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Thread: hand carved bow, to treat the wood or not?

  1. #1
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    hand carved bow, to treat the wood or not?

    At the last gun show I went to I picked up a very nice ( I think) hand carved bow. This bow is as simple as it can get carved from a single piece of wood. It is a long bow style and seems as light as a feather.
    It is marked 50# @ 28".
    What I am wondering is should I treat the wood with some kind of preservative? There seems to be no finish on it just plain carved wood. I do not know what kind of wood it is but was told from the man I got it from that they are hand carved by someone in Oregon.
    I have not fired it yet but did string it and draw it just to see if it would creek or pop or make some disturbing sound but it did not and just acted as a well mannered bow should.
    I want to keep it that way so if I should be treating the wood so it will not dry out I would like to know about it.
    Thanks in advance for all help and comments and even for the humerous wise cracks. Go ahead I can handle it.

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    I have no idea what the correct finish/preservative is for a bow...
    But, If it were mine and had no one of expertise to ask,
    I'd put a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil thinned about 50-50
    with mineral spirits...that is my "go to" wood preservative for
    anything from shovel handles to wooden trailer beds.
    Jon
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    Boolit Master Ohio Rusty's Avatar
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    You might see if you can find online a copy of 'The Witchery of Archery' that was written in the 1850's. The shooters in that book describe the making and care of bows and arrows. I remember the author saying they treated their bows, but with what I don't remember.
    Ohio Rusty ><>
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    Bullshop, BLO is the way to go!! Thin with MS is perfectly fine, but coat it well, and then if you wish, a coat of laquer or poly. Generally I stick with the straight BLO, but let it dry thoroughly, then one or two more coats.
    "The long neck 308 was invented in 1894. It is sold under the name of 30-40 Krag.
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    I would use Watco Danish Oil - clear - on that. Protects the wood, no significant build up
    or 'coating', just protecting the wood from weather, oils etc. I have used this on furniture
    and gun stocks since the middle 70s when an old experienced woodworker showed it to
    me and it is a really good product. Ask waksupi about using it on stocks.

    Bill
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  7. #7
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    I would suspect that anything used would have to remain flexable after it dries, yes?

    Waiting on that PM Cats.

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    Yep, Oils penetrate.
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    Boolit Master

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    There are two main finishes I use on my bows:

    - linseed oil
    - Tremclad clear

    The linseed oil is usually boiled linseed oil thinned and applied in many coats ~ as much as the wood will take so usually 6 to 8 coats. I find that yew and juniper seem to take linseed oil very well and not many coats. I suspect it is due to the resinous nature of the wood.

    Alternately Tru Oil or some other polymerized linseed oil for gunstocks works well too and is faster to apply.

    Tremclad clear is a very good clear coat (same as Rustoleum). Not real traditional but quick and easy and it works very well for me.

    I would like to see a photo of the bow. I may be able to tell what kind of wood it is. If from Oregon it may be yew as there is lots of good yew in Oregon. Yew is easy to tell because of the creamy sapwood and dark heartwood. However, there are lots of other woods in Oregon too (at at lumber yards everywhere) that will make good bows.

    Longbow

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    I have made several bows, hickory and osage. I just use Tru-Oil on mine, seems to last forever and is the easiest.
    Good urethane should work or Varathane spray.
    What you want is a good protective coating that keeps water OUT OF THE WOOD.
    Penetrating oils, BLO, tung oil, etc will not do it and water moves back and forth through the stuff. Take it hunting or shooting in the rain and see, the wood will be soaked. To get any kind of protection from these, it takes years. Wet wood is no good for a bow, it can set, warp and swell.
    Modern bows use epoxy.
    The wrong finish will also let moisture OUT of the bow and if it gets too dry, it can break.

  11. #11
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    Longbow
    So where would I find that Tremclad?
    How about something like Thompsons water seal?

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    The only thing useful in Thompson's is wax. You can put that on over whatever finish you wish when it is dry. I know no finish other than epoxy that is truly waterproof. I'm afraid epoxy will crack and separate when you pull the bow, but I'm not sure. Wax over any finish increases it's resistance to water.
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    OK then I was also thinking of blending some bee's wax and linseed oil and putting that on while melted.
    I was thinking this because I have them.
    Anything else I have to go to Fairbanks for and that is 130 miles each way.
    That is getting expensive.

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    Bear oil.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  15. #15
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    Bear oil only or mixed with bee's wax?

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    I've used straight bear oil for years. It will eventually completely penetrate the bow.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


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    French polish (50/50 shellac and BLO) is the classic coating for self bows, dating back to the old English longbows. Dean Torges the author of "Hunting - The Osage bow" recommends varnish or a rubdown with parrafin wax to waterproof the bow. Native Americans did rub their bows down with various forms of animal fat as protection from water. But long term use of greases and oils would penetrate the wood fibers and affect the cast of the bow.
    If God didn't want man to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

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  18. #18
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    What exactly is shellac?

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    Now I could be wrong about this but seem to remember shellac comes from a bug or beetle. Now you can start laughing. Frank

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    Shellac
    Resin flakes derived from the secretions of the lac beetle and dissolved in alcohol used as a finish for wood. See button shellac, orange shellac, blond shellac, and white shellac.

    Bullshop, go here:

    http://tinyurl.com/3pa7czf
    "The long neck 308 was invented in 1894. It is sold under the name of 30-40 Krag.
    The case capacity is virtually identical with the .308 and has that wonderful long neck." -CharGar 2007

    Self Appointed Complaint Department Moderatorhttp://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...is-forum/page2

    "Sounds like you shouldn't die when you touch them off, as long as you keep the muzzle pointed away from yourself. " - Ricochet

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