Longbow build along part one

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Longbow build along part one

Postby rancid crabtree » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:40 pm

I posted this on another forum but thought I would also post it here. I am not currently working on this bow (even though the posts will look like I am) I finished the bow last spring.

I am going to show the steps in making this bow for my son. This will be a build along sort of thread

This bow will be a reflex/deflex Long bow. It is a hybrid combination of a longbow and a recurve. Longbows are typically straight when unstrung and recurves are still curved even when unstrung. This bow will look sort of like a recurve while unstrung and like a longbows when strung.

Here is a pic I stole off the web to give you an idea of what I am going for.

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The woods I am using for Josh's bow are the same ones I use to make knife handles. For the most part, they are South American hardwoods. The riser will be made from Bubinga, Bloodwood and good old American hard rock maple from a tree my Dad cut many years ago. Sort of a legacy piece of wood, cut by my Dad, Made into a bow by me and finally used by my son. I will also use some of the Maple in the limbs.

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this is the order in which I will stack the layers.

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Most S.A. hardwoods have oils in them that make gluing difficult, so I use acetone to clean and degrease. Blood wood and purple hear are some of the oiliest. You can see the orange oil in the basin of the sink. It took a long time to clean that sink. I should have sprayed it with pam first. :oops:

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Once cleaned, I used a hacksaw blade as a scrapper to rough up all the gluing surfaces. Epoxy does not like smooth surfaces.

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The glue I am using can be purchased at a number of bow building web sites. This is a two part epoxy that gets stronger if cured under a heated condition. This is important because if you leave the bow in a hot car on a sunny day, The glue had better have been cured at a high temp to keep the bow from de-laminating.

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It mixes like any other epoxy.

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Make sure to cover your work surfaces with wax paper or plastic wrap. It is hard to clean up any spills. Then simply butter both sides of the surfaces to make sure you have no dry spots that will later separate.

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I use spring clamps because C-clams will get loose during the heating process when the glue oozes out. (trust me, there is a lot of oozing) :( Spring clamps keep a constant pressure at all times.

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I then take the riser and put it in a preheated oven. Bake for 8 hours at 180F until a nice golden brown and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream . ::)

When it comes time to glue up the bow itself, I will build an oven box that is 6 feet long as the bow will not fit in the oven. I will heat this box with 100 watt light bulbs.

Fast forward 8 hours and a few more hours for a slow cool down period and the riser is all glued up. The rubber tips of the clamps need to be pried from the glue.

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Next, I ran the block through my table saw to square it up and remove the excess glue.

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Then I drew the riser pattern on the wood and cut it out with a band saw and sanded the fade outs on a drum sander.

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This glue is a flexible epoxy. Normal hardware store epoxy would crack and break if bent like this.

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Make sure to use only enough glue for the job at hand. A little goes a long way.

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I now need to make the form that I will use to glue the bow on and I need to make the heat box.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby rancid crabtree » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:42 pm

Before I can go any further with Josh's bow, I need to build the form that the bow will be glued together on. There are a lot of ways to go about this and forms can be made many ways but I chose a way that seemed easy to me.

I bought a nice straight 2 x 10 and traced the form that I came up with onto the wood.

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Then cut it out with a jig saw.

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I then went over the entire length of the curve with a square to make sure there were no twists in the form. Any irregularities were taken out by sanding.

In order to keep the form straight over time and in the heat of the oven box, I screwed a few 2x4's along both sides. They will also act as feet to keep the form from tipping over. Next, I covered the entire curve with a piece of 1/8th inch thick by 1 1/2 wide aluminum strip. This will make the the curve a much better surface to build the laminations on and it will be more repeatable should I want to build more bows from this form. This form will build bows up to 70 inches in length. This bow will be a 66 inch model.

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I need to drill a bunch of clamp holes along the curve for the spring clamps but that will have to wait for another day.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby rancid crabtree » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:43 pm

I spent some time today, making the clamp holes in the form. When I assemble the bow, I plan to use spring clamps to compress all the layers of wood, fiberglass and epoxy together.

I drilled big round holes and then used a jig saw to square up the side of the hole closest to the top surface. This will give the clamps a little more room.

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I will use one clamp on each side of the limb. Like this.

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I also got a package in the mail today from Old Master Crafter of Waukegan, IL. I ordered the wood laminations a few days ago and these things showed up a lot faster than I was told they would. (Great Service) It does not look like much for about $60 but what it is, is 6 taper ground action wood strips that are .065" thin on one end that taper at .001" per inch of length. The strips are 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. they came protected by two nice looking strips of Zebra wood. I will use them for knife handles at a later date.

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I placed the thick end of one piece next to the thin end of another so you can see the taper.

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Each limb will get three of these tapers and one strip of parallel thickness Hard rock Maple that is from the piece of wood my Father cut so many years ago. This is the same piece of wood that I used in the riser.

On the front and back of each limb will be a thin layer of Kingwood and then clear fiberglass. All of this will be assembled with the same epoxy I used to make the riser but first I need to assemble an oven box.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby rancid crabtree » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:44 pm

On Sat. Morning, I built the oven box for the bow form. I will spare you the details since it's just a box made from scrap plywood that was left over from another project. I will say that It is 12 inches high and 22 inches wide and 74 inches long. By removing 6 screws at each end of the box, I can reduce the box to four individual panels for easy storage.

You will also notice that the box has neither a top or bottom. The reason for not having a bottom is so that I can bring the box to the form that will be covered in oozing epoxy and many clamps (creating a challenge to move) I would rather bring the box to the form.

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With the box complete, I assembled the heat source that I will use to raise the inside temp of the box to 160F. A trip to the Home Depot for the supplies ran me about $30.

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The first step was to get rid of those pesky warning labels. Nobody reads them any way. The extension cord company knows I am not going to read the label in English so why would they expect me to read it in Spanish? I hope the extension cord labels are not like mattress labels. I would have to spend time behind bars for removing them.

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Once I cut the extension cord into bits, I wired the light bulb bases together in series so that one plug would power them all.

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A quick test revealed that I had had paid attention in shop class.

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I placed the form between the two light bulb boards and brought the box to the form. My Son will need to help with this part as the box is a bit long to handle alone. Everything fits nicely.

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The cover of the box will be an old closet door from our last house. It is hollow so it is light enough to move around and it was free.

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I drilled a hole in the door and inserted the probe of a thermometer. This way, I can keep tabs on the temp inside the box without opening it and letting the heat escape. My wife won't be cooking a turkey for a few months anyway.

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After two hours with the bulbs on, the temp never got above 135F. I will replace the 100 watt bulbs with 150 watt bulbs and add two additional bulbs to the boards

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The next test will include covering the oven box with a canvas to trap the heat better. I think 2 extra bulbs should do the trick.

The next step will be to make a test bow out of scrap material so I get the feel for the assembly process and so that I can check the glued up trial piece for any warps that I will be able to correct before wrecking a bunch of expensive woods and fiberglass. It is a piece of mind exercise.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby rancid crabtree » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:44 pm

In order to evaluate the bow form, I built a mock up. I bought a pine, 2 x 6 and cut it into strips that were .065 thick.

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Before gluing the strips together, I protected the form with two layers of tape. It will be easier to remove and replace the tape then it will be to try and chip away any excess glue from the form.

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Next, I covered the surfaces of the form with plastic wrap to keep it clean.

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I used yellow wood glue for the mock up. It did not require the oven box. Once all the layers were covered in glue, I used clamps and strips of rubber inner tube to compress the layers.

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In the center section (where the riser will be) I added a few extra strips.

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After 24 hours, I removed the clamps and the plastic wrap. There was no "Spring back" or relaxing of the wood strips. I then took the mock up and reversed it on the form to see if it was symmetrical and it fit the form equally in either orientation.

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I checked for twists in the limbs and found none.

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I then placed the riser against my chest and grabbed both limb tips and began to flex the bow. Since I did not have any fade outs and the ridged glue does not like to flex (and the pine had many knots) both limbs broke

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This allowed me to nest the limbs and look for any twists or differences between the two. Everything looked good.

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I think all is ready to assemble Josh's bow. Now I just need to find the time to actually do it. Since I will want to baby sit the oven box for the 8 hours that it will cook
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby rancid crabtree » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:45 pm

I took the advice of some folks and insulated the inside of the oven box. I bought a roll of insulation that is made from a double layer of bubble wrap with heavy duty foil on both faces. It is just under a 1/4 inch thick and lightweight.

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I used a staple gun to attach it to the inside walls of the box and to the under side of the box cover.

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I then added two additional light bulb bases to the boards that I had made up earlier. I used 100 watt bulbs in the center two bases so now I have (4) 150 watt bulbs and (2) 100 watt bulbs.

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After one hours, the temp had risen to my goal temp of 160F. I felt the outside of the box in several locations and could not feel any heat escaping through the walls or lid.

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After 2 hours, the temp had risen above my goal but I consider this a good thing since I will now be able to crack the lid a bit or perhaps unscrew one bulb to control the temp.

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The oven box is finished and ready for the big day.

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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby rancid crabtree » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:46 pm

I did a dry run and found something I never thought through (Which is the point of a dry run)

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While the riser fits great on the empty form, adding the strip of fiberglass backing, four tapered laminations and the fiberglass face caused the fade-outs to lit poorly. I did not factor in the tapering of the laminations as they work away from the center of the riser. I discovered a gap at the fade-out area. I felt this gap was larger than it should be and do not want a large amount of epoxy at this hinge point. I might just be over cautious but I want a better fit and a consistent glue line. The dark black area near the thinest part of the riser is what I am worried about.

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I sanded down the riser until it fit better.

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I also made some tillering attachments that will slide on the end of the un-shaped limbs before I taper the sides and make the string groves. they are made from 4large washers that I epoxied together and cut notches in

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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby rancid crabtree » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:47 pm

Since this blog is picture heavy, I will start page two to make it faster to load.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby allen1938@att.net » Wed May 26, 2010 10:02 pm

Help.......I am a bit of hard luck lately. My bows are breaking.........I am building ipe/bamboo bows 60" about 60 lbs.I am using Bow Grip 100 from Rudder Bows.I groove the lams deep and get the oil inthe wood with denatued alcohol and use lots of epoxy. I am 72 years old and have been making bows about 3 years.This is ageing me to fast...........Any one have any thoughts, I like to learn new things. Thanks for the help. Allen
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby Greywolf » Wed May 26, 2010 10:48 pm

Aloha Allen

Do you have any pictures? Where are the "breaks" occuring? Bamboo back bows breaking is a tough item. Not to say it's not happening, but we need a little more infor to help ya out.
Okie will be along soon,

I'm sure there's something that always occuring that shouldn't. can you take pics of the the limb thicknesses and how it's goin together?
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby Okie » Thu May 27, 2010 7:00 am

Yes we need pics.
I've had a run of bad luck with BBO's lately. I'm thinkin I got some bad boo. Are you inducing a lot of reflex/deflex into your bows?
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby allen1938@att.net » Thu May 27, 2010 8:54 am

Hey guys Thanks for the come back on my Ipe/bamboo bows breaking .I built this bow on a form Howard Hill style straight limbs 3/4 " set back ,four lams, Ipe handle. Seems to have broke on the outside bamboo lam. I just got this new shipment of bamboo,can I do anything to bamboo to make it wook? Seemed to dry is that possible? I will try anything you guys suggest.................Thanks Allen allen1938 @att.net I have pictures if I can figure out how to get them on here.....not real computer smart...........
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby allen1938@att.net » Thu May 27, 2010 7:14 pm

Hopefully, you will find my photo of the broken Ipe/bamboo bow attached.

Allen
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby allen1938@att.net » Thu May 27, 2010 7:46 pm

Well guys ...Ithink I might have some more info on my Ipe/bamboo breakage . The limb was almost 1/2 " right before the tips. Also I tighten my " C " clamps down really tight, could I be starving the epoxy out of the laminations ? ..... When I put the string on it , over the hip style ,it strung real heavy on one side .I knew I would have a real tillering job. Then it .....broke taking the string off. Hope this helps . thanks Allen
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby Greywolf » Thu May 27, 2010 10:32 pm

I flat my boo just pasted the nodes so it will glue up flat and smooth. Once I get it to flat I hit it well with a toothing plane. I also tooth the wood too. I have only used Urac 185, and made use the boo is clean on the flat area with 95% denatured alcohol. I use C clamp every three inches with out skipping any areas even if they are 1/2 inch apart at the handle or fades.

I wait till the glue has cured for 48 hrs before I mark out the bow and rough cut the shape on the bandsaw. When I start shaping the limbs, I exercise the limbs(40 pulls about 20 inches If possible) when I can pull 40 times at 20 inch I also incorperate floor tillering or bending. when I get to within #5 of target weight at 24 inches, I start timing and tillering the limbs, exercising after each scraping of the limbs.

Sounds like your hitting target weight before the limbs are "workin on their own" also use a longbow stringer, it'll not stress one limb over the other.

Once I get within the #10@28 weight I'm shooting for, then I use sanding and trapping to achieve me goal weight.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby allen1938@att.net » Fri May 28, 2010 9:52 am

Thanks Mark for your reply and ideas.I have to admit I copied your build-along and made the form you had on this forum. It took 137 sheets of paper to save your info for my future building.By the way my wife of 53 years and I have been to Hawaii 4 times ,loved it ,your a lucky guy to live there. Do you think I can put more moisture back into my bamboo by soaking it in water? Thanks again and I will try what you have told me here.....................Actually I need to go put up 3 tree stands , our deer season starts Sept. 15 , here in Missouri .Time flies seems like.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby WTK » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:08 pm

rc what is the glue you are using for the riser and I assume for the limbs? Also what is the cost and where did you get it? I've always used smoothon and am always looking for a cheaper but just as good product. Thanks
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby jcporter@work » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:09 am

Allen, I've never used it, but I've heard concerns about bow grip in the past. I use spring clamps and have never had an instance of too much pressure. Too much clamp pressure was my first thoughts on your problem. If you give your boo enough time to stabilize to the environment before glueup I doubt moisture is a problem. I'd vote for making sure you don't overtighten the clamps.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby Greywolf » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:14 pm

I vote for Nelsons Urac 185. on a couple of video's I've watched they also recommend Urac 185 for Bamboo glue ups. I just went with that. 3 rivers has it Kustom King has it couple other traditional site have it
I used 400 grs of liquid and 55 grs of the powder. what ever that ratio works out to be. all 3 of the bows I built are still shooting well and holding poundage.

I think (as dangerous as that is) the dryer it gets the stronger it becomes. Bamboo is a grass, not wood. But then again, I've only done 3 bows.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby jmichelin84 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:50 am

This is a very informative post thank you, i was wondering if i could get a drawing of your form, its a style im looking for
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby Mardala » Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:02 pm

rancid crabtree wrote:I then take the riser and put it in a preheated oven. Bake for 8 hours at 180F until a nice golden brown and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream . ::)
When it comes time to glue up the bow itself, I will build an oven box that is 6 feet long as the bow will not fit in the oven. I will heat this box with 100 watt
flashlight.
Fast forward 8 hours and a few more hours for a slow cool down period and the riser is all glued up. The rubber tips of the clamps need to be pried from the glue.

This is a very useful publish. thanks a lot to you. i was thinking if i could get a illustrating of your type, its a design I looked for.
Last edited by Mardala on Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Longbow build along part one

Postby Greywolf » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:29 pm

Sent you a PM
You never get a second chance to make a first good shot Greywolf

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