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How to make a bow (continued)
Part 6 of 6

Adjusting the Bowstring.—When the second eye is complete and the last tangle untwisted, brace the bow to smooth out the string. The string will probably be too long and the bow will not be bent enough. Remove one end of the string from the bow and twist it in the same direction the ends were fashioned into a rope. This shortens the string. Brace the bow again to see if the distance from handle to string is now correct. This is 6 inches for a 6foot bow and somewhat less for a 5½-foot bow. Repeat until the string is adjusted to the correct length. Excepting the ends which were worked, the string should not have more than one twist to the inch; otherwise it will tend to weaken in strength.

A convenient way of testing the distance from handle to string is to place the fist with extended thumb on the handle. The end of the thumb should just touch the string above. The distance obtained in this way is called the fistmele. Should the length of the string be either too long or too short for correct adjustment to the fistmele, one of the eyes should be undone and then remade with proper allowance for length of string.

The upper eye may now be attached to a short piece of cord, Figure 7, the other end of which is fastened through a hole in the upper horn tip. This prevents the bowstring from slipping too far down the limb and affords a means of suspending the bow from a hook or nail.

The Timber Hitch.—The making of the lower eye or loop of the string may be omitted through the use of the timber hitch, Figure 18, F. The reinforcing strands, however, are needed here as much as if the eye were used for nocking and are applied as described above. After the reinforcement is applied, this part of the string is made into a miniature rope over the full length of the short strands. Thread is tied around the bowstring at the beginning of the rope twist and the strands themselves are tied together at the end of the string to keep them from unravelling. The timber hitch holds firmly but is easily adjustable to the length of string. Once the proper length of string is found, the hitch is left permanently in place, the eye at the upper end only being removed from, or replaced in, its nock.

FIGURE 19. Device for Serving the Bowstring with Thread
Device for Serving
the Bowstring with Thread

Serving the String.—The nocking point, where the arrow engages the string, and short spaces above and below this point, where the fingers pull on the string, are subject to the greatest wear. It is necessary, therefore, to protect the string in this region by a serving or wrapping of thread for a distance of at least 4 inches. With the string braced to the bow, wax it thoroughly, especially the part to be served, and rub the wax in with a piece of tough paper. This is in addition to the waxing the separate threads received preparatory to making the string. Mark the nocking point. This is located by so nocking an arrow that it extends squarely across the arrowplate while at the same time it is perpendicular to the string. Of course, any straightedge will do in place of an arrow. Beginning 1½ inches above this point serve the string with a wrapping of No. 40 linen or good carpet thread, well waxed, for a distance of 4 inches, or 2½ inches below the nocking point, Figure 18, G. During the process of serving just above the nocking point, a little ball may be formed with the thread, against which the arrow is to rest when shooting. This insures an invariable position for the arrow.

At the start the first several turns are wrapped over the end of the thread to hold it in place; at the end of the serving the thread is drawn backward through the last few turns (loosely wrapped) and then the slack is taken out of the turns by pulling on the thread. The little ball is formed by a series of overlapping half-hitches; that is, the thread is drawn through each loop, which forms a turn; but, instead of these turns being laid side by side, they are crossed back and forth over each other until the ball is formed. A little device for hastening the work of serving the thread is shown in Figure 19.