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Thread: Sinew?

  1. #1

    Default Sinew?

    I haven't sinew backed a bow in Alaska yet. I've used Knox gelatin (purified hide glue) in the past but in a more humid climate. I've been told that Knox gelatin or hide glue will guarantee belly cracks here because of the low humidity. Same fella said to use TiteBond III. I'm sure TiteBond III will hold everything together but Titebond glues tend to creep (slip). If the sinew slips then so does it's performance. Does anybody have a secret method they want to share? Shellac the belly before applying? Only apply one layer and let it dry completely before the second? Wash the bow with water and lye soap and lay the sinew onto wet wood? Skip the water and only clean with acetone?

    I know belly cracks won't kill a bow but they're ugly and make it almost impossible to keep moisture out in a wet moose season.

  2. #2
    Member Rick P's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Palmer Alaska


    I called the tech center at tight bound and asked about that very issue. Aparently titebond III dosen't creep and has been used by several folks to make laminate bows. I have used it on several myself and so far they are shooting well.
    BHA Member
    Bowyer to the forces of light in the land of the midnight sun.
    The 3 fold way: Every step we take as we walk through life effects, our family, our comunity and ourselves. One should walk thoughtfuly.

  3. #3


    TB III must be a different animal. I thought all TiteBond glues were latex based. I called their tech years ago but TB III wasn't sold then. Thanks Rick.

  4. #4


    Have you tried using Jay's finish? Devcon 2ton mixed with acetone.....remember reading a story of a bow of his on one of the famed moose john hunts where it was left in the bottom of a raft with water over night...strung up and shot the next day. Snake Skin sinew backed osage bow with hideglue coated in the 'massey finish'.

    I'm still trying to get my hands on enough sinew to back a far no one has come through and my hunting seasons these last 2 years have been all but non existent!

  5. #5


    Tradbow, The cracks on the belly happen when the sinew is curing before the finish is applied. It not only shrinks length wise to add reflex to the back but it shrinks sideways and sometimes causes the belly crack. It's very difficult if not impossible to get a finish deep enough to seal the crack. Super glue works OK but eventually cracks. Mr. Massey obviously had the secret since Titebond III wasn't around for him to use. I've never had trouble with black locust but I've had to wrap some osage bows in 3 - 4 locations. It never effected the way they shot but I carried a can of bees wax in the field and constantly rubbed it into the cracks. I suspect the indians did the same with lard.

    If you need sinew I have some caribou that I can spare. I travel to Fairbanks in a couple weeks.

    Funny story.. I asked my neighbor to save the leg sinew on his moose. I explained about leg and back sinew but told him not to worry about the back sinew since it took so much work in the field. I came home to find two 6" pieces of leg sinew and the entire boned out neck and spine complete with ribcage in the garage. We had a good laugh but I'll be more careful asking for favors.


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