Saturday, 23 May 2015


I've done the arrow plate, the guy wanted a Warbow look, and that would have been without an arrow plate... BUT if heavy arrows with binding on the fletchings are used it can severely rasp away at the wood, so I said I'd do an arrow plate from the same pale horn as the nocks.
As I was sawing the horn for the nocks I ended up with a slice which had the whitish centre of the the horn showing through it... ha! I'll use that for the arrow plate, subtle, but with a petit je ne sais quoi.
Note the "crack" showing in the knot just right of the arrow plate. I put crack in inverted commas as it's more like a drying check where branch that forms the knot has seasoned. It may well move slightly over time and form a very slight pinch. E.G a tiny ridge where compression has closed up the gap and raised a tiny ridge which can be felt with a fingernail. Pinches are quite common around belly knots, especially if any manky material hasn't been removed around them. You can see, this knot looks very sound, it is also at the thickest part of the bow. The crack is effectively radiating out from the central pith (which shows as a black spot) of the branch that forms the knot.

People often ask how I get such a good finish on my bows. The answer is simple...
Looking closely and repeatedly and patience. If you can see tool marks, take them out! It can be a mistake to labour away with sandpaper rubbing and rubbing along the grain. One of the big myths about abrasive paper is "use it along the grain" ... errrr. No not if you are tying to take out a tiny score mark that runs along the grain!
If you compare the pictures of the knot on the side of the bow from the previous post and this one.
In the previous post there are obvious rasp marks still visible. 80 grit paper used diablo fashion across the edge of the bow rounds it off and takes out the marks, I think I used a scraper too, very delicately.
Yes you finish along the grain with (in this case 120grit) and that takes out the marks left by the 80 grit. *
Only 120! I hear you cry... yes, sometimes going too fine doesn't help. The Danish Oil I use recommends finishing with 120 as it hold the oil and allows some penetration.
Anyhow, each to his own and we all have our pet techniques for finishing.
The other big question is how do you know when to stop? You stop when you realise the tool mark you are trying to remove is actually a feature in the grain!

*Yes I know there are still some fine marks visible! This is just the clean up after the first coat of Danish Oil and more fiddling and fettling... mind it is a "warbow" not an exhibition piece.

That's not to say all bows need to be finished to a high degree, but it's about being true to your own aims. If you want a rough and ready warbow look with scraper flutes showing down the bow, that's fine and you should display them with pride.


  1. Clear greenhouse tape can work well as an arrow pass. It sticks very well yet is easy to remove.It provides a durable, low friction surface and you cannot tell it is there. When the piece gets worn a little just remove it and stick another piece on.

  2. That's a handy idea for the Warbow fraternity who don't want an inlaid arrow plate.