View Full Version : Need some help from a traditional bowyer!

09-06-2011, 02:20 PM
I have recently started getting into the traditional bow making art and have gotten a hold of a osage orange limb about 2-3 inches in diameter.
I have got the bow shaved down to the heart wood on both limbs and gradually shaved up to the ends of the handle area. There is a slight difficulty I have encountered with the tillering process. The limbs are somewhat the same in diameter on both sides but there is a bend about six inches from the handle area on both limbs so the rest of the limbs further up the belly are not bending as they should.I was wondering if I should shave the rest of the limbs on the belly side so the bend with the lower bend or if I should shave the sides of the bow down? Anyways I was looking at your website and I thought you might be able to help.

09-06-2011, 03:32 PM
I'm not a bowyer but on the 'Rattlestick' dvd by Gary S. Davis, he is floor tillering a bow that looks pretty bendy and he takes it of the belly, the compression side.

Welcome to the forum. :)

09-06-2011, 05:20 PM
Thanks that will most likely help my case :) One thing I would like to know is if I can leave the heart wood in the center of the handle or if it would affect it? There are also some grooves from where I've cut down the limbs,should I cut down to the bottom of the grooves or are they ok?

09-07-2011, 04:57 PM
And I mean grooves as where I've cut into the squishy heart wood material.

09-08-2011, 05:37 AM
Can't say without seeing the bow. Can you post some pictures? You must follow the natural shape of the wood as far as you can. By the way do you think of backing your bow?

09-08-2011, 02:41 PM
Yeah I've got some sinew lined up for the backing and I've also got a couple of copperhead skins in the freezer :D
But here's some pictures of the bow hopefully you can help me out.

09-09-2011, 11:09 PM
I use fiberglass, but your materials sound a lot better :) You have a lot of work at the handle area - it shouldn't be more then 5-6 inches long. You must take material from the belly and make the limbs thiner and more narrow towards the tips. But be careful not to take too much or the ready bow may become weak. Good luck and please keep us informed!

09-25-2011, 08:11 PM
I recently started making my own bows as well. I do not have a lot of experience but I will tell you I have done lots of research on the subject. It can be hard to find Osage that is long and straight and therfore we get bows with caracter that work great. Check out the books "The Traditional Bowyer's Bible." It has three volumes and is worth every penny. They even show some snake bows that work fine. As long as the bow string intersects the handel and the limbs do not twist too much, it might be okay. They have a great section on tillering that may help you.

As I said I am new at this as well and I may not know what I am talking about. My last bow exploded after about 100 arrows. Now I am trying to splice two different billets together to make a bow from a shorter tree. I hope it works.