The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Books > The Flat Bow > The Flat Bow
The Flat Bow
Part 6 of 9

It may be noticed that after the bow has dried, the curve has probably straightened out a bit, but just as with following the string, there will be only a definite amount of flattening out, after which the curve will remain the same.

After the tillering and scraping have been done, the bow is ready for finishing. Lemonwood takes walnut stain very nicely. This wood also may show up small flaws at this stage of the work. These appear in the form of checks as shown in Figure 26. Should these checks show up at the curves, it would be well to wrap the bow at this point with fine hemp or heavy silk set in glue, as shown in Figure 27. Buttonhole silk answers the purpose very well for this. Wrapping a bow does not harm its looks, in fact it sometimes adds to its appearance, and it has saved many a bow from breaking.

Backed Bows

Bows may be backed in a number of ways. Sometimes a bow is backed with a thin piece of hickory which is the toughest of all bow woods, but usually the backings are fiber or rawhide. Fiber is the easiest to obtain and to apply, and rawhide, while probably the best, is also the trickiest to apply. The backing is used mainly to keep the bow from breaking. It does not, however, add much cast to the bow.

A hickory-backed walnut bow, which has been in use for over two years, is still in good condition. One large recurved walnut bow with fiber backing shot a flight arrow 341 yards.

For a hickory-backed walnut bow, choose walnut that is straight-grained, and the hickory should be straight-grained whitewood or sapwood. The back of the bow, where the two woods are to be glued together, must be planed perfectly flat, with a hand or a power jointer.

The pattern or lines of the bow should be of the flat-bow type described in this article. The piece of walnut should be about 6 ft. long by 1 1/2 by 3/8 in. and planed as true as possible. The piece of hickory should be of the same length and width but only 3/16 in. thick.

Casein glue is the most reliable glue for any work on archery equipment. Mix this glue strictly according to the directions given by the manufacturer. If the glue is too thin or too thick it will not function properly.

Before beginning the gluing operation, get the clamps ready. A piece of 1 by 2-in. pine, 6 ft. long, also will be required. If iron C clamps are being used, have some small thin pieces of wood or cardboard ready to put under the jaws to prevent disfiguring the bow stave. The iron vise may be used as an additional clamp.

Put a thin layer of glue on each jointed face and let it set for 20 minutes. To eliminate all lumps, smooth the glue with the fingers.

Next spread a thick second layer of glue over each piece and then place the two together. Put the piece of 2-in. pine back of the hickory and put the whole in the vise, as shown in Figure 28.