Friday, August 14, 2009

Hello Yew!

The Western Yew bow staves that I ordered arrived this week! This is the wood that I need to make the Tuktut Nogait bow. I'm very happy to have them in hand - they were one of the big question marks hanging over this project and now that they have arrived I know where to lay my hands on all the raw materials that I need. Aside from a couple pieces of slate that I can pick up in industrial areas around town, I think that I've located suitable materials for all of the Parks reproductions. Everything is in my workshop at various stages of completion.

I'm anxious to start on the bow, but I'm going to ease into this new wood. Especially after my problems with the wood kayak rib. I compared the reproduction rib to the original again yesterday and the crack is too deep, I need to start over on a new piece of wood. This isn't unusual - I don't always get a finished reproduction out of every piece I start. Hopefully, I'll be able to avoid the same problems on the second rib. I have a few more criteria for picking the new wood now, rather than just the placement of knots.

The yew staves are quite large and I'm still thinking about how to get the most out of them. I'm not quite sure where the bow will be found insie them, but there is a long strip of waste wood that needs to come off one of the staves. I can safely remove that length of wood and there is more than enough material there to make a smaller reproduction and start to get a feel for the wood. One of the Tuktut Nogait artifacts is identified as a marrow extractor, made from a piece of yew. A marrow extractor is a long stick used to push the greasy marrow out of long bones. In Tuktut Nogait those long bones would most likely have belonged to caribou. There is a bit of weathering and growth on the artifact that will be tricky to replicate, but actually carving the marrow extractor reproduction will be fairly simple.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Photo Caption:
Top, Western Yew coming out of the box
Middle, The staved in my dining room
Bottom, The Tuktut Nogait Marrow Extractor

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