Is Pecan Wood Good For Bow Making? (Or Should You Avoid It)

Nowadays, most commercial bows are made from fiberglass or carbon fiber. But, there is something extra special about making a handcrafted bow with your own two hands.

Still, while you can arguably make a bow at out of almost any type of wood, what if you have Pecan wood specifically in mind?

Well, in this post, you will learn what type of wood has traditionally been used to make bows. You will also discover what type of bows you can make from Pecan wood.

And keep reading to find out what Pecan wood has in common with the popular bow-making wood, Hickory.

is pecan wood good for bow making

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What Type Of Material Is Best For Making Bows?

A composite material is best. A composite bow is simply one where different materials have been layered atop one another.

For example, fiberglass is often used in a composite bow. You can also layer different wood types together to make a stronger bow.

But What Is The Best Type Of Specific Wood For A Bow?

Yew wood from the European Yew, (also known as the English Yew), is traditionally used to make long bows. And this softwood is surprisingly tough and hard.

What’s more, based on it’s Janka rating, Yew is even tougher than even Hard Maple (aka the Sugar Maple).

The Janka rating measures how many pounds of force it takes to dent a piece of wood. The higher the rating, the tougher the wood.

Hard Maple has a Janka rating of 1450 lbf. Meaning it will take 1450 pounds of force to crush this hardwood.

But, the European Yew beats Hard Maple, with a Janka rating of 1520 lbf.

What About Using Pecan Wood For A Bow? Can It Be Done?

First off, Pecan wood is simply a subspecies of Hickory wood. And Hickory wood is popularly used for making recurve bows.

So, you absolutely can use Pecan wood for making bows.

Wait A Minute…Pecan Is Hickory?

Well, the name Hickory is often interchangeably used to refer to trees belonging to the Carya tree genus. However, Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) is one of eighteen subspecies of Hickory.

And, Pecan is a very tough hardwood. In fact, it is much tougher than even the European Yew, based upon Pecan woods 1820 lbf Janka rating.

Related Post: Is Pecan Wood Good For Cutting Boards? (Revealed)

But, I’ve Heard That Pecan Wood Can Be Too Brittle To Work With…

If pecan has been allowed to slowly dry while it seasons, then it is a fairly stable wood.

However, Pecan’s brittle reputation comes from the fact that it will crack and check if it dries out too quickly. So, green Pecan wood, (and often very old Pecan too), aren’t suitable for bow making.

EXAMPLE OF WOOD CHECK

You see, the term ‘green’ wood simply refers to freshly logged lumber. When wood is newly logged, it has a lot of moisture in it. This is known as woods moisture content.

Over time — through a process called seasoning — wood is slowly dried so as to reduce that moisture content.

Related Post: How To Season Wood (7 Tips)

But, there is another reason for drying out green wood, and that reason is stability.

As wood dries out — and that moisture evaporates — wood will begin to contract, shift, and shrink. So, if you want your woodworking project to keep it’s carefully measured dimensions, you’re best off using seasoned wood.

However, in the case of Pecan, if it dries and shrinks down fast enough, then it’ll form cracks and splits. And once those cracks appear, Pecan will become much too brittle to be used for bow making.

So How Do You Prevent Pecan Wood From Cracking?

Simply avoid using Pecan wood that’s been laying around for a while — whether it be outside or in your workshop. You should only use properly seasoned Pecan planks, if you want to turn it into a bow.

Otherwise, you’ll need to take on the tedious task of continuously wetting Pecan timber as you work with it.

You can learn more about working with Pecan wood, by checking out our post here: Is Pecan Wood Really Any Good For Wood Carving?

To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…

  • 1). Pecan wood belongs to the same tree genus as Hickory wood.
  • 2). Just like with Hickory wood, you can use Pecan wood to make bows, such as recurve bows.
  • 3). However, if Pecan wood isn’t properly (and slowly) seasoned, it can become brittle and prone to cracking.

References:

Taras, M. A., and B. F. Kukachka. “Separating Pecan and Hickory lumber.” Forest Products Journal 20.4 (1970): 58-9.