How to splice bow- billets Vol.1- 1plus1=1

For sure you´ve to had come across several times the cleanest bow- stave ever: but it is to short!

Just lengthen it! It isn´t the delcious job you think. Every bow has a handle, this is usually the spot, where no tension or compression forces are working. I´m speaking of bows with an accentuated handle. It will not work on D- bows, D- bows have a working handle, this design will not accept a lengthwise splicing. F.e. English longbows, the famous Cherokee longbows, most warbows are D- bows. A typical candidate for a lengthwise splicing is any bow designed according to the American flatbow, handle in thickness and in width about 11/4″, in length about 5″, fading out into the limbs.  Too big for any bending. The most secure splice is the so- called w- splice, it is looking like the letter W.

The glueline is really big: 4 x 5″ x 11/4″ makes about 22″1/8 squareinches, that´s the power of the letter W.

Bow- stave dealers are offering billets, usually a very clean, knotfree piece of bow- wood, to short for a bow.  When harvesting wood I gather short pieces of bow- wood too, if you want to make a bow of clean wood, splicing is a great option. Choose the greatest best bow- staves you can find, even it they are to short, splice them. You can add a certain amount of reflex to a bow while glueing the splice accordingly. To compose a bow of different pieces of wood is known since a long time, even the Scythians have composed wooden bows by glueing together 12- 14 wooden pieces. Remember my report of making the olon kurin gol reconstructions. Remember the 2 wood bows of Siberia or Northern Europe.

So splicing 2 billets lengthwise is not that challenge. For a bow measuring about 65″ in length you need 2 billets measuring 37″ in length. 37″ is about 65″ divided by 2 plus 5″, the plus 5″ is the extra for the handle. Work out the running through growthring for the back of the bow.  Cut both billets the right length , work the handle as a perfect rectangle: 5″ in length, thickness and depth 11/4″. It is important to cut the rectangle accurately, otherwise you´ll end up with a twisted bow, and it makes the splicing really easy.

preparing a w- splice- the perfect rectangle

If the recangle is done at both billets, mark the w- splice as follows:

the w- splice- 5" in length- top: foot of one jag of the W is about 5/8"(1.5cm)in width- bottom: foot of one jag of the W is about 1/3"(1cm)

Draw the w- splice on a sheet of paper, glue it to the backsides of the rectangles, cut it with a handsaw or bandsaw. 22″ to cut perfectly along the marks in a right angle! Check the splice, fitting perfectly?  If the billets are sticking together, the ends or tips of the bow are matching? Did you work along the construction line? Correct it with a small file  or sandpaper.  Ready for to glue. If you´ve used a dense wood like osage, locust or mulberry, precoat the glueline with a thin solution of hide- glue ( water: glue = 4 : 1 at least)  several times, than go for the proper glueing.

glueing the w- splice red elder
w- spliced blackthorn(top) and red elder

Leave the spliced billets for at least 2 days.

Next volume is dealing with 1 plus 1 plus 1 = again 1

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