Last volume was dealing with the final shaping of the horn- lam. Now the horn- lam has to be backed with sinew- fibres. But before backing the prod has to be wrapped with bundles of sinew- fibres.
About a quarter of prod´s thickness will be the sinew- backing, 3- 4 layers of sinew- fibre- bundles has to be prepared. According to a total length of 30″ minus the recurves about 25″ of the prod´s length and an average- width of 2″ incl. the sides of the prod , so about 50 sq.inches have to be backed. As a total that means 4-5 buffalo- leg- sinews have to be spliced, at least a job of 8h.
Waiting time! At first I planned to finish the prod in April or May, that´s to less time for the polymerisation. I´ll do it at the end of August, 9 month after having backed the prod.
So next volume will be focused on the braced and ready to final tiller- work prod.
Sorry, sorry again, for this time-delayed report about the making of the prod for the crossbow. The prod is almost ready, maybe within the next 2 weeks I´ll go to do the final tillering.
The final shaping of the horn- lam is a delicious job to do, cause while drying horn-lams are more or less twisting sidewards. The job to do is to end up with a straight, symetrically prod- lengthwise, in width and in thickness with oval cross- sections. The cross- section of the recurves should be rectangular. I don´t use any machine for this job, machines are nothing else but very fast hand- tools, too fast for delicious jobs, no machine can replace the feeling I got from shaping and tillering thousands of bows by my own hands.
A rough shaping has been done, the recurves had been spliced in, time for final shaping.
My wife will use the horn- splinters as a fertilizer in our garden. The white lines on the back are cutted through glue- lines.
I´ve even bent it some 5″ for to check an even tiller of the 2 limbs– if you do bend a horn- lam the first time, it´s a horrible experience, cracks and cracks, that´s the usual sound………when I bent my first horn bow years ago, my nerves were done.
Next volume is dealing with the sinew– wrapping and sinew- backing of the horn- prod
It is a must to degrease the wood or the horn, don´t use some of these chemical killers, just use a solution of water and pure wooden ashes. Take care: this is a killer too, it´s a base, historically used for degreasing, use some working gloves.
Wether to apply a sinew-backing to a wooden bow or to a hornbow, to precoat with a thin solution of glue several times is an additional must. Otherwise the glue can´t penetrate deep enough the wood or horn, the glueline is not as stable as it could be.
The sinew- backing needs to be well organized: the workshop has to be well tempered, the glue has to be heated up to 140F or 60C, too much heat will destroy the glue. To less heat will leave the glue to tough.
A dish of lukewarm water has to be prepared for to soak the sinew- fibre bundles about 2 minutes.
Thebow has to be fixed in a small vice.
The glue has to be kept to the right temperature with some tealights. The containers used for soaking the fibre- bundles and for the glue have to fit the length of the fibres.
Go on applying bundles towards the tip of the first limb. Usually 1 bundle will cover about 1/2″ of the width of a bow´s limb. The bundles should be applied staggered for not to end up with a running through the width glue-line.
The guy helping me this post to become true is Stefan, making a Hun- type style hornbow(asymmetrical). It´s his first sinew- backing. The sinew- backing just covers the v- splice with the siyahs.
Two additional layers will have to be applied. 2 – 3 layers of sinew- backing is enough, wether it is a wooden bow or a hornbow. Otherwise to much weight is added to the bow. Waiting time is beginning just right now. The elders have left a sinew- backed bow for 4-8 months alone. I don´t know why a lot of modern “primitive bowyers” are ignoring the fact that the so- called drying of a sinew- backing is in truth a polymerization. Polymerization needs its time!
“Time is a healer, where is the patient? “(T.S.Eliot)
Next volume is dealing with the tillering of a sinew- backed bow.
The first bracing of the crossbow will be soon, I think it will be in April, my report about its making of is time delayed.
After having “puzzled” pieces of horn to a solid block, the block needs to be roughly shaped and the recurves have to be attached. I wanted to use antler as recurves, but I can´t get any antler solid enough for a heavy hornbow, so I ended up in using tips of the waterbuffalo- horns I´ve used anyway for the bow.
There is a slight reflex in it, that´s what I wanted, don´t care about any imperfections here, the hornbow needs to be shaped, it´s still to wide, to thick to long.
The bow has to be cut according to a centerline at 23″ in length, width is 11/2″ in the center, tapering to 1″ at the beginning of the recurves, thickness is about 3/4″ . Thickness and oval cross- section will be worked before wrapping and backing bow.
The recurves will be spliced in, the splice measures 3 3/4″ in length, the recurve itself is 4″ in length. So the bow will end up at 31″ in length.
A v- splice is stable enough, even at such high draw- weights, the bow will be wrapped with sinew- fibers completely and sinew- backed. When the splice is cut the recurve will be worked for to fit in the bow.
For a proper glueing all glue lines are criss- cross hatched with a saw- blade, before final glueing is done, the glue- lines have to be coated with a thin solution of hide-glue.
Next volume is dealing with the shaping of the cross- section, the wrapping and backing of the bow with sinew.