Author Topic: Homemade Bowstrings  (Read 9690 times)

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Offline ncpat

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Homemade Bowstrings
« on: June 01, 2012, 11:21:44 am »
What materials do some of you use to make your own bowstrings? What were common materials in past history? I know we can now order specific materials but what would be a good material that could be found "over the counter"?

I recall using cotton twine for my kiddie bow when I could not find strings at the store. We had few twines available then, I used heavy twisted cotton twine & waxed it heavily. Even so, 1 day was my best record, sometimes 2-3 hours was all it could stand.

I am sure the English bowmen & Indian warriors or hunters had strings that lasted a little longer. What did they use?
Remember the heroes of Flight 93.

Offline H Rhodes

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2012, 12:21:50 pm »
The Traditional Bowyer's Bible, Volume 2 has a long detailed chapter devoted to making strings, and would be a great reference point.   I have been using B-50 string material that I ordered from 3-Rivers Archery.  For the price of a store bought bowstring, you can buy a spool of string material and make a dozen strings.  I believe that linen strings, twisted up from flax fibers was the European traditional string.  Native Americans favored sinew and rawhide, as well as types of plant fiber.  Good luck.   :)
Howard
Livingston, Alabama

Offline dbb

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2012, 12:26:28 pm »
The english used linenthread (flax),i think indian warriors used rawhide,gut,sinew or whatever worked.
personaly i have tried fiber from nettles,but it didnt feel comfortable..didnt trust it really.
So for daily use i rekommend trusty dacron or fastflight.

Mikael
It's better to ask and look like a fool than not to ask and remain one...

Offline Hankenhunter

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 02:08:34 pm »
If your after an authentic look, try using 4 strands of artificial sinew tristed together. I use it on all my bundle bows. Looks great with very little stretch after prestretching.
Hank

Offline Dauntless

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 04:40:46 pm »
Some artificial sinew is nylon though, which stretches to no end.  I think most of us by a spool or two of Dacron B-50 and make all the strings we need. I have however made good strings from sisal twine and sinew.
The starving grad student with too many hobbies.

Offline Weylin

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2012, 10:21:51 pm »
I recommend fast flight. I got one spool for $25 and it will last me a long time. It has virtually no stretch so you will get faster arrow speed, less wrist slap and less noise than with Dacron b-50.

Offline wasanchez

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 12:02:37 am »
I use artificial sinew too.  It didn't stretch on me and I like the way it looks.

Walt
Walter Sanchez
Moulton, TX

Offline Bear Claw

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2012, 01:03:36 am »
I have made several bow strings from yucca fibers and found them to be very dependable. I use them on unbacked bows in wet weather hunting conditions because they don't stretch if they become damp or wet like sinew and rawhide will. Dry conditions I use sinew or rawhide.
Aaron from northwest Arkansas.

Offline Jeremy Holden

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2012, 05:46:38 am »
I find it interesting some have used the artificial sinew and not had problems.  I posed this question on another website and got replies staying to stick with b-50 or b-55.  I know that stretches.  I was also told artificial sinew will stretch and rob my bow of performance.  Is there that much difference between b-50 stretch and artificial sinew stretch?  Not to hijack the thread.  I'm just curious.  I'm also wondering can you "prestretch" your artificial sinew while your making the string to account for the bow stretching it?

-Jeremy

Offline DarkSoul

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2012, 06:29:23 am »
Artificial sinew as bowstring material has been discussed to great lengths already. The general consensus is: you could use the polyester type for reasonable strings, but the nylon variety is crap. Since it can be hard to find out what plastic it is made from, and since Dacron B50 is equally priced, it's safer to use B50 instead of artificial sinew.

http://www.primitivearcher.com/smf/index.php/topic,10914.0.html
http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/48295
http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/50680
http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/45828

Just stick with trusty B50...there's little reliable string materials to be found 'over the counter'. Baling twine, hemp and sisal string have been used, but it's not ranked high.
"Sonuit contento nervus ab arcu."
Ovid, Metamorphoses VI-286

Offline Gun Doc

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2012, 09:58:20 am »
I use art. Sinew strings on the majority of NA style bows I make.  I don't know if they are polyester or nylon but I have no complaints with it.  As far as speed goes, you would lose about the same speed with a rawhide or Sinew string with half the durability and longevity.  If you design and tiller your bow correctly, the few fps you would lose are not much of an issue.   Josh
Josh Barnes  Concordia, KS       (:::.)
"Arrows, slugs, or shot, shot placement fills the pot."-- My Grandpa the first time he took me hunting, 1978
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Offline wasanchez

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2012, 03:39:32 pm »
It just depends on how primitive you want to be.  I want to use real sinew, rawhide, plant fibers... anything I can gather or process on my own without having to go to the store.  Thats just me, I'm all about self sufficiency and getting away from the "I'll just go buy it mentality".

Walt
 
Walter Sanchez
Moulton, TX

Offline Gun Doc

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2012, 03:57:22 pm »
Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking natural material strings.  I've made and used them.  I was simply pointing out that art. Sinew works for me.   Josh
Josh Barnes  Concordia, KS       (:::.)
"Arrows, slugs, or shot, shot placement fills the pot."-- My Grandpa the first time he took me hunting, 1978
pn500874

Offline Badger

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2012, 04:14:59 pm »
  Linen makes a great bow string, nettles will also make a nice bow string, both are very low stretch. Art sinew that is polyester will work just like b 50 and the spool will be marked, nylon will not work. Sometimes I use 4 strands of fast flight and 6 strands of linen just for the look of linen and the little fatter bow string.

Offline markinengland

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Re: Homemade Bowstrings
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2012, 03:08:13 am »
I also like linen for bow strings. It's still available if you hunt around on Ebay or look for pyro supplies. As long as you check the breaking strain and provide reinforcement in the knot area it is very dependable. I like the fact that my bow is 100% natural, even if I didn't make the linen cord myself - but perhaps that's the next step! I fancy trying to make a string from plumbers hemp fibres which can be found in some plumbers supply shops, first making up the cords then twisting into a string.