Author Topic: Questions on linen strings  (Read 2132 times)

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Offline loefflerchuck

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Questions on linen strings
« on: November 17, 2018, 12:01:34 pm »
  Although I can make a sinew string pretty thin that does not compensate for the stretch. I learned this at my first time in Wendover this year. I started to make some linen strings. I'm doing endless loop as I'm not very good at flemish twist. I got the linen of etsy. I made sure it was Irish linen and my first batch was 4 ply. Started with 6 strands that broke as soon as I strung the bow. So did 8. 10 held but I used 12 my first test. I could see it does not stretch much as it broke the nock off the top of my bow the first shot. The bow is fine but a inch shorter now. Got some more string. This time I did not worry about "Irish" and just got 5 ply waxed sewing linen. It seems about the same size as the 4 ply and 8 strands held fine on a 58# bow. My broadheads still only shot about 210 yards but there was a slight headwind and it was snowing. It was a sinew backed bow and the humidity was 75% but I'm not sure the bow was exposed for long enough for that to have a impact.

I'm looking for what you think the best linen is? Waxed or unwaxed? Also where I can find it. My last string weighed 153 grains by the way.

Offline Badger

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2018, 12:31:26 pm »
   I have a textile cordage dealer about 1 mile from my house. I have been using the unwaxed 6 ply. Six strands will usually hold but I usually go to 8 because I hate making up strings. If the quality is not up to par it might take 10 strands. Linen string actually breaks at almost exactly one half of what it is rated at. So if it is rated at 64# it will break at 32#. I like to figure 6 times breaking strength for durability and 4 times for flight shooting. On a bow with less early string tension you can get by with 3 X for a few shots.

Offline avcase

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2018, 01:25:57 am »
What is the length of string for your bow? 

In Archery, the Technical Side, Maurice Taylor has an article on bow strings written in 1940. Much of the focus was on linen since it was the primary bow string material at the time. He investigated the affects of moisture and wax. The linen he tested showed as much as a 50% increase of strength with the addition of moisture over dry string. The best strength to weight occurred when the string had a 9-10% moisture content. So if you are in a dry climate, it will greatly improve the strength of the string to keep it slightly moist. Just 9-10 grains of moisture added to a 100 grain string is about perfect. My experience agrees with this. When I am using a bow with a linen string at a very low humidity place like the Bonneville Salt Flats, then I periodically wipe down the string with a lightly dampened cloth and this has worked very well.

In Maurice’s article, Taylor also tested the effects of adding wax to the string using a number of methods. The effects on strength was the same or worse than without wax, but the wax added weight reducing performance.  It is interesting that your wax string seems to be holding better than the non-wax.

Barbours pure flax sinew is often really good. It was probably last manufactured in the 1970’s, but I have a ton of it and have no trouble getting it.  Just make sure you to avoid any labeled as “soft”.  I often use a thin 4-ply which I tested with a breaking strength of about 28 pounds dry. I figure a 64” long string for a 58 pound bow would weigh about 90-100 grains fully served with silk and with reinforced loops.

There are also current linen thread suppliers that are about as good.  I can send you a list.

Steve, how does the linen you get compare to the pure flax sinew?

Alan

Offline Badger

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2018, 08:33:05 am »
Alan, I have never made a comparison to sinew. I only have one sinew string that was gifted to me last year at the flats.

Offline loefflerchuck

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2018, 09:30:24 am »
Thanks Alan, Both the 4 ply and 5 ply I have tried were waxed. My bow is only 58" long, so it sounds like my string is a bit heavy. It was 10 strands of 5 ply. I had a 8 strand break. I had heard that endless strings may be weaker with linen. The twist holds better.

 I found Barbours on ebay but was afraid to buy old string. Maybe I'll give it a try.

Offline loefflerchuck

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2018, 09:39:53 am »
Just bought a pound of 5 ply pure flax sinew. Hope it's still good.

Offline avcase

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2018, 12:08:57 pm »
Linen thread seems to last forever as long as the roll wasn’t kept in a damp place where it was allowed to mildew. I have some old rolls of linen dating back to the late 1800’s that I tested, and it was as strong as thread made much more recently.  Sometimes the outermost layer of an old roll of linen thread is weaker because it had been exposed to sunlight or rolling around in a drawer for decades, but that isn’t a big deal.

I make endless loop strings too although Flemish should work really well too. Arvin made a pretty great looking string for his bows at the 2018 flight shoot. I just never got the hang of making a great Flemish string like some of the other string builders. Making sure the tension distributed to each strand is most important with linen regardless of the method.  If the string breaks a strand here or there during use, then that means there was an issue with uneven distribution of tension.

I’ve intended to upload a string build-along for years now. I need some linen strings for a couple of the bows my daughter plans to shoot this next year, so I will be sure to take some pictures of the process.

Alan

Alan


Offline Scyth

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2018, 11:46:59 am »

Chuck -

Years ago I did an evaluation of :

- linen
- tussah silk
- ramie
- nettle fiber


I using  drop spindle (see picture below) to make the threads for strands of the bow string.

-  each fiber is historically documented for bow strings . . .

-  each fibers has a different “hand” for a spinning i.e. a different minimum diameter for each strand . . .

-  the average 12 strand bowstring of Dacron  is about 3 mm diameter . . .

-  natural fiber range from 4 - 6 in diameter depending on the “hand” of the spinner ( finer strand used better ) . . .

- bow strings wax is a must for strength & longevity ( I use my own special “blend” that includes resin)


regards,

Scyth
"Retirement is not a word in the dictionary of craftsmen
and I will carry on my work a long as I can . . . "

- Yang Fuxi

Offline willie

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2018, 05:26:04 pm »
Good topic with useful info, but what is "flax sinew"?

Offline Scyth

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2018, 06:44:25 pm »
Willie -

. . . I believe it is Barbour’s colloquialism for “Thread” . . .

regards,

Scyth
"Retirement is not a word in the dictionary of craftsmen
and I will carry on my work a long as I can . . . "

- Yang Fuxi

Offline loefflerchuck

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Re: Questions on linen strings
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2019, 08:09:03 pm »
Scyth, you have a lot of knowledge for a new guy your adding to this site. Thanks!

Willie, Scyth is right. Barbours Flax Sinew is old stock linen that seems to be better than anything made today. There is a lot of it left around and its less expensive than anything modern right now. Go on ebay and snatch some up while it's still plentiful and cheap.