Fumed ash HLD, 72#/28″ (No. 52)

Do you guys know about to dye with ammonia?
In Germany you can buy ‚Räuchereiche‘, translated word by word it means: smoked oak.
It has nothing to do with real smoke, but  is a chemical reaction of ammonia with the tan acids in the wood. The more acid in the wood, the better reaction. I wondered to use it in bowery.

In the last month I did a lot of experiments with different woods. For example fresh osage can be aged over night so that it looks like 10 years old. Every woods behaves a bit different, but I had great results with elm, ash, dogwood (gets a very nice warm grey).

I noticed three important things.
First this dye is not on the wood, it is in the wood at least 3-4 mm.
Second the color is stable, the acid gets the color by a chemical reaction.
Third the structure of he wood changes, it gets a super smooth surface and the elasticity increases. I will do more tests from time to time.

Here you see the difference between normal and smoked. Before the smoking process I taped the limbs diagonally. In the detail pic above the border is a bit fuzzy, I like that how it came out. The ash developed very nice colors, especially at the growth rings. No pigments added.

It is a HLD with a deep valley, it is 63“ long. All added parts, overlay, wedge inlay, arrow pass is buffalo horn. The tips are mildly flipped.

5 Kommentare

Hi Simon,
fumed, hld, horn : you have magnified this „simple“ ash stave into a work of art, bravo !
I tried the amonia treatment on black locust: only the heartwood reacted! Do you know how the sapwood of these different woods reacts: yew, hackberry, red elm? anyway I’ll do some tests … thank you for all the information on your site!

Hi Olivier,
Meanwhile I’ve done a lot of tests with different woods. Every wood which contains tanin acids reacts with the amonia. The more it is there, the darker it gets.
On some woods occur special effects such as yew, dogwood and other. Best is to do some testing before you fume a bow. I do this in plastic container or in a glass with twist of lid. I use a small piece of wood and make one surface nicely (brought done to a ring and sanded). So you can estimate the colors on your bow later.
Send me pics of your results, I’m always curious …

Olivier, that is a difficult question. I don’t own a chrony myself and can only do speedtesting from time to time.
I estimate the speed gain at about 5-8 fps. But it is just an estimation.
To tell the truth two nearly identical bows were needed, one with a common design and one a HLD. Hard to find or to do.
I once compared an extreme osage static to a straight limb HLD elder. Both 40#, shot with the same arrows. The result was: the elder was significant faster. I remember I couldn’t believe it, from there on I built some dozens of HLDs … … and still do. It is a fascinating design.

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