Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 34

Thread: Yew wood any good? Been offered a standing dead yew tree. Never worked with it.

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    1,364
    That chart is a little irritating Chestnut dust causing nasal cancer is well documented but does not even make it on the chart!
    Have to wear my good dust mask when I rip the boards. I do have good dust extraction above and below as well as an air cleaner. It still gets all over however.
    Wooden spoons, cutting boards and food bowls won't make it on the list. Bows were sealed with oil, to protect the bow not the archer.
    Yes hand tools are almost dust free if you don't beat the sandpaper on the bench to clear it!

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    24,890
    Blog Entries
    1
    That chart is a little irritating Chestnut dust causing nasal cancer is well documented but does not even make it on the chart!
    Elder (Sambucus) is also not on the list. Likely a lot of others that have been omitted.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Conway, Arkansas
    Posts
    13,079
    I had a friend of mine give me some Yew wood that he cut in Florida. This was several years ago and I made a couple of wooden spatulas out of that Yew wood and even with it being so soft? We are still using those spatulas today....after over 10 years of almost daily use. They have survived repeated dishwasher washings, hand washing in the sink, and left un-oiled for a long time. The LOML says that these are among her most favorite ones to use because they are large enough and weigh so little. I don't know the specific species of Yew....but whatever this was? It has held up extremely well. Oh yea! I even made a couple of nightstands out of the wood and they are in use today and beautiful as ever. And here I thought they would only be temporary until I could make some nicer ones.
    Thanks & Happy Wood Chips,
    Dennis -
    Get the Benefits of Being an SMC Contributor..!
    ....DEBT is nothing more than yesterday's spending taken from tomorrow's income.

  4. #19
    I have never handled Yew, but I have read that there is a big difference in the hardness of the inner rings and the outer rings (which is which I don't remember).

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    1,364
    From what I've read 10 lbs of bow stave is shaved down to 1.5 lbs with draw knives then spoke shaves. It gets bent gradually and often during this process balancing out the two kinds of wood. The bark side (sap wood) is not cut but the bark is removed very carefully. As the 'D' shape is formed the bow is pulled on a form with pulleys and the shape critiqued against a wall. The process can take up to 4 years!

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg,Va.
    Posts
    12,403
    I hope it doesn't take 4 years!!! It COULD if drying time is included,I suppose. The old English bows drew at 130# pull! It was required by law that all men and boys had to practice archery every day. It was the only way that they could develop the strength to pull such strong bows. The English relied heavily upon the skill of their archers.

    By the way: The shooting of arrows into the air and raining them down with deadly effect upon the enemy is pure NONSENSE. Arrows barely stand up when they rain down on the ground after being shot into a high arch in the air. The old tapestries show archers shooting STRAIGHT horizontally at the enemy.

    I am a member of the Long Bow Society,and we shoot every Summer here in Williamsburg. I really desire to make myself a yew bow,but not a 130# one!!

    I have a funny story about shooting into the air: When I was a kid in Alaska,I made my arrows and bent tin can lids into a triangular tip for some of them. This kid wanted to shoot my bow,and he climbed up onto the top of a 6 foot tall stump about 3 feet in diameter. Then he took the bow and shot it straight up. The funny part was when he realized the arrow was coming straight down onto HIM. He yelled "OH NO!!",and clasped his hands over the top of his head. He was stuck up there with no place to go! That arrow came down right between his fingers without even touching them. It bounced straight back up into the air several feet,with a loud "BOINK!"after hitting his skull. It made him bleed,but did not penetrate the skull. I am sure the kid never repeated that stunt.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    It was required by law that all men and boys had to practice archery every day. It was the only way that they could develop the strength to pull such strong bows. The English relied heavily upon the skill of their archers.

    I have a funny story about shooting into the air: When I was a kid in Alaska,I made my arrows and bent tin can lids into a triangular tip for some of them. This kid wanted to shoot my bow,and he climbed up onto the top of a 6 foot tall stump about 3 feet in diameter. Then he took the bow and shot it straight up. The funny part was when he realized the arrow was coming straight down onto HIM. He yelled "OH NO!!",and clasped his hands over the top of his head. He was stuck up there with no place to go! That arrow came down right between his fingers without even touching them. It bounced straight back up into the air several feet,with a loud "BOINK!"after hitting his skull. It made him bleed,but did not penetrate the skull. I am sure the kid never repeated that stunt.
    Great story George!

    IIRC, the advent of the longbow was the beginning of the end for knights in shining armor. The first time they set those longbow-armed archers on the french, they decimated them because the arrows could penetrate armor. But the nobles found out this was both a good thing (win wars) and a bad thing (English knights were no longer invincible against the lower classes, which supplied the Archers).
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    24,890
    Blog Entries
    1
    There seems to be quite a few misunderstandings or errant folklore about long bow use.

    One is an archer doesn't point the arrow skyward while drawing back. I have seen a few people trying to shot an arrow trying this before someone sets them straight.

    Another that I have seen is many archers would have more than a single arrow in their hand when shooting. This allowed a quicker succession of firing arrows than pulling them out of their quiver one by one. Some old tapestries and artwork indicate this practice.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg,Va.
    Posts
    12,403
    When archers sere captured,they would cut off the fingers that pulled the string back,ensuring that these archers would no longer be used in war. Or anything else involving archery. I think it would have been a bad idea to get into a fight with one in a pub!!!

  10. #25
    The heartwood is harder than the sapwood. The sapwood you can dent by looking at it with a piercing expression on your face! To clarify for another reply, no, the sapwood isn't cut, true. It is reduced with a dull drawknife to split rings along the pith between them so that the back isn't violated, but still isn't half the bow thick.

    Very high strength to weight ratio yes. I should have put it that way. I put it vaguely in terms of elasticity. Ya ain't breaking it, and you're not crushing that heartwood. That's why the English bow can get away with a rounded belly. White woods need a straight belly to distribute the crushing force but yew, osage, and lemonwood can take it concentrated in one spot.

    George, regarding the cut off fi gers of the archer - I have come to the understanding that that is where we get the infamous middle finger gesture from! To display to the French that we're still able to shoot Whether that's true or not I'm not worried about, but it sounds like a pretty good story to me!

  11. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    twomiles from the "peak of Ohio
    Posts
    10,671
    In England, it is the index and social finger of the right hand that is held
    aloft for all to see. At a Horse show other there, the rider was a bit put out by the score the judges gave him, and flipped them off in a "salute"....

    The "V" for Victory sign? Same thing, Winston was just flipping off Adolph.....

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
    Posts
    24,890
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Canaday View Post
    George, regarding the cut off fi gers of the archer - I have come to the understanding that that is where we get the infamous middle finger gesture from! To display to the French that we're still able to shoot Whether that's true or not I'm not worried about, but it sounds like a pretty good story to me!
    As Tom & Ray, the tappet brothers, proclaimed we also get an expression from the battle of Agincourt about the process of shooting an arrow being referred to as "plucking yew" being transformed into today's all to common expletive. It would be a two for one, if true.

    Serious historians might not agree:

    (King) Henry made a speech emphasising the justness of his cause, and reminding his army of previous great defeats the kings of England had inflicted on the French. The Burgundian sources have him concluding the speech by telling his men that the French had boasted that they would cut off two fingers from the right hand of every archer, so that he could never draw a longbow again. Whether this was true is open to question; as previously noted, death was the normal fate of any soldier who could not be ransomed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Agincourt
    It is still a good story.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #28
    I agree. Let's go with it. Maybe I should change the f word in my spell checker to "pluck," for dubious historical purposes

  14. Question Yew - soft???

    Quote Originally Posted by Glen Canaday View Post
    Yew is very, very soft even when dry. It can't take an impact for nothin' and will dent if you look at it too hard. It is very elastic though and not easily broken. Since it's a conifer its heartwood is pretty good in compression but its sapwood is fairly good in tension, unlike most others of the type. That's why it's used in traditional English longbows. If the sapwood is too thick though, it can crack and of course the bow becomes a wall decoration.

    The best stuff is very tightly grained. It's had a hard life and the growth rings are paper thin. Lawn yew kinda sucks for bows as It's been watered and pampered. Pacific yew is only one breed; we use it here in the states because, well, it can be had.

    The worst thing to look out for with regard to other projects than bows is all the bazillion pin knots it can have.

    Edit: 2.5 feet across at the base? That's a big mamajama. Never seen one that big, personally. Lots and lots to play with there.
    You've got to be kidding!
    I've been using the same yew-wood carving mallet for over 10 years and hardly shows a dent or bruise.
    Made from well-seasoned (1 year/inch of thickness) cut live in the bush here.

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
    Posts
    1,323
    If you want to bow hunt Alaska trophy moose this year, you need a bow with a 55# pull. 80-130# is, err, not unreasonable if you are going up against plate armour I guess. I know nothing about yew specifically, though a quick internet search says good firewood, but do not cook with it. Cutting 7 feet off the stump to make bow staves is potentially lucrative, for the rest I got nothing.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •