Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Amazon Orders, Whittling 2.0, Advanced Woodworking Techniques, and a Finished Bow

First off, a shout-out to Amazon.com. Living in the mid-west puts me at a significant disadvantage as far as hobby supplies are concerned. Living in a town of 20,000 limits my archery shopping options. Amazon has been a life saver. Through Amazon, I have been able to pick up all of the necessary supplies to build my own archery bow.

Oh, how is the process coming along? I'm finished, finished with making my own osage orange archery bow. Take a look:

My bow stands at an impressive 60 inches. The handle of the bow is wrapped in cord and held together with gorilla glue- epoxy.

I started with two separate 35 inch osage orange wood staves. At first, I just whittled away at the wood staves with a simple kitchen knife. It wasn't easy.

Check it out. To the right is a picture of the wood that resulted from over two hours of repetitive, finger numbing whittling. For two hours work, this isn't a lot of progress. So, in order to finish my bow in time and without developing carpal tunnel syndrome, I had to develop a faster, more effective system for cutting the wood.

After some thought, I figured it out. In our backyard is a beautiful deck. I decided to use this deck to my advantage. Using car tie down straps and ratchets, I held my osage orange wood stave in place. With my trusty, durable, freakin' sharp, kitchen knife, I began slicing into the wood. This wouldn't have been possible without a hammer to drive the knife down. I'm not going to lie, this was a challenging process; but, after only 30 minutes, I had my second 35" osage orange bow stave cut down to size. 30 minutes! It took over six hours to reach this same point with the traditional whittling process.

I've learned a lesson through this. When possible, use a more advanced technique to complete a process. It may take a little more time up front to set up the process, but you will save time in the long run. Think about this in your own life. What hobbies, crafts, or projects are you knee deep in right now? Is there any way you could be more efficient? Any time-saving techniques you could employ? Try it out! I hope it saves you time and energy!

Tomorrow, I will be taking better pictures of my bow, as well as take my first real shots from it. I already have my arrow all set up for the practice shooting. I've attached a cord to my arrow. When I shoot my arrow, I am hopeful that the attached string will keep the arrow in a safe distance. Because safety is of number one importance to me in archery.

Safety was driven home in my mind from my very first shot from a bow. I remember, very clearly, being told, "archery can be just as dangerous as shooting a gun." It's true. Tomorrow, I will be shooting a thin, metal-tipped hard piece of wood at a rapid speed toward a tiny target. With the power of the bow, my arrow becomes dangerous. I don't want to put anyone or anything in danger of getting hurt. So, the string attached to the arrow (which I have already tested) will act as a safety tether for my arrow. With this safety system in place, I feel confident enough to begin practicing tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

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