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The Po Boy Buildalong

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jared s:
Alright, I’m finally going to pony up and take the challenge. This is the po boy buildalong. I need to edit this post here so our southern friends dont think I'm just fixin a sandwich...  :knothead:  
As I mentioned on John Scifres’ thread, I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile. While I love the buildalong threads and ones involving people’s enormous, well equipped workshops, the simple truth is, I’m just not one of those guys (yet)   ;)   . Due to various factors, I’ve found myself living in places that this small town boy would never have dreamed even 5 years ago. But, hey, that’s life, and that’s why its interesting. (I like to joke with people that theres more people living in my apartment building then in the town I grew up in, which isn’t much of an exaggeration.) So even though I’m not in an ideal situation to exercise a lot of my interests and hobbies, sometimes you have to do with what you have and that’s what I want to show here. I’m not doing anything new here, and may rehash things I’ve learned from others but this is my experience that I’d like to share with others that it might help.
This is not meant to be a how to build a selfbow thread. As John mentioned, that’s been done, and I’m by no means an expert or do I have the experience to call myself any kind of innovator. (If you need suggestions on how to make bows that consistently come in at 35# or less or the appropriate colorful language to use when a bow explodes at 27” and hits you in the forehead, feel free to PM me or maybe I could do a separate thread) What I do mean to do is show younger people, people just getting started or people who just don’t have a lot of space or tools how I have dealt with similar problems and kept myself from going insane living in an apartment in the suburbs.
On a less practical level, I like to think it’s a small part of giving back to a great site. I don’t post a lot, but I read almost daily and the buildalongs of all kinds are always my favorites. I’m not a big internet guy but from everything I see, this site is unlike any other, really proficient people sharing skills with guys more like me, never talking down or belittling anyone. I really appreciate it and get a lot of inspiration and new ideas for what my wife calls “my projects”. Wow, I’m getting a little long winded here so lets get to the meat, selfbows in tight spaces……..

jared s:
So right up front, this thread is going to boil down to one thing: make do with what you have. Power tools, expensive hand tools and shop space are great, but a lot of guys don’t have em. Read about Glen St. Charles or any other pioneer, they started out with a hatchet and a piece of broken glass or some other limited tools. So basically, everything I show is in some way optional, use what you have or can get at a reasonable price.
I’m a big fan of garage sales, thrift shops etc, a natural cheapskate, so a lot of these things were acquired for little or no money, go out and find yours!
(I’d like everyone to notice that I laid out a nice piece of brain tanned deerskin to photograph my crappy tools. Lipstick on a pig? Maybe. But I’m trying to look like I know what I’m doing)

jared s:

Hatchet and Drawknife
Some guys seem to be able to rough out bows with a hatchet, I’m not one of them. But occasionally I will use it for that or other rough and dirty jobs. Plus I just love this hatchet (the steel is so hard, my best files will barely touch it) and the price was right. I found it in a gravel pit in the Snoqualamie Range in Washington. I have used it as a wedge with a hammer to split small trees (

jared s:

 Ok, yes theres a Nicholson #49 in the middle there, not a po boy tool. But its probably my single favorite bow building hand tool. Smooth and even and amazing. But I did A LOT of rasping with the $8  4in1 rasp below before the Nicholson came from Santa. A couple of bucks for a file card is nice too no matter how much you paid for your rasp.

jared s:

So I bought a Bowyers Edge in a kit some years ago when I got started in all this nonsense. I had it for about 5 years and hated it before I finally figured out how to set the blade properly, now I love it. (Thank you Jeff Struberg. You may not remember me or explaining it to me but you made me a believer) That being said, I’ve recently started using the half scissors idea from Eric Krewson and it works just about as well. Maybe not as comfortable in the hand for long use, but its easy to control, CHEAP and I don’t cringe when I hit big knots with it. Again, lots of knowledge and helpful people on this site.


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