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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was trying to get my second bow to the highest weight that I could (with a red oak board), so I basically stopped tillering when it was almost to full draw, never actually took it all the way, assuming it would weaken up just a little bit because my first one did. So I'm trying to get it back just a little farther each time until I can go all the way to full draw, but it is making some scary noises (creaks, pops). It seems like they might be getting less frequent, though... Does this sound like a major problem, or will it work itself out, maybe? It seems like the sounds are getting less frequent, and I'm able to get it back a little farther each time I shoot. If I pulled it to my full draw right now, which is about 29.5", it would probably be about #60 I guess, because it is pulling #55-56 at 28". Am I just trying to push red oak too far, or do you guys think it might work itself out?
Thanks,
Jacob
 

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I'm not a "master bowyer" by any means but I've made a few. Just fair warning here, but every one that made funny noises eventually failed, usually within 100 shots or so. I'm not saying that yours will undoubtably fail also, because I don't know for sure, but get yourself a helmet and some safety glasses.
 

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The good thing about red oak is that if it does go caput, you can have another one in a couple days!

I pushed the red oak threshold a couple times, and stiff handled bows never worked out like that. I had two, both about 75# at 27" blow up after maybe fifty shots. Those noises might be from the handle, and too thick of the limbs would be the cause here. If you don't have enough thickness under the handle lamination, you're asking for a failure at that point. Glue can't hold it down at that point.

Usually the handles WERE the weak links, and the limbs didn't cause me too much grief. How wide is the bow? You might try another one that's slightly shorter than your previous ones, maybe 66" between the nocks (don't worry, I use this length with my 29.5" draw all the time with no big issues). This will get the limbs a little thinner at the same weight. Also, make those limbs really wide. 2 1/2" should be a good way to get the weight up to maybe 70#, and then you can narrow it down to about 60# with 2" wide limbs. Remember, you don't want the limbs more than say, 1/2" thick on the inner limbs or the handle, which shouldn't be more narrow than 1 1/4", will break.

Any of this helpful or am I just ramblin' again:lol:?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes your input is very helpful, any feedback is since I am very new... keep it coming!
This bow is actually 2 1/2" wide at the handle, because I used a "1x3" board. Also, the noises actually seem like they come from somewhere mid-limb, not at the handle. If you say it's possible to make bows that are 70# then maybe this one will be ok after all, since it is only about 60#... sometimes I wonder about the accuracy of my scale, though...
 

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If you're getting more than, say 1 1/2" of string follow the bow will feel lighter until the very end of the draw. Most selfbows have this, and though it might not be actual stack (gaining more than 3# per inch of draw) it just means you don't have alot of early draw. No biggies.

You used the right size board. Alot of people use a 1x2, which is too narrow in my opinion for anything over 45#. You say it's 2 1/2" wide at the handle- is that the actual handle width or the limbs right outside the fades?

As for the cracking in the limbs, that's troubling. Look for knots or grain run offs. Splinters. Did you round the edges of the back? Sharp edges are notorious for lifting splinters, and on the working edge of the limb that could be disaster.
 

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Also! The heaviest successful red oak board bows I've made were D bows, bows that did not have a glued on section of handle. These were made from a 1x2 and were 1 3/8" wide from the middle of one limb to the middle of another. They were the full 3/4" thick in the middle 4", tapering to about 3/8" to 1/2" thick at the tips. Alot of people don't like the grips so wide and thin, but these bows were easy to get at 60-75# without too much trouble- and they rarely broke.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It is 2 1/2" wide past the end of the fades, I didn't start narrowing the board for at least a few more inches. I didn't really round the edges on the back much... maybe that is the problem. I knocked the sharp corners off, but that was about it. (Picture like an 1/8" chamfer) Plus a little light sanding with sandpaper. Also, I did these things after putting the cloth in glue on the back. But you have to put the backing material on before tillering, right? Maybe I could've rounded the back some before I put the backing on and before I started tillering...
I don't know...

After reading about the no set tillering method, I will be doing a few things different next time. I am learning so much so quickly I don't even finish a bow before I realize I'm doing something wrong and want to start on the next one using what I've learned. It's awesome!
 

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That's the fun part, and why this is all so addicting.

You needn't round the edges before you back the bow. What you did is fine. However, I think that if there's no obvious reason it should fail then it's just a matter of an unseen flaw that will manifest itself in the manner of, as Rob put it, "boom!"

Just keep building and the laws of probability will have to be on your side;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This bow finally blew up on me last night during target practice from a tree stand. It's really dry in my house and outside right now and I wonder if the wood being dried out made a difference...
I probably got 300 to 400 shots from it total. I'll look at it today in the light but I think the board I used just didn't have the best grain. It broke about where I thought the sounds were coming from, mid-limb on the bottom half.
 
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