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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking of making a self-bow, but I'm wary of going with a good osage stave that I might goof up. Hickory seems to offer similar characteristics at a lower price - What do you think? I've made one bow out of board wood (white ash) which turned out nicely, but the limbs are way to heavy, so not much cast but plenty of hand shock. I want to make a narrow profile longbow.
MG
 

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Wish I could help ya out, but I have never made one. Thats gonna come after retirement. :)
 

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Mountainguy, I'm certainly no authority on the subject, but I whittled a few self-bows in the early '90s and watched the making of several more. Right or wrong, here's what I remember.

I never used hickory because I was convinced it would follow the string. After a time, some of my neighbors realized hickory was everywhere, here, and bodock was hard to get. They started making use of our plentiful (and cheap) hickory and were quite successful with it. To a man, they'd quote information provided by a feller named Paul Comstock (I THINK that was his name).

His theories on using hickory and other white woods may not be "cutting edge" now, but they worked back then. I can't remember if he ever wrote a whole book on the subject but I know he contributed to some of the more accepted self-bow making books of the day. Might be worth a shot at Googling ol' Comstock.

I still have some of those books somewhere. If you'd like, I'll look for'em.

Rich
 

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Hickory works fine you just have to make it a little wider than you would an Osage bow to prevent string follow. There's a lot of information on making bows at TradGang.com. It's a traditional archery forum and is very similar to this one in it's character of members...that is, super friendly.
 

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I know nothing, but do have a forrest full of Osage Orange. Is there a how too book somewhere?
 

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Doc, There were several books available a few years ago. The only one I've found is Volume 1 of THE TRADITIONAL BOWYER'S BIBLE. I also have one by Jay Massey, another by Jim Hamm and a rather large one, title forgotten, concerned with making Indian flatbows. I recall Massey's and Hamm's as being my choice.

Took my own advice (above) and Googled Paul Comstock and it looks as if has one available.

It's been my experience that a good how-to book, draw knife, spoke shave, pocket knife,and a good stave of bo-dock(also called Osage Orange, Hedge Apple, Bois de Arc) or another suitable wood combined with a little time, want-to and elbow grease can result in MANY hours of entertainment and a darn nice bow.

Rich, who live far from any known Osage thicket
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the input - I've only made one bow, and it was made from a white ash board. I seem to recall reading that hickory was a close second to osage in it's characteristics - i.e. hardness, etc. I do believe that the bow would need to be slightly thicker than a comparable osage bow to achieve similar results.
My ash bow took about a 1 1/2" set, but the main problem with it was and is the limb mass - way to heavy, so I received a fair amount of hand shock, along with mediocre cast. I'm getting the itch to try it again, but I'm afraid to goof up a good osage stave, thus the interest in hickory! Thanks for any other input you might be able to give me.
MG
 

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Anybody ever passing through I-70 in Mid Kanasas is welcome to all the Osage Orange they can haul. I'm going out next month to cut up a bunch for next years fence posts. ;D

I've got it growing like weeds. :p
 

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That right thar is ah right good offer. ;D
 

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I have used hickory on 2 bows. Have not tried the osage yet because of cost. The hickory is hard and hard to work with. It is heavy but does ok. There are a couple of places that offer u-finish bows. Rudderbows is great people and very helpful. The other is stickbow, I think. Hope that helps.
:)
 
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