot I can manage with my phone.
Please offer up any advice or suggestions that you may have. I know that its not the best, but I'm working with what I have, and besides I do not want to waste really good wood on my first attempt probably anyway.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:52 pm

Well I started working on roughing out my stave today.

Unfortunately I did not get near as far as I would have liked. My bad back and neck decided that they did not to cooperate with me.

I about got one end roughed out, but then my screaming back and the ensuing migraine caused all my fun to come to a rapid, grinding halt.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:54 pm

Here is another picture.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Winter Hawk » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:52 pm

Looking good! Hope the back and neck cooperate and give you rest so you can finish it...

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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:08 am

Well I figured it was time for an update. I have gotten one limb roughed out so far. Here's a somewhat close up of it to try to show you some details.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:17 am

Here is the other limb that I started tonight. Unfortunately the noise of me working right next to my wife's recliner as she was watching a movie proved to be not the best time to be working on my bow. Gotta keep the wife happy, she's the wonderful person who has allowed me to set up shop in the living room.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sun Feb 08, 2015 12:19 am

Last update for the day. Here is my handle that I have also started a bit on. Hopefully you can see my lines to see what I am shooting for.
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Re: It's finally time!

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:12 am

Here is a update on the progress of my bow. I had a really good workday yesterday evening.
I got a lot done, in fact I got the entire left side of the bow roughed out to shape.

The only stuff I have left is a section about 24-28" long, going from just above the handle in my picture, extending down to about mid limb on the right side of the lower limb.

Here's a picture, the best I can do. I made a short video showing it in better details. But unfortunately I can not get the video to upload.
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Re: It's finally time! My First Bow Build

Postby FullDraw » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:51 pm

Way to go, Kevin. Just keep after it a little at a time. Remember slow slow beats fast when building a bow. After wood comes off, you can't put it back on. That doesn't mean you can't fix something if you mess up. Most of the time there's a fix for a problem.

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Re: It's finally time! My First Bow Build

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:20 pm

Thanks a lot Gary, I sure appreciate all the help and encouragement that all of you have offered to me.

Man I sure wish that I could get that video to load. Videoing it let me get closer and slowly walk you from limb tip to limb tip. Letting you see things closer, in more detail. Not sure what the problem is.
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Re: It's finally time! My First Bow Build

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:00 am

Well either you all are just super nice or just the best, most talented group around.
I have been trying to post pictures of my bow build up to that "other" trad site.
I absolutely cannot believe how negative the feedback from them was. The all but told me to give up and just burn it.
Well maybe over there they are used to only working with perfect material, where I am from you use what you have and make the best of it.

Is my choice of wood the best, heck no, am I going to give up because it is hard and very difficult, ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!

So thank you all for being positive in your feedback, I welcome the critical comments too, but thanks for being the greatest group of traditionalists that I've ever had the pleasure to get to know.
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Re: It's finally time! My First Bow Build

Postby Okie » Sat Feb 21, 2015 7:55 pm

Kevin, This is a learning experience for you. If it doesn't work out I feel you are the type of guy that will start right back in on another one. Each bow I build is a learning experience. There are different ways to deal with a "character" stave as you have, but the best way is for you to learn yourself. It is difficult to teach over the interweb but all we can do is encourage you and give constrictive criticism. The guys on the other sight, well lets just say if you aren't an accomplished bowyer or in their "click" you'll never satisfy them. You did pick a tough one to start with. :shock:

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Re: It's finally time! My First Bow Build

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:15 pm

Yep John your right about the cliques over there.

Your also right about it being a tough one. I did not realize exactly how challenging it is. But your right I'm no quiter. I'll keep after it, and whatever the end result I'll be on to the next one soon afterwards. My next choice is a bit better, still character, but not nearly as many knots.

Like I've said, I thought about it this way. I'm bound to make mistakes and the first one I do is a 50/50 gamble anyway. So instead of wasting my best stuff, I decided to take the challenge and chance to make my mistakes on the tough stuff in hopes that when I do start the good stuff I may have a better chance of success with it.

Thanks for the feedback, I know you guys are stand up people who will chime in, in a positive way even if you see me making a mistake.
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Re: It's finally time! My First Bow Build

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:31 pm

Well she's roughed out completely now, sorry no pics today. I noticed that my top limb was looking a bit wider than the lower one. So I worked on it slow and gentle with the rasp and file. Now they seem to be better matched to my untrained eye.

Hoped to try getting her floor tillering today, but time was not on my side, oh well no hurries. Best to do just a little bit at a time, and take things really nice and slow anyways. There's always next weekend.
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Re: It's finally time! My First Bow Build

Postby Frosty the Bowman » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:29 am

I felt bad so I went and took a picture to chronicle my progress. So here it is, not sure if you can see what I did. It was lots of slow, steady filing and rasping, but I like how it looks.
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