Maple flatbow in an afternoon

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yeoman
Posts: 1561
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2004 1:32 pm
Location: Canberra

Maple flatbow in an afternoon

#1 Post by yeoman » Wed Dec 22, 2021 6:19 pm

Good evening folks.

Early in 2022 I'll be teaching a trunctated bowmaking course - in just an evening and a day the students will make a flatbow. This in contrast to the usual two full days and an evening to make a bamboo-backed longbow.

So to prepare I made one myself in the same style.

The timber is Hard Rock Maple, with a thin shim of Ironbark on the belly which allows me to be a bit more conservative with my very limited stock of Maple. I made it according to a morning of calculations and design that would give the students the best chance at coming away with something robust, yet easy to make and reliable.

I made a template for this handle on th 3D printer. This is the first time I've ever made a bow with a built-in shelf. I designed the grip to be skew-wiff, which when combined with the shelf cutout makes for a wooden bow that's nearly centre-shot. Which means it should be more forgiving of finding arrows of the right spine...so I'm told.

The bow layout is a simple pyramid design. 43 mm wide at the fades and 12 at the tips. 70 inches ntn with a 10 inch rigid center. One of the students has orangutan arms and one is from tall stock and hasn't yet finished growing. So the bows need to be long to accommodate.

Layout and cutout took about 10 minutes. Tillering took perhaps another 45 minutes to an hour. The tiller isn't perfect, but it's good enough for the purposes.

This is the first pic I took. First brace. I didn't do any long string tillering - I just braced it. Not too shabby for being straight off the bandsaw.
01 first brace.JPG
01 first brace.JPG (47.43 KiB) Viewed 389 times
A short while later this is how it looked. A bit stiff in the right limb.
02 tiller progress.JPG
02 tiller progress.JPG (68.61 KiB) Viewed 389 times
Ah. Yes now. That's a bit better.
03 tiller progress.JPG
03 tiller progress.JPG (64.78 KiB) Viewed 389 times
Here it is pulling 41 lb at 28 inches. About an inch and a half of set. I've not yet shot it, never mind put it through the chrony. I don't expect it to be a rocket launcher, but it should shoot reliably and straight for several years at least.
04 full draw.JPG
04 full draw.JPG (38.08 KiB) Viewed 389 times
I suppose it would be nice for the outer 1/4 of the limbs to bend a touch more. Maybe I will just narrow them a bit.

Here are some unglamorous shots of the handle, before scraping/sanding/waxing:
05 handle belly 1.JPG
05 handle belly 1.JPG (51.6 KiB) Viewed 389 times
06 handle back 1.JPG
06 handle back 1.JPG (34.18 KiB) Viewed 389 times
07 handle belly 2.JPG
07 handle belly 2.JPG (82.31 KiB) Viewed 389 times
As you can see there's still some work to be done to make it proper purdy.

More pics to follow when I get it properly finished.

Ciao,

Yeoman
https://www.instagram.com/armworks_australia/

Bow making courses, knife making courses, armour making courses and more:
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greybeard
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Re: Maple flatbow in an afternoon

#2 Post by greybeard » Fri Dec 24, 2021 4:32 pm

Dave,

I often wonder why offset handles never became popular; Ben Pearson tried it in 1955 with his Bushmaster recurve. Patents for offset handles were lodged many years before 1955.

Time passes quickly; viewtopic.php?f=34&t=16177&p=167720&hilit

If the belly taper of the bow was straight an overhead router box and router with the appropriate milling bit could be used to profile the belly. A block could be placed at the end of the router box to get the required taper. The bow blank would need to be held firmly.
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Router Support Guide.jpg
Router Support Guide.jpg (38.24 KiB) Viewed 354 times
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Possibly a cost effective method for those who don’t have a band saw.


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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yeoman
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2004 1:32 pm
Location: Canberra

Re: Maple flatbow in an afternoon

#3 Post by yeoman » Sun Dec 26, 2021 9:50 am

Indeed it does fly quickly!

There's a lot going for offset handles. I think the lack of appeal is a cultural rather than a practical thing.

That's a cool idea for dimesnioning bows quickly. I have a template for a longbow that tapers in thickness in a straight line and this would work perfectly for it. If one knew the properties of the specific piece of timber (I just took an estimate from previously tested samples for this bow) one could theoretically cut the bow's thickness like you showed, cut out the width, and just string it up and shoot it.

Before I could afford a bandsaw I also could not afford a router. So I did this: https://www.tharwavalleyforge.com/artic ... re-minimum
https://www.instagram.com/armworks_australia/

Bow making courses, knife making courses, armour making courses and more:
http://www.tharwavalleyforge.com/

Articles to start making bows:
http://www.tharwavalleyforge.com/index. ... /tutorials

flyonline
Posts: 87
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 7:18 pm
Location: NE Vic

Re: Maple flatbow in an afternoon

#4 Post by flyonline » Sun Dec 26, 2021 11:54 am

Daryl

Have you tried that thicknessing with a router? I've tried a few times but always end up in trouble somewhere. I would like to try it with the router at 90deg to the blank, but haven't got there yet. Another option would be to use a hand plane with the same kind of jig.

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greybeard
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Re: Maple flatbow in an afternoon

#5 Post by greybeard » Sun Dec 26, 2021 1:55 pm

No, I haven't tried that method as I have a workshop full of power tools. When needed I use a 50 mm power planer that does the job.

I envisaged a milling bit up to 50 mm in diameter which would cover the limb width in one pass down the length of the limb instead of several passes with a small diameter bit.

Daryl.
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*
Milling Bits.jpg
Milling Bits.jpg (29.2 KiB) Viewed 320 times
"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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