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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This past week I decided to build a bow and it's been going fairly well so far. It's a 70" nock-to-nock Longbow made of a fiberglass backed red oak board with a red oak riser. Yesterday I made a tillering tree and took the plunge:


Unfortunately I timed things all wrong and didn't have a tillering string ready. I used some strong electrical wire that seems to be holding up, but I won't be doing any further tillering with it if you guys think using the wire is a bad idea. In this picture the "string" is at 5" below the back of the riser.

I've only pulled the bow to 25# with the string 10" behind the back of the riser:


Can you see anyting glaringly wrong so far? Should I go ahead and start to pull further? My completely uneducated goal with this one is to be 45-50# draw weight at 30" (I'm a lanky guy). Am I on track to hit that goal with what you see here?

Thank you very much for any advice you can give.

As a bonus here is a picture of the bow in it's new Floridian habitat ;) :
 

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Give it a more "agressive" thickness taper. I'm hoping you put piberglass on the belly too, or that bow will wind up being junk. Fiberglass is VERY strong in tensions and compression, where as oak isn't. It will overpower it and kill it (alot of string follow and poor cast). I would also narrow the tips further, as narrow tips make a bow faster, and produce less hand shock.

Also, try using Para cord for a tillering string. Wire might give out on you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for pointing out those concerns. No, I didn't glass the belly as well. I did, however use a lightweight fiberglass, hopefully that will help. I was just taking out some insurance on my first bow hoping to have it not break. Well, at this point I'll just keep going and chalk it up to a learing experience.

Could you expand a little more on the "aggressive taper"? Do you mean that I should thin it out more from belly to back or on the sides? As it sits now it goes from 3/4" at the handle to 1/4" at the tip. and 1.5" at the handle to 1/2" at the tips, width-wise.

I've already ordered some (real) paracord and it should be here in a couple days, I just got impatient and wanted to see what it looked like on the tree :)
 

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For your next one, I'd suggest backing it with rawhide -- whitetail deer rawhide to be exact. Red oak is somewhat weak in compression. Even using bamboo as a backing can lead to a belly that fretts and gives way. Rawhide provides excellent insurance against raising a splinter or fracturing the back while not over powering the belly.
 

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I found that using a hickory backing works pretty well on Red Oak.....on your next bow try working with a piece of Hickory....you can back it with anything you want or nothing at all...depending on the piece of wood you use....make sure you exercise the limbs on your current project after shaving off any wood.....if you put your tillering tree up against a peg board or a grid of some kind it will show you if one limb is bending further than the other....I set mine up against the siding on my house and use the siding lines....the key is to work slowly at this point....Steve
 

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As was said- rawhide and hickory work wonders. Though thin cow hide (as from the rawhide chew toys) will work if you can't get deer rawhide (which cna be tough to get).

Also, check out the build along I did for a simple selfbow, ://www.archerytalk.com/vb/showthread.php?t=755572

I cover the dimensions you could use, simple "beginner" tillering, and a few notes on design. It won't make you a master bowyer, but it will put a good bow in your hand with the minimal time and money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Just wanted to post an update- The bow is done and shooting arrows in the general direction that I point them ;) No idea how well it shoots since I haven't shot a bow since I was about 13, but hey it works and that's good enough for the moment.

Full draw:


Front profile:


I made some gear to go with the bow. I work at a furniture store and they are always throwing out leather samples. I save them and turn them into stuff like this:


It has a bit of set, which is exaggerated in this picture because the trunk is curved- I'd say it's about 2.5 inches when first unstrung.



Overall I'm happy with how it turned out. It was a great learing experience- and I hope to take that experience into my next bow, which of course I'm already planning. I'm thinking maybe a bamboo backed ipe reflex/deflex. Or maybe I'll just go cut down a hickory from my yard and try a selfbow. Either way I'm sure it will be fun. Thanks for everyones help, I appreciate it.
 

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Good job! Looks pretty good!

My only suggestion is that the tips seem to be bending just a little more than I would like to see...but other than that...it's got to feel good to have made a shooter ;)

Ray ;)
 

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Very nice. I really like your arm gaurd- very neat!

As for your next bow- do both. Cut the hickory, split it in half, and peeel the back off. Let it sit in a warm dry spot for 6-12 months. In the mean time, try the boo/ipe bow. I'd say keep it straight (I've really never seen any point to R/D in wooden bows- the extra mass takes up all the "speed boost", and are very hard to tiller) though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My only suggestion is that the tips seem to be bending just a little more than I would like to see...but other than that...it's got to feel good to have made a shooter ;)

Ray ;)
As I was tillering I thought that may have been the case. I think part of the problem may have been that I was doing most of the tillering on the tips before I reached my full draw- which is 30 inches. A lesson learned there, for sure.

Very nice. I really like your arm gaurd- very neat!

As for your next bow- do both. Cut the hickory, split it in half, and peeel the back off. Let it sit in a warm dry spot for 6-12 months. In the mean time, try the boo/ipe bow. I'd say keep it straight (I've really never seen any point to R/D in wooden bows- the extra mass takes up all the "speed boost", and are very hard to tiller) though.
I like the way you think! This weekend will be spent cutting and shopping for wood :)

Anyone have any good online sources for Ipe and bamboo slats? Sadly around here my choices are very limited.
 

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As I was tillering I thought that may have been the case. I think part of the problem may have been that I was doing most of the tillering on the tips before I reached my full draw- which is 30 inches. A lesson learned there, for sure.



I like the way you think! This weekend will be spent cutting and shopping for wood :)

Anyone have any good online sources for Ipe and bamboo slats? Sadly around here my choices are very limited.
Cheap bamboo, that can be used for bows if the batch you get isn't fotten, can be had from Frank's Cane & Rush supply. As for ipe, my father is in construction and got some for decks from specialty hardwood dealers. You can get them pre glued from 3 Rivers, but it limits your dimensions and creativity.
 

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That's a great job you did for your first bow....now your hooked for life.....as I am....you may want to take a look at rudderbows.com.......I order alot of my bow building materials from them....great people to deal with.....I'm finishing up a tri-lam bow from them now....it's Bamboo/EPE/Hickory....R/D.....your leather work looks great too....Steve
 
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