Home Forums Bows and Equipment Staining a pattern

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    • bp_madden
      Post count: 10

      Hi all,

      I just bought one of those $50 ebay bows. I know, I know it’s a HUGE risk, but I’m not about to drop $300+ bucks on a first bow and I end up not being able to do it that often. Any way, it’s made of solid hickory, comes unfinished and I want to put a criss-cross like pattern into it. Is there anyway to stain a pattern into it before I seal it? Would another process work besides staining? I have no experience in wood working besides a tree house and a tool box from cub scouts. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

    • Stumpkiller
      Member
      Post count: 193

      Sure, but hickory doesn’t accept stain well. You can dip a matchstick or toothpick sliced to form a spreader and draw a criss-cross pattern (test on scrap wood or cardboard). You will note that stain doesn’t keep to well-defined lines and spreads out, so you may not have a very distinct pattern.

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      Bryan — You can easily create a lot better looking camo pattern than criss-crossing. One way is to simply stain a few inches one color, then the next few inches another, alternating through the length of the bow like that. You really only need two colors, or shades, so far as most game animals are concerned as they see in black and white. If you want to make it pretty for people, use any colors you like. The easiest and IMHO best is aniline (analyne?) dye, which is a powder you mix with water and apply with a brush or Q-tip or whatever. It dries almost immediately and you can overlap colors for neat patterns, which you can’t really do with oil-base stains. But if you don’t want to go to that trouble (most internet trad archery supply houses carry aniline) any old stain will do, though oil-based takes a lot longer to dry. I hope you enjoy the bow.

    • David CoulterDavid Coulter
      Member
      Post count: 2261

      I don’t have a lot of experience with staining, aside from my best shirts. One thing that helped me on some trim work we’re doing is a light sanding to break the finish first. It made a difference, but that was pine. Have fun with the new bow. dwc

    • Munsterman
      Post count: 25

      I second D.P. ‘s thought on aniline dye. However, use denatured alcohol as your base ( make sure you’re buying compatible dye). It won’t raise the grain on the back of the bow like a water-based dye would.

    • bp_madden
      Post count: 10

      David Petersen wrote: Bryan — You can easily create a lot better looking camo pattern than criss-crossing. One way is to simply stain a few inches one color, then the next few inches another, alternating through the length of the bow like that. You really only need two colors, or shades, so far as most game animals are concerned as they see in black and white. If you want to make it pretty for people, use any colors you like. The easiest and IMHO best is aniline (analyne?) dye, which is a powder you mix with water and apply with a brush or Q-tip or whatever. It dries almost immediately and you can overlap colors for neat patterns, which you can’t really do with oil-base stains. But if you don’t want to go to that trouble (most internet trad archery supply houses carry aniline) any old stain will do, though oil-based takes a lot longer to dry. I hope you enjoy the bow.

      Thanks for the help. I found some on woodwork.com. If you click on the color chart you can see all their options. I like the Jacobean Oak and the Red Mahogany. Do you know how much I would need?

    • David Petersen
      Member
      Post count: 2749

      I’m not sure of the mixing ratio but a very small amount of powder dye will make a lot of liquid dye, so if you only plan to stain this one bow I’d buy the smallest containers possible. Places sell it mixed as a liquid but you’re paying for water and shipping. I’ve had some on the shelf indoors where it doesn’t freeze, for several years. It still works as well as ever, and I doubt even freezing would hurt it. The dye is “flat” and whether it winds up glossy or dull depends on the finish you use over it. I use it on wood arrows as well as wood bows. Spray-on Minwax Poly Spar Varnish (gloss, low gloss and matte available) is the cheapest and easiest finish since this is a low-budget project. I’d attach some pics … if I could find them. Wear gloves when you use it.

    • bp_madden
      Post count: 10

      I just bought some Dark Mission Brown wood dye from woodcraft.com. I’ll also pick up some of that spray on sealer. I really like the color and I figure if I mess up the design I can just make it solid. I’ll be sure to post some pics of before and after once I get everything together. Wish me luck.

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      Good luck! Sounds like a fun project 🙂

    • bp_madden
      Post count: 10

      My bow came in a few days ago and the dye came in the day after! I just went to home depot and picked up some english chestnut finish, some satin spray on sealer, a paint brush, and some sand paper. I’m ready to start. The stencils are made the bow is beautiful, but there is one problem. I just saw some shots of some old tiger stripe gun stocks. They’re beautiful and now I’m kinda leaning toward that direction. The colors I have will still work well to create the design, but I have no idea how to accomplish it.

      I’ve seen some one dye a light color, brush on rubber cement, dye the darker color over top, then remove the rubber cement using a solvent, but that was on plastic not wood.

      Has anyone done this or something like it on a bow?

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