By Jim Hamm
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Additional resources for The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible, Volume 4
When later split and reduced the inner wood then dries and shrinks also, causing the surface checks to close. Later, if dried further and quickly, they can open up again. Forcing a stave into reflex while drying: Such staves are just pretending. Most of this reflex will pull out when strained, especially in main working portions of a bow limb. Staves which are steamed or heat-bent into reflex do better - steam-bending temperatures let cellulose plasticize somewhat, assuming a true altered position.
O. Box 1102, Delaware, OH, 43015. Steve Gardner was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, spending nearly every waking hour with his old lemonwood bow. As an adult, his lifelong interest in archery expanded to include making his own bows of natural materials. After many, many failures, he found George Tsoukalas’ bow building site on the Internet, and immediately began producing shooters. Since that time, he has made bows of every wood and every design imaginable, crafting thousands of bows in the process.
Stopping checks that have started: Immediately douse the checking surfaces with water and keep it wet until surface wood is saturated. Then dry the wood slowly. The stave might then be wrapped loosely in plastic, with small vent holes. Or the temperature might be lowered, or the stave placed in higher RH air until later stages of drying. Air-drying irony: Air-dried staves often show more checking, cracking, twisting and compression damage than lumber staves, all avoidable using above information.