Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Mark I

Brief mention of my very first attempt at bowmaking, back in Febuary. I had read that cedar was a usable wood, and my nephew James was very excited about making a bow when we were up at Volcano, which has a lot of cedar around. Didn't have time to do any more research before we went, so we just had a go.

Not really knowing how big a tree to go for, we picked a cedar sapling that was already downed but resting well above the ground, figuring it might have had a chance to season a bit. It looked solid and bug-free; one of the advantages of cedar. This particular sapling was about the right diameter for a bow already, so I just cut it in half lengthwise to get a D-shape, shaping it with an axe. What I didn't do was make any effort to make the center of the bow thicker, and that combined with a helpful relative demonstrating how it could bend just as well the wrong direction - to the sound of an audible crack - meant that it snapped in half the first time we tried to string it. This was unfortunate, but it brought home to me exactly how much of the stress is naturally right where your hand rests, and the need for a reinforced handgrip.

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