Getting my top bows ready for new top. One of my rear bows is warped downward about an inch in the center. Also the corner where it make the radius is split but still seems solid. The rest of the bows are in fine shape. Should I replace bow or try and straighten somehow? Any ideas or suggestions late 2-man type top bows.
Several choices here. Take it out and turn it over,Laminate strips of plaster lathe and sand down to level ,or just replace it with a new piece of wood.
John,if you stop to consider that the bows are the foundation of the top, they must be in top shape. Nothing looks good about a sagging top because the rear bow has sagged. New wood is the only real cure. If you can manage a slight bow UPWArDS at the rear, that will be even better.
Just my thoughts.
Allan from down under.
Years ago, my dad fit a new piece of wood into the concave side of the bow and dressed it down nice and straight. It still looks great. That could be a possibility for you. However, that split on the end would be worse than I would want to use. Personally, I would replace it based on the split.
when i made the tac rails for the seat backs on my 26 touring, my neighbor from finland taught me how they bent wood to make skis as a kid. you bend it with a torch, just like steel! i made thin strips, 1/8 or so, copied my card board pattern that fit the bottom edge along the top of the seat(the top need only be close as you will grind it to shape after all done) then heat with a propane torch and bend it. carefull not to burn, and it will spring back a bit, but will hold its shape for you to glue and clamp. about 5 layers laminated, its very strong. not off topic here because i believe you could heat and bend your bow back to shape. good luck!
Thank you for your suggestions on my top bow. I didn't realize the bow was in three pieces and had assumed it was one piece and steam bent at the corners as the earlier ones are (didn't look under top covering and see rivets). Gentlemen I will take your suggestions and replace the oak bow horizontal section. Clayton, I am also going to try your method of heating wood lathe and repair the split corner section, which needs to go.
John, I made my own corner, I got a big pot out and steam bent the wood and inserted them, it's not hard, just time consuming.
As for the bow...I went down to the local lumber yard and bought straight grained white maple...its pretty hard, almost as hard as ash,
whatever you do, don't use oak (too fibrous). If you buy the aluminum rivets from either Lang's or Snyder's you won't need the fancy air driven setter, you can set them with a hammer on the anvil of a vise.
I stained the ends to seal them and then stained the rest to seal it.
I know they all get covered with bow drill anyway, it's just for a little extra protection from moisture.
When I assembled my new top bows and irons that I got from Langs, I found that the aluminum rivets were soft enough to squeeze in the bench vise, no hammering needed. The vise jaws left a funny waffle pattern on the ends of the rivets, but as Martin said it all gets covered with bow drill anyway.
Thanks for the pictures, that helps a lot. I'll stay away from the oak for those corners. Your finished product came out very nice.