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Bow Care

"A drawn bow is 7/8s broken" - Anon

Wooden bows require a certain amount of care to keep them in working order. Here's a few dos and don'ts.
Dos
  • Keep the bow polished. The layer of polish helps to maintain the moisture content and suppleness. Every time you finish with it give it a wipe down with a soft duster. Every now and again renew the wax with a good furniture wax (like Liberon Black Bison) or a pure beeswax and turpentine mixture like briwax.
  • Warm up the bow. Just as you should warm up before so you don't damage muscles and tendons, you should warm up your bow. Take it to 1/2 draw a at least 10 times before doing at least 10 reverses at 3/4 draw before going to full draw for the first time
  • Check the string every time you brace the bow. If the string breaks it's just like shooting without an arrow (see Dont's.)
  • Check the back of the bow for cracks or peels in the back every time you pick it up. Never shoot a cracked bow. The crack will attract the stress and are bound to fail. Caught early the bow might be able to be re-backed.
  • Check the belly of the bow for compression fractures (crysals) while not a potentially disastrous as a crack, treat them as a warning. If they are caught before they get too deep, it is sometimes possible to file them out and re-tiller the bow with a 'petal' of wood inserted.
  • Take care when you brace your bow. It's easy to put excessive strain on one of the limbs. If in doubt use a stringer.
Don'ts
  • Shoot the bow without an arrow. The technical term for this is 'dry loosing' The energy that should be in the arrow will end up in the limb with potenially explosive consequences.
  • Store the bow in central heating and certainly not neer a source of heat. Drying out the wood will make it brittle.
  • Draw your bow further than it was originally tillered to. This is best done by matching your arrow length to the designed draw length.
  • Loan your bow to anyone who has a longer draw length.
  • Draw your bow without an arrow nocked. It decreases the possibility that you will overdraw and/or dry loose
  • Hold at full draw for too long. A couple of heartbeats at most.