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Chasper
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Step by step progress   StandingTree.jpg
« on: July 28th, 2005, 3:37pm »
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Along with my sons, we made our first bow out of some sawmill hickory.  It took a while but finally it looks and shoots pretty good.  But what we really want to do it make a traditional bow starting with a standing tree.  Last night we got started and I'm planning to show some pictures of our progress.  

What I really want is all the advice I can get about what to do next as I post our steps throught he process.

We started with a ash tree that was about 45 years old.  It has been growing in a long abandon strip mine that is scheduled for some long overdue reclaimation, so it needed to be cut.  I cut it high at a place where there was a offset in the trunk, I wanted to save the bottom eight foot log because it is straight.  I don't recommend cutting a large tree up so high but it worked this time.  It dropped exactly where it was supposed to drop... off to a good start.  
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Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress   WithDog.jpg
« Reply #1 on: July 28th, 2005, 3:44pm »
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Next steps:
We got two good logs that are both over eight foot long.  The bottom log is a little more than 24 inches across at the base.  I had hoped to be able to split them into eight staves each, but it is looking like six each is all we are going to get.  The first thing we did was to put a coat of glue over the cut ends to seal the moisture in.  
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Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress   Splitting.jpg
« Reply #2 on: July 28th, 2005, 3:50pm »
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Splitting the log was a lot of work.  I did all of the chainsawing, the boys did almost all of the splitting.  When it starts to split the logs cracks for several minutes without even driving the wedge.
My youngest son said "it sounds like the ice on the lake when we walked across last winter."
"What?  You walked on the ice?" I said.
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Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress   Split.jpg
« Reply #3 on: July 28th, 2005, 3:54pm »
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We had to split it in half to get it on the truck.  How long do we have before it should be split into individual staves?
We started removing the bark and sapwood last night, one half of one log is stripped already.  I know it is easier to strip bark and sapwood at this time of year.  How long do we have to get it off?
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USMC-Sniper
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #4 on: July 28th, 2005, 5:25pm »
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with ash split them into staves right away then remove the bark, the wood right under the bark,( it is white) is the back of the stave. pull the bark off then seal there ends again, put them in a warm dry place stacked so that air can circulate, liek building a fire, but don't keep them vertical cause the bottom end will have a higher mc then the top.
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And as we wind on down the road,
Our shadows taller than our soul,
There walks a lady we all know,
Who shines white light and wants to show,
How every thign still turns to gold,
And if you lsiten very hard,
The truth wil come to you at last,
When all is one, and one is all!
To be a rock and not to roll!!!!
Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #5 on: July 28th, 2005, 6:28pm »
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Right away as in an hour?  24 hours?  A week?  
Thanks for the horizontal stacking directions, I didn't know that.
Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #6 on: July 28th, 2005, 7:55pm »
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right away as in right away, the sooner you get it off the easier it will come off.
24.107.226.192

And as we wind on down the road,
Our shadows taller than our soul,
There walks a lady we all know,
Who shines white light and wants to show,
How every thign still turns to gold,
And if you lsiten very hard,
The truth wil come to you at last,
When all is one, and one is all!
To be a rock and not to roll!!!!
Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress   Curved_Stave.jpg
« Reply #7 on: July 29th, 2005, 10:22am »
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The bark and the sapwood are off, the staves are split, and the ends are sealed again with glue.
Some staves look better than others.  Some are smaller than others.  I'm guessing that I should split the staves down to about 4-5 inches max on the back side.  Right now I have a few that are at least twice than width and can be split again.  
What about a stave that is 6-7 inches around the arc of the outside of the tree?  I'm afraid that if I split it again it will turn into two pieces, neither of which is wide enough.  Is that too big to dry it out and then work it down, or should I work it down to a smaller size now?  What is the optimal size.
And what about the heart wood?  Is there any problem with working the staves down to about 3-4 inches thick now?  Is there any advantage to doing that?  Will they dry quicker and more evenly?
Finally, what about this curved stave in the picture.  Can this be used?  Will the back curve turn into a good feature when/if it finally gets worked into a bow?
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mnewcomb59
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #8 on: August 3rd, 2005, 12:18pm »
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yes that stave has natural reflex and you will have no set. that looks like it would be hard ot work though because it is so massively reflexed. on ash all you have ot do is strip off the bark. u dont ned to take off the sapwood because that is your back. if possible get them down to 1.5 - 2 inches thick b/c they will dry better
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Matt
Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #9 on: August 4th, 2005, 10:22am »
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I don't need to take off the sapwood?  It is already gone, but it was soft spongy pulpy stuff, it scraped off with the edge of a dull hand axe.  Are you calling that part of the bark and not sapwood?
Under the bark/sapwood there is a strong solid layer which I believe to be the outer growth ring.
I'm working the big staves down smaller before leaving them to dry.  Its been 90+ degree everyday since we cut the tree.  I think they are doing some pretty good drying just laying out in the sun every day.
Thanks
Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #10 on: August 4th, 2005, 11:28am »
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oh waht your calling sap wood is the inner bark that solid ring is trhe sapwood, little miss comunication thats all.
24.107.226.192

And as we wind on down the road,
Our shadows taller than our soul,
There walks a lady we all know,
Who shines white light and wants to show,
How every thign still turns to gold,
And if you lsiten very hard,
The truth wil come to you at last,
When all is one, and one is all!
To be a rock and not to roll!!!!
Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress   Skids.jpg
« Reply #11 on: August 4th, 2005, 1:17pm »
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All clear on what sapwood is, thanks.

You may be a redneck......if your work bench is a stack of skids.  

It's not pretty, but it gets the job done pretty well.  If anyone wants the plans to make one of these beauties for yourself--it takes about 5 skids to make a good work bench.  Notice all those convinent gaps between the skids for tool storage.....

There is a little Red Green influence in this bow.
216.49.106.73

Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #12 on: August 8th, 2005, 2:39pm »
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Can someone tell me more about steam bending wood.  I have access to some steam bending equipment (a friend makes interior trim and he bends things like hand rails for spiral stairways).

I'm thinking about taking a couple staves that have propeller-like twists in them and softening the whole stave up in a steam chamber.  I thought I would then clamp it down flat and let it cure that way before I start working it into a bow.

Can anybody give me any insight into bending the whole stave this way?  What if after I get it cut out, I want to put some reflex into the limbs?  Will the second time bending the same piece of wood make it weaker?

Thanks
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Chasper
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Re: Step by step progress   StaveStack.jpg
« Reply #13 on: August 12th, 2005, 1:55pm »
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The staves are all split out and ready to dry.  I have 17 staves, 5 of which are doubles, for a maximum of 22 bows.  I'm hoping to get at least two good bows out of the whole stack.

About 5 staves are straight and seemingly perfect.  Three more are straight but have some bumps from where there were limbs knots deep inside the log, it doesn't affect the clear density of the wood, but they have bumps.  About 5-6 more staves have a little of a propeller effect, they twist from one end to the other.  The last few staves have a natural back set to them, they curve like a banana.

Several of them will spend the next month out in the sun, I'll cover them with a tarp if there is rain in the forecast.  The temp has and will continue to be in the 90s for a few more weeks.    When the weather cools, they will go into the barn.  Some of them are already in the attic with a fan blowing on them 24/7.  The mid-afternoon temp in the attic pegs to the top of the thermometer at 130 degrees.

Four staves are in a kiln at a wood dimension plant.  They will get rehydrated, then slowly dried over 4-6 months.  the kiln adds moisture to wood to keep is from checking as it dries, then it takes the moisture back out slowly.  The other wood in the kiln will get dried down to 5-6% moisture, but when they test at 10% these staves are going to be pulled out.

Now to take a break for a month, build a better work bench, gather together a few other tools and read the next two volumes of The Bowyers Bible.

Chasper

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luckylucky_LUKE
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #14 on: August 12th, 2005, 2:39pm »
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  wow lots of good staves there
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Matt
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Re: Step by step progress  
« Reply #15 on: August 12th, 2005, 4:38pm »
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if i were you i would start working on em green and bring the stave to a near finished bow. then let it dry for a couple of weeks or more oif needed. but make sure the ends are properly sealed.
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Matt
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