Bidwillii Build-along.

How to make a Bow, a String or a Set of Arrows. Making equipment & tools for use in Traditional Archery and Bowhunting.

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greybeard
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Bidwillii Build-along.

#1 Post by greybeard » Thu Dec 31, 2020 3:55 pm

Austromyrtus bidwillii; pronounced: oss-trah-MERT-uss bid-WILL-ee-eye

The growth rings are very close together and this may account for the fact that you can violate the growth rings without affecting the integrity of the back of the bow [based on a previous experience].
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1 Grain Compilation.jpg
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The billet did not lend itself to a straight forward limb plan as pin knots were in the way and the billet displayed a propeller twist.
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2 Marking Center Line.JPG
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An approximate plan was laid out on the billet which can be modified during the shaping process
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3 Shaping Comp.jpg
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A progress report will follow as soon as possible.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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jindydiver
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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#2 Post by jindydiver » Fri Jan 01, 2021 6:14 am

With all the twists and bends it looks like it will have some character when your done.
Mick


Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.

Abraham Lincoln

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Stickbow Hunter
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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#3 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:13 pm

It should end up with some great looking character Daryl.

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greybeard
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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#4 Post by greybeard » Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:29 pm

"In the synonym, Austromyrtus is from two Latin words, australis, south, myrtus, the myrtle tree"

Today I reduced the overall width and thickness of the stave. Spoke shaving the bulk of the bark enabled me to establish a new centre line and modify the limb plan. Leaving some bark on allows me to re draw the limb plan without marring the back of the finished bow.
The remaining bark will be removed during the tillering.

Fortunately the propeller twist only affected about six or so inches from each limb tip.
To remove the propeller twist took a bit of thinking out how to create a jacket to deliver steam to a small specified area. The problem was resolved by using some plastic film, electricians tape and a hand held steam cleaner.
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4 Steaming Out Propellor Twist.JPG
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A slat clamped to the tip of the bow and sliding weight allowed more pressure to be applied as the wood became more pliable. Once the desired tip rotation was achieved the steam source was switched off, the slat held in place until the wood set.
Having worked out the system the other tip was done in about twenty minutes.

The hump in the left hand could be a bit problematic and present thoughts are to make a custom steam tunnel and flatten this hump as much as possible and steam reflex into the last eighteen inches to the tips.
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5 Plan And Profile.jpg
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The knot in the right hand side limb may be problematic and require extra treatment.
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6 Problem Knot Comp.jpg
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Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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greybeard
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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#5 Post by greybeard » Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:01 pm

Working the belly of the stave has been a slow process, unlike a straight stave or one where each limb profile is similar.

With this particular stave each limb requires slightly different approach to bring them into balance.
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7 Tiller Comp.jpg
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At present the mass of the limb on the left outweighs the one on the right. I need to remove mass from the ’hump’ area but being careful not to create a hinge.

Without bringing the limbs into equilibrium it will be virtually impossible to synchronize them and the finished bow would display nasty habits on loosing an arrow.

The next step will be to remove the remaining bark and see if some adjustment can be done on the back of the bow.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#6 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Sat Jan 02, 2021 1:36 pm

It makes for an interesting build. One of my Osage bows I made was very similar to that with the one limb having a big hump in it. I spent a lot of time on it and it turned out to be a great bow. I look forward to more progress photos.

Jeff

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greybeard
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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#7 Post by greybeard » Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:13 pm

Stickbow Hunter wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 1:36 pm
One of my Osage bows I made was very similar to that with the one limb having a big hump in it. I spent a lot of time on it and it turned out to be a great bow. I look forward to more progress photos. Jeff
Jeff, as you are aware these twisty and knotty billets can be challenging but rewarding with a successful outcome. Those that don’t come up to our expectations can teach us valuable lessons.

I made this Red Ash bow many years back and kicked a bit on loosing an arrow but I was a novice back then.
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9 Red Ash Snake Bow.JPG
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The remaining bark has been removed and the back of the stave was lightly sanded with a rubber sanding block.

Additional work was carried out on the belly to try to reduce the effects around the hump in the left hand side limb but have I gone too far. The bow is just shy of a six inch brace height.
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8 Brace Height.JPG
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The mind is now stuck at what to do next.

Thoughts centre on a flexible steam pocket secured around the hump. With the limb supported on blocks either side of the hump a clamp could be used to apply downward pressure on the hump, the pressure being gradually increased as the wood becomes more pliable.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#8 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:21 am

greybeard wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:13 pm
Jeff, as you are aware these twisty and knotty billets can be challenging but rewarding with a successful outcome. Those that don’t come up to our expectations can teach us valuable lessons.
You are certainly right about that. I am just a novice when it comes to self bows so much to learn.
greybeard wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:13 pm
The mind is now stuck at what to do next.

Thoughts centre on a flexible steam pocket secured around the hump. With the limb supported on blocks either side of the hump a clamp could be used to apply downward pressure on the hump, the pressure being gradually increased as the wood becomes more pliable.
Looking at that left limb you may need to flatten both humps a little and even do something with the tip section as well. One thing at a time and see how it goes. :biggrin:

Jeff

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#9 Post by greybeard » Mon Jan 04, 2021 2:45 pm

I was amazed at how easily the hump was flattened out and the overall simplicity of the method employed.

Some time was lost through refilling the steamer but the overall steaming took about forty minutes. To date this has proved the best method for selective wet heat bending.
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10 Steaming Hump.JPG
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Because the steam is under pressure the steam jacket needs to be vented. Notice the wisp of steam around the jacket.

When there was a good head of steam clamp pressure was gradually increased until the required deflection was attained. The steam source was then removed and the limb allowed to cool down.
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11 Steamed Hump Comp.jpg
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I am happy with the result so adjusting the right hand side limb will be the next challenge.

To play it safe and allow the wood to thoroughly dry I will not load up the limb until tomorrow.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#10 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:42 pm

That worked so well Daryl. I like the hand held steamer. I have done similar but just with boiling water in a pot and enclosing the particular place where I want to bend the limb and the top of the pot with alfoil.

Jeff

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#11 Post by greybeard » Thu Jan 07, 2021 4:54 pm

I was not completely happy with the modification to the left limb so more work was carried out.

I scraped and sanded the affected belly section and reduced the high spot on the back of the stave. Fortunately this wood can handle growth ring violation with no ill effects.

This section was given a second steaming and I am happy with the results.
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12 Steamed Section.JPG
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13 Reworked Limb.JPG
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Next task will be to modify the other limb and then move on to the tillering process.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#12 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Thu Jan 07, 2021 5:19 pm

Looking good.

Jeff

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#13 Post by greybeard » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:32 pm

Although tedious some progress has been made. The left hand side limb is getting closer to where it needs to be but working around the hinge is slow work.

In the early stages of roughing out the stave I was a bit heavy handed in this spot and now I am paying the price. Fortunately there appears to be ample timber in the stave as pulling it down to brace height requires some effort.

Some steaming was done on the right hand side limb to balance it more with the left hand limb but it still requires a fair amount of tillering.
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14 Hinge Compilation.jpg
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During the various steaming processes I inadvertently let some lateral movement come in towards the tips. They moved just over ¼” off centre so this will need to be corrected before going to the short string.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#14 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Sun Jan 10, 2021 7:59 pm

Good to see the progress Daryl. It often takes lot of time to get things right; slow and easy does it.

Jeff

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#15 Post by greybeard » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:14 pm

Yesterday turned out to be quite productive.

Aligning the limbs proved to be a lot easier than anticipated once I had come up with the plan of attack.

With the handle of the bow firmly held in a vice an L shaped wooden block was clamped against the limb at the pre determined pivot point.

A wooden stop to line up with the tip of the limb was clamped to the side of the bench. A suitably sized block to determine lateral movement of the limb was placed against the stop.
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15 Tip Align Comp.jpg
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The body of the speed clamp was supported by a block of wood to keep the clamp parallel to the bench top.

During the steaming process the clamp is taken up in stages until the tip of the bow touches the block. One final squeeze, not to hard given and the steam held for a few more minutes.

The steam source was removed and when the steam jacket was removed dry heat was applied to remove excess moisture from the limb. Once dry the clamp was removed and the bow set to one side.

This morning I prepared the limb tips for some overlays. As the tips were a bit on the thin side overlays of black wattle will allow me to file decent string grooves and not affect the integrity of the tips.
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16 Tip Overlays Being Glued.JPG
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I will shape the tips and file the string grooves tomorrow and brace the bow with the correct length string.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#16 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:07 pm

Coming along well.

Jeff

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#17 Post by greybeard » Sun Jan 17, 2021 4:40 pm

I disregarded my own advice and spent too much time using the long string.
It was giving me false readings with the knot area, approximately six inches in length in the left hand limb, this area refuses to bend.
Consequently the outer limb section is too soft, I may have ruined the bow.

The bow can go on the rack while I try to resolve the issue.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#18 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:58 am

These things happen Daryl as you know. Thinking about it may give you an idea on how to go forward but it may be no good; wait and see. :biggrin:

Jeff

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#19 Post by greybeard » Mon Jan 18, 2021 3:19 pm

Hi Jeff,

The bow is braced to 5 ½”.
A few short draws indicated that there is a fair amount of draw weight left in the bow.
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17 Knot Areas.jpg
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If I can resolve the issues with the knotty sections and re-tiller the limbs, steaming recurve into the tips may help compensate for loss of draw weight.

Daryl.
"And you must not stick for a groat or twelvepence more than another man would give, if it be a good bow.
For a good bow twice paid for, is better than an ill bow once broken.
[Ascham]

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” [Einstein]

I am old enough to make my own decisions....Just not young enough to remember what I decided!....

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Re: Bidwillii Build-along.

#20 Post by Stickbow Hunter » Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:48 am

Those knots are causing a problem for you. Will be interesting to see if they will bend ok. If they do then the recurving of the tips should be a worthwhile option.

Jeff

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