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SHAPING THE BOW

The last photo in the previous segment showed a bow that has just been removed from the form.  The next step, in the bowbuilding process, will be to remove the excess glue from along the bows edges.  At the same time you will need to  square up the blank, to make it possible to mark the bows longitudinal centerline.  You can use a hand sander, filers or rasps to accomplish these two tasks.

It is vital that an accurate centerline is drawn.  This can be accomplished in several ways.  The following photo shows a recurves centerline being draw using a wood block of the appropriate thickness. By sliding the block down the limbs back,  along the flat surface, a centerline can be accurately marked.  You can also use a long straight edge which can be clamped to the bow or you can use a piece of string stretched from limbtip to limbtip.  If the centerline is not accurate, limb twist will be built into the bow.

 

 

Once an accurate centerline has been established, the bows pattern will need to be transferred to the back of the bow.  The pattern pictured below is made from a fiberglass strip, however wood patterns work as well.  Please note the holes drilled along the centerline of the pattern, as well as the string groove line marked across the pattern near the tip.  The holes allow you to see through the pattern and make sure that alignment of the pattern on the bows limbs is accurate.

 

 

Once the pattern is transferred to both limbs, the excess material can be removed.  On longbows, I prefer to use a bandsaw for this step although sander and files can also be use.  The following photo is self-explanatory, however I would like to draw your attention to the respirator and hearing protection.  Many processes in a bows construction result in fiberglass, wood and glue dust, none of which are healthy to breath, so please us the necessary safety precautions.  I always wear hearing protection as well, since I can't image what it would be like not being able to hear an elk bugle or the grunt of a buck.   OK, enough lecturing.....:-)

BOWBUILDING menu
Glossary of Terms
Bow Forms
Bow Forms 2
Glues
The Heat Box
Riser Woods
Limb Woods
Let's start building
Building the riser
Tricks and tips
Shaping the Bow
Nock design and placement
Shelf Design and Options
Tillering the Bow
Bow Finishes

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