Flatbow repair.

chuffalump

Member
So...after the obligatory visit to the parents at Christmas, I find myself the owner of an old Jaques flatbow. Probably worth about a fiver in mint condition.

However, it's not in mint condition. Both limb tips are damaged, one with a longitudinal crack and one with a chunk missing (string grooves still intact). Also the laminated on piece of wood that forms the handle is cracked badly.

Basically, it's firewood. I was wondering if a decent glue could fill the cracks etc? Perhaps produce a toy for fun days or for someone with short arms (24" arrow according to the stamp). I have no intention of risking a 30 plus year old damaged/repaired item on anyone outside the family.

My club has a string jig so I'm kind of looking forward to making a Dacron string for it.
 


Del the Cat

Well-known member
Flood low viscosity superglue into the cracks, flexing the bow very gently can help draw it in. Any cracks that need closing up can be bound with rubber strapping while the glue cures. Tips can have the back rasped off at a shallow angle and a slip of hard wood, antler, horn etc glued on (high viscosity superglue or 10 min epoxy) the file in grooves and blend 'em in... can look really good.
See this blog entry, it shows what I mean:-
Bowyer's Diary: Antler Nocks + Update
Sounds like a good way to get away from telly and turkey.
I've never refurbed an old bow...
I'd suggest keeping it somewhere like a garage away from central heating for a few days, give the back a damn good waxing (after you've done any repairs) and give it plenty of gentle flexing, slowly working it up towards full draw with plenty of examination as you go. I'd guess it will be the back that is most important, so watch out for any cracks, dents scratches... they could be the death of it.
Have fun
Del
If that fails you could put on a new back, rasp off the old belly, and then fit a new belly ;)
 


chuffalump

Member
Cheers Del.

So no special epoxy stuff? Just various superglues?

The handle will probably come off reasonably easily. When I reverse flex the bow there is a gap about two inches long at both ends of the handle. The main body of the bow looks pretty good, apart from the tips.
 


Del the Cat

Well-known member
Ah well, you are in danger of digging a pit...
The real way to repair the handle is to pop it off, (but that may cause more trouble than it's worth)clean up the surfaces to fresh wood and re glue with Araldite precision or Resintite (not Araldite rapid it is NFG)
The problem with any crack or gap is getting the glue right down in to the root. Epoxies don't really flow even with a blast of hot air.
You really need LOW Viscosity superglue... a well know auction site will have plenty of choice.
The lower the viscosity the better as it will flow and wick deep into the cracks.
A binding of linen thread with 10 minute epoxy massaged into it will really strengthen the grip after the superglue repair..
Warning, working on wooden bows can be adictive!
Del
 


chuffalump

Member
Well, I've ordered a small pot of resintite because I don't think superglue will cut it, in the handle area.

Rather than glue an extra piece of wood into the void on the tip, could I fill it with fiberglass resin? I just happen to have a repair kit that says you can use the resin as a glue without the glass fiber cloth. Mix up a stiff batch and smooth it in. The void is on the back/inside so won't be subject to string wear. I'm more interested in functionality than appearance.

Anyway, thanks for the tips.

I've watched all of Tudor Monastery Farm waiting for the archery....only to find out it's in the Christmas special.
 


Del the Cat

Well-known member
Well, I've ordered a small pot of resintite because I don't think superglue will cut it, in the handle area.

Rather than glue an extra piece of wood into the void on the tip, could I fill it with fiberglass resin? I just happen to have a repair kit that says you can use the resin as a glue without the glass fiber cloth. Mix up a stiff batch and smooth it in. The void is on the back/inside so won't be subject to string wear. I'm more interested in functionality than appearance.

Anyway, thanks for the tips.

I've watched all of Tudor Monastery Farm waiting for the archery....only to find out it's in the Christmas special.
You could use F/glass resin, but it will be messy, ugly, time consuming, smelly, stick less well and make a poorer job than simply rasp/filing it flat, gluing on an offcut of some hard wood or horn and filing it down. Wood or horn is much easier to work than F/glass.
I'll send you some offcuts of black Waterbuffalo horn if you PM me your address. I have loads of it. It's lovely stuff to work.
Better to do it slowly and enjoy the process, it's not a race.
I promise you'll regret using nasty F/glass on an all wood bow. You'll upset the bow-making deities and then your scores will suffer, your crops will fail... and we'll all suffer the backlash of pestilence for 2014.
Del
PS.
Yes I was annoyed to find they'd not used the bow making bit it did. Which was originally going to be in episode 4. I'd done a lot of work, and I'm sure they could have fitted it in if they cut some of the endless shots of three monks walking down the cloisters...
But I gather that's just typical of TV filming. I expect there will be about 3 seconds of archery, it would be nice if a producer was daring enough to get away from the tired format of ...
"Show 'em what you're going to show 'em...
Show 'em...
Show 'em what you've shown 'em...
Then show 'em what you'll show 'em next week"
Less padding, more content would be nice... to add insult to injury, they wouldn't even release any of the footage for my private use.
I'm not sure I'd do it again if asked...
 


chuffalump

Member
Thanks for the offer Del but, after a look round in the DIY debris upstairs, I found a fair bit of wood I can whittle to shape and fix in with the resintite when it arrives.

Once finished, I need to find a disposable junior to try it out.
:D
 


chuffalump

Member
Well, the resintite seems to have done the job. At least, I can flex the bow without hearing ominous creaking noises.

Now I have to whittle my sliver of wood to size and shape, ready to patch the limb tip.

I'm under the impression that leather expands when wet? A year of reading Westerns, when I was young, revealed how often the hero was tied up with wet rawhide. The rawhide then shrunk as it dried, getting tighter. I was thinking about stitching damp leather round the handle. As it dries it tightens making a firm grip. Of course this depends on whether leather behaves like rawhide and whether my reading matter was accurate.

Anyone know? Or tried this?
 


Del the Cat

Well-known member
Rawhide will dry rock hard, prob shrinking in the process. Dog chews from the pet shop can be soaked and unknotted to give you rawhide... it's slippy stuff, I've backed a bow with it.
Ordinary leather is fairly stretchy, if you cut it to wrap round the grip with about 1/"" gap.
The stitching will pull the gap closed. I glue the grip along a thin line on the belly of a bow to hold it in place then stretch it round and stitch along the back using two needles to give an XXXX type stitch line.
I don't think you need to soak it.
Del
 


WillS

New member
I work with a lot of leather for sword grips and re-wraps and the occasional bow grip as well and you're spot on. Get leather soaking wet and it will stretch and tool nicely. Make sure it's good and thin, and you must use vegetable tanned leather. It's treated in a way that lets you dye it any colour you want, plus it tools beautifully and takes on whatever form you want.

You wanna get it good and wet, wrap it over the handle and make the fit perfect. Stitching always looks nicer than gluing, but takes a bit of practice and time. Whatever method you choose get the edges butted together perfectly and glue/stitch only along the seam. As the leather dries it will tighten a little bit (get the direction right and it will stretch a bit more - it's like wool in that it will stretch along the natural grain better than across it) and you should be left with a really nice tight fit.

Here's what I do with sword grips - take what you want from it, some of it could look amazing on a bow!

First I wrap thin cord tightly around the grip all the way along. Then I get the leather wet and stretch it over the cord wrap, butting the edges together and gluing / sewing them up with artificial sinew/strong thread. With the leather still wet (or you could re-wet it as you go if you need to with a damp sponge) do another cord wrap with strong medium-thickness cord (string, paracord, leather whatever you can find) and tie it off tightly.

Once the leather has dried completely, unwrap the cord from on top and you'll be left with a neat leather grip with the imprint of a cord wrap in the leather surface. Looks amazing, and gives a really nice feel with no slipping. Finish the leather with a dye (unless you already had coloured leather) then some wax or oil and you're good to go!


Be careful using thin vegetable tanned leather by the way, as once it's wet it will show up every fingernail mark, dent and scuff that may occur. Treat it with care and it'll be fine. Good luck!
 


WillS

New member
P.S. Didn't spot Del's reply - if you don't use veg tanned leather you don't need to soak it. It won't tool, stretch to a form or dye nearly as well but if you're going for a quick simple grip then buying pre-dyed leather and gluing it on looks awesome as well, as long as you remember to do as Del says and leave it just slightly too small so you can stretch it a bit as you stitch/glue.
 


chuffalump

Member
Well that all sounds excellent. Thank you. The leather I'm hoping to get is for motorbike gear (I know someone who knows someone who works somewhere......). Might even be kangaroo hide. Probably a bit of pot luck.

Sounds like the partial glue then stitch closed will be the way to go given I won't know the providence of whatever I get. Won't the stitches pull through the leather? Or is it a case of 'not that tight'? I thought I might need eyelets or something?

I was even wondering if I could use the diamondback serving material I have for stitching. Very strong.
 


Del the Cat

Well-known member
@Will, some good info on tooling there, most of my kit is from veg tan I'll have to have a play at stamping my mark on a bit.
@Chuffalump. You'll find the leather has a grain (like Will said) and if you have the stretchy direction running round the grip it should close up fine. A decent thick thread won't cut through the leather.
You want to make the holes first with an awl. Hang on I've written a blog entry about all this somewhere!
Bowyer's Diary: Sewing the Grip
Bowyer's Diary: Leatherwork
If you use a heavy cord or thin bootlace it can look V good, but you'll need to punch holes. A great way to do it is to grind a masonry nail to a suiatble diameter with a dead flat end (no point at all) use the endgrain of a bit of hard wood as an anvil (Oak works great) sharp tap with a gammer and it punches a great clean hole. Those cheap hole punches you can buy are no good at all.
Marking where the holes need to go makes all the difference between a neat job and a mess. 5mm or 1/4" spacing is a good compromise between too much stitching and too coarse.
Del
 


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