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  • Robert Meyer
    I ve been making all of my own bowstrings for a while now. My favorite material to use is waxed Irish linen thread. I typically get it from Royalwood
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 30, 2010
      I've been making all of my own bowstrings for a while now.  My favorite material to use is waxed Irish linen thread.  I typically get it from Royalwood (http://www.royalwoodltd.com) although, I'm sure it's available in larger quantities for less money.  I use the 4ply thread that they have.

      I have also used hemp string.  You have to be careful to get the long fiber hemp or your strings will break very easily.  That's the reason for the Irish linen, too.  It tends to be long fiber flax, rather than chopped up fibers.  In general, I try to get a test piece of the string or thread and test break it with my bow scale.  Once you know the strength of the thread, you can figure out how many threads it will take to make the string.  In general, I try to make the string from 5 to 10 times the draw weight of the bow.  If you are shooting a heavier pull bow with lighter arrows, you're going to want to be closer to the 10X side of things because more of the energy of the bow is going to be dissipated in the string.  I always keep a spare string or two handy because I like going somewhat lighter on the number of strands (closer to the 5X) and, like any string, they break sometimes.

      I find that linen or hemp bowstrings tend to be thicker than B50 strings (go figure) so I tend to not do servings on them.  I usually build and shoot straight limbed longbows so I'm not sure if things change a lot with recurves or not.  I use a Flemish twist on one end of the string and a bowyer's knot (timber hitch) on the other end.  No less than three wraps on the timber hitch or it can come undone.  I always keep a spare string or two handy because I like going somewhat lighter on the number of strands (closer to the 5X) and, like any string, they break sometimes.  Using the timber hitch (as has already been posted) means that I can make a longer string and string any bow with it.

      I tend to prefer natural fiber strings because they just "feel better" but I know that I get somewhat higher arrow speeds with B50...

      I am by no means an expert.  This is just what's been working for me.  If anyone has more information, I'd be glad to hear it.  I'm always learning and, unfortunately, my mentor passed on so I learn where I can.

      Standard disclaimers apply... your mileage may vary... void where prohibited, licensed or regulated...

      "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
      --Leonardo da Vinci

      From: Dearg Ailfredsson <deargailfredsson@...>
      To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Thu, December 30, 2010 5:16:37 PM
      Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] FLEMISH TWIST BOWSTRING

      Last night I was just looking for something to do with my hands
      "I'm trying to quit smoking and I have 3 kids there is no sleeping in my house"
      but I think I would like to start making my own bowstrings
      because I had a lot of fun with the one I made and there is a lot of pride in it
      and I know I do want to use only all natural fibers I think I want to try hemp next


      Lord Dearg Ailfredsson
      [dare-eg ale-frid-son]
      "Red son of Alfred"
      11th century Gall Gaidhel [gall guy-yell]
      a.k.a. "Irish Northman"
      Leather Craftsman, Archer and Hunter
      Paid SCA member since 2003

      --- On Wed, 12/29/10, Fritz <carl.west@...> wrote:

      From: Fritz <carl.west@...>
      Subject: Re: [SCA-Archery] FLEMISH TWIST BOWSTRING
      To: SCA-Archery@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 10:22 PM


      When Dearg Ailfredsson put fingers to keys it was 12/30/10 12:02 AM...

      > So out of just plan boredom
      > and Cog was talking about it
      > and from that I decided I wanted one
      > I made a Flemish twist bowstring
      > out of articifial sinew
      > and it works great
      > I really didn't think it would on my 1st try
      > if I can get a good picture of it I'll post it

      Congratulations on making a usable bowstring with your own hands!
      There's a satisfaction in it that's hard to beat.

      A note though:
      Most artificial sinew is nylon floss with brown wax.
      Nylon is a very stretchy material, not particularly efficient for
      bowstrings. Artificial sinew _looks_ somewhat like real sinew when used
      to bind something together, but it doesn't _act_ like it.

      If you're going to do the work of twining your own strings, you might do
      well to get hold of some dacron bowstring string,
      go nuts and use a period material like linen or hemp and some beeswax.

      Aut inveniam viam aut faciam.

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