I´ve had a very busy time the last months, now it´s time for to relax and to study this highly interesting topic: Hysteresis in wooden bows. A great work of Dick Baugh of “Primitiveways”. I always thought hysteresis to be the final key in making great performing wooden bows. So go for: Internal friction in bow limbs and: Bow and arrow efficiency.
About 20 years ago I´ve harvested a short sapling of juniper at the coast of Southern Toscana near the wonderful Elba Island. I’ ve made my first West Coast style juniper shortie of it.
I love these bows, even it is hard to find a fitting stave of juniper or yew, even they are delicious to tiller. Some of these trials broke, the others turned out to be long lasting and great shooters. Due to the shortness of these bows, they are not that effective in penetration, but shot with matching arrows and a drawlength of about 23″ usually at 40-50lbs they are fast and a highly mobile weapon. Juniper or yew backed with sinew( usually one layer is enough) is a killer- lam.
I prefer to shoot these bows with the traditional fore shaft arrows and bone- tips. The West Coast arrows were made of a main shaft of reed and bone- or stone- tips. The needed thick- walled reed doesn’ t grow in Europe, so I go for small bamboo. Cause of my great experiences with well- grown larch, I use larch as a fore- shaft.
Usually I cut the main- shaft as long as the bow’s drawlength.
The West Coast bow is definitely the bow of Ishi, whom nowadays bowyers are owing a lot. Go here and there for further Information.
I’ ve never posted my favourite tools for bowmaking. But the truth is that I’ m using them daily and they deserve to be honoured. Especially right now, since some weeks I’ m very proud of having purchased a SIGMA DP2– camera. This camera is a dream for people, who like to care for details and to take pics by their own, not automatically. SIGMA- cameras are working with a FOVEON– sensor, all other cameras are using a BAYER- sensor, the FOVEON is another capablity making SIGMA- cameras so different. SIGMA- cameras are made for selfbowyers! So my SIGMA DP2 has become another daily tool for my work.
The hatchet and the adze are presents of 2 guys from Turkey, who did some of my bow- classes. It is a good old custom in Turkey to make a gift to a teacher or a master, these tools are meaning a lot to me, they are made in local blacksmith shops in Turkey and I’ m using them a lot.
This drawknife is working the best for, during the last 20 years I’ ve really been using a lot of different types of drawknife, but this one is my favourite. It’s not to long, the globular handles are charming my hands very properly. The blade is made of real thick steel. It is made by the French ARNAUD BROTHERS COMPANY.
The knife with the moose-handle is a beauty and a great tool, which I’ m using daily. The blade is about 300 years old, maybe it has been used for killing, its sheer age leaves space for fantasy. It is made by a former friend of mine, a pastry chief, who was famous for his scrimshaw works too. He made the knife, I made him a plains- bow of osage, hey, that is the real deal. No money!
Favourite tools are almost like an extension of my hands and fingers, I don’t feel comfort or a bit helpless when I’ ve to use other knifes or hatchets. I can’ t work without them, it’s like being married.
I prefer blades not to sharp for bow- making, otherwise the blades will “bite” to deep into the wood. Usually my moose- knife is very sharp for working hard and knotty areas in a stave, it is my tool of choice when fine- tillering a bow.
Next post is dealing with my progress on the “zero- brace- height- bow, this design is so delicious, everybody is foretelling its explosion.