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Chapter II
Bow Woods
Part 6 of 6

From this "broke," as it was called, reputable archery-goods houses carefully selected and graded what was used. Toward the end, it was seen that lancewood was undergoing a change. Upon inquiry they were informed that owing to the scarcity of lancewood a substitute had been found in degame, a wood hitherto unknown to the bow maker. As the "broke" consisted of pieces left over from both lancewood and degame, the bowyer had to be careful in choosing one from the other, and named degame, lemonwood owing to its color. At first all lemonwood bows were stained a deep brown with a coating of nitric acid. This was the origin of lemonwood.

Many of the virtues of yew might also be claimed for Osage orange. Their principal difference is that yew is classed as one of the softest hardwoods, while Osage orange is a real hardwood in every respect. Staves of straight growth of the latter wood are almost as difficult to obtain as in the case of yew. Also, here again as in yew the majority of bows just join in the handle, a 6-foot stave being the exception rather than the rule.

Osage orange is a real bow wood. Generally speaking, if well chosen and properly seasoned it will outlast any other kind of wood for this purpose. The Osage orange bow, however, is usually a hard master. Only the archer who can claim the best of physical prowess can ever hope to get the best out of one of them. The cast is not quite equal to that in the other bow woods that have been discussed. Still, it makes a real good bow, and there appears to be a good deal of it, growing generally over the country. This comparative abundance, unfortunately, does not make good selected and properly seasoned staves of it at all common. Aside from its interest as a bow wood it almost never finds its way into a lumber yard.

The same directions for making a yew bow apply with this wood. The sapwood, or back, is not quite so noticeable. However, even a stave from which this is absent can be used. The wood does not appear to actually need the backing, in this respect being like lemonwood and lancewood. They do not possess the sap-wood in visible form, and seem to serve thoroughly well even when the stave, carelessly or otherwise, has neglected to come from the proper place, a next-to-the-bark position in the log.