The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Books > Bows and Arrows for Boys > Making the Bowstring
Chapter II

Making the Bowstring

Part 4 of 5

finishing the bow

The bow, as it is roughed down to the lines, is usually too stiff to bend but slightly. It is now time to gradually work both limbs down to the finished size, working from the center toward the tips, until they bend evenly. String the bow, and try drawing it carefully. Flex the bow easily until it limbers up. The new string will stretch somewhat. It is then necessary to take up this amount in the timber hitch. A bow properly strung should have a distance of about 5 inches from the handle to the center of the string.

When the bow begins to flex easily, it is time to test the strength of the two limbs accurately. A device that is very easy to use and yet accurate, can be made from the board used in making the bowstring. (See Fig. 25 on testing the bow.) Draw the bow up to the first notch (Fig. 24) and test the curve of one limb by laying it on a large sheet of paper and tracing quickly. Reverse the ends, and trace the other limb directly over the first.

Figures 24 and 25. Details of a bow tester
Click for a larger image

Any difference discovered in the curvature of the two limbs can be corrected by carefully scraping down the stronger. As the bow is corrected, try the last notch for a final test. Good bow makers usually leave the lower limb slightly stronger than the upper limb as it is the shorter of the two. This final scraping and testing of the bow should be done carefully, with frequent stops for flexing the bow, to pull it into shape. It is not wise to keep a bow on the testing board, strung to the last notch, except for a few seconds at a time. While still in the "limbering-up" process, the bow should be drawn for only a few sec­onds at a time.