Wednesday, February 27, 2013
This is a plains style short bow that I made for my daughter Lilly for Christmas. She really likes Brave and I wanted to make something she could bang around and have fun with. It is made out of silver maple which was generously donated by a friend of the family. He had a standing deadwood tree and had it taken down. The arborist cut a 7 foot section of the tree and left it for me to split. My dad, our friend Greg and I, set about making staves which are still in my basement waiting to be made into bows.
This bow comes from one of the tree branches. I split the branch down the middle and used the other half to help a friend of mine make a bow for his kid as well. Again no Idea what it pulls as far as draw weight is concerned, but it is 39" in length and draws to 15.5 inches.
It is actually a little strong for Lil right now but she'll grow into it. I made some arrows out of wooden dowels crested them and made some duct tap fletching.
It turned out to be a beautiful bow and hopefully will give both my daughters some fun and excitement in their formative years.
This bow making thing is turning into a beautiful addiction. I have some sketches and art to post but rest assured there are more bow to come.
Stay golden, Pony Boys and Girls.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Here is another bow I worked on at the end 2012. It is a D style ( named for the shape of the belly of the bow) long bow. It is 51" in length and pulls 22". I did not have a method of gauging the draw weight but it is light, intended for a ten year old.
It was backed with rawhide and painted wonderfully by my talented wife, who also sewed on the suede hand grip. Beautiful work.
The wood used was elm and was cut from the river bank near my house. The sapling was split down the middle and yielded another bow as well. I did not get a chance to photograph that one. Both bows were christmas gifts for a friend nephew and niece, and I was under deadline pressure.
This bow would fall under the category of a "character bow" as there were all sorts of knots and bends in the wood for me to work around.
It was a great learning experience and has helped me improve my understanding of how to make bows. I have been working on some larger bows recently and look forward to presenting them in the near future. so stay tuned.
Before I touch on those, I do have another kids bow I will be posting about. it is the one I made for Lilly for christmas. So stay tuned.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Here is one of my recently completed projects.
I found this old beast in my garage when we moved into our house close to three years ago. It was weather worn, chipped and in really rough shape. I almost threw it out.
But I just couldn't help but feel I could do something with it. It was dirty but not overly rusty, and the places where it had splintered on the handle were not going to compromise the integrity of the handle. So I tried it out as it was, and sure enough even with a dull, chipped head it could still quite easily split some wood. Probably due to the 3.5-4 pound head on it, combined with a 36" handle.
The axe head was quite loose and came off without much of a fight. This was great because I knew with a new wedge the old handle could be refitted when I hung the axe. This is super cool because old axe handle are much slimmer and more elegant looking than the ones they fashion today.
I'm glad I took the time to snap a shot of how messed up the blade was. I keep thinking it looks like the ocean because it is so wavy.
I did not get to this project right away, it probably sat by my workbench for close to two years, as I worked on other axes and bows. One night a while back, a friend of mine gave me a head for a splitting maul that he found in his back lane. It was impressively rusty, so I took it as an excuse to try out a new environmentally friendly rust removal technique. I shy away from using highly chemical and dangerous methods because... well I guess that is just how I was raised, I don't like easy fixes that can poison and kill. Instead of some dangerous chemical I opted for apple cider vinegar. And let me tell you that stuff works. Holy cow. One night soaking in that removed easily 90% of the rust first go. While I was testing it on the rusty maul head, I figured why not ad the beastly axe head to the experiment. I could have removed most of the grime from it using sand paper, but maybe the apple cider vinegar would work on that as well. Yup, it worked. Saved me some sandpaper and did a way better job. It even gave me a clear idea where the blade steel of the axe was. Which inspired me even trying to refurbish the axe head.
For those of you who don't know, a piece of harder steal is hammered into the axe head to make the blade. This allows the part you sharpen to maintain an edge. The stuff that makes up the rest of the head is too soft to hold an edge and your axe would constantly need to be resharpened.
So I cleaned off both maul and axe head and placed the maul to the side. I grabbed an axe file and began the journey of filing out the chips from the blade. This took me probably close to two hours throughout a couple of days. Once I had blunted the edge smooth, I went about profiling the blade. I might mention I have never done this before, so it took me a while to get the blade straight. It will function fine now, but I would not enter any lumberjack competitions with this axe.
That done, I grabbed my sharpening stone and put as much edge as I am capable of on the axe head and taped it up so I could hang the axe.
The handle of this axe is a real beauty. Axe handles are made from hickory. A very white wood. However if you oil it with linseed oil it turns a lovely golden colour. If you just use it over the years with dirty hands it will eventually darken into a deep brown. This is the case with this handle. I sanded out all the splinters and took some dark English Oak, Danish oil and rubbed that in. I finished it with a couple of coats of linseed oil between sanding. It now looks and feels spectacular.
Since the handle was already fit to the axe head all I needed to do was apply a new wedge and voila! A good as it ever was, refurbished axe. I have since given it as a gift to my friend who gifted me the maul head. May he find a reason to use such a beastly axe. He is also a talented leather worker, so hopefully he will make a nice protective sheath for it.
Thus ends my axe odyssey. In the future, I would prefer to work with axes that are older but in better shape. It was a good learning experience though, so it was worth all the work in the end.
Sometimes I'm asked how I find the time with a family and work to do this stuff. I simply answer, and I'm not being cheeky here. "I don't watch TV" Amazing how much time you can free up to do interesting projects when you don't do that.
Stay golden pony boys and girls
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Man oh man, I have been away for a while.
So many things started happening at once I just had to focus on life and my desire to blog was set aside. I have been busy though, and I have plenty to share.
So first off I would like to officially make my welcome post for my new daughter Rowan. She was born on November 17th, 2012. She is a happy healthy 2 months old today, and a steady reminder that life only gets busier and more fun as was grow older.
Here are a couple of shots with me and my girls.
I took 6 weeks off work to help Beth adjust to the new life force, and how she interacts with all the other life forces within our household. It was a very special time full of great breakfasts, second breakfasts and high adventure. I believe I will look back on this as one of the best times of my life. I got to have movie marathons with Beth, sledding and uninterrupted play time with Lilly and quiet new dad time with Rowan. I am a blessed man to have so many wonderful women in my life.
I have some more refurbished tools, bow and artwork to post about and some more beer to write about as well. I hope everybody is having a wonderful 2013, mine has been Tip Top so far.
Stay golden Pony Boys and Girls