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Flat Osage Orange Bows

Osage Orange lends itself beautifully to the Flat, Semi-Indian Type of bow. Read again the section on making the Flat Bow of Lemonwood. With an osage stave 5'6" long in your possession, the first step is to transform it into a Flat Bowstave.

Plate 5. Making a Flat Osage Orange Bow

Remove the bark if it has not already been taken off, and clean up the back; be sure to follow the grain when using the draw-knife. Determine the center of your stave. One inch above the true center draw a line around the bow; 3" below the center draw another line around the stave. This is where your handle will come. Refer to Plate 5 and note bow the handle looks. With draw-knife and coarse wood rasp, work your handle to this shape. The abrupt dips at either end of the handle riser flow gracefully into the flat limbs. At the widest part of your limbs-just a bit below where the handle riser dip disappears into the limbs, your stave should be 1¼" to 1½" wide, depending on how wide your original stave was. It should be ¾" through from back to belly, and taper off at the ends 5/16" from belly to back. Next taper your sides. Measure in from each extremity 18", and draw a line across the back. Place a dot at each end. Measure ¼" to either side of this dot. Connect up the ends of the line across the back 18" down, and you will have a triangle with its base the width of the stave and the apex ½" across. Plane down to this line and lead into the sides so there are no harsh lines. Consult Plates 5 and 7. Round off the belly into a low flat arch, cut your notches, brace your bow and tiller as described. Finish and handle to suit your fancy.