I though I would share with you some pictures of a Recurve bow I built a few years back.
It is made with native Australian timbers.
Did you make that from stick or was it a kit?
And was a little courious how your gun laws read there in Austraila?
Looks pretty cool, how tall is it, i'd say about 4 feet? 3 feet?
She's 68" unstrung so about 64 all strung up.
Made the riser from a lump of Tasmanian Blackwood which was planed then cut on a bandsaw then shaped with chisels, rasp, spokeshave then sandpaper.
The limbs are made from an American E-Glass pultrusion called Bo-Tuff for the outside laminations, and the wood laminations are another native Tasmanian timber, Highland Beech.
I got them ground by a friend as I didn't have a taper grinder then. One lam is parralell ground the other has a 0.002" per inch taper on it.
The butt wedge is Blackwood, cut on a bandsaw and ground on a jig I made.
All is glued together with Smooth-On epoxy, clamped into a former and baked under pressure to cure it.
Then it is assembled and the ends were shaped into the riser, held on with helicoil inserts and those brass bezels were made by a friend, although I now have a metal lathe and make my own from steel and then blue them.
After a LOT of sanding, tillering etc the tip overlays go on, made from Fallow Stag antler which is also local.
Final finish is by a french polish type technique using thinned polyurethane varnish, about 10 coats rubbed between coats, no grain filler required. Then rubbed and buffed and waxed.
Handmade Flemish Twist string using B-50 Dacron cord and braided nylon serving.
A LOT of hours involved.......made about 3 now I suppose.
I am annoyed I never took photos of the crossbow I made for a friend from Germany, he took it back with him. It had a laminated Beech and Blackwood stock and I made the action by hand, filed it all and made a jig to set the sear angle and then blued it all. The limb mount was made from aircraft grade aluminium all bolted together.
Gun laws here are fairly tough.
Bows are no problem, but crossbows are now virtually banned. Special permits are needed.
You must have a licence and the guns are kept in a locked safe, ammo and bolts locked up seperately.
Safety course and probation period to get a licence.
28 day waiting period to get a purchase permit for a gun, if a pistol it must be signed by your target club secretary.
Pistols for target only, minimum of 6 shoots per year to keep the licence.
No autos under 5" barrel, or revolvers under 4".
Calibres above 9mm and up to .45 restricted heavily, over .45 banned.
No semi-auto longarms without special permits ( Farmers can get shotguns and .22s, centrefires for professional pest destruction, animal welfare officers etc.) and no pump shotguns.
All firearms are registered.
Licence to purchase ammo.
Junoir permit for under-18s to shoot under supervision.
Penalties can be severe for breaking the law. Theoretically you can do up to 14 years for some offences. As well as massive fines.
The decision of the Magistrate is final for most things, with no appeal.
I have just been elected secretary at my club, and the paperwork is scary. There are official forms for bloody everything!
Absolutely BEAUTIFUL work! How much do you get for a bow like that? Ever hear of a magazine called "Primitive Archer".
Have read Primitive Archer a couple of times. I really want to get into flint knapping, that looks cool.
I think the cost of basic materials is somewhere around $350-400 to build a bow like that, but there are a ****load of hours too. I think I could sell them for around $800 or so but that still leaves the rate per hour at a fair bit less than what I am paid at work.
I have pretty much only built them for friends and charged cost of materials.
I make a fair few Flemish Twist strings for my local gunshop though. Anyone wants a bowstring he rings me up and tells me how long and I make twist strings for less than he pays for regular ones. I can do a string in 15 minutes and get around $15 for them. Good pay per hour, but I only sell a string every month or two so I couldn't make a living on it.
I want to do another crossbow, as I have access to CAD for designing the action now, and I have ideas for improved actions better than what I made before, but I need to get a permit before I can make a crossbow and they are hard to get.
Really I want a firearm dealer's licence, as it is illegal to modify or fix guns without one but they cost $100 a year and you need hardwired alarm systems and grilles on doors and windows etc etc etc to get approval, and your neighbours are notified and can object to it. A bit of a pain really.
You should move to the States! Out in Montana and Wyoming you would do a very good business! My old neighbor bought a hand made long bow in Montanna 10 years or so ago. He paid close to $600 back then, and the bow wasn't as nice as the picture of your work. Is that a split-limb recurve in the picture of you drawing the bow? I have never seen one. You do beautiful work and I would love to order a bow from you. Currently I shoot a compound but have always wanted a long bow or recurve to learn instinctive shooting. I have always wanted to try to build a long bow from supplies available through the Primitive Archer. I am a wood worker by hobby, but what you do is way beyond my skill level! I rely too much on power tools, and bow building requires an adeptness with hand tools, and much patience, not to mention a good knowledge of grain as it pertains to stresses in limbs. I would probably spend a month working on the limbs only to have them crack the first time I drew the bow!
When you say split limb, do you mean take-down?
if so, then yes, that is what it is.
Some power tools are useful. Cutting it out with anything other than a bandsaw would be painful, and a belt linisher is good for tapering the limbs, and the ground laminations in the limbs are done on a power grinder.
The fadeouts where the limbs bolt on are done easiest on a jointer but can be done with a hand plane like that one was.
I made a drilling jig out of a piece of 4" square steel bar which has built in clamps to lock onto the riser and guide tubes for the drill bit at the correct spacings. Looked really neat once it was all ground and polished, then it got wet while moving house and the sruface got rusty......not so shiny any more.
I have a tool called a powerfile which is a small hand held belt sander with about a 1" wide belt, and that is handy for the roughing out of the shaping. Then it gets to rasp and files and sandpaper and scrapers etc. A chisel helps to rough it too but ya gotta be careful or you will split a chunk off. Never done it, but I have seen it!
The wood in that riser looks better real than in photos. It glows from gold to black and the grain shimmers in the light. I love it but it is tough stuff to work with!!
I have made a few gunstocks too which came out ok, but I don't have photos.
Don't altogether discount the possibility of ordering a bow from me at some stage either......the last crossbow I made went to Germany.
I don't get much time to make bows lately, working full time, but I will probably make another one sometime this year. I still have to finish one that was ready to go out but brooke a limb while being tested prior to delivery.
There was some contamination on the glass and the glue bond let go.
Quite a bang, I assure you!!! Flying splinters of wood everywhere too........but better it do that to me than after I deliver it!!!!!
It is kinda therapeutic sitting down having a nice conversation with friends while working away at shaping a bow.
The nasty part is shaping the limbs. Fibreglass splinters are NOT fun, and neither is the protection gear you need to wear to avoid the splinters......
No, what I meant was each limb is actually split into two, as in modern compound bows, where some have the center section of the limb removed from the riser to the axles, creating a "split" down the center line of the limbs (giving the visual impression of 4 thin limbs). In the one pic where you are drawing, the upper limb appears to be a split limb because I can see what appears to be the wall behind you through the top half of the upper limb of the bow. This "split limb" technology is quite popular with current compound bows - I imagine the benefits are more than weight reduction?...
I would place an order with you now if I didn't spend $1900 on two new AR-15's! Maybe in several months I will be "in the green" again.
Oh, I see what you mean....that's just a shadow line from the light.
I can imagine a split limb recurve to be rather damage prone. might try one someday for the hell of it though.
Compounds usually have short thik power limbs which are less susceptible to damage.
Right now I am too busy to be making another one anyhow. Might be able to work something out later down the track though......
I am extra busy right now, as I just got elected Club Secretary and I haven't got through all the paperwork yet......you would not believe the amount of official paperwork for a shooting club!
I will be busy for a while too, as I am trying to start a small business part time that hopefully will eventually grow enough to allw me to quit my day job and make more money, leading to me being able to buy ever more expensive target pistols and indulge my taste for custom Mauser rifles.........in fact I hope I am run off my feet ifit takes off. It should be at least double my current pay if it goes to plan.
Best of all, I would be working for myself so I could make bows in quiet times....or fiddle with my hotrods......or tweak my firearms......or anything I want!
Now your problem of paying off a pair of AR-15s is one I would love to be allowed to have.........damn stupid laws!
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