almost 15 years I didn´t take care to much for bow- woods like euonymus, hawthorn, blackthorn, wild plum, there are for sure some more of these little trees or bushes worth bow- making. I live in the heights of the Southern Blackforest in Germany , so I ´ve just to drive a bit down to the nearby valley of the Rhine river and there are a lot of hedges surrounding the fields of the farmers or a vineyard or an orchard. This region in the very Southwest of Germany is called German Toscana and it is really the warmest region in Germany. It is indeed a little paradise, but for the needs and dreams of my family it is overcrowded and somehow sophisticated.
But there is enough for to make a bowyers dream come true.
For almost 15 years I´ve done my job as a bowyer with the common bow- woods: ash, elm, black locust, maple, osage- orange, yew, juniper, for sure somemore. I´ve done sinew- backed bows like a Native American, hornbows like the Scythians, the Greek, the Mongols……………more and more refined bow- designs.
I have to admit: for some years selfbows were something like trash, no challenge to make them………………
In the summer of 2008 I was surfing the www a bit for selfbows, I came across the PALEOPLANETE- forum, there was just running a very heated debate focused on selfbows vs. hornbows. At that time I felt myself to be a fanatic-composite bowyer. What the hell these selfbowyers believe! A hornbow has to be the cream of the cake!
But some arguements of the selfbowyers made me suspicious: these guys are able to do very fast selfbows, as fast as modern bows, as fast as hornbows, what do they know, what I don´t know, what the hell I´ve missed in selfbowery
One of the side- arguements made me thinking: hornbows are bows of dictatorships or tyrannies, to make them, a very straight society is necessary. I´m a basic- democrat, but I´ve never looked in a political way at bows.
I gave those selfbows a chance, somehow excited I began to check the new designs and woods.
The new design is based mainly on the Holmegaard or Mollegabet bow with its long skinny tips, but done shorter than our ancestors. The woods I wanted to try are listed above.
I´ll add a pic and go on tomorrow, thanks a lot to all the PALEOS…………………..…………making dreams come true!
2 euonymus bows, made of the same stave, the upper one is made of the reflexed half of the stave, it draws 45lbs at 28″. The other one is made of the deflexed half of the stave, it draws 50lbs at 28″.
There are about 150 different spindlewoods, but the best known are euonymus americanus, euonymus japonicus and euonymus europaeus. Spindlewood grows as brush or as a little tree. Due to the shape of their fruits spindlewood is also called “cap of the pastor”. The fruits are very poisonous, 2 years ago 2 children died after having eaten them, attracted by the nice outlook of the colourful appearance of the fruits.
Spindlewood owes its name to its former use in making gear wheels and other parts of early machines.
I met it when in spring 2009 I came across a wood turner, who would never use any other wood for his work. Its historical proof as a bowwood is known only in Japan. Alex S. a japanese member of the ATARNET- bowery forum was so kind to post a list a bowwoods used in Japan. Spindlewood means nothing else than bowwood, so it is highly appreciated in Japan.
I can´t find any other proof of the historical use of euonymus in bowery
I´ll go on next week with some more euonymus- bows. Have a look at my article “A bowXplosion” here, it deals with a very special euonymus- bow and it is the origine of this blog.