Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


A half-hour plum branch bow

Messages posted to thread:
Tim Baker 19-Dec-21
Tim Baker 19-Dec-21
Tim Baker 19-Dec-21
Tim Baker 19-Dec-21
Altitude Sickness 19-Dec-21
Jeff Durnell 19-Dec-21
Smokey 19-Dec-21
BowAholic 19-Dec-21
tkyelp 19-Dec-21
neuse 19-Dec-21
Bjrogg 19-Dec-21
bentstick54 19-Dec-21
Gray Goose Shaft 19-Dec-21
buckeye 19-Dec-21
Andy Man 19-Dec-21
Tim Baker 14-Feb-22
B arthur 14-Feb-22
tkyelp 14-Feb-22
Steve Milbocker 14-Feb-22
Steve Milbocker 14-Feb-22
Steve Milbocker 14-Feb-22
Riverwolf 14-Feb-22
Stan 14-Feb-22
monkeyball 14-Feb-22
Bjrogg 14-Feb-22
Supernaut 14-Feb-22
Don T. Lewis 14-Feb-22
Woodduck 14-Feb-22
Buzz 15-Feb-22
mec lineman 15-Feb-22
George Tsoukalas 15-Feb-22
Tim Baker 15-Feb-22
Steve Milbocker 16-Feb-22
From: Tim Baker
Date: 19-Dec-21

Tim Baker's embedded Photo



For newcomers yet to discover the special appeal of such elemental bows, here are portions of a 14-year old thread from a now dormant site. Most of the original photos and responses lost, a few screen copies here.

This little bow points out three things: How much bow can be gotten with such little time and effort. What fun it is making these bark-on branch bows. And how appealing they are.

The stave: A small character-full 'wild plum' branch. Bark on, 23 elevated knots and snipped-off branches along its back. Set up so that none of the largest branches would rest atop the back's crown. At this orientation the stave stood with about 1/2" of deflex. The wood was at the high end of density for plum. With drawknife and spokeshave it was ready to shoot in one half-hour. After 100 shots just-unbraced string follow is 1 1/2", or 1" set. This denser wood especially lends itself to short narrow bows.

The bow: D-tillered, 50.5 inches, 49.5 n/n, 40lb at 20", braced 4 3/8" from the back, grip 31/32" wide, 13/16" thick. Bow mass: 12oz. Bark and cambium about 1/16" thick. String 95-grains, 380-grain arrow, 153 fps, with typical drawing speed and quick, clean release. Some overdrawn shots at 158 fps.

The branch had been drying for seven months. With bark off and floor tillered it would dry in a few days to two weeks, depending on humidity. But plum usually splits badly if debarked, unless kept in gradually reduced high humidity--wrapped in perforated plastic, for example. Debarked plum looks good too, but bark-on branches are worth waiting for. Set them in the basement rafter and forget about them. After a time there there will always be a dried stave ready to go.

Among others, Jim Hamm posted a response: Maybe this type of bow is so appealing simply because it reaches so far back into our bowbuilding heritage. Such bows were surely among the first true bows ever made, exceeded perhaps only by an untillered asymmetrical branch. In the past ten thousand years, all of the physics, all of the research, all of the lifetimes spent building bows, and a mountain of wood shavings, we have improved this design a little, very little. Maybe that's its appeal. Jim

And Steve Gardner: That little bow could easily take deer-sized game. Also very pleasurable to shoot. My new interest has been leaning toward bows like this, very cool. Steve

From: Tim Baker
Date: 19-Dec-21

Tim Baker's embedded Photo



From: Tim Baker
Date: 19-Dec-21

Tim Baker's embedded Photo



From: Tim Baker
Date: 19-Dec-21

Tim Baker's embedded Photo



Similar bow:

From: Altitude Sickness
Date: 19-Dec-21




When we made ours as kids. We used green sticks that took a huge set and Or broke. :^))))

From: Jeff Durnell
Date: 19-Dec-21




I have a plum among the fruit trees I planted out back. It's about 2 1/2" dia. I cut the whole top off and was going to just rip it out and put a different tree in its place. I might work it into a bow. We'll see.

From: Smokey
Date: 19-Dec-21




Same here as Altitude Sickness and always used Hickory because I knew that Hickory and Bear gut strings is what the Cherokee Indians used for their bows back in their time……..:)

From: BowAholic
Date: 19-Dec-21




Tim, thank you for that...it was very enjoyable. It's great having you posting here as it reminds me of how it was here in the beginning.

From: tkyelp Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 19-Dec-21




Tim, I recall you tillering a selfwood bow under the lights, (drinking Dr. Pepper at 1a in the morning) at one of the first GLLI's in Marshall, Michigan. You would hold it up and spin it back and forth to see where the limbs needed attention. Someone was holding a stopwatch to see how fast you could tiller and shoot the bow. You never slept it seemed. Always garnered big crowds. Always making bows. Unforgettable.

From: neuse
Date: 19-Dec-21




I enjoy these post.

From: Bjrogg
Date: 19-Dec-21




Love it. Would love to see full draw. The braced picture looks pretty good.

I’m sure this is part of the bows evolution.

Bjrogg

From: bentstick54
Date: 19-Dec-21




Great to have you ( back? ) on the wall. It must have been before my time. I have always enjoyed reading your work when I came across it. Looking forward to reading more.

From: Gray Goose Shaft
Date: 19-Dec-21




Very enjoyable.

From: buckeye
Date: 19-Dec-21




Now that's a stick bow!

From: Andy Man
Date: 19-Dec-21




?trad ??

From: Tim Baker
Date: 14-Feb-22




tkyelp:      Just caught your posting. That must have been around 28 years ago, early in the wood bow reawakening. What a perfect time that was. Thanks for the reminder. That might have the meet where Jay Massey, Jim Hamm, Paul Comstock, Gary Davis, John Strunk, Glen St.Charles and others were there. There won't be a time like that for another 1000 years.

From: B arthur
Date: 14-Feb-22




Love this. Thanks for posting

From: tkyelp Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Feb-22




Tim: those were great gathers. I had a little hickory self bow that the grain began to lift on. So before it broke I took it around and had all those guys sign it. A cherished possession for sure. Thinking that had to be in the late 80's though because the GLLI outgrew that venue not long after. We all ate, drank, lived longbows. It was definitely the golden awakening of the stickbow rebirth. I loved it. Still do.

From: Steve Milbocker
Date: 14-Feb-22

Steve Milbocker's embedded Photo



I really enjoyed seeing this. It sometimes seems we all try to build our selfbows to imitate their glass laminated counterparts, pushing them to their limits. Nothing wrong with that but I find myself drawn to the bows of branches and saplings. My favorite bow out of the dozen I’ve made came from a dead Osage branch. It is 7/8 wide and 58” ttt and pulls [email protected] It seems to find its mark like magic. Keep it coming Tim, I really enjoy seeing you post.

From: Steve Milbocker
Date: 14-Feb-22




Question, I don’t have any bow wood anymore. The Island I moved to a year and a half ago is in northern Lake Michigan. The best bow wood we have here is Hop Hornbeam,white oak ,ash and maple. Are you saying I can just cut saplings or branches and leave the bark on and store inside? I assume you cut them long and leave the ends unsealed?

From: Steve Milbocker
Date: 14-Feb-22




Lots of apple trees also

From: Riverwolf
Date: 14-Feb-22




I like these "limb" bows ;) Yes , they remind us of our youth and bows made on the farm ;) , but in an adult form as above posted.

I talked with a gent at the last GORH yrs back that had a beautiful osage libm bow. Thing really delivered an arrow down range , and the osage was "beautiful" as is with osage ;) It had a tin rest tapped in the side of the riser . I would have just did a wrap and added a stick of leather or a wedge of wood for a rest , but that tine seemed to work just fine;)

From: Stan
Date: 14-Feb-22




I was fortunate enough to be there for those shoots, if I remember correctly it took about 6 minutes for Tim to tiller a roughed out bow, which in turn I followed him to the bales and he was kind enough to let me shoot a few arrows through it.. Yep, I was hooked after that..

From: monkeyball
Date: 14-Feb-22




A+ post!

Good Shooting->->->->Craig

From: Bjrogg
Date: 14-Feb-22




Those ones sure are fun to make Steve and they don’t require a very big stave either.

I’m in lower Michigan and have about the same wood as you. Do have a little stash of Osage and mulberry to.

Bjrogg

From: Supernaut
Date: 14-Feb-22




Very interesting, thanks for sharing it with us!

From: Don T. Lewis
Date: 14-Feb-22




Very cool. Thanks for sharing. If p the unitive man needed a bow quick. It’s very likely that they did this many times.

From: Woodduck
Date: 14-Feb-22




Nice. Thanks

From: Buzz
Date: 15-Feb-22

Buzz's embedded Photo



Reminds me of a pic I found a few weeks back.

Two Ainu Hunters Armed with Bow and Ancient Musket, Hunting in Melting Spring Snow.

From: mec lineman
Date: 15-Feb-22




Looks like a Browning A-5 with some kind of sighting contraption!

From: George Tsoukalas
Date: 15-Feb-22




Fun! kind of reminds me of my childhood as someone above said.

I remember my younger brother Spiro of eternal memory saying, "Georgie, those bows we used to make as kids were fun to make and pretty good".

We never heard of tillering or anything like that. That was a long time ago...early 60s.

Thanks, Tim.

Jawge

From: Tim Baker
Date: 15-Feb-22




 Steve:  "Are you saying I can just cut saplings or branches and leave the bark on and store inside?"

It depends on the wood specie and age, and size of the branch: Young branches have thin and more elastic bark, and some species have more elastic bark--trial and error the best guide for now, since no catalog of bark elasticity exists. No need to store most species for long, instead, leaving the bark on the back, do early stages of floor tillering, this both thinning the branch and exposing the inner wood, allowing fairly rapid drying. A few woods, most notably the prunus family, can develop deep drying checks. The exposed wood of these should be coated to slow moisture departure, or kept in very high initial humidity. 

From: Steve Milbocker
Date: 16-Feb-22




Thanks Tim. I tried an apple sapling. Roughed out and coated back and tips with glue. Belly checked horribly over night. I’ll try some small diameter HHB, White Oak and maple to see what happens.





If you have already registered, please

sign in now

For new registrations

Click Here




Visit Bowsite.com A Traditional Archery Community Become a Sponsor
Stickbow.com © 2003. By using this site you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy