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Re: [SCA-Archery] painting/finishing wood bows

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  • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
    Wax should be used liberally on all bows, self bows and laminates if they will be used outdoors in any kind of damp or wet weather. Take this from some one
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 1, 2000
      Wax should be used liberally on all bows, self bows and laminates if
      they will be used outdoors in any kind of damp or wet weather. Take this
      from some one that found out the hard way several years ago with my
      first custom bow( an osage and fiberglass lammy longbow). I was hunting
      in snow and rain and thought that the fiberglass made the bow impervious
      to wet. A few weeks after hunting, the bow de-laminated and when I sent
      it back to the bowyer he told me that it was soggy inside and warned me
      that fiberglass is not waterproof, in fact it is hydro-porous.
      He was a gentleman and furnished me with another bow.
      My mundane profession is an artist and consultant to art supply
      manufactures and paint and vanish suppliers. Shellac is ultra sensitive
      to heat and is slightly soluble in water. It should only be used as an
      initial sealer before the varnish or oil rubs go on.
      Any of the drying oils(linseed,walnut,poppy) are traditional and fine.
      If you heat the oil and dissolve beeswax or carnuba wax into it and
      after it has cooled a bit you may dilute it with turpentine or mineral
      spirits(never add while hot!) you can make a fine traditional finish
      which will be somewhat water resistant.
      Most of the contemporary bowyers(John Strunk, Bill Matlock,etc.) like
      Verathane as the final varnish. I know it's not traditional but it works
      great and is relatively easy to use and doesn't suffer from cracking and
      checking as readily as the drying oils. Any good spar varnish will also
      work, but even after the bow is varnished, you want to continue to apply
      wax paste to it. Wax is the best protection against moisture.
      The standard for self bows is to regularly rub them down with an oily
      rag(linseed oil).
      This is a process recommended by Maurice Thompson in"The Witchery of
      Archery"and it is more appealing than the Cherokee practice of rubbing
      their bows down with lard, which darkens and goes sour, but does protect
      against moisture.
      I rub my self bows down with cold pressed linseed oil(the same oil I use
      to make oil paint) and it is the purest form of the oil. I buy it in
      health food stores where it is 80% cheaper than the inferior product
      sold in art supply stores.
      Respectfully,
      Geoffrei St. Albans of Eastwood
    • Lord Conall
      I have a hickory longbow that I smoothed with steel wool and used tung oil on. I also put it on my arrows to help keep the moist out, at least a little. I
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 1, 2000
        I have a hickory longbow that I smoothed with steel wool and used tung oil
        on. I also put it on my arrows to help keep the moist out, at least a
        little. I re-oil my arrows once a year before the season starts. So far,
        so good...

        Regards,
        Conall Riabhach
        Aquaterra, An Tir


        > Heilsa,
        >
        > I just got my first traditional bow and it has no finish, varnish or
        > paint. I'm wondering what would be best to handle the Texas heat and
        > humidity. Any thoughts?
        >
        > Erik the Black
      • Greg Christensen
        ... This is one thing that I have to disagree with I made a cedar strip canoe which has fiber glass on both the exterior and interior. Granted that the fiber
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
          >that fiberglass is not waterproof, in fact it is hydro-porous.

          This is one thing that I have to disagree with I made a cedar strip canoe
          which has fiber glass on both the exterior and interior. Granted that the
          fiber glass without the epoxy will let water thru though it won't keep
          shape. If the bow was not sealed on the edges (not belly or back) then the
          moisture will gain access to the wood and the fiberglass on the belly and
          back will help to hold it in. Also if the fiberglass is not coated
          correclty with epoxy and leaves gaps and void which would also let water in.
          Just remember that most modern boats are made with fiber glass and they
          don't normally sink.

          Fiber glass does break down under UV rays (sunlight) so apply wax with UV
          protector is recommended.

          Gregge The Archer
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        • Neil Bensen
          The fiberglass fabric and resin are not waterproof. The coating on fiberglass boats which makes them waterproof is the gelcoat. That is the final finish
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
            The fiberglass fabric and resin are not waterproof. The coating on
            fiberglass boats which makes them waterproof is the gelcoat. That is the final
            finish which makes the boat smooth, gives it color, and makes it shiny. Once
            the gelcoat has been breached, the boat can absorb water and fiberglass can
            "rot". This means it delaminates (freezing often helps this process along) and
            starts to work one layer against another until it destroys itself. This happens
            if there are any void spaces, or there is any of the fiberglass fabric which did
            not completely absorb the resin.
            I've seen many a boat go to the crushers because someone sanded through the
            gelcoat while trying to get all the bottom paint off and then just put new
            bottom paint back on without repairing the gelcoat.
            I would not rely on a semi-rigid coating to keep your bow waterproof over a
            long period of time. Repeated oiling is better because you are replenishing the
            moisture in the wood.

            Calum McKay


            Greg Christensen wrote:

            > >that fiberglass is not waterproof, in fact it is hydro-porous.
            >
            > This is one thing that I have to disagree with I made a cedar strip canoe
            > which has fiber glass on both the exterior and interior. Granted that the
            > fiber glass without the epoxy will let water thru though it won't keep
            > shape. If the bow was not sealed on the edges (not belly or back) then the
            > moisture will gain access to the wood and the fiberglass on the belly and
            > back will help to hold it in. Also if the fiberglass is not coated
            > correclty with epoxy and leaves gaps and void which would also let water in.
            > Just remember that most modern boats are made with fiber glass and they
            > don't normally sink.
            >
            > Fiber glass does break down under UV rays (sunlight) so apply wax with UV
            > protector is recommended.
            >
            > Gregge The Archer
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          • Greg Christensen
            The epoxy resin is waterproof if it was not then my wood strip canoe would be waterlogged which it is not. Yes if there are void spaces as below there will be
            Message 5 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
              The epoxy resin is waterproof if it was not then my wood strip canoe would
              be waterlogged which it is not. Yes if there are void spaces as below there
              will be problems....You are right about the gel coat (a special blend of
              epoxy resin) if it is removed the fiber glass breaks downs if it is not
              protected from UV rays or in your case water freezing in the voids. Your
              also referring to boats made with fiberglass mat material which is not the
              standard fabric that has a weave to it, but the strands go in all directions
              like wool felt.

              I don't know if oiling will actually go through the epoxy resin and
              fiberglass, but I do know that if there is moister in the air then the wood
              will pick some up.


              Gregge the Archer

              >
              This happens
              >if there are any void spaces, or there is any of the fiberglass fabric
              >which did
              >not completely absorb the resin.
              > I've seen many a boat go to the crushers because someone sanded
              >through the
              >gelcoat while trying to get all the bottom paint off and then just put new
              >bottom paint back on without repairing the gelcoat.
              > I would not rely on a semi-rigid coating to keep your bow waterproof
              >over a
              >long period of time. Repeated oiling is better because you are
              >replenishing the
              >moisture in the wood.
              >
              >Calum McKay
              >
              >
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            • Neil Bensen
              I have sought the oppinion of a professional. First, my appollogies. Resin IS waterproof. The issue of removing gelcoat is one of exposing void spaces and
              Message 6 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
                I have sought the oppinion of a professional.
                First, my appollogies. Resin IS waterproof. The issue of removing gelcoat
                is one of exposing void spaces and creating voids between fiberglass fibers.
                Second, bows may typically have the sides exposed and just have a
                polyurithane or varnish finish which can break down and allow moisture to enter
                and/or leave the wood, requiring maintainance periodically.
                Third, stress fractures in the resin over time and repeated bendings may
                allow moisture acces to the wood.
                Fourth, the matting material used in fiberglass construction makes no
                difference to its abbillity to TRANSPORT water. Fiberglass matting won't absorb
                water into the fibers, but it will allow water between the fibers. I was not
                refering to boats constructed with matting or with roving in particular as they
                bath have the same properties if not fully resinned.
                I think, however, that we are striving for the same point, which is; if
                fiberglass is not aplied correctly or breaks down in some way, the wood
                underneath is at risk. Oiling wood is a good way to restore moisture. If resin
                begins to crack, a repair to the fiberglass is necessary for the strength of the
                bow and for the protection of the wood underneath. You may want to seek the aid
                of a professional in repairing the fiberglass if you are unsure of how to do it
                properly.

                Calum McKay

                Greg Christensen wrote:

                > The epoxy resin is waterproof if it was not then my wood strip canoe would
                > be waterlogged which it is not. Yes if there are void spaces as below there
                > will be problems....You are right about the gel coat (a special blend of
                > epoxy resin) if it is removed the fiber glass breaks downs if it is not
                > protected from UV rays or in your case water freezing in the voids. Your
                > also referring to boats made with fiberglass mat material which is not the
                > standard fabric that has a weave to it, but the strands go in all directions
                > like wool felt.
                >
                > I don't know if oiling will actually go through the epoxy resin and
                > fiberglass, but I do know that if there is moister in the air then the wood
                > will pick some up.
                >
                > Gregge the Archer
                >
                > >
                > This happens
                > >if there are any void spaces, or there is any of the fiberglass fabric
                > >which did
                > >not completely absorb the resin.
                > > I've seen many a boat go to the crushers because someone sanded
                > >through the
                > >gelcoat while trying to get all the bottom paint off and then just put new
                > >bottom paint back on without repairing the gelcoat.
                > > I would not rely on a semi-rigid coating to keep your bow waterproof
                > >over a
                > >long period of time. Repeated oiling is better because you are
                > >replenishing the
                > >moisture in the wood.
                > >
                > >Calum McKay
                > >
                > >
                > ________________________________________________________________________
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                >
                >
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                > This list sponsored by House Wyvern Hall, BBM, East Kingdom, SCA
                > [Email to SCA-Archery-unsubscribe@... to leave this list]
              • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
                I think we are all on the same page here essentially about fiberglass and its need to be sealed. The use of fiberglass cloth to make bows stopped about 40
                Message 7 of 12 , Aug 2, 2000
                  I think we are all on the same page here essentially about
                  fiberglass and its need to be sealed.
                  The use of fiberglass cloth to make bows stopped about 40 years
                  ago and I've seen way too many accidents with them at Pennsic where they
                  delaminate in a very dramatic way, even after a thorough inspection
                  which they passed.They dry out, get old and fatigued, and delamination
                  is almost impossible to detect,until it happens then, BOOM!
                  The type of fiberglass laminations used on most modern bows is
                  where the fibers are laid out it vertical strands(much like the way you
                  lay out sinew for a sinew backing) and then adhered to themselves with
                  the resin,The bowyers purchase these pre-made laminations. These lammys
                  are then adhered to other lammys including the wood ones with a heat
                  cured synthetic resin glue. The way it was explained to me by some of
                  the bowyers I spoke to about my unfortunate accident with my hunting bow
                  in the early 1980's is that microscopically, there are passages between
                  the fibers which will eventually allow moisture through the fibers. The
                  fiberglass and resin are not absorbent but porous, the wood is absorbent
                  and almost acts like a wick.This is why all good bowyers seal all of the
                  bow, not just the edges and recommend that the owners continue to oil or
                  preferably wax on a regular basis.
                  Now before I go out hunting, I thoroughly wax my bows with a
                  beeswax paste, or Johnsons paste wax or Butchers wax and I carry some
                  with me into the woods.
                  On my self bows I use linseed oil.
                  But people PLEASE continue to care for your bows! I don't mean to
                  burst any bubbles here, but just because your bow is made with
                  fiberglass. it is not invulnerable to moisture.
                  Respectfully,
                  Geoffrei St. Albans of Eastwood
                  Canton of Lions End
                  East Kingdom
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