Storing your Bow
An extremely good point was made on our club whatsapp group during all the recent nice weather …
“remember kids, bows die in hot cars”
… And while experienced archers take this sort of knowledge for granted, its probably worth a quick chat about where it is safe to store your bow and how best to transport it.
In the House
When storing your bow in the house its best not to keep the bow strung. The reason for this is the bow might take a “set”. What is a “set”? Its when fibres permanently accept a new rest position, which in the case of a bow, means the limbs take on their strung curve permanently. This is death to a wooden bow robbing it of all its power so NEVER leave a wooden bow strung. Now there are many people who would immediately and sarcastically come back with “actually … modern material bows can be left strung*“. Certainly compounds are always strung but as our editor would say (profanity removed) … “why take a chance with your recurve limbs when you are just being lazy?” So unstring those recurve bows.
You should not store your bow anywhere it is hot. This means not in cupboards if that’s where the boiler is. At the very least, the humid heat will cause all your fletches to fall off (as happened to one GA archer … repeatedly!) It also means nowhere near a radiator or a fire. Certainly not in a conservatory that catches direct sunlight. The heat can cause your limbs, bow or stave to warp. Following on from this, you should never dry off a damp bow with direct heat or near a radiator.
Of course, cold is not great for a bow as well so storage in the garage or shed or attic aren’t great locations either. Here the bow may feel harder to draw as the limbs stiffen. This could affect you causing you to tire rapidly or even strain something as you wrestle with a heavier drawing bow. Dampness is also extremely bad for wooden bows and woodie arrows should the moisture get past the waterproofing and into the wood as was noted at the bottom of this article. We had a woodie disintegrate recently because the wood behind the point had rotted. On recurve/compounds the enemy is rust if they get wet repeatedly and not dried. So no matter the bow type, its extremely good practice to always dry your bow when you get home from a soggy day at the field. Rusty sights, launchers or buttons are just as unhelpful as rotted shafts. So in the airing cupboard … Bath Towel, Hand Towel, Bow Towel.
TLDR: No Heat, No Damp, No Cold.
In the Car
While many of us have to transport our bows to the field by car, you should never store your bow in the car for any length of time. Obviously its ok to transport your bow in the car, however we know of one set of limbs that cracked while in transit to a shoot several hours away during winter. They were in the boot, the cold was extreme and the shoot was ultimately cancelled meaning the limbs never did get to “warm up”. By the time they got home … they had passed on to that great range in the sky.
During a sunny summer, in the same way a pet would suffer if you left them in the car for long periods, so will bows. Consider the sun heating up the confined space, being focused by windows to ridiculous temperatures. Think how this might affect your bow. Heat like that is going to go for your limbs/stave with warping and twisting possible as the material expands. Its just not worth the risk.
So to summarize … storage in the car should just be en route to the field or competition. In summer, safe in the boot if you can. In winter, in the cabin with you (but not where the heater will strike it directly). Never ever leave your bow in the car for days!
Bows are oddly fragile beasts when stored. They can take insane forces they were designed for when shot but they never were designed to handle extremes of temperature or it seems, in some cases, water (….. in Britian! Miracle we ever developed the bow!). So something to remember when you get home from the field and just want to veg out on the couch. Take care of that bow first and store it somewhere safe.
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interesting article that very definitely takes our side of the strung/unstrung argument
* We’ve seen articles on archery websites suggesting 3 weeks as the longest you should leave a synthetic materials bow strung … Hmmmm, not so sure about that! … but with all things on the internet, its a buyer beware situation. If you want to take the risk trusting a faceless someone on a forum, that’s up to you. Not all archers are as well informed as this website.** :oD :oD :oD
** We’re also humble, approachable and very very lovely! ;o)