bow wood

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bow wood

Postby asurvivor » Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:05 am

hi i was wondering if anyone can list wood that is good for a bow. i have experience in archery with a modern fiberglass bow but i want to get a good wood bow. the ones in the store are too much money for a 11 year old. i also would like to hunt small game with it (if my parents let me.) :)
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Postby Curdog » Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:04 pm

In your area, try White Ash or Hickory.
Its lighter to take a full head than a full pack!
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Postby Aquacopter » Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:40 pm

Some of the best woods to use are Osage or Yew. I am going to be making a bow out of birch which I have heard can be used.
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Postby asurvivor » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:27 pm

thanks i dont have any osage or yew trees around me but il check for white ash and hickory.


will oak or maple work?
"Man can live about 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope"
-anonymous
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Postby Curdog » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:10 am

Yes, but I do not like them as well as the others. In Up-state New York, you also have service berry or June berry- same thing (Amelenchier sp.) Try that one- it is a good choice too.
Its lighter to take a full head than a full pack!
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Bow wood

Postby paul vallandigham » Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:58 pm

Yes, you do have Osage Orange Trees in New York state. They are the wood used in the 1930 vintage windbreaks on farms, and have those ugly green, fruits the size of a large grape fruit on them. If you can any lumber yard, they can find you some osage fence posts. You also have Hickory trees all over the state. That is a much better choice for making a bow, than oak, or maple. At 11 years old, you need to do a lot more reading, than making bows. MOst of the classic books on archery and bow making are available through your public library, either in its collection, or through an interlibrary loan service. Primitive Archery, Traditional Bowhunting, and The Backwoodsman are three magazines where you will find articles and references to books, videos, or dvds, and sources for wood to make bows and arrows. Contact T & Me.com and ask them to send you their catalogue. Its full of goodies for traditonal bow maker, and Joe is an expert arrow maker.
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Postby asurvivor » Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:20 pm

thanks all of you i will surely look for all those trees and ill try and get more iinfo on bow making. thanks again!
"Man can live about 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope"
-anonymous
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Re: bow wood

Postby Raiders2win » Fri May 15, 2009 9:49 am

Hard rock maple is great for bows to spite the previous comments. Byron Ferguson uses hard maple for his bows, and he is hands down the best shooter. I have made several from hard maple and they are absolutly great. I would also recommend looking in the Yellow Pages in your area for some wood stores. They frequently sell a variety of types of wood that is already dry. You just need to pay attention to the grain of the wood to determine what is suitable for bow use. Hope this helps...
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Re: bow wood

Postby Curdog » Tue May 19, 2009 11:28 am

"Hard rock maple is great for bows to spite the previous comments."

?

Doesn't Byron Ferguson shoot laminated bows?
Its lighter to take a full head than a full pack!
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Re: bow wood

Postby dixieangler » Sat May 23, 2009 11:10 am

Groan. Guess I will have to go see if I can find a Mulberry tree. :roll: It is suppose to be one of the preferred woods. Where I am, we don't have Ash, Black Locust, Lemonwood (still not sure if this is a citrus lemon or not), Yew, Osage, Hickory, or White Oak that I know of. Some of those are in North Florida.

Which is better, branch staves or trunk staves? I think I read somewhere that trunk staves were better because the growth rings are thicker but I am not sure. I would not be able to harvest it until Fall/Winter when the sap is low and I still have to find a Mulberry but I would like to know which would be better ahead of time. Okay, I found a passage in McPherson, "a flat outer surface will make a stronger bow because this higher percentage of forces is spread over a wider surface. The smaller the tree or limb, the rounder the outer surface, the more tension exerted in a smaller area." We know that wood fails first under compression, not tension. That means the belly will give before the back of a bow. We work the belly and can make that flat. The back of the bow is the part we do not have control over and do not want to touch. McPherson does not say which is better and uses both branch and trunk wood but the trunk wood seems like it would have a flatter outer surface rather than a more rounded surface like a smaller branch. I guess it just boils down to the size of the branch or trunk.

This is not something I am looking forward to, curing time, all the heating, bending, shaping, tillering, maybe backing, wood treating, etc. Very long term project if I do it right (as McPherson shows). I could make a quicker single stave bow (shorter curing time) that won't last as long (like Tom Brown shows) but I would rather make one to last longer if I invest as much time on it. I think I would rather buy a good wood recurve but I need to make one (using primitive means) just so I will know I could. Archery is something I am not new to though with all the shooting of modern bows I have done.
- Robert M.

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Re: bow wood

Postby dixieangler » Sun May 24, 2009 12:37 pm

I am thinking of harvesting at least two Mulberry staves. I think I might back one of them (after made into a bow) with Yucca leaf fibers using pine pitch (tar) rather than sinew with hide glue and then see if I can overcoat it with vegetable (plant) oil (rather than wrap it with animal intestines or snake skin). I will probably not back the other one and just overcoat with vegetable (plant) oil. This is all just speculation at this point. LOL Not even sure if the pine pitch would work better than hide glue.
- Robert M.

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me." - Paul, c. A.D. 60 (Philippians 4:13)
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Re: bow wood

Postby Kingoftheflock » Tue May 26, 2009 11:47 am

osage orange and yew are the trees that will yield the best ones, but theyre alot more difficult to work with. on top of that, if you dont have the trees around, its really expensive to buy a staff of either, on top of that, youll have to realize that without enough experience, the wood will snap. white woods are easier to work with, they are alot more common, theyre easier to tiller, and theyll work fine. im trying to make a shortbow out of american birch, and it bends pretty well, but i bent it too much and it snapped, so i had to start over. its all on your preference and what is currently availible to you.
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Re: bow wood

Postby Curdog » Tue May 26, 2009 2:12 pm

Lemonwood (still not sure if this is a citrus lemon or not),

No- it is not citrus lemon. It is also called Degame, and was native to cuba and maybe parts of Central America. I have been told it is available as an introduced species in South Florida.
Its lighter to take a full head than a full pack!
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Re: bow wood

Postby dixieangler » Tue May 26, 2009 6:30 pm

Yeah. Thanks for clearing that up about the Lemonwood, Curdog.
- Robert M.

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me." - Paul, c. A.D. 60 (Philippians 4:13)
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Re: bow wood

Postby dixieangler » Tue May 26, 2009 7:31 pm

Kingoftheflock wrote:white woods are easier to work with, they are alot more common, theyre easier to tiller, and theyll work fine. im trying to make a shortbow out of american birch, and it bends pretty well, but i bent it too much and it snapped, so i had to start over. its all on your preference and what is currently availible to you.


Maybe but I would rather use preferred wood if I can find it. Like McPherson says, "About any wood will make a bow.....BUT!!! There are certainly preferences. I have read of Willow, Cottonwood, and Sycamore being used by some early Indians...not of preference, but because of availability."

dixieangler wrote:the bow will have a tendency to follow the string but the string following can be good (less following) or bad (more following) depending on the type (strength) of the wood being used so wood types do matter. That is why there are preferred woods over available woods.
- Robert M.

"I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me." - Paul, c. A.D. 60 (Philippians 4:13)
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