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Snakewood and Pernambuco for bowmaking


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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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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.







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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