Stick-n-String Traditional Archery

Roughing Out A Selfbow - Page 2


The next step is to cut her to length.  I look for the best positioning of the handle and make sure I don't have any major problems in bad places.  This is going to be a 65" NTN bow so I leave her at 66.5" to allow for the nocks.

Now I make sure I have the right ring by chasing it a little with the drawknife.  I always go for the ring above the ring I really want first.  This way I can adjust for any mistakes later and it's quicker since I don't have to worry about gouging to much.  Later, this ring just pops off the desired ring with a drawknife held bevel down.  If you try that with too much wood above, you will tear and gouge and screw everything up. With one ring above, there is no purchase for your drawknife to tear or gouge.  It just cuts and that's what we want.

Here's two views of the same pic.  This is the place we got deepest with the bandsaw.  Inside the black circled area is our desired ring.  The red highlight a portion of the ring 2 rings above the desired one just to show you what to look for when chasing these suckers.  More on that next.

Again, 2 views of the same pic.  The different colors highlight the various rings.  Inside the black is our desired ring.  The blue is the next ring.  And the red is the next.

One more time.  Everything below the black line is our desired ring.

It's kind of hard to see but sometimes I get lost.  An easy way to make sure you are working the right ring is to chase it just on the side of the stave.  This part will be cut off later so if you really screw up, no loss.  On tricky rings I will chase both sides and then work my way to the middle.

Here's what we're after so far.  A beautiful stave with a nicely formed backside.  MMMmmm.  Lovely, ain't it.  You'll notice a string weighted on both ends being used to find our centerline.  On stright grained staves like this one, this part is easy.  When you have a snaky stave, following the grain is the best way to find a centerline.  I am going to lay this one out perfectly straight.  I have the longitudinal center marked also.  I will find the straightest point that bisects the stave laterally and then mark it at the ends, the center, and the place where I start my taper on each limb.  The center part of this bow is going to be 1.25" wide.  That's 5/8" on either side of the taper start lines.  The tips are 1/2", so 1/4"on either side of the center line.  That's all I have to mark right now.  But first I have to decide which end is up, a difficult decision at times, obvious at others.  I like to leave the fewest flaws in the lower limb, mainly because Dean Torges told me to.  This is Dean's design from the Hunting the Osage Bow book.  Find it at  Bowyersedge.com .  Buy it.  It's the best $20 you'll spend if you want to make quality bows.

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