Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Off to a Good Start

Well, this year is starting out much better than last year. Not only have I avoided diverticulitis, but last year's hospital stay will - in a weird way - help us out at tax time. And I have been far more productive in the shop than all of last year combined.  It started off with finishing a couple of stained glass transoms for a couple in town.

Which was fun, because I've never done a piece as big as the one above their front door.

Then I dove in headfirst into making a go of the Bluefeather business, and ordered a slew of knife parts, bow parts and other stuff. For a few days it was like Christmas around here for me. Boxes arriving from afar filled with fun things for me to build in the shop.

I cranked out my first knife of the year...

A nice 440C steel blade with mammoth tooth scales and brass bolsters.

And I built a test bow out of hickory...

The reason it is a test bow is
1. I've never built anything out of hickory, and different species of wood have different working qualities.

2. I was using a build method that I got from an e-book from the good folks at Rudderbows, and wanted to make sure I could do the process from start to finish for when I go down to Mom and Dads in March. I'm going to be teaching Dad and my nephew Harrison, and maybe his mom and dad, how to build bows of various styles.

3. I've never built a reflex/deflex bow before and tillering them is a little different from tillering a straight bow.

As for the testing...
1. Hickory is pretty amazing stuff. It is very dense and makes a fine bow. I was able to make the limbs of the bow thinner than I thought and still make the bow pull at 45 lbs. at 28 inches, which is over what you'd need to hunt with, if you do that sort of thing. The hickory grain comes off in little strings almost, that can develop into big chunks of wood, so fine sanding is a must. Overall I would use this again for bows. It is good stuff!

2. The bow form in the e-book worked great. As did their instructions. Though the book is on how to make a bamboo backed ipe bow, I figured the theory was the same. It was, and I am confident that my next few bows will be even better using that method.

3. The tiller could have come out a little bit better, as the top limb bends a little less than the bottom, and usually you want that the other way around. I could have corrected it, but the weight would have dropped and it seems to shoot just fine anyway.

I used bloodwood for trim and tips, and oak for the top of the riser (handle). Next time, I'll replace that with hickory.

All told, it is a very powerful bow, and I'm pretty pleased with it. I'm going to take it up to the Footed Shaft next week some time and let them shoot it to tell me what they think, and to recommend what arrows to shoot off of it.  Should be fun.

So.  I've got a pretty good start on 2012. I'm going to continue to attack these days and fill them with as much as I can. I've still got projects for a few people to get done, and until I puzzle out how to do some of them, I'll keep making knives and bows. I've got parts for five more knives and six or seven bows. That'll keep me busy!

More Later

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