What to do when the wind chill is -53C! Mollegabet long bow?

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Blog entry by Mark Shymanski posted 01-02-2014 03:43 AM 3272 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just before Christmas we had a warm spell pushed on by an Alberta Clipper it was about 4 degrees Celsius when normally it is -15 or thereabouts. The last several days we’ve seen -38 with -53 windchills…I love winter but even that is a bit much to be out and about in. So what does any sane lumberjock do when it is -15 in the shop with the wind saying there is no hope of you heating your shop to something where you can actually dare turn on the flourescents in the shop (for you warm weather folks flourescents don’t work when they get below a certain temperature)...a sane lumberjock cranks up the fire place plops down in front with a good beverage and fires up the old web browser and checks out what all the other LJs are doing.

Thanks to Jeff I saw this really cool project. I thought to myself, this is something I could do in the house with just hand tools. So after checking out the video links in Jeff’s project off I went to the local lumber store (all of my stock was either froze solid or of dubious grain (according to the videos), I go to Windsor Plywood first as they have the best selection here in Brandon (I am now kicking myself that I didn’t chase down the Ash that Barry ( had during the summer) but they didn’t have any wood that met the type of grain that the fellow in the video explained was suitable for making a bow from. But I figured I am just experimenting anyway so I’ll build a prototype and keep looking for good stock in the mean time.

So I bought this:

It was 99 cents a foot, so for 6 bucks I had my stock. Now it is a type of wood that I didn’t know even existed and may be completely unsuitable for a bow but its -53 out there and I need to make some sawdust. The helpful clerk explained to me that this is amongst the most allergenic woods out there and is about as hard as purple heart. So I have the ‘perfect’ piece of wood with grain that is just bizarre, as hard as all get out (maybe I should be using my frozen wood as it may be easier to work) and to top it off the wood may be toxic and send me into anaphylactic shock in the middle of my house shop…err kitchen :-) What could possibly go wrong with this project :-)?

I am going to go back now and grab the dimensions from the videos and then lay out my stock and see just how hard this. Happy New Year everyone!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

6 comments so far

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3243 posts in 3765 days

#1 posted 01-02-2014 04:25 AM


Best wishes with your cold weather project. It’s been getting just barely above zero degrees Fahrenheit for the last week or so and about minus 20 F every night here. After reading today’s weather history for our area, I decided not to complain though. In 1864 the high for the day was minus 25 degrees F. (It didn’t say what the low was.) It’s supposed to be considerably colder next Monday and Tuesday. It must be this global warming – ha!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View jumbojack's profile


1678 posts in 2676 days

#2 posted 01-02-2014 04:33 AM

just to put this in perspective we share a 100 degree temperature difference. Now I am a cold weather wimp. I did not go out until it hit 50 degrees, that was about noon. Had to come in at 4:30 it got too cold. Had a ball though. I can not imagine living where its gets below 30 for extended periods.


-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3361 days

#3 posted 01-02-2014 05:20 AM

that is way too cold for this southern guy…

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3765 days

#4 posted 01-02-2014 06:26 AM

I’d have to figure out what the Fahrenheit tempetures are; I know that 0C is +32F and -40 C = -40 F. Once it gets above 15C in the shop its warm enough to work. I won’ glue or finish in that but it is actuall kind of nice to have the shop a bit cooler when planing or sanding. I did notice it was a bit harder to raise and lower the TS blade, you could feel the drag of the cold grease slowing things down:-(

Stay warm all:-)

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3387 days

#5 posted 01-02-2014 11:40 AM

Really cold there Mark. We are having a very warm winter here on the west coast of Norway so far. About +8C on average with a lot of wind and rain. That is ok by me. It will be interesting to see how your bow comes out. Better wear a dust mask while sanding that wood and keep an eye on your skin too. I remember one of our members Blake who got laid up for awhile with a very serious reaction to some tropical wood he was working with.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4129 days

#6 posted 01-12-2014 01:45 AM

wow…that is cold…but the project is cool!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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