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The Flat Bow
Part 8 of 9

Cut the strips of fiber a trifle narrower than the stave. The fiber must then be soaked in warm water for several hours. In the meantime, prepare the casein glue and then tear some light canvas, duck, or muslin into strips from 1 to 1 1/2 in. wide. The longer these strips are, the better. By this time the fiber should be soft and pliable, but it should not be allowed to become too flexible.

Wipe the surplus water off the fiber and coat one side with glue. Give the wood a coat of glue also, and let both lie for a few minutes until the glue is tacky, but not dry. Then apply a good second coat of glue over the fiber and lay it on the wood. Whether the fiber is in one long piece or in two short pieces, the wrapping should start at the handle, and go both ways. Stretch the fiber by pulling with the hands only, and wrap it carefully to the ends. With the aid of an assistant this wrapping job may be easily done. In the absence of a helper, fasten one end of the cloth in a vise and roll the bow along it, as shown in Figure 31. being careful to keep the fiber centered on the wood. The cloth should overlap as you go along. See Figure 32. Don't be afraid of getting glue on the hands, as this is a rather messy job. Wrap right up to the ends and tie with a piece of string. When you are through with the wrapping, let the glue dry thoroughly before the wrapping is taken off. This may take several days. The bow is then formed like any other bow, and if the glue job has been well done, one need have no fear of the fiber loosening up while working on the bow. Shape it as shown in Figure 33, and glue a thin piece of wood about 4 in. long over the fiber at the handle to round it off nicer. Fiber takes a beautiful finish after it has been sanded down, but as some kinds have rather rough surfaces, it takes quite a bit of sanding to get it smooth.

While casein glue is waterproof, it is always good policy to varnish backed bows and keep them away from excessive heat, cold, and dampness.

While on the subject of backed bows, a word might be said about rawhide backing. Several archery-supply houses sell backed staves on which the rawhide has the thickness of heavy wrapping paper. Rawhide can be obtained, however, which is 1/8 in. thick. With such a substantial backing, a beautiful bow may be made, but to make it requires much work and experience. Furthermore, these bows are not to be looked upon as indestructible. They must be handled with care at all times, and should not be drawn further than the draw they were made for. This means that if a bow-has been used for shooting 28-in. arrows, it should not be tried out to see how far it will shoot one that is 30 in. long. It might shoot farther, and then again it might just snap in two, and probably give the incautious archer a good crack across the head.