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  #1  
Old 07-08-2020, 03:50 PM
Rhys Rhys is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: fox lake il
Posts: 11
Default wood moisture question

I am trying to make a self bow, this is now my 4th attempt. Someone once mentioned that moisture content was important and looking at the last attempt it made me wonder if that was my problem. So I contacted 3 rivers and was told that the moisture should be around 8.5 for hickory (which is what I am using) I checked the remnants of previous failed attempts and the new board and even the workbench which is ten years old. All of them fall way short of 8.5; more around 3.5 - 4.2 it even varies on the same board. So is it the moisture content or am I just doing something wrong. I did notice on my last attempt that was a difference in thickness at the failure / break location. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 07-08-2020, 04:05 PM
Bowmania's Avatar
Bowmania Bowmania is offline
 
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Default Re: wood moisture question

I think you'd get better answers on the Leatherwall.

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  #3  
Old 07-08-2020, 05:09 PM
Rhys Rhys is offline
 
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Default Re: wood moisture question

Thanks, good idea. Have a great week!
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  #4  
Old 07-08-2020, 08:25 PM
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Hank D Thoreau Hank D Thoreau is online now
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Default Re: wood moisture question

Also try Paleoplanet. There is a bowyer section where all they build are self bows. Some really beautiful ones.
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  #5  
Old 07-09-2020, 06:45 AM
MartyA MartyA is offline
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Default Re: wood moisture question

I have no experience with selfbows, but I checked a few of the many many online videos, the only reference to wood dryness was letting the wood 'season' or dry for 1-2 years or more. These selfbow folks seem to just start working on their staves, moisture content isn't mentioned.

One of my many past jobs was drying lumber at a local sawmill. Commercial lumber for use in North America should be dried to typically about IIRC 8%. Sawmill drying is an accelerated method, exposing the lumber to steam heat or heated air. The wood moisture evaporates at a controlled rate. And if too fast, the heat can open the pores too much and 'check' or split the lumber, usually starting on the ends. Over the years lumber will normally continue to dry slowly, so a 2-4% surface reading on your workbench isn't unusual.

For bow use I would have guessed a little bit more dry, but 8% isn't very bad. Again a guess, but if your hickory staves were kept in a dry environment off the ground for 2 years or more the failure probably isn't moisture related.

HTH
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  #6  
Old 07-09-2020, 02:18 PM
pavan pavan is online now
 
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Default Re: wood moisture question

If you are working with hickory, especially true pignut hickory, the drier the better. 6% or so.
My pignut does not shoot much slower than a laminated bow, but it got wet because of my original impatience with finish. Shellac looks cool and dries fast, it is a terrible bow finish. I sanded my bow off after it got soaked while goose hunting. it spent two years with slight pressure on a straight edge in a furnace duct. Then it got shortened and retillered, shooting better than ever. I did follow the grain when making it, much the same as one would do with any non-backed self bow. Mine had excellent predictable grain to work with. The grain on pignut hickory may be easier to read than on shagbark hickory, but still challenging to see without good light. I tried to make two osage billet longbows. One split before I got to work on it and the other took a wild twist while drying. Some look at large knots in osage as a challenge, I see them as a total pain in the ass. Laminated bamboo is far more predictable, but it helps if it begins its life with some backset and a good backing. My first longbow was a billet bow of lightening stripped ash, no drying time, the magic of a bolt of lightening, with a sinew and calfskin backing. It killed quite a number of pheasants and rabbits for me. 62" and 36 pounds at 26", it eventually broke when i grew taller.
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  #7  
Old 07-09-2020, 03:13 PM
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Triumph Triumph is offline
 
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Default

I picked up a billet of Becote highly figured. I turned it over to Morrison Archery to dry and to fabricate a riser. When purchased it was 35. This past week it’s down to 8 and being fabricated. They used a vacuum dry kiln and it took roughly 2 months. Brandon patiently took his time for it’s something you can’t rush.
Would I do it again, possibly not.
Good luck. A picture from last week.
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  #8  
Old 07-31-2020, 01:43 PM
Stalker86 Stalker86 is offline
 
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Default Re: wood moisture question

Speaking of moisture, I was worried about the opposite issue: I was planning to move abroad next year, should I be able to switch to a full-time remote job and get some of this real estate in Budva https://tranio.com/montenegro/budva/ (I checked, my bow would be legal there), and wanted to know: won't the warmer weather mess with the wood of my bow? Should I take the heat into account, or will storing it in a place where the temperatures don't get too crazy be enough?
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  #9  
Old 08-01-2020, 06:06 AM
MartyA MartyA is offline
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Default Re: wood moisture question

Any place you would live a normal life would be fine for your bow. Once it is dried and oiled it should be fine. Don't store it under water, wipe it if it gets wet in the rain, etc. I've hunted and shot targets in -20 deg. F and 90+ deg F rain/snow/shine with the same bows, stored in-between trips in the house year-round. No damage evident.
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2020, 08:28 AM
mamba mamba is offline
 
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Location: NY
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Default Re: wood moisture question

Rhys if your still here Primitive archer is the site for making selfbows.You may be expecting to much from a piece of wood.Go slow and never draw the bow more then your intended weight.If you are shooting for 40# drawwgt. do not pull it past that point while working the wood.As far as moisture content if the limbs do not spring back to starting point while working the limbs there is to much moisture or you have overstressed the wood.
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