A big drawknife is just the thing for taking the bark off and "working down"
the back to single grain layer. Mine is a foot from handle to handle and
the blade 2 inches wide and 1/4 inch. But it is not a spoke shave.
> Don't most people use a froe for this? I've even seen axes used.
> Not to make fun at all but I have never read of using a drawknife for
> -splitting out a bow- I would think it's possible but a bit too
> light a tool for splitting with. For getting to the desired layers
> or carefully taking the bark off I can definitely see using a
> drawknife. For finishing to grain levels scrapers, rasps and files
> are generally used.
> There is a special type of multiple blade scraper that is used
> now by many bowyers to follow growth rings. Generally these things
> have about four blades set at straight or slightly skewed angles
> to each other and it is used like a spokeshave in practice. This
> deals with irregular grain quite well.
> I suppose I should point out that I have been collecting articles,
> magazines and books on archery and crossbows since the 60's in
> English and German on most types of archery equipment. I used to
> teach archery to students and summer camp counselors and compete
> in tournaments with clubs/teams prior to my SCA days. I attended
> the NAA instructor's course in Pennsylvania back around 1968 or 9.
> My mentor was a three time world F.I.T.A. champion, O.K. Smathers of
> Brevard, NC, USA, prior to sitting on the first U.S. Olympic Committee
> when it finally became an Olympic Sport around 1972 or so. I was
> from nearby Hendersonville, and we shot with clubs in Asheville and
> Brevard, and I later shot with clubs and on the university team in
> Raleigh, NC.
> While I was a good teacher I never would have been a champion shot.
> I taught eight styles at one time, and shot five in competitions.
> Thirty years later I have trouble recalling all the names of the
> styles now. I will buy just about anything remotely related to
> historical archery.
> Unfortunately I eventually developed a muscular/nervous system malady
> that has left me unable to shoot anything but a windlass-drawn crossbow
> for more than a shot or two.
> Inherited syndrome and too much manual repetitive motion making a large
> variety of things (furniture, plastics, cabinets, woodwork) disabled me
> years earlier than it should have. The fact that I can't do it has not
> stopped my interest in archery. It has answered my wonderment over
> why I still shook a bit regardless of shooting bows 20 hours a week.
> I shake now frequently. My scores were usually about 18 points less
> than some of the casual scores of the champions I shot with.
> About 278 vs 296+ out of 300.
> > Also in making baskets a frow or draw knife is used to split out
> > the strips of wood and again you want to split the wood not cut it.
> With white oak here (VA-NC, USA) the bark is taken off (generally
> with a spud) and then the still green tree trunk is pounded with the
> poll of an axe which is a labor intensive way of separating out the
> growth rings. To keep the thickness constant for making baskets a
> small rectangular box like tool with an adjustable thickness knife-edge
> is used. This tool is only used in basketmaking and derives from the
> ones used in England - most English crafts books which include chapters
> on basketmaking depict them. I am pretty sure Vanishing Crafts by
> John Seymour does. I know some of my basketmaking books do.
> For finer withes the stuff is often simply pulled between a leather
> pad on the thigh and a sharp knife edge held in the hand.
> > Queen Ann leg .... sharper the better.
> Quite true. An awful lot of the 18th C furniture contains curly
> grain like maple in it too.
> A long time ago I saw a demonstration on a program of how flintlock
> rifle reproductions were stained. I cannot remember the chemical used.
> It was applied to the wood and a red hot iron was waved over the
> surface. As heat hit the wet wood it turned a lovely shade of brown
> and the curly grain stood out in contrast. This is the only time I
> have seen/heard of a stain being applied in this manner. I am fairly
> sure it must be a very old method but none of my finishing books
> mentions it. It may have been a tannic acid/iron oxide solution
> reaction in the wood, but maple doesn't contain tannic acid, or does it?
> I know Maples didn't stain my hands like wood that does like Oaks, and
> I worked many thousands of board feet of it. I made a great deal
> of furniture for a living at one time. A good thousand + pieces and
> hundreds of cabinets, etc. I expected to still be doing it. Somebody
> up there has a very peculiar sense of humor.
> Perhaps someone here knows? Perhaps I have the wrong memory of the
> wood type used and it was a reaction with tannic acid and rust in
> solution responding to heat. Walnut has a lot of tannic acid for
> example. Used to give me purple hands for days.
> > James Cunningham
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