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But only because we do one thing to our bow wood. We dry it well. A bow can be made from dripping green wood, but if tillered to 50 lb it will shoot as if 25 lb. Wood with a high moisture content is less likely to break. But wet wood is heavy, springs back slowly, and takes enormous set. On the other hand, if wood is too dry it becomes brittle and shatters. At a given girth, whether debarked or not, whether sapwood is removed or not, every stave of every wood species has a temperature and RH at which it can safely dry.
Ideal moisture content MC : Each wood species no doubt has its own particular ideal moisture content, given a certain climate. Any wood can also be dried to highest quality in just days.
There are dangers and benefits to both approaches. This is an important issue. All along this was just superstition disguised as prudence.
Any time one of these three archery-damaging myths tries to soak back into fashion it should be challenged vigorously with counter examples. Drying dangers: The main dangers when drying wood are fungal decay, insect infestation, checking, warping, twisting and internal crushing of wood cells - associated with drying too fast per girth. Wood checks when its exterior dries and shrinks faster than its interior.
The shrinking exterior surface wood can also crush damp, still-soft interior wood cells. Uneven surface drying and non-symmetrical cross-sections, along with too-fast drying, causes wood to warp, especially small-dimension staves.
Surface, and even deeper wood, can both decay and become riddled with insect tunnels if allowed to stay wet inside, especially in warm weather, and most especially if resting on the ground. Much good bow wood is lost in woodpiles.
When new to all this I visited a friend in N. Florida who owned some forestland. We felled several perfect logs of maple, elm and mulberry.
A treasure trove for a Californian. We laid them out with worshipful care on the soft, damp soil beside his house. He would ship them to California when time allowed. Problem is, time spins thousands of times faster for bugs and fungi than for humans. Once the logs arrived removing the bark was a breeze, because a complex ecosystem had been chewing it loose for about bug years.
It was no longer bow wood. Even the mulberry. Reducing logs to split staves allows them to quickly drop to decay and bug- safe MC levels. Especially if the bark is removed. Depending on the relative humidity RH and wood species the exposed back and ends of green staves should almost always be coated with paint, glue, wax or such to prevent checking.
Once reduced to near bow thickness there is no interior, so to speak, so the stave is largely immune to all forms of drying damage. And being so thin it will now dry in days instead of months or years. This quickest way to dry wood can also be the safest. This is one of the most useful pieces of bowmaking information. And is essentially how bow staves were dried in the beginning, and through time, until recent centuries where bows were largely made by professionals with long pipelines of seasoning wood.
Quick-drying staves - unforced: Fell and split a tree into staves. Take one of these and pull or work the bark free. Floortiller the stave just as if making a finished bow.
But keep the stave at least two-inches wide its full length - this to quell any lateral warping impulses as it dries. The more uniform in thickness its cross-section the less it will want to warp. Tiller until the green bow will bend two inches when pushed with about 25 lb of force against the grip for a 50 lb bow. This will not cause set, but will tell you how far the stave can be safely thinned.
This 25 lb will almost double when the stave is dry, leaving plenty of stiffness for finish tillering. Rest the stave horizontally, with spacers of some sort beneath it, allowing air to move freely over all surfaces.
In damp areas this may be high up in the kitchen, or near the floor of the basement in dry areas. A humidity meter will pinpoint the best location. The warmer the air the faster the stave will dry. A fan blowing evenly over the stave, or any gentle flow of air, will shorten drying time considerably, just as with clothes on a line.
Under unusually fast drying conditions the stave may try to warp. Or place it in cooler or damper air. A side benefit of quick drying is that the stave is reduced while green, and green wood is far easier to work.
If time allows, reduce all staves to near bow thickness. Or place unworked staves where they can dry slowly enough for their girth. A floortillered stave can dry as much in two days as a bark-on split stave may dry in many months, and even years if an unsplit log.
Wood responds to changes in humidity and loses or gains water as RH drops or rises. For a given RH level a balance is eventually reached at which wood no longer gains or loses moisture.
Any coating applied to the back to slow drying must later be worked off, taking the pristine surface with it. Quick drying solves this problem also. Once way to preserve felled wood is to place it under water. If you have prime felled logs, but no time for processing, just submerge them in a pond or such until you do.
The deeper the better. Colder water and low-oxygen water aid preservation. How to weigh up to four-pound staves on a two-pound scale: Set one end on the scale, support the other end, the stave horizontal, and double the indicated weight. Short bows have thinner limbs, floortillered staves drying quicker than thicker-limbed longer bows. Your personal moisture content: Dry a stave to a moisture content matching the humidity in which the bow will be stored. Otherwise the finished bow will gain or lose draw weight over time as it adjusts to its home RH.
Drying by postage scale: Two of the most valuable tools a bowmaker can own are a humidity meter and a low-weight scale. A scale will say exactly when: Weigh the drying stave every day or so with a five-pound or lighter scale.
Scale monitoring is only effective for staves of near floortillered thickness. Thicker wood dries too slowly for weight changes to register accurately. If only twice as thick the eventual belly may not be fully dry for two or three months. If four times as thick it can easily need a year.
The last few percentage points of moisture content take two-thirds of total drying time.
A floortillered stave will weigh up to about 50 oz if dripping-wet green. Too heavy for a two-pound scale. Humidity meters. One of the most valuable tools a bowmaker can own. Note the differing readings. Reaction times are slower for conventional meters, on the right, but no batteries are needed.
These analog meters are rugged, inexpensive and pay for themselves many times over in saved wood and bows. To force dry or not: There are several interacting factors here: Does the species like to check? Some woods split if you just look at them wrong, plum and fruit cherry for example.
Is the humidity high or low? Wood is much less likely to split in higher humidity air. Wind speed. Moving air dries wood surfaces faster. Present moisture content. If MC is high, and if the surface wood dries quickly, therefore shrinking faster than inner wood, the resulting difference in stress makes checking almost inevitable.
Nearly dry wood can handle quick-drying well. Stave width. Baskerville's typeface was part of an ambitious project to create books of the greatest possible quality. Baskerville was a wealthy industrialist, who had started his career as a writing-master teacher of calligraphy and carver of gravestones, before making a fortune as a manufacturer of varnished lacquer goods.
At a time when books in England were generally printed to a low standard, using typefaces of conservative design, Baskerville sought to offer books created to higher-quality methods of printing than any before, using carefully made, level presses, a high quality of ink and very smooth paper pressed after printing to a glazed, gleaming finish. I formed to myself ideas of greater accuracy than had yet appeared, and had endeavoured to produce a Set of Types according to what I conceived to be their true proportion It is not my desire to print many books, but such only as are books of Consequence, of intrinsic merit or established Reputation, and which the public may be pleased to see in an elegant dress, and to download at such a price as will repay the extraordinary care and expense that must necessarily be bestowed upon them.
Beatrice Warde , John Dreyfus and others have written that aspects of his design recalled his handwriting and common elements of the calligraphy taught by the time of Baskerville's youth, which had been used in copperplate engraving but had not been previously been cut into type in Britain. He had clearly considered the topic of ideal letterforms for many years, since a slate carved in his early career offering his services cutting tombstones, believed to date from around , is partly cut in lettering very similar to his typefaces of the s.
The design is similar to his typography. Reception[ edit ] A detail view of Baskerville's Bible for Cambridge, showing the crispness of the impression. The crispness of Baskerville's work seems to have unsettled or perhaps provoked jealousy in his contemporaries, and some claimed the stark contrasts in his printing damaged the eyes.
Baskerville was a truly original artist, he struck out a new method of printing in this country and may be considered as the founder of that luxuriant style of typography at present so generally prevails; and which seems to have attained perfection in the neatness of Whittingham, the elegance of Bulmer and the splendour of Bensley.
Johnson however cautions that some perhaps over-patriotic British writers on type design have over-estimated Baskerville's influence on continental type design: "there seems to be no trace of a Baskerville school outside Great Britain, except of course in the use of actual Baskerville types.
Didot proceeded from the " romains du roi " and would have so proceeded if Baskerville had never printed. Even in England, where there was a Baskerville period in typography, the modern face came from the French, and not as a development from Baskerville. Bulmer , cut by the brother of Baskerville's foremen, was one design inspired by it, as is the Bell type cut by Richard Austin. I think myself that with its large x-height, generous width and clean execution, this elegant fount carries out Baskerville's ideas better than did Baskerville himself.
The style then disappeared from view altogether following a full trend towards Didone typefaces, often with a much darker style of impression; Updike suggests that this change mostly happened around The succession of more extreme "Didone" typefaces quickly replacing Baskerville's style has led to Baskerville being called "transitional" on the road to the Didone style which dominated printing for a long period, although of course Baskerville would not have considered his design "transitional" but as a successful end in itself.
Peignot et Fils in Paris France. Characteristics[ edit ] Fry's Baskerville showing its key features: a nearly vertical axis of thinnest points a , a high stroke contrast c and nearly-horizontal serifs which are sharp points d. This compares to earlier type designs such as Bembo below with a diagonal axis b , less stroke contrast d and serifs at a greater angle to the horizontal e.
Key features of Baskerville are its E where the bottom arm projects further than the upper, a W with no centre serif, and in the lower-case g where the bottom loop is open. Some fonts cut for Baskerville have an 'R' with a straight leg; in others it is curved.
Many characters have clear ball terminals, in contrast to the more wedge-shaped serifs of earlier fonts. Most distinctive is the italic, in which the J has a centre-bar and many other italic capitals have flourishes, the 'p' has a tail pointing downwards and to the left similar to the entrance stroke that would be made with a pen and the w has a clear centre loop and swash on the left.
In general, Baskerville's type has been described as 'rounder, more sharply cut' than its predecessors. Baskerville's type featured text figures or lower-case numbers, the only form which was used at the time Roman numerals would be used to align with the capitals. Baskerville also produced a font for Greek , which survives at Oxford. Note the 'Q' and 'a', unlike Baskerville's. The lining figures are not original and the descenders have likely been shortened to fit the American "common line" standard.
The image illustrates the limits of Baskerville's type's popularity, since they apparently felt the need to cut a copy of Caslon's type also, although the book is set in Baskerville-style type. The following foundries offered versions of Baskerville: The original punches were sold by Baskerville's widow and eventually ended up in the possession of G.