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aaronbrill
My son and I were out in the woods last weekend cutting a cedar post to put up a birdhouse we built together, and what should I spy but a whole bunch of hophornbeam trees that look like great candidates for bows. I decided to cut this one to get the process started.

Building a selfbow has been on my future project radar for a while, so it looks like I'm jumping in! We got it split and quartered last night and have 2 pretty nice staves out of it that have some natural reflex in them. I've got them in the garage to season for a while, but I'm anxious to get started on it!
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Jack Skinner
Did you seal the ends? With Osage if you remove bark and sap wood, just bark on hornbeam and seal the back and ends it will dry faster.

Good looking wood, like seeing the kid helping
Jack Skinner

Self Bows, OE's; Heritage, Vixen, Misty Dawn, Heritage II x 2 "The Twins", North Star x 2 Crown Jewel and Cousin It, 7 Lakes SF Carolina Night, Miller Sage, Ramer, Schulz Grandpa, Sunset Hill, Shelton

Cheyenne WY
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aaronbrill
Yes, I sealed the ends with a few coats of shellac. I'm going to try getting the bark off and seal the back yet too. I tried peeling the bark a little, but the sap is just beginning to flow here so it's still resisting a bit. I've heard a pressure washer might do the trick. There's a couple other trees I want to get, but I'll wait a few more weeks and I bet the bark will come off easier.
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Deno
Looking forward to your progress Aaron.  

Deno
Charter Member Traditional Archery Society
United Bowhunters of New Jersey
Traditional Archers of New Jersey TANJ

Howard Hill Wesley Special 70#
Howard Hill Big 5  65#
Jerry Hill Stalker Deluxe  60#
Jerry Hill Wildcat ll 50#


 

Northern New Jersey
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Bisch
Hophornbeam????? Dang, never heard of that before. Don’t have any of those in west TX!

Good luck on your bow build!!!!

Bisch
Senior Member - Traditional Archery Society
Life Member - Traditional Bowhunters of Texas
Life Member - Lone Star Bowhunters Association

Primal Tech longbow 50#@29”
Primal Tech recurve 50#@29”
Sarrels Blueridge longbow 50#@29”
Sarrels Bobcatt TD recurve 50#@29.5"
Rob Green selfbow 47#@29”
Lonnie Dye composite 48#@29”

I hail from about 4hrs southwest of Tim King! [biggrin]
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chuckc
AKA ironwood. I believe there is a Mexican ( correction..desert) ironwood, but it is different, and awesome.
ChuckC

Charter Member Traditional Archery Society

I did too !

Madison, Wisconsin.   Public land hunter
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Deno
ironwood.gif 
Charter Member Traditional Archery Society
United Bowhunters of New Jersey
Traditional Archers of New Jersey TANJ

Howard Hill Wesley Special 70#
Howard Hill Big 5  65#
Jerry Hill Stalker Deluxe  60#
Jerry Hill Wildcat ll 50#


 

Northern New Jersey
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Bisch
Yeah, where I’m at is just off the left edge of that map!!!

Bisch
Senior Member - Traditional Archery Society
Life Member - Traditional Bowhunters of Texas
Life Member - Lone Star Bowhunters Association

Primal Tech longbow 50#@29”
Primal Tech recurve 50#@29”
Sarrels Blueridge longbow 50#@29”
Sarrels Bobcatt TD recurve 50#@29.5"
Rob Green selfbow 47#@29”
Lonnie Dye composite 48#@29”

I hail from about 4hrs southwest of Tim King! [biggrin]
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Deno
Bisch wrote:
Hophornbeam????? Dang, never heard of that before. Don’t have any of those in west TX!

Good luck on your bow build!!!!

Bisch



http://texastreeid.tamu.edu/content/TreeDetails/?id=67


Range/Site Description:

A tree of the deep forest, found mostly on rather dry soils throughout the uplands in East Texas, but also in moist woods underneath taller pines and hardwoods.


Chisos hop hornbeam is an extremely rare tree found only in the Chisos Mountains of west Texas. It is larger than the knowlton hop hornbeam and also differs from it by having stalked glands on the leaves. The male flowers are enclosed in bracts or scales that have a sharp, rigid point.

Charter Member Traditional Archery Society
United Bowhunters of New Jersey
Traditional Archers of New Jersey TANJ

Howard Hill Wesley Special 70#
Howard Hill Big 5  65#
Jerry Hill Stalker Deluxe  60#
Jerry Hill Wildcat ll 50#


 

Northern New Jersey
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steelflight
Hop hornbeam is a great second string bow wood. Its something of a secret as well. Have fun and document!
You may think before you act the question is do you listen to your own counsel.
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thetimdavis
Hop Hornbeam -
I only comment because I made a very nice little hornbeam bow a couple of years ago, and have a few staves still waiting for work. My initial attempt started out with lots of promise, and then failed in the tillering.
Watch the moisture content.
I roughed out a hornbeam bow, and started working on the tillering.
The bow looked great, and was well over 60# at 25" on my tillering tree.
I must have got too aggressive on drawing it on the tree, too early because it suddenly lost all reflex and the poundage dropped to under 40#.
I never drew it past 25" and my draw is 27", so I can only attribute this rapid loss of cast to the moisture content being too high to sustain the needed properties to reflex back after being drawn.
I had not heat tempered the belly yet, but was planning too. Heating (toasting) the belly while clamped to a reflexed form helped at first, but then as soon as I drew the bow on the tillering tree again it lost its reflex, and returned to a "droopy" bow with 21/2+ of string follow, <40# - and I hadn't finished tillering it yet.
I finished tillering, sanded it and gave it a coat or two of spray urethane, then gave it to a friend for his young kids to shoot. It was probably 25# at most when done.
Point is:  
Make sure that before you start the process of building a bow (tillering and drawing ... )
I would make sure that you have dried your Hornbeam adequately.
You can build a "hotbox" out of foam board/plywood and light-bulbs, stick a thermometer in it and leave the roughed out staves in there at 90-120 degrees for a while to drop the moisture.
Depending on where you live, a hot car can do the same.
Heat tempering the belly has worked very well for me with hickory, but I only do that after the bow has been completely tillered to my draw, but before any finish.

I am looking forward to trying another go at Hornbeam.
Good luck and enjoy the process with your son. 


Timothy B Davis
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Jack Skinner
I don't know your experience on building selfbows aaronbrill but Comstocks book on building whitewood bows is the best i have ever read. It help save a lot of staves😊
Jack Skinner

Self Bows, OE's; Heritage, Vixen, Misty Dawn, Heritage II x 2 "The Twins", North Star x 2 Crown Jewel and Cousin It, 7 Lakes SF Carolina Night, Miller Sage, Ramer, Schulz Grandpa, Sunset Hill, Shelton

Cheyenne WY
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aaronbrill
Thanks for the tips guys! I got one of the staves debarked and used a dull scraper to get the cambium off. I don't think I damaged the back at all, the scraper skated right across the sapwood. My only slight concern is a couple of pin knots that weren't visible until I hit them with the scraper. I'm hoping I didn't damage the grain on those.

I might look into making a hot box to help speed up the drying process. Whatever the outcome it'll be a great learning experience and I know it won't be my last effort!
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thetimdavis
Hornbeam
Just wanted to add to Jack's comment.
Paul's book would be very helpful.
Paul has helped me via email and photos for a number of years now.
My comments above were the result of discussions with Paul.
Here is a link for a copy of the "The Bentstick":
    http://gallifrey.org/bentstic.htm
Sounds like your on your way to making some fine bows.
Happy Good Friday!
Timothy B Davis
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aaronbrill
Thanks, I will check that out!

I just went out to get a couple pics of the progress so far. There's one more stave that is going to be very similar to this one once it's debarked.
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steelflight
That will work great with your plans. Good luck
You may think before you act the question is do you listen to your own counsel.
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