Author Topic: Removing the varnish from the back of the stave  (Read 817 times)

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Offline KamloopsPrairieBoy

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Removing the varnish from the back of the stave
« on: March 12, 2017, 11:25:17 pm »
Greetings folks.  I am new to Primitive Archer and have seen different suggestions for how to remove the varnish from the back of a bow stave.  I have a hickory stave with an uneven surface so am reluctant to scrape or even use a light sandpaper.  On the other hand - I worry about using a chemical varnish remover for fear of damaging the character of the wood.  I will look forward to your suggestions. Thanks

Offline Pat B

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Re: Removing the varnish from the back of the stave
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2017, 06:13:05 am »
No good suggestion but that's why I like shellac to seal bow wood.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline KamloopsPrairieBoy

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Re: Removing the varnish from the back of the stave
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 10:35:54 am »
Thanks Pat B.  I used the term "varnish" in my question - it may well be shellac.  Please let me ask the same question for shellac - what are the best suggestions?

Offline DC

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Re: Removing the varnish from the back of the stave
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 10:54:39 am »
Alcohol usually takes off shellac but sometimes I've had to resort to lacquer thinner and (sometimes) a Scotchbrite pad. It doesn't seem to harm the wood. It may lighten it a touch but the final finish fixes that up.
Vancouver Island

Offline Pat B

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Re: Removing the varnish from the back of the stave
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2017, 07:14:28 pm »
Shellac is carried by alcohol. It is impervious to some other solvents and water. A good wipe down with denatured alcohol should remove it but you may have to use an abrasive pad like DC suggested. The shellac should dissolve off the wood into the alcohol on the rag.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline KamloopsPrairieBoy

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Re: Removing the varnish from the back of the stave
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2017, 09:31:02 pm »
Thank you very much.  I bought the lacquer thinner before I saw the last post - but the bow back is now clean. Need to take 2 slight twists out of it, treat and seal it, and I plan to put a rawhide handle on it.  Should be ready to string soon.
Thanks

Offline DC

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Re: Removing the varnish from the back of the stave
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2017, 10:02:22 am »
I use shellac exclusively. I only seem to have trouble removing it when it was applied to a green stave. I've wondered if the shellac mixes with the sap and that causes problems? I know it darkens more when used on green wood than it does used on dry wood.
Vancouver Island