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Home > Books > Archery Tackle > Chapter V > How to make a bow (continued)
How to make a bow (continued)
Part 3 of 6

Shaping to Final Form.—The general procedure for testing, judging curvature, reducing the wood, and weighing is the same as described for the lemonwood bow. But certain additional details present themselves, which may not be overlooked :

  1. A sound knot on the belly is not particularly harmful and needs no compensation. A weak knot, however, should be bored out and plugged with sound wood set in glue.
  2. Allowance should be made for a pronounced dip in a limb—due to the sweep of the grain—by making the belly a trifle more thick in the hollow.
  3. A side twist in the grain, if there is one, may cause the limb affected to bend to one side. Remembering the rule that a limb bends toward its weaker side, corrective measures may be applied by working down the wood on the stronger side of the center line.
  4. A straight, smooth sweep of line from handle to nock is not to be expected in a yew bow unbraced. We "follow the grain" in making the bow, and the crest of the belly moves up and down with the waves in the back. This precludes in most instances the possibility of having a good yew bow with a machine-like precision of line flow. But, Once the bow is drawn, the curve should be graceful and symmetrical with the "kinks" practically all ironed out.
  5. The calipers should be used frequently to check dimensions and proportions. The corresponding portions of both limbs should caliper nearly the same, unless some defect forces an adjustment of depth or width. The final test of proper limb dimensions, however, is not with calipers but with the balancing of the curvatures of the two limbs, the shape of the bow curve as a whole, and the weight when drawn. To reduce the weight, the entire bow must be gone over again while retaining the adjustments made to compensate for deficiencies in the wood.

Finishing the Yew Bow.—The sanding with coarse and fine sandpaper proceeds as with the lemonwood bow. Not the slightest sign of file or other tool marks, scratches, or surface imperfections of any sort should be present when this part of the work is finished. Any of the finishes previously suggested may be used on yew but, if one is particular about retaining as far as possible the natural colors of the wood, he should get the palest of lacquer, if that finish is desired. The writer tends to favor pure white shellac in alcohol, especially for a first coat. Two coats are sufficient for any of the finishes.

The dimensions of an actual 6-foot yew bow of 45-pounds weight are given in Table I.

Figure 17 shows several finished bows of different woods.

FIGURE 17. Bows of Different Woods: No. 1, yew; No. 2, lemonwood; No. 3, osage orange; No. 4, snakewood backed with hickory; No. 5, laminated bow with hickory back, red cedar middle, and lemonwood belly.
FIGURE 17. Bows of Different Woods:
No. 1, yew; No. 2, lemonwood; No. 3, osage orange; No. 4, snakewood backed with hickory;
No. 5, laminated bow with hickory back, red cedar middle, and lemonwood belly.