Warranty and Care
Read before stringing your new bow!
A well-made wooden selfbow is a trustworthy companion; but as with all bows, care must be taken to avoid damage.
Knots, dips, wavy grain, and other inconsistencies are common features that add one-of-a-kind character to your bow. Wooden bows with character are remarkably durable and safe if treated properly.
STRINGING YOUR SELFBOW:
Before each shooting session or hunt, take a moment to inspect the working portion of the bow's limbs for splinters.
I prefer to string with the "step-through method" shown below. It's safe, stable, and easy to master. Make sure the bottom limb is high enough on your foot/shoe to keep it off the ground.
You can also use the “push-pull method", but your eyes and face are in greater danger when pulling a
bow toward you.
Never bend your bow past the minimum distance needed to brace it (do not brace it with a “slack string”) as this causes unnecessary pressure/twist on the limbs, which could potentially break your bow.
Using a commercial stringer will void your warranty. Stringers place unnecessary stress on a wooden selfbow because of the irregularities/character on the bow's back.
Recommended Brace Height:
Between 5.5" and 6". The sweet spot is usually between 5.75 and 6". Using a brace height below 5.5" may cause wrist slap. Bracing above 6" will result in slower arrow speed because you will have decreased the power stroke of the bow.
SHOOTING YOUR BOW:
NEVER dry-fire your bow! Do not, for any reason, draw back a bow that doesn't have an arrow on the string. Bows store an incredible amount of tension and compression energy and if there’s no arrow to absorb it, the release of this energy could cause an explosive failure of the limbs. This is true with all bows, both modern and primitive; compound and traditional.
For the same reason (energy transfer), shooting lightweight carbon arrows out of a selfbow is not recommended. If the arrows you’re using are too light, each shot will be similar to dry-firing your bow. Lightweight arrows cause increased noise and hand-shock, and significantly decrease the lifespan of your bow.
Don't overdraw your bow! It is carefully crafted to your provided body dimensions, and the design and length are optimized for a relaxed and comfortable corner-of-the-mouth anchor point.
People have a natural tendency to "test their might" against their bow by trying to pull back as far as they're able. This is counterproductive and actually decreases your bow's power and efficiency because the limbs "stack" as the wood fibers are crushed beyond their capacity.
The power is already built into the bow. You're only doing harm by trying to extract more from it by drawing it to your jawbone, ear, etc. (I'm using a massive bow built for a 32" draw for the photo demonstration).
Overdrawing your bow by a large enough margin can cause compression fractures in the limbs and will void your replacement warranty. Even modern glass bows’ warranties are void if overdrawn. For the same reasons, It's best if you don't let anyone else shoot your bow (especially your tall friends) unless you know for certain their draw length is shorter than yours.
"How long can I leave it strung?"
Feel free to leave your bow strung all day long if you’re hunting or roving, but keep it in the shade when not in use and unstring it when you’re finished for the day. Don't leave your bow strung overnight, and don't leave it strung in the direct sunlight for extended periods of time (this mostly applies to hot days from late spring-early fall). Leaving a strung bow laying in the sun on a hot summer day can cause large amounts of string follow and could potentially lower the bow's performance for the remainder of its life.
The leaf-shaped flap is the bottom of the handle wrap ~ not an arrow rest. The bow's handle is wrapped without glue incase you need to remove it for waxing/maintenance or use the cordage in an emergency. Three feet of buckskin cordage can save your life in a variety of situations in the wilderness.
Arrows should pass over the dark spot just above the first crease in the handle wrap. Position your hand so your knuckles create a "shelf" for the arrows to pass in this location.
WOODEN ARROWS WITH GLUE ON POINTS:
It's worth mentioning one thing when shooting wooden arrows ~ the glue on points. Every archer who's regularly shooting woodies into stumps and targets has accepted that they're going to lose target points occasionally. Luckily, it's easy to manage and nothing more than a minor inconvenience for anyone who cherishes wooden arrows.
The reason tapered and glued points can pop off is because wood shrinks and swells with changes in humidity. If your new arrows were crafted in a region/season where the humidity is lower or higher than where you live, the wooden shafts will shrink or swell to reach equilibrium once they reach their final destination. It's perfectly normal for some of the points to become loose as they travel from my shop in the Midwest to their new home, or as you travel across the country for archery events and hunts.
It's a good idea to test the points on your new arrows before you shoot them for the first time. Grab onto each point and give it a strong tug - straight back. If they hold tight, you're good to go! If some of them pop off, apply a generous coat of superglue (I prefer the gel type) to the taper of the arrow shaft, roll the point a little to evenly distribute the glue, and firmly push it back on. That's it! I follow the same method any time one pops off, or when traveling to a different climate with my arrows.
I recommend picking up some spare target points. They're inexpensive, and you'll definitely have one from time to time that gets stuck too deep in the target/terrain to recover. I carry spares and superglue with me any time I'm shooting away from home.
Organic Archery arrows are equipped with "145 grain glue on field points". At the time of writing this, field points are about $8 per dozen on eBay and 3 Rivers Archery. You can also replace them with 125 grain points, but don't go any lighter than 125 grains.
IF USING CARBON ARROWS:
(You can skip to the Moisture Management section if this doesn't apply)
Choose a heavy carbon shaft meant for hunting. Aim for a finished arrow weight of at least 9 grains per pound - preferably 10 grains per pound - of draw weight.
Example : For a 50# bow -- 450 grains is 9 gpp and 500 grains is 10 gpp.
Shooting arrows with a finished weight under 8 grains per pound will void your warranty.
Modern carbon arrow shafts have the weight - in grains per inch (gpi) - written on them. You can calculate the finished arrow weight by multiplying the number on the shaft by the length of the arrow; then add the weight of the point, feathers, and insert.
Here is an example using Easton Traditional Only Carbon Shafts with a weight of 10.0 grains per inch, an imaginary length of 30.5 inches, and 145g field points. The same method can be applied to all carbon arrows.
Length 30.5 (inches)
Shaft weight 305 (grains)
Point weight 145 (grains)
Feathers 10 (grains)
Insert 15 (grains)
Finished weight 475 grains
You can also find heavyweight points, broadheads, and inserts for increasing total finished arrow weight at archery shops or online. However, adding too much weight to the front of an arrow that isn't spined accordingly will make it fly poorly.
MOISTURE MANAGEMENT & STORAGE:
Always store your bow either laying horizontally (if stored on a surface) or hanging on a wall above the ground. Both horizontal and vertical are fine if it's hanging. Do not store it leaning upright in a corner or against a wall for an extended period of time. This will eventually weaken whichever limb is resting on the floor and negatively affect the tiller and shooting characteristics of the bow.
Your bow is sealed with 6 coats of modern sealer and one coat of 50/50 tallow and beeswax. I’ve found this combination to be very effective in keeping the wood's internal moisture content down, even on foggy/rainy days. You may notice a “tacky” feel on the exterior of your bow. This is perfectly normal! It's the tallow and beeswax, and you'll be happy it's there when you see how well the water beads up in wet weather!
Some care must still be taken with an all-wood bow to ensure the internal moisture content doesn't get too low or too high. Too low (too dry) and the bow could break; too high (too wet) and the bow won’t break but will shoot sluggishly and take more string-follow than normal.
When possible, it is best to store your bow in a temperature-controlled room on an aboveground level of your home. Do not store your bow in overly damp places or in belowground rooms (basements/cellars/etc.) that do not have a dehumidifier.
DO NOT store your bow in an extremely hot/dry place such as a vehicle with closed windows, direct sunlight on a hot summer day, near a heat source such as a furnace, vent, or stove, or in the sunlight of a window. An overly hot/dry condition could lead to a catastrophic failure of the limbs.
LONG TERM CARE:
Wooden selfbows require very little maintenance. Besides the previously mentioned care information, the only thing needed to keep your bow in top shape is an occasional coat of 50/50 tallow and beeswax. A polishing cloth and a 4 oz. jar of primitive sealer are included with every bow for convenience.
At room temperature, the mixture has the consistency of cold butter. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly. You can apply it with your bare hands since it's natural, safe, and melts with very little heat. Rub until the paste liquifies and spread it over the entire bow, including the handle wrap. Once thoroughly covered, use a cotton cloth to wipe off the excess. Leaving behind a thin coat makes an excellent moisture barrier; but leaving a thick coat attracts grass, twigs and dust.
If shooting regularly: put a fresh coat of the supplied sealer on your bow about once a month; or before any hunting outing where inclement weather is a possibility.
If shooting less often: apply a fresh coat before long term storage, and another when taking your bow out for the first time after an extended break.
The 50/50 mixture can also be used to wax your string anytime it starts looking fuzzy.
Quick Reference Dos & Don'ts
~String with the step-through method
~Draw to a relaxed corner-of-the-mouth anchor point
~Wax your bowstring when it looks fuzzy
~Wax your entire bow once a month or before hunting trips
~Keep your bow in the shade on warm days
~Unstring your bow when you’re done for the day
~Store your bow hanging (both vertically and horizontally is ok)
~If placing on a surface or the ground, lay the bow down horizontally
~Overdraw your bow
~String your bow with a commercial stringer
~Pull your bow's limbs farther than necessary when stringing
~Pull your bow back for any reason without an arrow on the string
~Shoot arrows under 8 grains per pound of draw weight
~Leave your bow laying strung in direct sunlight for an extended time
~Let your friends shoot your bow unsupervised
~Store your bow in a hot car, window, attic, or near a heat source
~Store your bow in a belowground room without a dehumidifier
~Store your bow in a damp place such as a bathroom or shed
~Store your bow leaning upright in a corner
It's exceptionally rare for a properly tillered and shot-in selfbow to break after delivery, but there's always a small chance with natural materials. Each build is followed from standing tree to finished product. The wood is seasoned indoors, under controlled conditions, and regularly inspected. Although very uncommon, the living tree itself can have hidden internal imperfections or fungi that go unseen.
Don't worry! If anything happens to your bow under normal shooting or hunting conditions, I've got you covered.
From the Date of Completion:
2-YEAR REPLACEMENT WARRANTY against irreparable breakage related to craftsmanship.
LIFETIME REPAIRS of nonfatal scratches and gouges in the wood for original owner.
LIFETIME TILLER ADJUSTMENTS for original owner. Sometimes a wooden bow can fall slightly out of tiller over time. This is perfectly natural and nothing to worry about. If it happens, just send it in and I'll tune it up!
Fatal cracks, splinters, and catastrophic limb failures are covered UNDER PROPER USE.
If your bow breaks within the warranty period due to a defect in the wood under normal use, it will be repaired or replaced hassle-free with a bow of the same tree species as quickly as I am able.
Negligent use (defined as any use/treatment that goes against the Warranty & Care guide) and damage caused by another person are not covered. If you follow this care guide, it’s nearly impossible for a negligent break to happen.
Quivers are covered by a 2-year warranty.
Bows crafted by students in 3-Day Workshops are not warranted.
Wooden arrows are not warranted.
Bow strings are not warranted.
I put my heart and soul into every aspect of your new bow’s creation; from carefully selecting the tree, to splitting the staves, seasoning the wood, and uncovering the beauty that lies beneath the bark. Each piece of wood has unique challenges and character, and your longbow is truly one-of-a-kind.
The shape of the Organic Archery longbow is inspired by the Meare Heath bow ~ a Neolithic artifact uncovered in Somerset and carbon dated to 4,600 years old. There are few connections to our past as hunter-gatherers and to the woods we cherish that run deeper than going afield with a wooden bow and arrows.
Your new weapon was once a living, breathing thing. The tree's energy melds with your own and shares the teachings of the divine balance each time it provides for you and your loved ones. With faithful practice, the wooden bow becomes an extension of you; a calming meditation; a trustworthy companion. It's a unity no artificial material could ever hope to replicate. May it serve you well and strengthen your bond to this beautiful Earth and all its creatures.