Rawhide backed hickory selfbow

Thread starter #1
I made a hickory selfbow a couple years back that took 3 inches of set even as careful as I tried to be when I tillered it. I was thinking of trying another but recurve the limbs and backing with raw hide. Do y'all experienced selfbow makers know if the rawhide will prevent taking set if applied at the point of floor tillering?
 
I made a hickory selfbow a couple years back that took 3 inches of set even as careful as I tried to be when I tillered it. I was thinking of trying another but recurve the limbs and backing with raw hide. Do y'all experienced selfbow makers know if the rawhide will prevent taking set if applied at the point of floor tillering?
In the humid southeast, a rawhide-backed selfbow is a moisture sponge. The one I made is very sluggish compared to other simial bows I've made. The main problem with hickory taking a set like that is not getting enough moisture out of the wood before tillering and working it. It needs to be dry as you can get it before you start tillering. That is one reason that I'm not a big fan of hickory as bow wood. A hot box helps a lot.
 

Todd Cook

Senior Member
Hickory is wonderful bow wood if dry. Otherwise not so much. When working with a hickory stave I would dry it inside the house and leave it there as much as possible. Go ahead and get it to near bow size before you dry it.Hickory air dried outdoors in the south will never get the moisture content low enough. And poly or other sealers won't keep it from re absorbing water later. Other than shooting or hunting with one I leave them inside.
 
Thread starter #5
Thanks for feedback guys. I used a dryer out of stove pipe and a little heater with a fan from lowes. It seems like everybody has trouble with hickory. May have to try Osage
 
It’s been awhile but I believe I was taught Hickory needs to be down to 9% to make a good bow. I dried mine in a hot box. I made a 68 “ flat bow ( no backing) that I was very pleased with, it took no set. I also made a static recurve that was ok, but I much preferred the flat bow. I boiled several chunks of Osage to extract that color, after it dried I used Johnson floor wax Repeatedly to protect it.
 
My hunter is hickory. Made it 30 years ago, 62lbs. @28". 0 set. Only thing I've ever put on it is rendered bear grease. Brain tanned buckskin around the handle section and a deer backstrap sinew string - it is my second string.
 
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