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Most recent revision 3 March 2003

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Horn & Sinew II

3 March 2003

SMESSAGES posted to thread:

bluelake                             19-Apr-99   
ttt                                  20-Apr-99   
Sam S                                21-Apr-99   
Adam                                 21-Apr-99   
Sam S                                28-Apr-99   
Sam S                                28-Apr-99   
Adam                                 28-Apr-99   
Sam S                                28-Apr-99   
Adam                                 28-Apr-99   
Sam S                                28-Apr-99   
Sam S                                28-Apr-99   
bluelake                             28-Apr-99   
Adam                                 28-Apr-99   
Sam S                                29-Apr-99   
Adam                                 29-Apr-99   
Sam S                                29-Apr-99   
bluelake                             29-Apr-99   
Orion                                29-Apr-99   
Adam                                 29-Apr-99   
bluelake >>---> Orion                   29-Apr-99   
Les Potter                           30-Apr-99   
bluelake >>--> Les in Israel            30-Apr-99   
ttt                                  30-Apr-99   
Sam S                                30-Apr-99   
Adam                                 30-Apr-99   
bluelake                             30-Apr-99   
bluelake                             01-May-99   
Adam                                 01-May-99   
Sam S                                03-May-99   
Sam S                                03-May-99   
bluelake  >>---> Sam S                  03-May-99   
Adam                                 03-May-99   
ttt                                  04-May-99   
bluelake                             06-May-99   
Sam S                                06-May-99   
bluelake                             06-May-99   
Adam                                 07-May-99   
bluelake                             07-May-99   
bluelake                             07-May-99   
Adam                                 08-May-99   
bluelake                             08-May-99   
Keith in E                           09-May-99   
bluelake                             09-May-99   
Adam                                 10-May-99   
Keith In E                           10-May-99   
Sam S                                10-May-99   
Keith in E                           10-May-99   
Adam                                 10-May-99   
Sam S                                11-May-99   
Sam S                                11-May-99   
bluelake                             12-May-99   
Adam Karpowicz                       12-May-99   
Adam Karpowicz                       12-May-99   
bluelake                             12-May-99   
bluelake                             13-May-99   
Sam S                                13-May-99   
bluelake                             13-May-99   
bluelake                             13-May-99   
Sam S                                13-May-99   
bluelake                             13-May-99   
bluelake                             13-May-99   
Sam S                                13-May-99   
Adam Karpowicz                       13-May-99   
bluelake                             13-May-99   


Subject: Horn, Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 19-Apr-99

Adam,

Ask and ye shall receive!

I'll look forward to hearing how the bark turns out.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: ttt
Date: 20-Apr-99

ttt


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 21-Apr-99

Adam:

Haven't had time lately to work on bow. Got a new member in family, named "Expo". Well, that is the G. Shepard puppy's kennel name, registered name is "Oak Forest Explorer of TNT". Fancier name then ours, isn't it? Too fancy I think. He also thinks he owns the place!

Going to take off work Thur, Fri and weekend. Should receieve Smhidt(sp?) video soon. Hope it has horn cutting. Also mailed off to Hwanghn(sp?) Archery about Korean video. I'm seriously thinking about reworking my siyahs. They seem to have warped since I cut them. The wood was apparently greener than I thought. Also, they are closer to 45 deg., rather than 60 deg. I'm not satisfied with them.

One thing that I'm curious about, is that 38" piece of maple going to be worked into convex cross section so that it can be fitted into any concave horn section?

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 21-Apr-99

Sam:

Talk about fancy names, my last dachshund's name was Heidi of Sugarloaf.

Jeff Schmidt cuts his horn with a handsaw (I do not remember if it is shown) on the video, at least he did at that time, perhaps he progressed since then.

The wood should be dry when used, you do not want unstable wood on such a project (and be a reincarnation of the Persian prince!). Small pieces like the siyahs could be dried in a microwave, 20-30sec at a time, slow. The bend should be around 120deg, 135deg (180-45) seems a bit too open.

The mating surfaces of cross-sections of the core and horn must match perfectly. It is of course the easiest to have them both flat, but if you end up with a concave cross-section of the horn, the core must be shaped to fit. You need a scaper made for this purpose, we will talk later about this. Try to cut horn of sufficient thickness to have flat surfaces. As I mentioned before it is best to aim for 1/4" horn strip when cutting, it leaves a bit of room for mistakes. The horn will eventually be about 1/8" (or even less) at siyahs, and 3/16" at the handle.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 28-Apr-99

Adam:

Have played the Shmidt(sp?) tape last night. Jeff and John didn't seem to know how to pronounce siyahs either, though. And they didn't show the actual sawing of the water buff horns either. But in other ways it was helpfull. He did mention steaming and boiling the horns I think. Going to watch it again tonight and take notes. Is your construction similiar to his?

I have to admit that I haven't got much farther with my own horn bow. Guess I was waiting to see the video.

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 28-Apr-99

Adam:

Oh yes, they did mention and show backing with paper birch bark! Is that the same birch that is in West Tennessee? They did say that if the composite bow was soaked it would come apart. Just a thought, have you tried the Massey finish on one of these? Probably would not be authentic?

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 28-Apr-99

Sam:

Yes I noticed they did not say siyahs correctly, it is probably now repeated all over the continent!

The only situations you need the horns to be boiled and flattened: cross-section too concave for your design or you use twisted horn in need of straightening. Normally it is not necessary.

The horn strips are glued onto the pre-shaped core, not the other way around. The horn strips are glued quite hot, at these temperatures the strips are flexible enough to conform to any desired shape of the core. It helps to have the horn strips a little straighter actually than the core, that way you avoid air pockets during glue-up.

I do not remember the video too well, my construction must be similar. I recall his bows look kind of rough. I give more curvature to the siyahs, I think, and use a form (the same for each limb) during horn glue-up to have identical limbs, easier to tiller later. Now, I remember: I used similar devices to cut the grooves in horn, now I do it almost free hand, with a tool similar to the Chinese made for this purpose (I tell you later about it). I do the sinew laying differently too.

I do not remember how he makes the handle section of the core. I suggested for you a simpler method, not strictly Turkish, but easier for a first bow.

I think Jeff could use some instruction from a Korean bowyer on how to cover bows with bark. It should really be perfectly smooth and put on with the "grain" either diagonally or lengthwise. Later about this. Paper birch bark is the same everywhere. You could even now collect some (not necessarily for your bow, Turk bows were most often leather covered) and keep it in sea water or 4% solution of kitchen salt for a year. I am going to try this method (Korean) too, instead of softening bark in water/solvents as I used to.

I waterproof the bows with spar varnish or spar varnish mixed with flake bronze pigment under the leather. The real bows had leather painted, sometimes covered with silver leaf over leather and under the paint. Metal is the best protection against moisture there is, flake pigment approaches this.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 28-Apr-99

Adam:

At the morning coffee table at work yesterday I was pronouncing the word siyahs as "sea-hives". Of course, they didn't have any idea as to what I was talking about anyway, so they didn't say anything!

The Webster dictionary doesn't have the word in it. Maybe someone should start a fund called "Put The Word 'siyah' into the Webster Dictionary Fund"! ;~)

Yes, the video did emphasize making the grooves in the horn and wood to match. Does make sense to do that. And I did notice that the angle in his siyah were not that great but his ears were longer.

Does Jeff and John still build bows?

Also, they were using back strap sinew for backing. I only have whitetail deer leg sinew. Would you advise me to order some back strap sinew?

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 28-Apr-99

Sam:

It is better to do the matching grooves, but not absolutely essential. Let me know if you want to do it once this stage is reached.

I use only leg sinew of moose. I found cow's too greasy and short. 13-14" are the longest I get for moose, good for the last layer on the bending section of limbs. I have never used (and seen) backstrap, you could use it as well as leg sinew from deer. How long is it? Bear in mind the total weight of sinew is 1/2 of wood + core, normally about 100 grams (a little over 3 oz). Get 4 oz - some will be wasted. I divide the total for three layers.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 28-Apr-99

Adam:

The deer leg sinew is about 8". The backstrap on the video looked like 15" or so. The video showed using the longer pieces in the 1/3 or so of the limbs nearest the handle (where it bends the most). Could use the longer backstrap sinew there and the deer leg sinew elsewhere?

I'm not sure I understand the statement phrase "the total weight of sinew is 1/2 wood + core". Did you mean "1/2 horn + core"? BTW, I think the ratio of horn to wood to sinew in the video was 1/3 of each with final limb thickness being 5/16". Maybe I remember those numbers right. Does that sound right?

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 28-Apr-99

Adam:

Also, do you remember how he matched the siyah splice to the core splice in the video. He cut it with a hacksaw. Is that the way I'm to do it?

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 28-Apr-99

Hey, guys, you have a nice thread going here! If you don't mind, I'll chime in a bit.

As for the birch bark placement, yes the Koreans put it on lengthwise; it should be noted, however, that the Chinese put it on somewhat perpendicularly, in short strips. Stephen Selby and I have commissioned both the Korean horn bowyer and laminated bowyer to make Chinese reproductions for us; these bows will have the birch in the traditional Chinese style. This will be the first time in over fifty years that a master Asian bowyer (in my knowledge) has made a bow of this type.

As for waterproofing, I'll just mention that Korean bowyers do not cover natural materials with anything; they believe that they need to breathe and coatings, such as lacquer, etc. prevent this. The birch bark, once prepared as Adam mentioned above, is quite protective.

Next, about sinew, Korean bowyers only use backstrap (he collects it himself from ox). Years ago, when I first mentioned that many 'western' bowyers use leg sinew, the bowyer was very incredulous, to say the least. Further, about glue, not only will Korean bowyers use only fish glue, they are very picky about the quality of such glue, throwing away 1/3-1/2 of what they buy.

As for matching the siyah and core, the Korean bowyer will first make the siyah piece, trace it on the core and then cut it with a hand saw. He will mark both the siyah and core, so they are matched. As Adam can bear out, the bowyer will not only cut the V, but will continue on a little further, making the V into a Y.

That's about it, I think.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 28-Apr-99

Sam:

Yes, you can use backstrap as the last layer and leg for the inner ones. I do not see why not, although I never used backstrap myself.

I meant the 1/2 of the weight of an un-sinewed bow with core and horn, and worked to the stage prior to sinewing. Which is close to 1/3 fraction as in the other sources. I would make the limbs a shade thicker at mid limb than 5/16". Close to 3/8". This will make the limbs less likely to twist. Also, you can always scrape the horn to tiller if too thick. The limbs at the handle are close to 1/2". The thinnest point is about 2" from where the siyahs start towards the limb.

You can of course cut the splices by hand. I used to do it with a Japanese style saw, now use a bandsaw. It is very important to cut square to the limb, the siyahs must be glued on very straight. I wear glasses and can not relay on my sight to see deviations from the straight line. To mark a centre line on the bent limbs, I lay the core on the side on a flat surface and use a pencil propped on a block to draw the line. Then I mark the splices, file the belly there to make sure it is exactly square to the plane of the centre line, and then cut the splices. There is some adjusting later before glue-up I described in a previous post.

I do not remember any checking and adjusting for this in the video. I am paranoid now about twist, I think it is healthy paranoia in case of these bows.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 29-Apr-99

Thomas:

Your always welcome! I am looking forward to seeing the Korean video. Been looking around on your site.

Let us know how the project on the traditional Chinese style bow goes.

Adam:

Tried to reduce that core to something closer to 3/8" thickness last night. Rasped and handsanded for 15 - 30 minutes. It was a uniform 1/4" thickness before I started and afterwards it was ..... well still a uniform 1/4" thickness. I've got a $50 rasp ordered for the last 2 months. 4 in 1 rasp just doen't get it. Thinking about running core thru my stationary power sander. Even if I ruin it, I've got 2 others to do it over again with. Going to try to do some real damage tonight.

Saw some contributions by you on a link off of Thomas's site!

Thanks. Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 29-Apr-99

Sam:

Power sander sounds good, but how about an ordinary plane or a drawknife? Cutting tool can take away a lot of wood in a hurry. Even better, an adze or a hatchet?

If you go below 1/4" it isn't lost, but a little delicate for the bending etc.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 29-Apr-99

Adam:

I've got drawknifes, cabinet scrapers and thumb plane to work with, but exactly what thickness should I aim for before recurving for splicing in siyahs? In an earlier post, I think you said that I should go to 1/32" below 1/4". Do you advise to recurve it now and reduce thickness later? Its uniform now.

Can't remember what Jeff's thickness was on the video.

Yes, I know about power sanders taking wood too fast. Guess I'm getting impatient. Hope your not getting impatient with me.

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 29-Apr-99

I just talked with the laminated bowyer yesterday; the Chinese bow won't be finished until the end of June (about the time I head back to the States). I would have had it already, but somebody had broken into his place and stole all his bows, so he had to start over. I'm hoping the horn bowyer will be about ready by that time, too. Maybe I will be able to bring them to Denton Hill.

I'm sure the laminated Chinese bow will be nice. A person asked me to have him commission a longbow made from the same materials as the Korean traditional bows, so I had him make two (66"); I kept one for myself. It looks great and shoots like a dream.


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Orion
Date: 29-Apr-99

Would love to hear more about this 66" chinese bow.

Wow!


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 29-Apr-99

Sam:

If the thickness is 1/4" leave it that way. You will be thinning the core later anyway. The 1/4" or a little less is about what you need at the base of the limb. If your horns turn out to be only 1/8" there (a mistake cutting or other reasons), once you add sinew, you will still have your 1/2" or so there. It is easier to start with the even thickness from end to end for consistent bends at siyahs and better control of limb twist.

I'd say, recurve it now, if even thickness/width.

I have nothing against using power tools, as long as the results are good. Your aim is to make a good bow, not to learn how to use hand tools.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake >>---> Orion
Date: 29-Apr-99

Sorry if I confused my message a bit. The 66" bow is a longbow, not a Chinese bow; it's just made from the same materials, in the same way. The back has birch bark and the belly is a shiny black. The Chinese bow will be made of the same materials (although the birch bark will be applied perpendicularly, instead of the lengthwise of the Korean bow).

On that last note, I need to make a correction that, after talking with Stephen Selby, he informed me that some Chinese bows had the birch bark also applied lengthwise, like the Korean bows. Some, he said, also had the bark laid diagonally.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Les Potter
Date: 30-Apr-99

Good thread. I am searching for info on bows of biblical times in the middle east. Perhaps some of you know of information on this you can recomend? I think they were mostly composite bows. There is a 6000 yr old bow found here in Israel, but it is an earlier time period than what I am looking for. Thanks for any help, leads, tips, etc.

Les in Israel


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake >>--> Les in Israel
Date: 30-Apr-99

Les,

Did you see the recent past issue of National Geographic? They had a little blurb and pic in it of a bow found in your area; was that the one you were referring to?

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: ttt
Date: 30-Apr-99

ttt


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 30-Apr-99

Adam:

Well, I'm gonna have to start over on my siyahs for sure. Last night I was steaming/boiling them to put more angle in them and they both broke while trying to bend them. Gotta learn to avoid have grain violation in them. I'll try to do better. Could osage be used for siyahs? I know that it doesn't glue well but it does bend. My guess that after washing it with lye it would do ok. I'm sure I've got some that is at the perfect angle, maybe I would not have to bend it.

Did notice in the Schimdt video that he was using siyahs that did not really have great anglulation. His curvature was thoughout the siyah. In the siyahs that I had, there was straight splices and ears with the curvature being in the knee. Which is your preference? In the video, after matching the recurve in the core to the siyah the resulting tip angle to core was near 90 deg perpendicular (before sinewing). So I guess what we are aiming for is something greater than perpendicular?

Also, I'm going to make me a form similar to the one that Jeff had in the video to recurve the core ends. Do you remember it? It looked simple enough.

BTW, I hate using power tools. Its just that in this rumble-bumble world it is not practical for me to do all the bowmaking with hand tools. I'm also a Y2K programmer, thats one reason why I'm nuts. :~)

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 30-Apr-99

Sam:

Osage is ok for siyahs (maybe a little heavy, but durable). Do not forget to rinse well after lye. I cut the siyahs from crooked or forked branches.

As to the curvatures: The ear in a Turk bow has straight or almost straight back side, and is a little rounded at the tip on the belly side. The knee is rounded a little too. You can have grain violations in the siyahs in the splice, but not in the ear. When the siyah is spliced in, the angle between the limb *below the curved section at the splice* and the ear is indeed about 90deg or a little more. But the angle betw. the ear and the spliced section of the limb is about 120deg. The angle of the limb to ear can be adjusted by pivoting the siyah (with ear) piece in relation to the limb. So, in the video even though the siyah were bent at a greater than 120deg angle, the final limb/ear angle could still be 90deg.

If you look at a picture of a Turk bow you will see what I mean. You will also see the knee curvature is quite sharp.

The splice section of the siyah can be curved, more less as the ends of limbs, but does not need to be, since your siyah is thicker than the limb allowing to pivot it as above and have full contact at the joint surfaces. Grain violation will not matter there - this section is well covered with sinew, formed into a ridge, later.

The bent siyahs are the easies way to do it. In another method, if you do not have siyahs with sharp enough bends, you can use a separate transition piece of lesser curvature, spliced to the limb, and a straight piece spliced to it again for the ear.

I hope it makes sense.

I do not remember the Jeff's form for the core, I am sure he knows how to do it. The gentle bent is very easy for the thin slat. I am going to look at the video tonight.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 30-Apr-99

In regards to using osage for siyahs, I can't speak for anything except Korean bows. In that regard, a few years ago, I brought half an osage log (about 24" long) to Korea from the States (heavy!) and gave it to the bowyer. It was about as straight in grain as you are going to find. The bowyer ran into two problems with it:

1. In Korean bows, the grain must be absolutely straight for the siyahs; the osage was not. The bowyer was able to salvage enough osage for a couple of bows, but the rest of it, I believe, became an alternate source of heating.

2. Korean bowyers only use green wood to work with. The osage I had brought had been seasoned about five years.

With the type of bow you're making, this may or may not make a difference.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 01-May-99

I just got back from the Korean horn bowyer's place. I had to pick some things up. At one point while I was there, he wanted to show me a few old bows. I admired them (some were genuine antiques, made by (in some cases) deceased famous bowyers. Imagine my surprise when he GAVE me four of them! I think my heart stopped for a few beats. Needless to say, they will join my permanent, personal collection.

The Chinese bows are coming along fine; he should have them done by this summer. I have some pics of their crafting, in different stages, that I borrowed from the bowyer.


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 01-May-99

Sam:

In the post above I said "90 deg or a little more", I meant 90deg and more bent, for a little lesser than 90deg angle. I am sorry about this. The angle of 80-90deg is safer for beginners. At this angle, although there will be some more recurvature after sinew drying in the siyah section (and a lot more in the limb section!), the bow is less likely to twist and be easier to string. I looked at the fragment of the video with the bow in clamps ready for sinewing - the angle is indeed about 80 or so.

Now, I estimated the angle in a bow I am now making, it has horns on, it is more like 70deg. It is hard to say what exactly it is, since the limbs are curved a little too, but it must be close.

Do not worry too much about the angles, I have pictures with old bows of quite different curvatures in siyahs etc., at the end the bow is like a letter C. Although these angles will give a bow different characteristics, I do not want to confuse you any more now.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 03-May-99

Adam:

While I can honestly state that I spent the better part of the weekend working on this horn bow, I really didn't accomplish very much. Apparently when they said that osage bends well, it wasn't seasoned they were using (as Bluelake in above alluded to). One of my 9" pieces of osage that had been seasoned for 7 years busted while being bent over the edge of the counter top after being boiled for 45 minutes.

My plans now are to make a form for the siyahs with about 50 - 60 deg and gradually steam bend some relatively green mulberry or osage similarly to the way that Jeff does his recurve section in the video. Going to work on that tonight.

Its apparent (at least to me?) that it is rare to find wood naturally bent in this much angle without just going to the woods and cutting it.

I've got a guestion pertaining to your siyahs of the Turkish design. Is the 3" of the splice measured from the inside of the curve in the exact middle of the knee or is it measured on the outside to the exact middle of the knee? In an previous post you stated that it goes to the knee, but I'm unsure about the interpretation. Could that mean that the measurement is at the beginning of the curve of the knee. My thinking now is to build two horn bows concurrently using different siyahs designs (maybe one will be a success!). Bow 1 will have a maple core with mulberry or osage siyahs. Bow 2 will be mulberry core that follows the grain with the siyahs done in the way of the PA article. If one or the other begins looking better then I will work on it only.

Bluelake:

Are you free to say the subject of the video that your working on now?

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 03-May-99

Bluelake:

I can sympathize with your friend that had his bows stolen. Had that happen to me about 8 years ago.

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake >>---> Sam S
Date: 03-May-99

Sam,

The video I'm working on now (the third in my 'Way of the Bow' series) is on the sport/art of Korean archery itself (my last two were on the two main crafts in Korean archery-- bow crafting, arrow crafting). The video portion has been finished and edited for the better part of a year; I have to complete the audio, which requires translation work. Unfortunately, the fellow who was doing the translation for me crashed his hard drive (he had finished the translation, but didn't back it up)and lost all energy to do it again; he's still trying, but I may have to go to an alternate source.

This video will cover the sport itself, philosophy, how to shoot (including thumb ring use) and even bracing/balancing a Korean horn bow. It also has historical pieces in it, covering the archery exhibits at the Korea Military Academy Museum and Korean mounted archery.

I hope to have the video out this summer, but we'll have to wait and see.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 03-May-99

Sam:

I think you are making more of it than necessary. If you look at the video, you will see there are severe grain violations in the splice portion of the siyah, it was probably just cut from a piece with grain somewhat curved. With the problems you have (green wood bends much easier, also, edge of the countertop is too sharp, unless you do a series of lesser bends) I'd say go to the woods, cut a curved branch of hardwood about 2" thick. De-bark it (discard if defected) and dry it in a microwave at high for 30sec, let cool, repeat until very dry to touch (about 5-10x). It can also be a fork in a branch. Then slice it in half and cut two identical, seasoned siyahs. Even if the grain is not curving enough, just make sure the violations are in the splice.

As to where the splice begins: measure the 3" from the outside of the bend, if you want the bow to have exactly 44" ntn, or want a bow with no string bridges (in such a case you need the fairly rapid transition from wider limbs to narrow base of the ear which will provide a support for the string loop). If you measure splices from the inside of the knee, the bow will end up about 1" longer and the transition from limb to knee will be gradual, the base of the ear narrow and the bridge would be needed. This is no big deal, the 44" is not cast in stone, Turkish target bows were over 50" anyway.

When I watched the relevant parts of the video last night, I noticed how little bend there was in the limb/spliced sections of siyahs. I suspect a bow like this would start stacking at 27-28" due to the lack of leverage. It can of course be still ok for flight shooting, but not too comfortable to draw. On the other hand it would be easier to string and tiller.

Do not worry too much about all this. I broke my first two bows. Well, I had only the books, no videos, and, of course, no expert advice!

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: ttt
Date: 04-May-99

ttt


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 06-May-99

I've been gathering some pics (both what I've taken myself and also what I've borrowed from the Korean bowyer) for an article I'm working on. A few of his pics I thought might be of interest to some people following this thread.

All the pics can be seen using the main part of the URL and then just substituting the file name.

http://www.ncmc.cc.mi.us/esl/hb3b.JPG -- horn in different stages of preparation.

hb4b.JPG -- The bowyer and his nephew (who has been apprenticing for a few years now) cutting horn.

hb6b.JPG -- glue being applied to the core at the v-splice.

hb12b.JPG -- horn being glued (and secured) to the core.

hb18b.JPG -- sinew, in the different lengths used for one bow.

Please note that the suffix JPG is case-sensitive. Hope this helps some of you.

Thomas

http://www.ncmc.cc.mi.us/esl/korarch.html


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 06-May-99

Bluelake:

Interesting pics. Its not clear to me what is being done in hb6b.JPG. Is he glueing about 10 cores and siyahs together at the same time?

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 06-May-99

Sam,

Yes, the bowyer works on dozens of bows at the same time. It is important, as he does certain steps at certain times during the year.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 07-May-99

Thomas, how long the bowyer lets the sinew dry on the bow before tillering? I do not recall this from the video. I usually wait about 6 months or more, Kani (Klopsteg) recommends 1 year.

There are dates on some Turkish bows suggesting total manufacturing time of almost 1 year. If we add other operations, the drying could not have exceeded 8 months.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 07-May-99

I will have to ask to be certain, but it isn't that long. For example, he sinewed the Chinese bows he's making for me about a month or so ago; he's planning to be able to test shoot them by this summer. They have been horned and sinewed; they only need to have the siyahs shaped before tillering. After that, it's just a matter of adding the birch bark, etc., before it's ready.

For Korean bows, total time of completion, from start to finish is one year.

Still, let me ask to give you a more definitive answer.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 07-May-99

Adam,

Actually, I had the answer right nearby; I was quite tired when I wrote last night, so I didn't think about it.

The time between sinewing and tillering is about two months; spring sinewing is done in April and tillering ('hae goong' in Korean) is done in June.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 08-May-99

Thanks, two months seem like a very short time, each layer has to dry for at least a week too, it seems the last layer is dried for only a month or so. Are you sure the bowyer tillers the same year's batch?

I can see sinew tightening up bows even after three months. "Fresher" sinew makes tillering with heat easier. On the other hand, it is easier to overheat and ruin a bow. I would wait at least four months in any case.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 08-May-99

Yes, he tillers the same year's batch. As you may remember from an earlier post, the bowyers have quite a tight annual schedule and each step is carefully fit in. The bowyer is pretty much sold out every year, so a new batch each year is necessary.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Keith in E
Date: 09-May-99

A friend of mine here in England is wanting to secure supplies of both sinew and horn. Can anyone advise on the best sources for this material please. Horn in particular is very difficult to get in this country.

Many thanks.

Keith


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 09-May-99

Keith,

As no one else responded, I'll do so. There are several places where you can get horn from; I believe some in Europe and several from the States. If you have no luck, please contact me and I can get you some strips from here in Korea, either raw cut or ones that have been sanded, grooved and sized (more expensive, of course); it wouldn't be cheap, especially when international postage is added, but it would be a source.

Thomas

tduve@northlink.net


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 10-May-99

Keith:

I got this address in UK from Jano Nagy:

Halesowen Horn Co. Ltd. 136 Stourbridge Rd. Halesowen West Midlands B63 3UW, UK tel.: 0121 550 4666

I recall I contacted this company years ago, they only had very narrow strips of cows horn, it could have changed since then, worth checking.

Could you please ask you friend to send results of this search to Jano at inagy@isternet.sk? Thanks

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Keith In E
Date: 10-May-99

Thomas and Adam

Thank you for your responses. I will follow up on the UK contact and let you know what happens.

Keith


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 10-May-99

Keith:

There are two sources for water buff and gemsboks horns in the U.S. that I know of. One is in Atlanta and the other is in Alaska. I don't have the addresses and phone numbers with me at the moment but will post tomorrow.

Adam:

I've got my siyahs done. Am building a form to recurve 1/2 of each limb for an redius of 8" using 2 plywood pieces glued together and cut out. Got that done but need to purchase a 1" drill bit for holes. Going to use 8 3" C clamps for fastening limb to form. Intend to steam one end of core tonight and other end tomorrow night. Is this about thed way you do it?

Do you see any difference between using Water Buffalo and Gemsbok horns?

Thanks, Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Keith in E
Date: 10-May-99

Sam

Thanks. My friend is interested in both those types. I recall he specifically mentioned them. He has Turkish and Mongolian bows under construction.

Keith


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam
Date: 10-May-99

Sam:

Sounds good to me. It is very easy to bend the thin slats like these. I usually just slip one end through a loop at one end of the form, and tie the core past the bend. Give it 30 min steaming each. The form is wide as the core, but only 2" or so thick all the way, no need for the holes. The same form can be used for horn glueing.

Adam Karpowicz


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 11-May-99

Keith: Horn is availables at: A Lion Eat My Sister 15 Hyatt Court White, Georgia 30184 U.S.A. Phone: (770) 607-0500 Fax: (770) 607-9051 Email: Ikon@mindspring.com

Horn and Moose Tendon Sinew is available at: The Rock Shop P. O. Box 871506 Wasilla, Alaska 99687-1506 U.S.A. Phone: (907) 373-3094 (10am -6 pm) Fax: (907) 373-7633

Water Buffalo horns are cheaper at the Georgia location. Gemsbok is the same.

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 11-May-99

Keith:

Also Alternative Bow Woods and Kustom King (which are Bowsite sponsors) carry sinew.

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 12-May-99

It's been a prosperous day today, information-wise. I went to the bowyer's house today, as I needed to take some still photos for an upcoming article I'm doing on Korean bowyers' tools.

When I first got there, the bowyer was busy preparing bows for the final layer of sinew. He filed the current layer and then wet the bows down and rubbed the sinew with his hands. While all this was going on, his wife was boiling down the glue to a smooth sauce.

Adam,

A clarification regarding sinewing, tillering, using. As mentioned, he is now, this minute (3:19am EST, May 12) putting on the final layer of sinew. He will tiller bows from the end of June. The bows will be ready to use by September/October. I needed to clarify this, but I had to talk with the bowyer first.

As for the birch bark, it is brought to a boil in tap water with table salt added in. It can be boiled anywhere from 10-30 minutes; the bowyer said that part isn't too important (you just have to use your judgement). The main point being, the bark should be soft and flexible.

More later.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam Karpowicz
Date: 12-May-99

Thomas:

Thanks. This means the bows dry for about 6 weeks after the last layer of sinew. I recall from the video the bowyer does not use heat much during tillering process, just a little warming here and there. It may explain why it is safe to tiller after such a short time. The bows will gain some strength as the sinew dries further.

The Turkish bows were dried for a year according to Kani, I estimated about 8 month max from dated bows. Perhaps for the purely sport bows, like the currently made Korean, the long periods of curing are considered unnecessary?

The one year curing was for flight bows, where max. strength was required, also the heat of the conditioning process, done on the bows, would prob. melt the glue if not dried fully.

I wonder what other horn bowyers do. Tony, are you listening?

Adam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam Karpowicz
Date: 12-May-99

Keith:

I made a mistake in the Jano Nagy address, it is jnagy@isternet.sk, sorry. If you have any results of your search for horn in UK, let him know, or post it at the wall please.

Adam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 12-May-99

Sometime, I'll have to get in a conversation with the bowyer concerning the differences in how bows were made 'in the old days' as compared to now. There will be differences, I know, but I really wonder to what extent. I do know that, until Koreans got a supply of waterbuffalo horn, they used ox horn; they only used the actual length of the horn and did not butt-splice it or anything. The area between the horn and the string bridge was just wood.

It will be interesting to see, for example, if the old bowyers and present-day bowyers had the same time schedule. Other than that, I think most will be pretty much the same. I imagine the shorter curing period is one way of keeping a supply of bows ready (and food on the table).

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 13-May-99

As I mentioned yesterday, I went to see the bowyer and took some pics. One, of his wife making glue, I put up on the web; see it at: http://www.ncmc.cc.mi.us/esl/gluesoup.JPG (120k)

It was the consistency of pudding at that point.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 13-May-99

Adam:

Cut Water Buffalo horns last night. Well, I thinh that I got it right. One horn has some twist 2/3 from its base. I'm not sure about it. The Schmidt video didn't show working the horn down to diminsions. What do you use to do this and to remove the rough? A sander? I suppose one could use a bandsaw sort of like a rasp to do this.

Finished recurving the core. It looks good.Gonna glue the siyahs to core Friday night.

Do you use something similar what Schmidt to grove the horn and core? Do you wrap the horn to the core with rope? What kind of rope do you use?

Do you ever use Gemsbok horns? Do you see any difference in performance compared to Water Buffalo horns?

Thanks, Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 13-May-99

Sam,

I'll chime in, if it's o.k. (regarding grooving and wrapping). I will post a couple of pics regarding this and will give you the file name (soon).

The Korean bowyer uses a tool similar to what is in the Schmidt video. Also, the horn is wrapped with a nylon cord (maybe about 1/2" thick), using a claw-shaped device, called a 'jomahksohn' in Korean; I took a closeup pic of one yesterday but, doggonit, it was a bit out of focus. Still, I think I have one that the bowyer took on file somewhere, so I'll post that one.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 13-May-99

Sam,

I put up one extra pic (another I already mentioned in a previous post). The pic I had of the jomahksohn and scraper I can't find right offhand, so I'll have to re-scan it and get it up in the morning (my time here in Korea). Still, look at the following:

http://www.ncmc.cc.mi.us/esl/hb12b.JPG and also hb13b.JPG

In the latter, you will also notice the Chinese bows that the bowyer is working on, in the state of completion they were in when the photo was taken (he's gone quite a bit further since).

I'll get the other up soon.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 13-May-99

Bluelake:

Last Saturday I received the Korean videos from your father (bow and bamboo arrow making). Only problem is is that he sent me 2 of the part 2 of 2. Called him. He said he would send part 1 of 2 for exchange. He is apparently the same age as my father.

Did view the second video of making the horn bow. In the procedure where the bowyer lays the backstrap sinew on a board and apparently (I guess) lathers it with glue - why is he doing this? Why doesn't he just dip the sinew in the glue?

Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 13-May-99

Well, I decided I had better scan and post them now, while it's fresh in my mind. I also decided, in the interest of expediency, to scan the fuzzy closeups I took yesterday (please excuse the blur). I still have to get the one of the scraper up. You can see them at:

http://www.ncmc.cc.mi.us/esl/tool10.JPG and tool11.JPG

Thomas

P.S. Sam, when you have a chance, please e-mail me @ tduve@northlink.net


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 13-May-99

Sam,

Actually, I just wanted to ask you if the videos arrived yet. Sorry about the mixup; my folks will get the replacement right out to you, I'm sure. My father's 73; is that about the same as yours?

As for the sinew/glue section, the bowyer wants the sinew to be even, both in glue thickness and also in sinew consistency. Hope that helps.

Thomas


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Sam S
Date: 13-May-99

Bluelake:

My, father is 78. The reason that I had mentioned that they were the same age is that I had seen some WWII pictures of him at your site. No need to apologize about the video, it wasn't a bother to me. I just wanted to mention that I had talked to him.

I only have access to the internet at work and they frown on personal e-mails. Yes, I know that I need a home computer for that. Been serious thinking of obtaining one, though. If I ask something that you don't want to answer publically, I will understand. Also, I think I saw somewhere that you would be coming back to the states for a visit in June (to visit your parents? - they have my address). Maybe by then I have a pc at home, anyway.

Ther is a Korean guy here at work. We talk some about the customs there.

Thanks for the pictures, Sam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: Adam Karpowicz
Date: 13-May-99

Sam:

Congrats on the horn cutting, it is a big step!

When you unroll the horns flat on a board (cut surface up), you will see some sideways curving at the twisted part. You need to lay out straight strips regardless, I do it with a metal ruler. If ends come out narrower, do not worry, the strips will narrow down a little at the handle and at the siyah ends. It does not matter which way you glue the horns, siyah to the former horn tips or the other way, as long it is the same for both limbs.

The horn is best worked with an adze, you will need to purchase it asap. Just kidding. I use a belt sander with #50, then #100 belts or a disc sander. The surface to be glued is flat, the outer is flat or rounded - the strips are the same thickness for the most part, thinning towards the siyahs. The sides are filed to be even with the core, but after the grooves are cut.

When you glue your siyahs to the core, please remember to keeps things straight with no twist etc.

For the Turkish style bow the horns are grooved with a flat (or rouded) scraper with triangular notches filed, every notch is 1/16 to 1/12" at the base. The grooves in the horns match perfectly with the grooves in the core. You should probably best do it as on the video (Schmidt). One thing: first cur your grooves in one surface, the horn or core, press together and mark where your notch should be on the other. This way you will not have any sideways misalignments (I hope you will understand this, let me know).

When you do the grooving, do it slowly, deliberately with even pressure, skewed groove may ruin the bow.

For grooving as above, I now score a straight line on the horn/core with an awl using a ruler. I then deepen the groove with a small saw. Once I have one straight groove, I use a Chinese style scraper free hand; it is made from an old chisel, the first groove becomes a guide for the next etc. It takes me 1/2hr for one surface.

Korean bowyer does not do this. He scores the surfaces with a similar scraper, but the grooves, much shallower of course, do not match. Indo-Persian bows were done similarly. Again, deviation from straightmess can be costly just the same. You can use both methods, although the Turkish one gives a larger gluing surface.

On the Jeff Schmidt's video he uses the Turkish tendyek to wrap the horn and core. I used a Chinese tool and the Korean too, all work on the same principle. Look on the Korean video how it is done, the bowyer uses a form for the limbs and a piece of rope on horns to equalize pressure, this is the way to go. The form assures even curvature for the limbs and the lack of twist during binding. If your glue gels faster, you will need a helper to hold the bow during this. The binding rope should be thick for no stretch, I used a heavy sisal rope.

I now use a form, the same for each limb, a pressure pad on the horn side and clamps, about every 1 - 1 1/4". To be honest, I recommend this way for the start.

I have never used gemsbok.

Adam


Subject: RE: Horn & Sinew II
From: bluelake
Date: 13-May-99

Sam,

Yes, I'll be back in the States from the third week in June (have to have breathing time before Denton Hill).

If you have any questions that I can answer, please feel free to ask.

Thomas

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