Frankenbow: Fiberglass Ipe Boo Monster – Oh My!

feenix light litter
A well weathered tillerman sees the defects immediately. Even I can see a looming ickiness in the profile. Looks almost like hinges appearing just beyond the fades.

Notice anything untoward going on in the pic above? (By the way, that guy at lower right, he’s my biggest fan.)

That’s right, for a fully tillered bow, those mid-to-end limbs appear a mite rigid.

It gets worse:


Whoa, right? Yeah, whoa. I’m trying to come up with the exact thing that profile reminds me of. I keep thinking gull on the downstroke. Gulls are more graceful. Anyway, what next?

As I recall — and it could be wishful remembering — this bow had one of my better tiller jobs. But, as explained in the previous post in this series, I’d shaved the belly wood (ipe) so thin that it began lifting and cracking away from the bamboo back. I thought the bow was destined for the shim maker. But I had ordered some fiberglass of questionable value — the stuff looks it belongs on the flank of a 1950s runabout. I determined to test both the fiberglass and my native ingenuity to what I expected to be the breaking point, both literally and figuratively. Figured I had a Frankenbow on my hands. But…

Lo and behold, when I pulled ‘er outa the oven and cleaned ‘er up, my 54@28 splintermaker was now an 80@28 rotator cuff destroyer. Fantastic, man! Or so I thought. I shot it a bunch of times. Thought my elbow was going to shoot up my humerus and pop outta my ear. But a sweet shooter. Just take some getting used to.

Yeah well, instead I had to get used to this:

over bowed wrist

And then I put the stick on the tiller pole and yanked back the strang. Ouch! What happened to mine beautiful tiller?

And for the past few days I’ve been mulling over what to do with Frankenbow, which my lovely assistant said was too good looking and shot too well to be called Frankenbow. So she named it Phoenix. I spell it Feenix, cuz I’m cool as drool. Anyway, what to do with Feenix?

See, the problem, which you no doubt already realize, is that what a smart bowyer would normally do is take down the weight a mite and adjust the tiller? And how do we do that? Of course, shave that belly! But!

Problem is, in the first go-round, I shaved so much belly I nearly hit backbone. That’s why I added the fibe. And only 1/16th inch of fibe at that. So really, there ain’t much belly to scrape here.

Oh, I thought, well, heck, just give it to some gorilla who can pull an 80-pounder. But then, you can’t turn over a bow with a tiller that looks like bad 70s mustache. It’s undignified. And besides, I really like this bow. I want to shoot it without separating my humerus from my radius every time I draw her back. Dig? And then it dawned on me … real slow, like a voice at the far end of a tunnel….

“Narrowerrrrrrr. Narrowerrrr, you ideeee-ooooooot.”

Oh, yeah, I could make the limbs narrower. That should lighten it up a bit and maybe even help correct the tiller or at least get it to the point where I could play around with removing a wee bit here from the belly and a wee bit there in fine adjustment.

Well, at this writing, I really don’t know what to expect.

I believe I’m going to narrow the limbs and see what happens. Feenix could return to Frankenbow. Or it could end up as a toothpick-catalog model. I’ll try to get pictures. Decent, in-focus pictures, not like that shot of the wrist brassiere up above.

2 thoughts on “Frankenbow: Fiberglass Ipe Boo Monster – Oh My!

  1. Pingback: Lighten Up! Scraping Bow Wood Off the Sides | broke stick

  2. Pingback: Boo Ipe Fiber Saga Denoument ... Maybe | broke stick

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