Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


Selfbows, to oil or not, what kind?

Messages posted to thread:
tradslinger 02-Dec-23
smrobertson 02-Dec-23
Jim Davis 02-Dec-23
bentstick54 02-Dec-23
Jeff Durnell 02-Dec-23
tradslinger 02-Dec-23
Huntsman247 02-Dec-23
tradslinger 02-Dec-23
BowAholic 02-Dec-23
bugsy 49 02-Dec-23
Phil 03-Dec-23
CStyles 03-Dec-23
Phil 03-Dec-23
tradslinger 03-Dec-23
Eric Krewson 03-Dec-23
Bob Rowlands 03-Dec-23
CStyles 03-Dec-23
wooddamon1 03-Dec-23
Mike B 03-Dec-23
Pappy 1952 04-Dec-23
fdp 04-Dec-23
DanaC 04-Dec-23
From: tradslinger
Date: 02-Dec-23




This is a personal thing I guess, but I know that some have preferred ways of sealing their bows. I use both Tru Oil and boiled linseed oil on mine. Mainly because I already have this and quite a bit of the boiled linseed oil.

Now this is mainly on Osage bows, I have only one Hackberry bow and it is finished with this as well. Osage wood seems to handle the wetness okay, at least from what I can tell. I've tried to harvest hickory for a selfbow but I guess that I am physically too challenged to both split the wood or seal it properly to keep the bugs out.

When I say challenged, I mean challenged. Crippled in right foot, loss of feeling in right hand and fingers. Loss of strength in right arm as well. Plus legally blind in left eye, as well as macular degeneration.

So finish work for me can be very challenging but rubbing oil like Tru Oil is pretty much fool proof, eve for me. But I know that many of you use other oils and do so very successfully.

If I was physically able, I would make primitive bow strings and arrows totally primitive but one has to be able to see decently and feel decently to knap rock.

So it is man made strings and arrows for me.

From: smrobertson
Date: 02-Dec-23




I always keep a old woolen sock or rag that has boiled linseed oil on it. Every so often I'll rub my self bow with it, espically during humid summer days and dry winter days, as well.

From: Jim Davis
Date: 02-Dec-23




I have not used oil on my bows, but have on rifle stocks, where it seems unbeatable. I think it would be the best long-term finish for bows, as you have found.

From: bentstick54
Date: 02-Dec-23




After using Truoil on shotgun stocks and putting them through hell for 20 years, Truoil is what I use on my Osage selfbows. 4 to 6 coats and they’re good to go. If for some reason a scratch or dent needs repaired it’s easy to lightly sand a small area down, and blend it in smoothly.

From: Jeff Durnell
Date: 02-Dec-23




I don't use Truoil as a finish but I know lots of guys do. But I've used boiled linseed oil on bows to make the wood color more rich, it works well on yew wood. I like the look afterwards better than just spraying clear over freshly sanded yew. Then I give it time to dry, rubbing the crap out of it every so often, and eventually I spray it with Thunderbird right over the dried boiled linseed oil.

From: tradslinger
Date: 02-Dec-23




yes, Tru Oil finishes are easy fixes for areas that get sanded. I just like how easy it is and how quickly it dries.

From: Huntsman247
Date: 02-Dec-23




Seems I heard that Truoil is partially linseed oil; anyone know for sure?

From: tradslinger
Date: 02-Dec-23




refined boiled linseed oil

From: BowAholic
Date: 02-Dec-23




I use a mixture of bear grease and beeswax. I usually rub them down once a year...in the summer.

From: bugsy 49
Date: 02-Dec-23




On self bows I mostly ,but not always use a mixture of turpentine, bee wax, and linseed oil in proper proportions. Boiled ,and left to cool it becomes a hard paste. Apply the paste, and heat to penetrate the wood. I do this once a year on my wood bows.

From: Phil
Date: 03-Dec-23




Tradslinger

Quite a few bowyers here in the UK use Danish oil on their selfbows They say it goes on easily and gives a good protective coat. Although I have not used it on a bow myself it works very well on my arrows.

From: CStyles
Date: 03-Dec-23

CStyles's embedded Photo



I guess I am a heathen, I always use oiled based wipe on poly. Made my yew bow over 20 years ago, done nothing further to the finish. Protects the wood, easy to keep clean. It is also easy to touch up if needed.

From: Phil
Date: 03-Dec-23




Chuck .. that is one spectacular looking bow

From: tradslinger
Date: 03-Dec-23




I have used Danish oil years ago and liked it a lot. had even looked for some just a couple years ago but then realized that I had this big can of boiled linseed oil already. Seems like it was left in a shed by a previous owner one time. I just try to use what I have and repurpose a lot. seems like I had even heard of people using vegetable oil.

From: Eric Krewson
Date: 03-Dec-23




The toughest finish I ever put on a selfbow was the Massey finish which is two-ton epoxy dissolved in acetone. It takes several days to build up the right amount of coats with this finish.

Being lazy, I switched to Tru-oil.

I have seen a number of paraffin and beeswax finished bows that other guys had, the finish was much better than I thought it would be.

From: Bob Rowlands
Date: 03-Dec-23




Nice bow, Chuck.

From: CStyles
Date: 03-Dec-23

CStyles's embedded Photo



Thanks Phil and Bob. Coincidentally took it shooting this morning. Rained the whole time, so definitely worth having a good finish. I have seen a nice slingshot that a friend finished with linseed oil and beeswax it looked and felt very robust. No doubt a good finish.

From: wooddamon1 Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 03-Dec-23




Beautiful bow! Tru-Oil user here. Then a spray coat or 3 of matte wheel clear.

From: Mike B
Date: 03-Dec-23




Was chatting with Glenn St. Charles one day when they still had Northwest Archery. He suggested Tru-oil, and I've used nothing else since.

From: Pappy 1952
Date: 04-Dec-23




I use tru oil on all of mine, 5 or 6 coats on Osage and usually a few more on most white woods,a coat a day buffing in between coats with fine steel wool.then to take the shine off I put a couple of coats of spray satin polly. Pappy

From: fdp
Date: 04-Dec-23




It's all subjective.

I've used Tru-Oil, Danish Oil, used motor oil, transmission fluid, bacon grease, wipe on poly, French Polish and other things. They all work.

Finishes that go I. The wood take more applications and a longer period of time to achieve the same level of weather protection that finishes that build up on the surface.

Al Herrin was of the opinion that oil or grease penetrating into the wood aided in durability. Maybe it does.

From: DanaC
Date: 04-Dec-23




'Butcher block' finish? Waxes and oil

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Howard-Butcher-Block-Conditioner-Clear-Butcher-Block-Oil-Actual-Net-Contents-12-oz/999918606





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