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Old 05-18-2020, 02:17 PM
Craig Doherty's Avatar
Craig Doherty Craig Doherty is offline
Join Date: May 2020
Location: Northern New England
Hunting Bow: Custom Larry Krumrine Longbow
3D Bow: Same
Outdoor Target Bow: Gillo G1 25" Riser WNS C2 MEd 32# limbs
Indoor Target Bow: Same
Posts: 4
Default Selecting trees for staves

I have a woodlot in Northern New Hampshire with a wide selection of tree species at various ages. Everything from saplings to mature trees: Main hardwood species include at least some of the following -- beech, sugar maple, striped maple, red maple, white ash, brown ash, hop hornbeam, elm, cherry. As well as a number of smaller species like alder and choke cherry. I was thinking of cutting some wood and splitting it into staves for future self bow making. My first question is how big a tree should I cut? Am I better off selecting a smaller tree that might split into four staves or a bigger tree that will yield more? As far as drying goes, I have a large loft over my dog kennel building or I could put the staves in under an open shed type roof where they would be dry but less exposed to the summer heat in the loft -- which would be better? How long will they need to dry? Any bow makers within striking distance would be welcome to some wood in exchange for a little sweat equity and expertise.
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Old 05-19-2020, 05:12 AM
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stevelong stevelong is online now
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: southern ia
Posts: 11,508
Default Re: Selecting trees for staves

welcome to the forum!
I've not done what you detailed above, so will wait for others to chime in.
Steve Long
"Fortunately, ah keep mah feathers numbered, for just such an emergency"
beware the archer with only one signature line.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:02 AM
KirkMcquest KirkMcquest is offline
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Default Re: Selecting trees for staves

Great question.
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:49 PM
pavan pavan is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Iowa
Posts: 341
Default Re: Selecting trees for staves

My first longbow, lightening stripped ash. When i was 11 a monster bolt of lightening hit our neighbors very straight and tall ash tree. It peeled a 8" by 12' stave off of the tree. A man that made hunting bows with osage billets came by and made two sinewed billet cut longbows, one for himself and one for me. I killed rabbits, squirrels and pheasants with that bow. I had great success with true pignut hickory, it needs to be super dry. I was asked about honey locust and mulberry sinewed back bows. I had no answer, so the individual flipped a coin and went with a billet mulberry and it turned out great. Of the species listed ash and elm are the two that I have personally had or shot that were good usable hunting bows, both were sinew backed and the ash that I had also had calf skin. .
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:55 AM
pondscum2 pondscum2 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: kingsport tennessee
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Default Re: Selecting trees for staves

hop hornbeam is the one stuck out to me. have seen several bows made from it in the "Primitive Archer" over the years. have not tried it myself however.
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Old 11-21-2020, 06:25 AM
mamba mamba is offline
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Location: NY
Posts: 1,627
Default Re: Selecting trees for staves

When I was making selfbows I ALWAYS USED as you mentioned smaller trees quartered to get four staves .The thinking behind that was a young tree like us in its prime is much stronger.The growth rings are tighter making the wood stronger.Shagbark hickory,vinemaple and hophornbeam were some of the woods I used.
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