It is very important to prepare the bow for stringing, by occasionally bending it a little during the process of shaping it. This can be done easily and quickly, by handling it somewhat in the manner described in the directions for stringing, Chapter VI. This bending from time to time will show you how the bow tends to act. If one limb bends more than the other this will be discovered and counteracted before too late. For another thing, unless the bow is frequently bent before stringing, it may lose many pounds after being drawn up.
With the string on, first draw the bow carefully, a little at a time to break it in. Watch it closely, noting any unevenness in the bend.
It being remembered that the lower limb of the bow is shorter than the upper one, it should be somewhat stiffer. In the past the old-time makers gauged their correct relative resistance to draw in the following manner, which is still in use among professional bowyers. When a newly finished bow is strung, the maker first marks it out for checking the draw. Starting at the outer edge of the handle, he places a mark at 12 inches, 15 inches and 18 inches therefrom, on the belly of each limb. Then he measures the distance from the braced string to the ridge of the belly at each of these marks. The rule is that the lower limb should stand about 3/16 of an inch nearer the string at these points than the upper limb does. In other words, let us say that, if at the 15 inch mark of the upper limb the distance from the string to the apex of the round on the inside of the bow is exactly 6 inches, then the distance at the 15 inch point on the lower limb should be 3/16 of an inch less, or 5-13/16 inches.
Any spring scale of sufficient strength may be used to ascertain the exact weight, or drawing strength, of the bow. This can be reduced, if desired, by working the bow down thinner. But weight can not be increased in a finished bow, save by shortening; which, however, in-creases risk of a smash. It is well to allow 2 pounds in excess of the weight desired, as a little use of the bow will, in most cases, bring that much loss. The weight, of course, is that obtained at the full draw of the bow. This, as before remarked, is governed by the length of the arrow, beyond which the bow never should be drawn.