The Flat Bow
Part 4 of 9
When the bow has demonstrated its fitness, sand it down carefully and apply a coat of shellac. When dry, rub it down with 2 0 steel wool and give it a coat of spar varnish or clear lacquer. Rub it down again very lightly with 2,0 steel wool.
It will be noticed that the bow will follow the string somewhat, that is, it will take a slight curve after the bow is unstrung. This is not disturbing, however, as this slight set will not increase. One should never try to overcome it by bending the bow in the opposite direction.
To string or brace a bow properly, the bowstring should be a fistmele from the bow, as shown in Figure 14.
Keep the bow where it will not dry out and also where it is not too moist. Always hang it on a wooden peg, as shown in Figure 15. Do not hang it on a nail, as that might cause a rust spot.
The Recurved Bow
It seems everyone admires a recurved bow. There is something fascinating about this type of bow, which is shown in Figure 16. The old English long bows were frequently equipped with horn tips designed to give the bow the appearance of a recurved bow. Besides beauty of line, the recurved bow usually has a better cast. This type of bow makes a fine hunting bow, though it is not essentially a target bow.
To make a recurved bow like the one shown in Figures 16 and 18, requires steaming. Some bow woods can be steamed and bent more readily than others. Oregon yew, Osage orange, and hickory are best for recurving, while with lemonwood only a slight curve can be put into the ends. If, then, the bowyer is fortunate enough to have a stave of yew, Osage orange, or hickory, the steaming will be easy. With lemonwood he will have to steam the ends longer in order to get them soft enough for bending. If a number of bows are to be steamed, it is advisable to make a steaming tank of a washboiler as shown at A in Figure 19. If only one or two bows are to be recurved, a wash boiler may be used as shown at B in Figure 19. Stick the bow ends into the boiler at one end, fit the cover in at the other end, and let it rest on the bow or bows, as shown in Figure 19 at B. Then throw on old gunny sack or piece of soft carpet over the cover and tuck it around the part of the bow which projects. Do not, however, tuck it in too tightly, or mother may need a new boiler and her boy may need a hospital bed.
A bow that is recurved but slightly may be made by gluing a block of hardwood such as beefwood, black walnut, any of the bow woods, or a piece of fiber at each end of the stave as shown at A in Figure 20. The ends must then be shaped as shown at B in Figure 20.
The string grooves in the ends of a recurved bow must extend as far from the nock as the string touches the bow. This means also that the end should be a little thicker to compensate for the wood taken out for these grooves. Figure 21 shows how these grooves are to be cut, but this must not be done until after the ends are steamed. Figure 22 shows another way in which these grooves and nocks may be cut, but this calls for a bit of careful whittling.