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cello365

Snakewood and Pernambuco for bowmaking

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Hi gang!

 

Long time reader but first time poster here.  I'm looking to take on the project of making my first ever bow, and was wondering if anybody knows of an online source where I could get snakewood and pernambuco blanks for the job.

 

Thanks for the help! 

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Some wise advice that was given to me by a master bowmaker:

 

"Don't use rare wood for your first, second or third bows. As part of the learning process you will make mistakes, and it's better to make mistakes on readily available, relatively cheap wood. Once you gain some experience and are sure of what you are doing, then you can consider more exotic woods."

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Lynn Hannings a fine bowmaker, sells bow blanks on her website: shop.lahbows.com  She currently lists blanks in pau-d'arco and massaranduba.  These are not too expensive ($50 to $100) and have been used in the past for bows.  Might be good for learning  before you buy a really expensive blank.

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I'd recommend the Massaranduba route to start with. It's much cheaper and you won't be harming good material if your first few don't turn out.

Have some bows on hand to feel the stiffness. Keep your graduations oversized and compare. Good luck.

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I've been told Ipe makes fine bows as well, and is very reasonably priced.

Pau d'arco is ipe.  As I said above, blanks in ipe are available from Lynn Hannings for $50 to $100 each.

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cello365,  Where are you located?  You could be anywhere in the world.  I have a couple of pieces of Leopard wood that you can have, but you would be responsible for picking them up or paying for shipping.  I measured one of the two blanks in the picture. It has a specific gravity of 0.97.  If you're interested let me know.

 

-Jim

 

post-58064-0-88924000-1470493815_thumb.jpgpost-58064-0-47661800-1470493830_thumb.jpg

 

 

Oops forgot to hold phone in landscape position again.  Just turn head or monitor sideways.  :D

Edited by Jim Bress

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Ipe works well. To my ear it has a bit darker, "smokier" sound than pernambuco, but especially for a first bow it would be a good choice.

 

Cheapest option is just go your your local lumber yard and grab a board. It's widely used for decking. Go for the straightest, tightest grain you can find. Ideally, the rings should run across the head. but plenty of bows are made rift sawn.

 

Ipe has a high mineral content that blunts edge tools fairly rapidly (looks like kind of a greenish powder accumulating on your plane iron). So you'll have to sharpen often.

 

But it's dense, carves well and bends well.

 

Hope that helps.

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Thank you all for your suggestions!  I will certainly check out my local lumber yard as well as the websites mentioned.   Jim, I'll send you a PM right now.  

 

Thanks again everybody, I really appreciate the help!

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