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Chapter VI
The Bowstring
Part 3 of 3

Having placed the eye of your bowstring beside the nock at one end of your bow, as it lies on the bench, you will need to commence reinforcing the string when the roping process approaches the other nock. This should start about six inches inside the other nock of the bow when the bow is not braced. The filling need not be more than one-third the total number of threads in the bowstring. These should be introduced gradually as the roping proceeds, and carried past the length of the nock, then tapered out. There is to be no eye at this end, and the reinforced part is to be well roped, or twisted, and finished with a good waxing.

To finish the bowstring, take a mixture of linseed oil and glue, and rub the string strenuously with this, using a grooved piece of horn or other equally hard instrument. Continue until the string is a solid whole. Finally, allow the string to dry, then stretch it by hanging a heavy weight to the loose end of it for a few hours.

Timber Hitch
Click for a larger image

The Timber Hitch as shown is the proper knot for use in adjusting the bowstring to its place. In addition to strengthening the bowstring at the eye where the wear is most pronounced, it has the advantage of being a non-slipping knot. The reader who is not familiar with the making of this simple knot is advised to carefully follow the diagram as a start.

Bowstrings having a loop at each end are commonly sold, especially on manufactured bows. These, of course, cannot be adjusted; and it is easy to understand that each bow should be braced to suit its own individual bend. The bowstring with but one eye provides for obtaining the right adjustment of string to bow, the end without an eye being tied to the nock. The eye must be large enough to enable unbracing, yet not so large as to permit slipping from the nock. All of which should impress the reader with the wisdom of having a good professionally made bowstring (Belgian preferred) to copy.

The best wax is a combination of equal parts of pure beeswax (not any of the substitutes) and resin. Melt these and while soft mix into a ball. It will be found in assembling the wax and the resin that the latter seeks the bottom, while the wax wants to float. To get the proper result, work together into a ball while soft, holding the ball under hot water. Then, being satisfied the mixture is as wanted, run a little cold water over the ball and the wax is ready for use.

Before use, the bowstring must be whipped at its center with waxed linen thread, to protect it from being cut by the arrow nocks. Whipping should be finished at each end with the invisible "knot," as used in whipping a fishing rod with silk. The extent of this whipping need not be more than three or four inches.

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