DIY Bow Project IX – Searching for Lyly in Hot Weather

Phew! It has been a hot weekend. I went to Central Finland for searching some lyly, reaction wood in other words. As said in the previous bow post, I found out that I should use ropes stronger than nylon for cabling my bows, which also means that I need to find compression resistant wood somewhere. Thus, I went to see my old family friend who lives deep in a forest, ask for his guidance and permission to cut some branches of pines and spruces. It is a lot of easier to find lyly from branches than trunks, because practically every branch need reaction wood for supporting the weight of the branch. That is why I took my tree climbing gear and cut a couple of pine branches for seeing how much there is lyly. Unfortunately, there is plenty of lyly in the base of the branch, but it thinners and becomes more heterogeneous away from the trunk. But unlike pine, in the branches of spruce the lyly is more continuous and it can reach farther away from the trunk. Furthermore, the old friend of mine said that when he was young, the best shafts for horses were made from spruce! It was easily available and correctly chosen it was the strongest material to handle mechanical stress. If I remember right, he meant specially stunted trees, because too fast grown spruces might bee too light. Aaaand if I have understood correctly from my web searches, Inuits made many of their bows from drift spruces. Thus, instead of using lyly pine, I will first try to make a bow from a spruce branch, because of its good availability and promising features. See the photos from the weekend for more information 🙂


A weather forecast for Finland. Run for your lives!!!!


Going to Central Finland, to my father’s homelands.


Oh, there is lyly!


The heraldic wood grouse of Central Finland is a bad ass!


Finnish forests are full of unexplored adventures. 🙂


During the drive, I stopped twice and dipped for cooling.



What a relief, ice cold mineral water!



Damn, these horse-flies make painful holes through your skin. Let me take a photo!


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Shooting the prime rope over a pine branch.

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So, I bought these climbing gears for hunting small predators. I thought that from the elevated position I could see over a wider area, and my scents will not scare away the game. I tried this technique many times and the trips were unforgettable, but there are a couple of reasons which compensated the good things in my technique. First, during hunting season there is too dark to see anything in the dark ground and the Finnish winters are not so snowy anymore. Second, if there is snow, there is usually so cold that one cannot hang over two hours in a tree, and too much clothing bothers during the climbing. Thus, now I use my gears for other purposes, but maybe some day I will once again try and hunt from a tree. 🙂



Beautiful sights over an endless forest in a hot evening. So relaxing. 🙂



Let’s saw some branches and see what they have inside.



After cutting I used this healing adhesive, so that the tree can recover easier after I have amputated it. 😀



From this cross section one can see how beautifully the brownish lyly has grown for supporting the branch. But like said, it was quite noncontinuous and did not reach far away from the trunk. Thus, the branches of pine did not seem to be good for making bows.


By the way, the old guy said that during the midsummer this feeding station was overthrown by someone. “No man can push it over, because the pillar wood is buried deep and supported by underground rocks. Do you know, who visited again?”. A brown bear visits here sometimes, like the many other creatures of the forest do. 🙂



Next, I cut some spruce branches for seeing how much lyly they have. This old fellow have grown here for hundreds of years and it had many straight and nice looking branches.



Besides of the fact that spruces seem to have lyly elongating farther away from the trunk, I found another interesting thing. If two different sized branches are growing in the same height, the smaller one is possibly denser. The branches should have approximately the same amount of growth rings, which means that the ones in the smaller branch are packed more densely. Anyhow, the volume of the lyly was too small in the smaller branches, why I eventually rejected them.



The supportive force of lyly is apparent if you cut a branch along its stem. The two pieces do not separate, instead, they can brake and heat up the blade of the circular saw by pushing it. Thus, the back of the coming bow should be made of the upper side of the lyly wood.


In spruce branch the lyly continued at least over a meter away from the trunk and was more continuous and homogeneous in structure. Let’s see how I manage to exploit spruce, but if I would live in a stone age and rely my life on bows, I would find myself an easily available material which is almost ready in the shape of a bow, not to cut a whole tree and dig the bow out of the excess material. Has there been a some kind of an information discontinuity between the past and modern generations?


The old guy teaches lessons for voles and traps them into buckets filled with grain. After they are rebuked for entering the house of human, they are released back into forest. 😀

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I believe the color of the brown lyly can be seen because of its high content of lignin. I didn’t manage to get farther than this during the weekend, but it was interesting to learn and see so many new things. 🙂


An old traditional Finnish sauna.

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During the drive back to Tampere, I stopped and swum again.

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Even without a mask and snorkel, I managed to image a couple of small perch in this unknown lake.

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Currently, I’m finishing the weekend with a couple of escargot pans, yum! I’m really exhausted, see you later and good night!

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