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Author Topic: Straightening River Cane..pictorial  (Read 3355 times)

Offline the Ferret

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Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« on: March 07, 2005, 04:42:00 PM »
Per Kyboy's request...

River cane is a wonderful arrow material for those of us that shoot wooden bows. It grows naturally in a lot of places, is free for the harvesting or can be bought reasonably, is naturally tapered full length,is tough as nails, comes with it's own weather proof protective coating and has good weight. The MAIN problem with river cane is usually it doesn't grow lazer straight and is gonna need a bit of straightening to be suitable for accurate shooting.NO biggie. It is actually VERY EASY to straighten. At first glance it may look intimidating, but maybe it helps to know that there are only 2 places that it might be crooked..in a node or between two nodes. That's it. If you can straight a node or a curve between the nodes you can make straight river cane arrows and the good news is you cure both problems EXACTLY the same. With heat and pressure.

Here is a typical river cane shaft before straightening and I'll admit it doesn't look much like your typical poc arrow shaft at this point

   
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline the Ferret

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2005, 04:46:00 PM »
Lets tackle the "in the node" problem first. On this shaft if you sight down it like you were looking down a gun barrel you'll see the end past the node dog legs sharply to the right. This problem is actually in the node itself.

   

Here's how we fix that. Turn on your gas stove, coleman heater, propane torch or sit close to the campfire and run that node and a couple of inches on each side of it over the flame back and forth so as not to scorch the wood for maybe 30 seconds or so. The cane should be too hot to hold onto for more than a second at this point.

   
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline Rangeball

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2005, 04:47:00 PM »
Ferret, any pics of what this stuff looks like in the wild?

If you're getting it in Indiana, I assume it's growing in IL as well?
Genesis 9:3
Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.  Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

Offline wildcat

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2005, 04:47:00 PM »
Before I did my first cane, I was afraid of it.   After I finished I was amazed at how easy it was.  It bends very easy when heated.
Wildcat
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Offline the Ferret

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2005, 04:51:00 PM »
When you have it good and hot, the cane will "soften" and will be pliable. Cane in this condition can actually be bent in a "U" without breaking. Anyhow grab a pot holder or glove so you don't burn your hand and quickly place the node over the butt pad of your thumb (look closely and you'll see the dark node ring) and using the long part of the shaft in your other hand pull the shaft over bending the crook into alignment. Sight down and make sure it's straight and if it 's not a little more heat and a little more pressure should do it.

   

When done it should look like this. Then set aside and let cool.

   
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline the Ferret

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2005, 04:57:00 PM »
The other kind of bend is the one between the nodes. This will look like a curve between the nodes. Look at this piece and in the second section back you can see this type of curve

 

We straighten this the same way ...heat the section we want to straighten over the flame, keeping it moving so as not to scorch the wood. When it gets good and hot grab your mitt and again put the bent section over your thumb pad and pull in the direction opposite of the bend, or hold it like you were going to snap a pencil and apply pressure with your thumbs to straighten. Sight down and make sure "that section" is straight. If not reheat and reapply pressure. When straight sit aside to cool.

 
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline the Ferret

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2005, 05:00:00 PM »
Making a straight shaft is simply a series of straightening nodes and the curves between the nodes. Be sure and flip the shaft around and check straightness from both ends.

 

And there you have an arrow shaft.
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline the Ferret

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2005, 05:10:00 PM »
Rangeball I am in Ohio and it grows here, I know it also grows in Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas because I have gotten it from all those places. I have a pic of a stand of it somewhere but basically it grows in patches closely clumped together about 12-15 feet high, looks like bamboo, has nodes with sheaths or leaves at each node and grows around waterways. I find it along the Ohio river.
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline Rangeball

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2005, 05:12:00 PM »
:(

Have never seen anything around here fitting that description...
Genesis 9:3
Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.  Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

Offline Walkingstick

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2005, 05:15:00 PM »
Once again a masterful job Professor Lotz.   :bigsmyl:   Mac~

What sizes would the ends have to be for workable arrows??
" I always hunt with two other companions even though I mostly hunt alone - God and my dad."
God's love is like an ocean..one can see the beginning but not the end.

Offline the Ferret

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2005, 05:17:00 PM »
I keep a stash on the counter by the stove (just counted and there are 17 pieces right now). When I have a few extra mintues I will grab a piece and sight down it. If I see a crooked spot I'll flip on the stove and straighten it. If you look at the second and third pic at the clock, you'll see it took 2 mins to straighten that section incl taking pictures, so in reality maybe a minute to straighten a section. I find that about 6 examinations/straightening sessions will fix any piece of cane I have seen no matter how crooked to start with. Some are done in half that amount of handlings. Once I find no more crooked sections it goes downstairs ready to be plugged or fletched. You can even do this while watching TV.
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline RonT

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2005, 05:21:00 PM »
Those look like primo shoots, Mickey, care to refer to a sorce for some like those?  I have trade material.
R
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Offline the Ferret

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2005, 05:23:00 PM »
Mac...big enough so that I can do a self nock. Tonkin cane is very small in diameter, but river cane is a little larger which I actually like and find the cane I like best to be very similar in size to a tapered shaft that is about 11/32 (.340) mid shaft with the nock end being slightly smaller and the tip end slightly larger.

BTW being tapered full length it flys well from a variety of weight bows.
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Offline the Ferret

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2005, 05:27:00 PM »
Ron try Mike Hames in Oklahoma. He has been a good reliable source for several years,and usually trades a lot of it away at Mojam (another great source) but several guys on here have sent me wonderful cane. Down at KyBoys stump shoot a fellow BJ showed up with a pile and said it grew by him in Louisville.
There is always someone that knows more than you, and someone that knows less than you, so you can always learn and you can always teach

Online luv2bowhunt

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2005, 05:28:00 PM »
Yes, another masterful presentation!! I will have to start looking around here for some of that stuff... seems a fitting shaft for a selfbow  :)

Thanks again for all of your pictorials  :thumbsup:

Kevin.
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Offline ber643

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2005, 05:41:00 PM »
This looks neat and I love the one Dano sent me. Gotta get me some to mess wit, now that I'm messin' with dowels. (In NC, huh? Hmmmm I live just a hoot n' a holler from a river). Some pre quest questions for Mickey (or anyone): 15 to 16 ft? Does that mean you get a number of shafts from one shoot or is most of it too small (or large)? What can you tell us about spine, or do we go native and just keep the good fliers? When do you harvest and how long do you let dry, etc. (This has probably all been covered but repetition may make it sink in.)
Bernie: "Hunters Are People Too"

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Offline RonT

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2005, 05:48:00 PM »
Thanks for the tip, Mickey, I'll follow up on these leads.
R
Spes Mea in Deo Est

Offline conlaoch

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2005, 06:18:00 PM »
Mikey,

So does that meean that you shoot them large end forward?  And do you worry about spining or weighing them?

Conlaoch

Offline Dano

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2005, 06:23:00 PM »
Yeah Bernie!! Your going to want to cut cane longer than you need for drying/checking purposes. Cut 1/2" shoots bundle em real tight and let em dry for 6 or 8 months, like any thing else it's worth the wait.  ;)
"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy" Red Green

Offline ber643

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Re: Straightening River Cane..pictorial
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2005, 06:34:00 PM »
Thanks, Dano, when do you cut them - summer, fall?
Bernie: "Hunters Are People Too"

Ret'd USMC '53-'72

Traditional Bow Shooters of West Virginia (Previously the Official Dinosaur Wrangler, Supporter, and Lifetime Honorary Member)
TGMM Family of the Bow

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