So, with the plague upon us, I decided to try my hand at something new. Woodcarving is something I have wanted to give a try at for a long time now, but have either been hesitant, had false-starts at, or hadn’t made a serious attempt to overcome the initial hump that comes with learning control of new tools. At the start of Oregon state’s lockdown, I decided it was time to craft a new bow out of yew wood. I haven’t posted anything about this hobby of mine because I really was new to it and hadn’t had many successful attempts. I have crafted near to 10 different bows out of a few different types of wood, and have found Pacific Yew to be exceptional material. I’ve had a few staves drying for about a year and decided the tedium and stress of a lockdown at home was the perfect time to give a measured and paced attempt. I worked pretty slow for a few weeks on this bow. When bringing the belly of the bow down to a drawable length, it’s important to follow the growth ring in order to get a strong even tiller on the bow. following the growth ring on this particular bow was challenging because I want the ‘spring’ and speed that a concave limb could give me. I need to use a hook knife to pull it off and in the process started to get a real feel for how to use these tools well. After I completed to bow, I decided I was going to tackle more complex carving projects- starting with spoons. Here’s a shot of the construction of my new bow, as well as a few shot of failed bows. A failing bow is heart-breaking but the things you learn are priceless. My new bow has already withstood about 2,000 arrows through it and I am confident it will last for a very long time. The last 5 photos are of the new bow.
Now on to my spoons. Much of the wood used for these was inherited from my Grandpa’s workshop. Each piece of wood I pick up, I think about what he would have made with it and what he may have had planned for it’s use. Many pieces actually have various notes written in his hand- usually measurements, but occasionally, notes like, ‘birdhouse’. At a time of isolation, especially from family, it’s been very connecting for me to learn this craft and use some of his tools while doing it. I like to think that he would have loved what I have turned his ‘stash’ of wood into. I wish I had more. I’ll have to stat building my own now. Except the oak- I have loads of oak to go through!