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2015 Rockler Woodworking Bow Class

Instructors Joe Higgins, Blaine Kuykendall and Jim Keffer

The weekend of February 21st and 22nd saw Joe, Blaine and Jim teaching beginning bow making at Rockler Woodworking in Seattle, WA.

Invited by Rockler event co-ordinator, Jim Klinger, the idea was to provide a basic class for making bows from hickory boards.  There were six students, ages 11 to 30 something - all beginners.  

The two day class consisted of  two parts.  

The first day was spent cutting basic pyramid bows from 5/4" x 6" x 7' hickory boards hand selected by Blaine for straightness of grain, knot free lumber.  Using the classroom and excellent wood working tools provide by Rockler, the students ripped the boards with a table saw to about 1/2" thickness, applied a pyramid template and cut out the shape on a bandsaw.  Initial tillering and draw weight sizing was done with a drum sander for uniformity.  Handles were cut to shape and glue on and the beginnings of the bow were set aside to let the glue dry for 24 hours.  The remaining part of the first day was spent leaning to make Flemish twist bow strings - thanks to Joe!  This was followed up by cutting the nocks in the bow limbs for the bow strings.

The second day was more bow strings (at least two per bow), refining the nocks, finish sanding and, once the handle glue was completely dry, shaping the handles and final tillering.  There was also moisture testing, bow flexing and initial finishing.  In all we made eight bows, one had a defect in the wood and was discarded, six were finished by the individual students and one was left for the store!  All-in-all a busy but rewarding weekend for all!

Here's the 'Class Photo' - Joe Higgins and Blaine Kuykendall on the left - students on the right

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