[English Longbow] Warming the bow

DavidH

New member
You'd think that this post isn't necessary and I presume every longbow archer warms up the bow before shooting it, winter or summer. i usually give it a rub before I string, then pull it 10 or 15 times, slowly bring it up to full draw. I take more care on a cold day and have seen a bow explode without any warm up in the frost. One of our fellow archers insists this isn't needed and says his bowyer told him not to bother. His is a VERY expensive bow, and I'm always waiting to hear the crack.

This isn't a slight on the bowyer who produces excellent bows and is a fine archer, I just don't understand his advice
 


grimsby archer

New member
I'm not a bowyer, but I can't understand the need to "rub" the bow.
Wood is a pretty good insulator (approx 300x better than steel), so you'd have to generate a LOT of heat on the outside to warm up the wood on the inside.

Also, what does one achieve by pulling the bow 10x ? Does that generate enough heat within the bow to offset the heat lost when you then put the bow down for 5 minutes, pick it up, shoot 6 arrows, put it down for 5 minutes etc.

All this is far more likely to warm the archers muscles and do good that way and if it makes the archer feel better and more confident about their bow, then all the better.

Also, consider the stresses a wooden arrow undergoes, but no one warms them up.

Longbows explode. Thats the end of the story. We all know that.
We all know apocryphal evidence of bows that exploded because of one thing or another, but can you say that the bow that exploded in the frost wouldnt have exploded anyhow?
 


DavidH

New member
I'm not a bowyer, but I can't understand the need to "rub" the bow.
Wood is a pretty good insulator (approx 300x better than steel), so you'd have to generate a LOT of heat on the outside to warm up the wood on the inside.

Also, what does one achieve by pulling the bow 10x ? Does that generate enough heat within the bow to offset the heat lost when you then put the bow down for 5 minutes, pick it up, shoot 6 arrows, put it down for 5 minutes etc.

All this is far more likely to warm the archers muscles and do good that way and if it makes the archer feel better and more confident about their bow, then all the better.

Also, consider the stresses a wooden arrow undergoes, but no one warms them up.

Longbows explode. Thats the end of the story. We all know that.
We all know apocryphal evidence of bows that exploded because of one thing or another, but can you say that the bow that exploded in the frost wouldnt have exploded anyhow?
Just talk to any bowyer and he will tell you much the same as I've posted (except the bowyer my fellow archer uses) Longbows don't just explode for no reason, there's always a reason. Arrows suffer little punishment until they hit the boss and that's why unfooted arrows break at the point, at regular intervals. Maybe it is a comfort, and yes it is a warm up for the archer too, but if a bowyer tells me to warm the bow up I'll do it. As for leaving the bow for 5 minutes, yep I'll give it a little warm up again. The rubbing? probably overkill, but it tells the bow I love it;)

What I'm told, and I have no reason to disbelieve it, wood is more brittle when cold, less brittle when warm so why wouldn't I take the advice of the man who made my bow?
 


Little Miss Purple

The American
Fonz Awardee
Ironman
American Shoot
David - what response are you attempting to elicit from your post? As you are not prepared to accept anyone questioning warming up a longbow are you simply trying to get others to name the bowyer of the very expensive bow who deems to dare to disagree with the norm also? :beer:
 


DavidH

New member
I've just reread my original post, and it could have sounded as if I was slighting the bowyer, it certainly wasn't meant to, I've edited my original post. Apologies:)
 


ghound

New member
My routine when i go to the club is, string and leave it for 20mins till it gets close to room temp, then i find it takes a few shots till the arrows hit where they should.
I do notice my bow is very stiff at first, like it's stacking then it seems to soften after a dozen or so arrows?
 


fbirder

Supporter
Supporter
David,

I know nothing at all about this, however I do have a general rule of life about such matters. If it does no harm, then carry on doing it. It matters not whether it really does any good, as long as you believe it does some good and it does no harm. It's why I've been wearing copper rings for twenty years - it may help my arthritis but I'm fairly sure it don't harm it.
 


DavidH

New member
Miss Purple, I was probably questioning the archer rather than the bowyer, he is nearly as dogmatic as me;) Next time I see the bowyer, I'll get it from the horses mouth.
 


Del the Cat

Active member
Just talk to any bowyer and he will tell you much the same ...
I for one won't tell you that.
IMO rubbing a bow will do very little, it will do more to warm the archer. A few short draws will probably do more to warm up the bow, and unless it's freezing I don't think there is a need for warming up the bow, more a need for warming the archer.
Out of interest I've just been steam bending a Yew stave (aprox 1" square) it took about 50 mins at 100C for the heat to penetrate.
Please don't lump me in with "any bowyer will tell you" !
Del
 


DavidH

New member
My routine when i go to the club is, string and leave it for 20mins till it gets close to room temp, then i find it takes a few shots till the arrows hit where they should.
I do notice my bow is very stiff at first, like it's stacking then it seems to soften after a dozen or so arrows?
Ghound, I usually find my bow is much stiffer for the first couple of ends, but that could be me in the cold weather:)
 


DavidH

New member
I for one won't tell you that.
IMO rubbing a bow will do very little, it will do more to warm the archer. A few short draws will probably do more to warm up the bow, and unless it's freezing I don't think there is a need for warming up the bow, more a need for warming the archer.
Out of interest I've just been steam bending a Yew stave (aprox 1" square) it took about 45 mins at 100C for the heat to penetrate.
Please don't lump me in with "any bowyer will tell you" !
Del
I was looking for quotes and had already found yours in another thread Del. I wish I hadn't started this thread now...
 


Del the Cat

Active member
I was looking for quotes and had already found yours in another thread Del. I wish I hadn't started this thread now...
So do I ;)
If I play Devil's Advocate against myself I'd say the outer layers of a bow are under the greatest strain being further from the centre line (neutral plane).
If people want to rub their bows fine, maybe better safe than sorry, no skin of my nose.
I'm just wary of some received wisdom, especially when there are those who are deliberately contraversial just to get their name spoken... and I don't mean Voldemort !
Del
 


M

Moose

Guest
Don't most people keep there bows inside the house or somewhere well above freezing and then put them in a car with the heater on (assuming it is not a warm day) so when does the bow actually get cold enough to be a problem?


Moose on the loose
 


Tafferine

New member
Ironman
I cant remember the last time i warmed up my bow. I normally string it half an hour before a cometiton
and sometimes i might give it a few pulls but that's about it.
If i'm only practicing then its up and shooting right away, no warm up.
No problems at all.
 


Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
Personally I rub the bow whether cold or warm (usually more when cold), as others have said the heat won't penertrate the wood, but I think it may be a tradition from when people used wax on their bows, so really you rub it to warm the wax up esp on cold days where it may become more brittle. I could be wrong on this, but again as above has said it does it no harm, its also a quick check for any new cracks, splits etc. I found my bow was delaminating whilst doing this, hate to see what could have happened if i'd not checked, I might have lost the bow.

I also give it some increasing draws before the shoot, so help stretch the string and get the wood used to bending again, it also allows to feel any change in the wood e.g. perhaps its starting to hinge or delaminate. If it breaks (or someone spots it) at half draw its going to be less painful than at full draw on the shooting line.
 


Del the Cat

Active member
... its also a quick check for any new cracks, splits etc. I found my bow was delaminating whilst doing this, hate to see what could have happened if i'd not checked, I might have lost the bow.
.
Now That's a great reason for rubbing it! The hands can often pick up things the eye doesn't see.
I always tell people who have my bows to get to know evey knot pin and swirl of the grain and feature and regularly look it over.
Del
 


DavidH

New member
Well, this thread wasn't meant to be a controversial in the least.

The bowyer of my newest bow states:

Always warm up the bow (and yourself) before use. Rub hands along the limbs to warm wood when strung, flex progressively longer with a few draws working up to a full draw.

I've always done exactly this since I got my first longbow a few years ago and I assumed that everyone did the same. It could be my fellow archer got opposite advice or he misunderstood. Whatever, I'll agree with fbirder's comment "It matters not whether it really does any good, as long as you believe it does some good and it does no harm."

I like what Del says about getting to know the bow, I stare at and touch every little mark. It's almost a love affair;)
 


ghound

New member
Don't most people keep there bows inside the house or somewhere well above freezing and then put them in a car with the heater on (assuming it is not a warm day) so when does the bow actually get cold enough to be a problem?


Moose on the loose
I regularly shoot outside at home, so the bow goes from about 20deg inside to 5 or 6deg at this time of year outside, you defo notice the difference.
 


grimsby archer

New member
Well, this thread wasn't meant to be a controversial in the least.

The bowyer of my newest bow states:

Always warm up the bow (and yourself) before use. Rub hands along the limbs to warm wood when strung, flex progressively longer with a few draws working up to a full draw.

I've always done exactly this since I got my first longbow a few years ago and I assumed that everyone did the same. It could be my fellow archer got opposite advice or he misunderstood. Whatever, I'll agree with fbirder's comment "It matters not whether it really does any good, as long as you believe it does some good and it does no harm."

I like what Del says about getting to know the bow, I stare at and touch every little mark. It's almost a love affair;)
Does your bowyer recommend this because he knows and can prove beyond doubt that it makes a difference, or is he repeating what other bowyers have said before him, or in Raven_Eye's case "because its traditional" ?

Leads nicely to a new thread "what do you do, for no good reason other than 'its traditional'?"
 


DavidH

New member
Does your bowyer recommend this because he knows and can prove beyond doubt that it makes a difference?
I have no idea as I'm not a bowyer, but I'd rather follow his advice than ignore it, especially as I would have invalidated the warranty had I not.
 


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