Finishing a Bamboo Backed longBow.
An Unfinished bow must be sealed to protect the wood from drying out or from absorbing moisture.
The nodes of the bamboo are the thickest yet weakest part of the bamboo.
DO NOT use sandpaper coarser than 150 grit on the bamboo: Clean the nodes with a little bit with 150 grit sandpaper to get rid of the sharp edges but do not sand them flat because the fibers run up and down within the nodes. Flattening the nodes is just like cutting a hole in the back of the bow It will be weakened and will fail.
DO NOT flatten the Nodes on the bamboo.
Bamboo grows with a waxy outer coating on it. Finishes will not stick to it. This outer skin must be removed without going through the fibers of the bamboo. Hint: Use a cabinet scraper to scrape it off and then carefully sand the surface by hand with 150- grit sandpaper.
Use alcohol or spirit-based dye for the bamboo if you want to add color. Bamboo does not take other wood stains very well. The same types of dye work well with any bow wood.
The tillering on this bow is complete; all that is left to do is final smooth sanding. 80 then 100 grit sand paper to smooth the surface and finish up with 180 –220 grit.
Do not sand the bow to the point that low or uneven places form in the belly of the bow. These thin spots will hinge and break.
Wood Finishes : Many possibilities exist for a quick, easy finish. Water borne varnishes apply easily with a cheap disposable foam brush, dry quickly and are odorless. I would also recommend Shellac, Varnish, or Poly Urethane. Follow the manufactures instructions when applying these products. Steel wool between coats and over the last coat will give a smooth finish. If your intention is to decorate the bow with patterns or figures, Shellac works better than varnish or poly urethane here. Lay down one or two coats, sand them out lightly, and then use colored markers or felt tipped pens for your artwork. If you try to draw on raw wood, the ink will fuzz away from your lines, and it may bleed into the finish you choose to cover over it. However, almost any felt marker works on the top of shellac.
ALWAYS UN-STRING YOUR BOW AFTER USE. The string should be checked frequently for wear, especially around the nocks and nocking point. Also check to make sure that the brace height (The distance from the back of the bow to the string) is about six and a half to seven inches. To increase the brace height, simply remove the string from the lower limb and twist counter clockwise, After you have shot the bow for a while You will find which brace height works best for you. Your bow should be stored in a cool dry place and avoid exposure to extreme heat, moisture, or dryness. Wax your bow with paste wax at least twice a year to maintain the finish and protect against moisture and dryness.