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Notes on Bow Making
Part 2 of 3

Before disarranging your papers, mark the figure with the letters and figures as above. Now, if you have held the papers carefully in place while drawing the pattern, you have exact duplicate copies. Now, carefully cut out your pattern on the outside lines, excepting on one pattern leave the figure 1 at one end and on the other leave the figure 2. Take the pattern marked 1 and paste it on the back side of the squared end of one of the limbs, being careful that it is flush with the squared end and parallel with the sides, with the figure 1 toward the tip end of the limb. Do the same thing with the pattern marked 2 on the other limb. It is now apparent that if the wood under the triangles A, B and C on the limb marked 1 is removed, and the wood under the triangles D and E on the limb marked 2 is removed, the two pieces will exactly fit into each other. If care has been used in pasting the pattern on so they are straight with the axis of the stick, and in working out the wood the lines have been accurately followed, the joint will be perfect, and the joined stick will be straight throughout its course.

After your patterns are dry take the limb numbered 1 and place it upright in the vise, and with a fine-toothed saw remove the wood in the triangle B, being careful that the saw is held at right angles to the back of the limb. This is of the utmost importance. The best saw for this purpose is a thin-bladed backed saw. The bottom of the notch you are cutting may be cleaned out with a knife-edged file. The wood in triangles A and C may be removed with the drawing knife and plane. The limb numbered 2 is prepared by removing the wood in triangles D and E, which is done with the saw and thin file, the same care being exercised to see that the saw is held at right angles to the plane of the back. Now, fit the pieces together and see how nearly a fit you have secured. The main points to be watched are to see that you have the best possible joint on both the back and the belly, and that when the pieces are pushed home, that the stick is straight. If it is not straight, you will have to cut and try even at the expense of a perfect joint. Do not be discouraged if your joint is not perfect, so long as your stick is straight. I have examined professionally made fish joints in bows that would have put an amateur to shame, and yet they held. I have even seen open places filled with shims or wedges of wood, which with a filling of glue made a satisfactory joint.

After you have prepared your joint to a satisfactory point, you will find that when forcibly pushed together it holds with a remarkable tenacity, and it is easy to understand why such a point will hold with the aid of glue. The glue should be the best you can possibly procure, perfectly fresh, soaked soft in cold water, heated in a water bath and applied boiling hot. Thoroughly coat the joint in every portion with the glue and fit it together, driving them smartly home with a mallet. If your vise jaws are just the width of the joint, well and good; if not, cut two pieces of hard wood one and a quarter inch square, the length of the joint, and placing one on either side of the joint, clamp the joint very firmly in the vise, exerting pressure sufficient to squeeze out all surplus glue, and yet not crush the wood. Let it dry for three days, when it should be removed from the vise and the surplus glue removed from the joint on the back and the same be made perfectly smooth. Now glue on the back of the joint a piece of wood the length and width of the joint and one-eighth inch thick.