Chapter 13: Final Shaping
Compared to some of the other chapters, this one’s a lot less important to the function. But if you want a nice looking bow it’s worth spending some extra time on the final shaping. Mostly we’ll be rounding out corners and making sure that all the lines and tapers blend together smoothly and attractively. None of this takes very long, but will make your bow a lot more elegant and comfortable. The weight you remove from the nocks will also increase performance a tiny bit. Not a lot, but everything that’s on the nocks you don’t need is just dead weight.
Next I’m rounding the handle, and blending the profiles of the bow through the fades into the handle.
If you need an arrow shelf for your shooting style, now is a good time to add one. My only advise is to add the shelf by gluing on leather or cork, rather than cutting the shelf out of the bow, which is risky without some prior experience. Personally I don’t like adding a shelf, I feel they’re clumsy and unattractive. That’s my own taste, but this is your bow.
Rounding the corners on the back.
Giving the nocks a more streamlined shape.
If you want to add tip overlays now is a good time. For your first bow I don’t think it’s necessary or advisable. You don’t need an overlay, despite any myths you might have heard about wooden bows. If the overlays aren’t helping you make the tips thinner and lighter then I don’t see a point to adding them.
Since the bow is braced, we now have a better idea of how long the string should be. So next I cut off the excess.
Then cut all the loose ends to slightly different lengths, to create a smooth rattail taper.
Now I serve the center section of the string. You don’t strictly need to, but it will make the string last much longer. See the chapter on the string for more details.