Rawhide for bow string

Discussion in 'Fire' started by kcardwel, Mar 16, 2019 at 3:50 PM.

  1. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    Draketake and I have been discussing how the first peoples' used to do the bow drill and the cordage they used. We surmised that rawhide was used a lot since it was plentiful and so strong. That is why I am doing this experiment to see how supple I can make it but yet non-stretchy and strong. It stretched during this bow drill but not bad.
    here is the hide and cutting out a piece
    [​IMG]IMG_5574 by Ken Cardwell, on Flickr
    soaking the hide
    [​IMG]IMG_5575 by Ken Cardwell, on Flickr
    And here is the video....what have been your experiences using this??
     
  2. halo2

    halo2 Typical Swamp Yankee Supporter

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    Nice experiment!

    I haven't tried this. I've only used rawhide for some basic wraps and haftings. For those I used rawhide from dog chews. I cut strips circularly like I saw in either Olson's or Angier's book.

    How would you say it held up?
     
  3. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    No affect whatsoever ever
     
  4. VtBlackDog

    VtBlackDog Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I picked up a old longbow with a rawhide string, so far its worked great.
     
  5. whtshdwwz

    whtshdwwz Supporter Supporter

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    Is it one piece or braided?
     
  6. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    Just a single strand; I can braid it but would need to cut it thinner.. think it will hold up this way. been quite a few hours now and still real supple.
     
  7. Draketake

    Draketake Guide

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    Great job Ken.

    Really stoked how well it worked.
     
  8. whtshdwwz

    whtshdwwz Supporter Supporter

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    I think you will see better long term results with a braided rawhide bow string....just my experience.
     
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  9. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    ok; you cut the strands pretty small then, correct?
     
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  10. whtshdwwz

    whtshdwwz Supporter Supporter

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    Yes, I cut it as thin as possible. I have done both 3 and 4 strands with equal results. The big advantage is the braided strings hold up better to abrasion....plus you will want to treat them with some oil to keep them somewhat water proofed....nice posts and please keep us posted
     
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  11. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    ok; thanks...can braid real well but cutting the strands thin and straight might be a challenge :)
     
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  12. Ivan

    Ivan Scout

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    A one inch wide strap wrapped once around works best, and I figure was used early on. I’ll work to get you info I found on some old sets.
     
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  13. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    another said to make it into leather by mixing dish soap, mayonnaise and eggs and then needing it until dry, then braid it
     
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  14. whtshdwwz

    whtshdwwz Supporter Supporter

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    You can also make a die of sort....drill a small hole in a piece of brass, chamfer the hole on both side and pull wet leather strands though the hole to reduce the size and make them round....I have used this method with good luck.
     
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  15. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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