Page:Handbook for Boys.djvu/97

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Boy Scouts

apple, black walnut, slippery elm, ironwood, mountain ash, Hickory, California yew, and hemlock.

Take & perfectly sound, straight, well-seasoned stick five or six feet long (your bow should be about as long as yourself); mark off a five-inch space/n the middle for the handle; leave this round and a full inch thick; shave down the rest, fiat on one side for the front and round on the other/or the back, until it is about one inch wide and three fourths of an inch thick next the handle, tapering to about one half that at the ends, which are then "nocked," nicked, or notched as shown in Cut I. These notches are tor the string, which is to be put on early. Draw the bow now, flat side out, not more than the proper distance, and note carefully which end bends the most; then shave down the other side until it bends evenly. The middle scarcely bends at all The perfect shape, when bent, is shown in Cut II. Trim the bow dawn to your strength and finish smoothly with sand-paper and glass. It should be straight when unstrung, and unstrung when not in use. Fancy curved bows are weak affairs. The bow for our boy should require a power of fifteen or twenty pounds (shown on a spring balance) to draw the string twenty-three inches from the bow; not more. The best string is of hemp or linen; it should be about five inches from the middle of the bow when strung (Cut LI). The notches for the string should be two thirds the depth. of the string. If you have not a bought string make one of strong, unbleached linen thread twisted together. At one end the string, which is heaviest at the ends, should be fast knotted to the bow notch Cut V); at the other it should have a loop as shown in Cut IV. In the middle it should be lashed with fine silk and wax for five inches, and the exact place marked where the arrow fits it.

The arrow is more important than the bow. Any one can make a bow; few can make an arrow, for, as a Seminole Indian expressed it to Maurice Thompson, "Any stick do for bow; good arrow much heap work, ugh." Hiawatha went all the way to Dakota to see the famous arrow maker. In England when the bow was the gun of the country, the bow maker was called a "bowyer," and the arrow maker a "fletcher" (from the Norman flèche, an arrow). So when men began to use surnames those who excelled in arrow making were proud to be called the "Fletchers"; but to make a good bow was not a notable achievement, hence few took "Bowyer" as their name.

The first thing about an arrow is that it must be perfectly straight. "Straight as an arrow" refers to the arrow itself, not to its flight; that is always curved.