Making the Bowstring
A good bow starts bending about 4 inches on either side of the center, and has a gradual curvature to the nocks. Last of all, scrape all tool defects from the wood and sand well, first using coarse sandpaper, finishing with a fine grade until a high gloss is secured.
The handle may be finished by wrapping with a heavy fishline, laid in glue, pulling both ends under the last wrappings. This will furnish an excellent grip. Commercial bows use velour or leather grips. A small piece of leather glued at the ends of the handle lends a finished appearance to the bow. The piece of leather on the upper end of the handle forms an arrow plate which protects the bow from wear as the arrow passes over this place. It is wise to wrap the ends of the bow just below the nocks with fine silk, laid in glue, to make a smooth surface and thus aid in slipping the loop in place, also to protect the ends from breaking. Now the bow and all bow fittings should be given two coats of a good varnish to protect them from wear and weather.
A hickory or ash bow will serve well for a first one, but if the beginner becomes deeply interested in archery, it will not be long before he will wish a better bow made from lemonwood, Osage orange, cedar backed with hickory, or even yew. Most of these woods are worked on much the same principle as described so far in this book. Yew wood presents a different proposition. It needs special treatment and no little skill in the use of tools to gain a good, finished bow. Backed bows should be glued with some good waterproof glue, such as casein. The surfaces fitted together should be perfectly true. Clamps are necessary on nearly every square inch of the length of the two pieces, when they are glued together, to insure a tight joint. Place the pieces in clamps and let them dry about two days before removing. Then the solid piece may be worked the same as described on pages 13 to 19.
The beginner should remember that wood is never perfect, and one may break several bows before getting a worthy, completed article. An archer must have patience and perseverance in order to enjoy the final satisfaction of well-placed arrows and the twang of the bow cord. The archer who makes his tackle enjoys the sport more thoroughly than does the one who buys his tackle ready-made.