Selection of the Bow Stave.—In deciding to make a bow, the first consideration is the choice of a bow stave. We will leave out of consideration the host of inferior woods, even hickory, whose chief merit is that in one form or another they may be readily available. A yew or Osage orange stave might be purchased, but not only are good staves of these woods relatively expensive but it would be unwise for the beginner to make bows out of either at the start, when to do so successfully taxes the skill of even expert bowyers. So let us pass them by for the present and select
instead a good lemonwood stave for our first effort, leaving yew for the time when our confidence and skill shall be more nearly equal to the task. But, as stated before, one must not feel at all that this is a makeshift choice born of necessity. Not a few bows of yew are actually inferior to a good one of lemonwood. It is simply fortunate that such an excellent wood, which is readily worked with tools, should be obtainable at reasonable cost. We therefore recommend this lemonwood for a bow making shop project in high schools, for Boy Scouts, and for grown-ups whose enthusiasms are not yet on the wane.
Tools and Materials.—Aside from a work bench and the common tools like the smooth-plane and saw, certain special tools are needed for bow making. These are pictured in Figure 5, and the necessary materials which are used in the construction are listed below.
|Garnet paper No. 1||Spool of No. 40 linen thread|
|Garnet paper No. 2-0 to 4-0||Hank of coarse fish cord|
|Emery cloth No. 0 in ribbon form, 2 feet long||Strip of Cordovan or calf-skin leather, 2" x 5"|
|Pair of cow-horn tips for nocks (if used)||Pure white shellac|
|Ball of No. 12 linen thread||Small quantity casein glue|
|Cake of beeswax||Small can "Sure Grip" or equivalent glue|
A good oilstone should be at hand for the purpose of keeping the edged tools sharp. A steel cabinet scraper might be included in the list of tools but the pocketknife can do all the necessary scraping.