New bow!

Remember this bow: go here

The latest flightbow I did some month ago. I called it “The Queen”.  Flightbows are always a great possibility for to test the limits of designs and woods, flightbows are somehow a kind of Formula 1, an exercise area for bowyers.

The queen- braced. The arrow is made of thin baked strips of fine grown larch, with the tip and the nock enforced with bird#s eye maple.

“The Queen” is such an overwhelming exercise for me, so I decided to give it a try as a longer version, thought to be drawn to 28″. It measures up my expectations at all points: great design and performance.

It ended up in one of the best bows, I´ve ever done, maybe the best bow I was ever able to do.

Originally the bow was thought to be made as a one piece, but cause some of cracks arising in the handle- area, I had to change the plan. I remembered a design inspired by Marc St. Louis:go here

So I cut the stave, shaped the limbs, steam bent and heat- treated the long tips, again using the Golden Ratio: length of the limbs is 15.4″, length of the tips is 9.4″ The tips are recurved at about 30°

 

Here we are

Length:55", 50lbs/ 26", osage- orange, handle of ash, walnut, dovetailed wedges of curled maple
Length:55″, 50lbs/ 26″, osage- orange, handle of ash, walnut, dovetailed wedges of curled maple

 

Comparing "The Queen" and its brother. Pyramid shape of the queen's limbs and the much more parallel limbs of its brother ending up in different tillering shapes, as shown in the following pic.
Comparing “The Queen” and its brother. Pyramid shape of the queen’s limbs and the much more parallel limbs of its brother ending up in different tillering shapes, as shown in the following pic.
"The Queen" bending much more in the outer limbs, while its brothers limbs bending much more circular.
“The Queen” bending much more in the outer limbs, while its brothers limbs bending much more circular.
"The Brother" drawn at 16". Cause of the length and the shape of the limbs the draw is very smooth.
“The Brother” drawn at 16″. Cause of the length and the shape of the limbs the draw is very smooth.

Details

The handle
The handle: ash, walnut, curled maple
Arrow-rest of bone
Arrow-rest of bone
Tip, backview, string made of dyed linen
Tip, backview, string made of dyed linen, nocks
Backview, I left a little bit of the sapwood for to give the back a flaming look: this bow is burning.
Backview, I left a little bit of the sapwood for to give the back a flaming look: this bow is burning.

 

Sorry, I didn’ t have the time to do the chronos seriously, cause the bow was sold as soon as tillering was finished.

A guy who dropped into my workshop, saw the bow drawn in the tiller- board and wanted to buy it at once.

Chronos with a 290grs. arrow, 5/16″ and 26″ in length  tell a 187f/s speed.

I’ m such crazy about this bow, I should resist every other design.

I’ ll do the same bow very soon and post a making of.

 

Creative Commons License

Some News and a sale…………..

Getting more and more involved into flightarchery and bow-classes with kids I´ve decided to sale some of my longtime personal favourite bows- I don´t need them anymore. I´ve posted  3 of them here, this is my german speaking blog, if you´re interested in one of these bows or if you want more details and pics post a comment here or send me a mail. The next days there will be more offerings.

Next posts are dealing with a new retro-styled flightbow made of yew, some new flightarrows and the final tillering of the crossbow.

The summer has finally begun to be hot and our family has grown- 3 young sheep, a very rare breed, an endangered species, the alpine stonesheep, actually there are less than 1000 of them alive. They will provide us with wool, milk, maybe with horn( I even can´t imagine to slaughter the ram, his name is Carlos and he´s such a smart and tough guy).

And I´ve seeded flax for the first time, even the summer had been wet and a bit cold, the flax is in flower now- what a great blue-, now I´ve to wait some days before harvesting and drying it for to split into fibers and to make my first homegrown bow- strings. I´ll post the whole procedure in details.

Sorry, I´ve lost the pics somehow, I promise they will be posted tomorrow.

Finally winter- there´s another life than snow- flakes

Are selfmade bows political correct? Dealers will suffer....................

This blog has not turned into a stage for political debates in the face of the worldwide financial crisis. But I wonder  Marx being so actual and very right about the behaviour of the big capitalists. Nothing more to add , but I support “Occupy Wallstreet”. Everything made by yourself will bring the power back to you. I´m still dreaming of a world without any political, financial or whatever leaders and the growing social networks make me very hope. Get your power back, that´s what shamans all over the worlds and times are telling us.

I´ve not blogged since weeks. Main reason was the best fall we´ve ever had here. From August till mid- Decembre we´ve had about 6 rainy days. Too dry for sure, but I could cut a lot of bow- woods ( black locust, rowan, whitebeam, mountain- maple………….), I´ve never had so many staves in stock. I could do a lot of fire- woods too, making some new fences, preparing the grazing land and a barn for our sheepfarming we´ll begin next spring. And a very sad thing has happened: in the last week of Octobre one of our horses, the brown gelding died of some diseases of age. We knew since about half a year that this will happen, but anyway, a horse is so big and he was for about 20 years a true companion!

Even I had been so busy, I´ve prepared a lot of articles about making retro- and other flightbows, flight arrows, about my bow- classes, for not to forget the finishing of the crossbow.

There´s to much snow outside, vacations, time for heavy blogging.

Some pics of soon upcoming bowxplosions:

From the top: another flight 137.5 made of rowan and walnut, osage retro- flight, the MARX NOW made of black locust, sinew- backed. All made with inserted siyahs (recurves )mountain maple
Same bows as above- backview, they are all about 45" in length
The osage retro- flight bow with a grip made of cherry braced. It´s 49lbs at 23", I´m very sure it will make the 200f/s
The best flightarrow, I´ve ever made- cedar shaft with inserted hardwood- a real burner- it´s making of will be another article with many pics

So far, Christmas is family- time.

Cheers, 2012 is coming, have great times……………………………………

Endless Summer, bow- classes, family, things to do during summer and a dog!

Maybe you remember the "Great mulberry swindle"- article posted about one year ago? The mulberry has grown, this scene looks somehow so Chinese to me- I´ve never been in China.

Hey, back again, the longest summer ever? It really seems that a lot of time has gone since my last post. But behind the scenes I´ve prepared a lot of articles and even a new home for the bowXplosion which will be called bowXXplosion.

The main reasons for not posting too much are the great summer, a lots of bow- classes, my lovely family, some renovations at our farm( new fences, the extension of a former barn into a living room……), firewood making, the old- age disease of our both horses( they´ re at the age of 26) and my dog( the birthday present of my wife).

That´s a lot, our adult daughter spent 2 weeks here to relax from Berlin, where she lives since 10 years, we did a lot of  hikes in the Black Forest and in the French Vosges. We´ve had a great time.

Since 12 years  I did a bow- shooting project with mentally handicaped kids. We´ve 4 mornings, this time I let them flight- shooting only, no targets. I would never have awaited the kids shooting so thrilled, shooting without the limit of the target, as far as possible, that´s it. They came up with so interesting ideas to make the arrow flying further. I´ve never enjoyed shooting with kids so much! I´ll go further with flight- shooting in my archery- classes.

The US- National Flights at the Salt Flats have taken place from the 2nd – the 4th of September. Due to the bad conditions not to much exciting news, but more interest than ever and a lot of infos: Bede Dwyer of the ATARNET and PALEOPLANET´S Alan Case

Some weeks ago the gliding arrows- debate came up again in PALEOPLANET. This time I´ll take for real what sounds like a fairy- tale or some rumor. So the upcoming bowXplosions will be focused on flightshooting with kids, gliding flight- arrows, my trial on a Bill Folberth- flightbow- design( yes, Bill Folberth, the ingenious guy who invented the first automatic windscreen apparatus was a famous bow- designer too), Volume 2 of Bows of Roses and the final tillering of the prod for a crossbow. Now enjoy my pics of a great summer:

The Todtnau Cascades- Germanys longest cascade. That´s not the point- there´s a trail uphills just beside the cascade, halfways the cascade has built a pool, there´s a rainbow in the downfalling water. Such a strong place, it is called to be one of the holiest places in Europe, even if you don´t believe in it, for sure you´ll feel it. Such a far out place to be!
In the Vosges at the Hirschfelsen- there is a real thrilling trail right in the rock bank. Even it looks dangerous my wife succeded in overcoming her fear of heights.
My daughters posing around for some pics
Yesterday- another hot clear day- my wife doing some garden- work, her favourite. Our garden is becoming more and more a paradise.
That´s my birthday-present: Cristy- the street- dog from Spain. She was 4 month old when I got her, she is a bodugero/ Belgian shepherd-dog mix with a very pronounced herding dog behaviour. She turned out to be highly attentive and studiously. The right dog for a dog- beginner, she´s a real companion.
Cristy´s first hike at the Belchen mountain- a bit to long for her, she was really very tired the next days. For to use a cliche´: isn´t she lovely????
Kids- project at Rheinfelden- first trials with a selfmade bow and arrow
Shooting altogether now- the finish of an exciting week
Rheinfelden warriors summer 2011

O.k. that´s history, but a great time to remember, pics of upcoming bowXplosions:

A secretely taken pic of the crossbow- prod- drying time is over soon, final tillering has to be done.
Some bows ready to be finished- 2 flights 137.5, a sinew backed juniper bow, another rowan "Holmegaard"- style shortie...........some more
Giving the mysterious gliding arrows a try

Bows made of roses Vol. 1- beauty all around

Recently, when I was just finishing another bow made of green rowan, I realized the woods of the rose family– rosaceae- have become my favourite bow- woods. So nice to work them with the axe, the draw- knife, they are not at all poisonous like yew, euonymus, black locust…….they smell well……………..an experience for the senses.

Best rosaceae for bows are rowan, whitebeam, hawthorn, wild cherry, choke cherry, cornel cherry, plum, even dog rose will work very well if it is old and thick enough. The trees of the rose family are eye- catchers, wonderful blossoms and fruits. But they know how to defend all their beauty and richness with more or less heavy barbs.

Roses are  a  symbol of life and love, of beauty itself, roses are red like our blood. The most expensive perfums are made of roses. Roses are dedicated to the Gods Aphrodite, Dionysos, Isis, Flora and Eros.

Roses are medically used as an antiseptic, hawthorn is well known of its benefits in treating heart failures. The fruits of the roses are usually called rose hips, fine jellies are made of them, the dried fruits of whitebeams could be floured and added to a bread dough.

Rose, nothing to say
Rose called Ave Maria
Hawthorn flowers
Dog rose flowers
Fruits of hawthorn
Fruits of blackthorn
Fruits of whitebeam
Cross- section of a rose- flower
A petrified leaf of a rose

The wood of the rosaceae is great to work, very solid but not to hard, almost no splintering, easy to bend with steam, one of the best woods for to be heat- treated. But all rosaceae are very delicious to dry, I had to do a lot of trials and errors. Cause rosaceae are little trees or even brushes with smaller diameters they split easily while drying. I prefer to work them green, never had any split when doing so.

I´ve to thank Wikipedia for the pics!

Next volume will be focused on 2 short bows made of dog rose.

Perfect wooden bow? Vol. 2- is it geometry?

The flight 137.5- bow is made of 2 limbs, 1 handle, wedges. If the wood of choice has no good steam- bending capablities siyahs have to be v- spliced into the limbs.

It´s a must to prepare the limbs very carefully. I´m not to confident with that design yet, I´ll try some more limb- designs, a wider more reflexed one for a smoother draw.

I haven´t had options for to make the limbs of the osage flight wider, the only osage I could find in my workshop were almost as small as the ready limbs. Some leftovers of a recently finished asymmetrical osage- flatbow.

The limbs of the rowan- flight are made of a green rowan. I splitted a stave cut very close at our farm.

The rowan has arrived
Splitting the rowan
The raw materials for the handle and the limbs
View at the limbs back, some bast left- width about 13/4", thickness 1/2"

The handle is made of mountain maple, the 137.5- angle is sawn. A right angle of the handle back to its sides is a must, otherwise the bow could be twisted.

As mentioned above the limbs have to be prepared properly.

Steambending of the limb

Just put the limbs on a pot of water, cover it with aluminum foil, heat the water till it begins to boil, leave it for about 40min. Steaming times depends on thickness of wood and the degree of curve or bend. Usually recurves have to be steamed for about 20min., there´ll be an article focused on steam- bending bows within the next weeks.

Bending the limbs after the steam- fixed with clamps- pieces of wood are used to shape the angle

I left the limbs at least 2 days for “shaping”. The limbs of the osage flight 137.5 are recurved soon after the steam- bending, rowan is hardly to steam bent, so I´ve v- spliced the recurves into the limbs.

I´ve a lot of such diy- recurve molding forms- sharp recurves like that one- soft recurves.......

Again: after steam- bending the wood has to be fixed in a tool for to get its shape. I left recurves for an hour in the tool.

Next is to check again the dimensions of the limbs, they´ve to be equal in length, width and thickness and shape. Thickness should be at least 1/2″ now. The limbs have to fit properly to the back of the handle. Instead of cutting the ends of the limbs to a proper angle, I cut them in a right angle, for to get the space to fit in a wedge. No other need than a cool looking.

After having glued the limbs to the handle the wedges have be inserted

Sorry, this is a bad pic! I´ve chosen the dark- brown walnut as wedges, I´ve used a handsaw, a chisel and a wooden hammer for to adjust the wedges to the handle.

Glueing the wedges for to enforce the joint of the limbs and the handle

After the glueing the wedges are sanded down. There are for sure some more ways to fix the limbs to the handle. The limbs of the osage flight 137.5 were v- spliced into the handle, a somehow delicious job, but I like that kind of jobs.

V- splicing the limbs to the handle

Again a chisel- and handsaw-  job!

View at the sides of the splice- the handle is made of flowery- ash

To insert a double dovetailed wegde would have been another possible joint, I tried it, but found it to unstable.

The angled double dove tailed wedge solution

For gourmets of wooden joinery, another one.

The angled dovetail joint

Next volume is dealing with tillering and heat- treating the limbs adjusting the string- bridges and recurves/ siyahs.

 Yesterday I´ve shot the osage flight 137.5 at 22″ ,same 195grs. arrow:

That´s speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed...........................
Osage- flight at 20"- looking like a trapezoid- I love it: bowery is geometry, said a friend of Homer!
My daughter wanted to give the osage flight 137.5 a try too- the dog is my birthday- present- a 6 month old dog from Spain- since one week she is mine, what a surprise, she likes my workshop and I love my wife for that!










Perfect wooden Bow? Vol. 1- speed matters

s

flight 137.5 braced at about 4" - made of osage at the top and made of rowan at the bottom
The flights unbraced
The bows backs, at the top there is a simple flight- arrow
That´s the speed for the osage flight 137.5- arrow length is 20", it is weighing 195grs.
That´s the speed for the rowan flight 137.5, same arrow as above

I´m a happy man with that speed and a very satisfied bowyer too. It took me almost 20 years for to make wooden bows performing as fast as hightech- bows- that´s great!!!

Don´t ask me now, why these bow- designs are coming out such fast. It´s some try and errors, I´ll need some time for to realize it. I´m that type of guy following something and not really knowing why.

Above all I was heavily inspired by Marc St. Louis recently posted short elm flightbow, have a look at PALEOPLANET

I just want to do it. I thought about it and come up with some variations. Just have read something about the Golden Angle as a very a well known construction principle in former times(A- frame houses) and in nature(flowers, crystals……). So I gave it a try. Instead of joining the limbs with a tapered finger joint, I attached the well prepared limbs(shaping, steam- bending the angle, heat- treating) to the handle and fixed it with dove tailed wedges, the rowan flight 137.5 is done this way. Don´t be confused about some leftovers of the wedges of a former trial. My first trial went wrong cause I bent the limbs backwards to much while heat treating them. So I cut the limbs of and could use the handle again. The handle is made of mountain- maple, the wedges are made of field- maple as well as the v-spliced in siyahs.

The limbs of the osage flight are v- spliced into the handle which is made of flowery ash and reenforced by small logs of blackthorn at the belly, shaped so for to keep the string as near as possible to the limbs and to allow a comfortable and secure grip.

Length of the osage flight 137.5 is 46″, width is 11/8″ at the handle tapering to about 1/2″ at the tips. The rowan flight 137.5 is measuring 50″ in length, width is tapering from 11/4″ at the handle to 1/4″ at the tips.

Sorry, but I´m still suffering from a badly influenza, so I felt not strong and tough enough for to make the chronos at full draw. At full draw speed will be 200plus f/s.

The design is combining ancient designs like the Angular bows of the Egyptians, the Scythian bows, a lot of the insights of Marc St. Louis, Tim Baker, Steve Gardner, Alan Case, the ATARNET- and PALEOPLANET- members, Adam Karpovicz´ ideas and work on “low stack bow- designs”. Last but not least it is a result of the www and the networks, so this is a kind of global bow.

Next volume is updating the chronos and tells the making of the flights 137.5





Making bows of Green Wood- Vol.3- the rowan bow is ready

After having drawn the rowan bow up to 18″ I had to work the tiller a bit for an equal bending. I left it aside for about 7 weeks, last week I could finish the bow. Checking tiller again, sanding, cause of the beauty of the wood at the handle I didn´t wrap the handle with leather or some woolen cloth:

A very fine grain in the wood at the handle

I always try to leave the natural grown shape of a stave. Usually I end up with a very charming and comfortable handle.

Belly- view at the handle- I´m in love with the natural shape of this handle

The string is made of linen, two- coloured, some natural coloured strands mixed up with some yellow dyed strands.

The padding of string is done with red silk.

Backview of the bow

I left some tracks of the inner bark(cambium) at the back.

The bow at 4" brace- height

The tiller of the bow is looking uneven, but limbs are still twisted a bit, maybe I ´ll try to balance it. Depends on the performance of the bow.

The wood is dry now(12%), I picked up the stave 5 month ago.

In the meanwhile I´ve done some more bows of green wood, I really prefer to do wooden bows of green wood now. I could exercise much more control on the drying- process, the wood seems to be much less stressed by the drying, done the usual way causing splits and twists. Now you´ll always find some preworked green staves fixed at square timbers.

Green wood seems to respond way better to a heat- treatment and could be pre- shaped by just fixing it near to the final shape at a square timber for some weeks.

Bows made of green wood perform as well as bows made of 2 or more years air- dried staves!

I´ll shot the bow for performance this weekend and will update you soon.


Making bows of green wood Vol. 2- A very helpful jig

Another advantage of using green wood for to make selfbows is the possibility to shape it while drying. Vol. 1 was focused on working  a green bowstave a bit longer, wider and thicker than the final dimensions will be. So drying will help us again in making working easier.

But for to draw the drying wood into a shape a jig is needed, a kind of “shaper”. Don´t expect to much what is possible to get. I recommend slight deflex, reflex or recurve. For more curvature I reommend steam- bending( there will be an article about it soon). Anyway I´m not a friend of highly reflexed or recurved bows, maybe they are somehow looking wild or fast, but their performance is often quite disappointing compared with the challenge of making and shooting them.

The jig: as a mindful reader of the bowXplosion you still know it. It´s one of these multi- jigs I prefer so much, it could be used for heat- treating too. And its easy to do.

the jig- sideview, it´s 60" in length

It is made of a squared timber of douglas fir(2″ x 4″ in cross- section). Be generous and choose a real stable timber, maybe some found beech would be a better choice.  The curvature is suited for to get a slightly deflexed bow with long slightly reflexed tips. Usually bowyers have more jigs with different curves: more or no deflex, reflex all over the complete length, more reflex or even some more recurved tips. Anyway it is a good idea to have more than one of such jigs avaible, when a bow made of green wood is drying you can´t use the jig for heat- treating.

.......take care of the right angle.......

The most important thing is to get a right angle all over the length, otherwise you´ll end up with a twisted bow.

Draw parallel lines on the jig- at intervals of about 1/2"

The parallel lines are indicating a center- line for to fix the bow straight.

......the jig could also be used as a ruler for to check the straightness of a bow

Sorry this pic is not to good, but you see the string of this is running just at the edge of the handle:  the bow should be fixed at the jig  so, that the string is running a bit more towards the center of the handle. Heat- treating is so genius, it is possible to correct twists, to add deflex or reflex and at the same time drawweight is increasing!

Heat- treating or drying- jig without curves

Anyway it is possible to use a squared timber without sawing any curves, just straight and stable enough, the shaping could be done by using blocks of wood or cork  as displayed above.

Next volume is dealing with tillering the dried bow.