Saturday, June 9, 2007


A quiet Saturday with very little foot traffic into the store. With some of the spare time, I thought I'd catchup on some old Amazon listings and blog a bit about current works in the progress. Les is at his bench, ready to plane out another bow.

The wood he's currently working with is a called pernambuco. It's considered the gold standard for bowmaking material. Very expensive stuff as this single orange blanc of this orange stick can go upwards of $600. Besides the cost, there's always the unpredictable nature of wood with all its flaws and cracks that can't be seen to the eye. Don't worry, no problems on this bow though.

I didn't show you the step before this, but Les gets the blanc ready with critical markings in chalk and pencil. He also has a gold template of the bow head & tip, which he has to design, and trace its outline on to the head of the blanc.

He than takes a Japanese knife and scrapes out the arching under the bow head.

Les has been trained in the French traditional bow making style and he's pretty strict about sticking to it. Sometimes though, he takes a short cut and does a bit of filing like he does above.

Shaping the blanc into an octagonal or round stick has to be done with one of these little tools. It's a specially made "finger plane" that can give your digits a grind session. Les has to get the cutting edge sharp with a wetting stone, then grin and bear as he planes. It ends up being a real workout for him.

Will be back next week to blog more about his finished bow.

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