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How to diasble a strung recurve bow?
July 9, 2014 11:08 AM   Subscribe

My wife is attending a Con in August and we need to make a recurve bow safe for use, but still look like a recurve bow.

This is my wife's first attempt at a cosplay at the urging of her friend and she's quite excited, but her costume includes a bow (this one to be precise) and in order to comply with the rules of the con, any weapon must be inoperable.

The problem here is that an unstrung recurve bow doesn't look like a recurve bow, it needs to be under tension, so that means it needs to be strung. So how can we string the bow but make it inoperable?

My thoughts were to string it through something like vinyl tubing so that it can't be pulled properly or anything nocked on the string, but I'm not sure that would be sufficient. Pulling it through something rigid would be better, but I'm not sure I can find something solid enough but hollow so that it wouldn't look ridiculous. I could string it with wire but I'm not sure that would either satisfy the con rules, or be safe given that a snapped wire would be downright dangerous.

Outside of those ideas I'm a bit stumped. The con rules are listed here but vague about this sort of thing. You can't bring a firing ping-pong ball gun for instance but 'non-functioning' is open to the security teams say, and you don't have their decision until you show up. We've emailed them our ideas and the only response is that it is up to the security team.

Any other suggestions?
posted by WinnipegDragon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total)
 
I would string it with silver thread. (But bring the whole spool, it's breakable!)
posted by DarlingBri at 11:15 AM on July 9


Do you have to use that bow? Could she make something that looks like a strung bow without a string?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:16 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


They allow bladed weapons if they remain sheathed; and so I think it'd be fine as long as you didn't bring arrows.

I fail to see the threat of a strung bow without arrows.

Maybe bring some backup strin glike DarlingBri suggested in case they make you remove the real bow string.
posted by herox at 11:19 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


You can find stainless steel tubing with an outer diameter down to 1/8", which should look reasonable on a bow. String the bow through that.
posted by Behemoth at 11:20 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Surely this is a problem that has already been solved multiple times.
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:21 AM on July 9


Do you have to use that bow? Could she make something that looks like a strung bow without a string?

We already bought it since it is the 'right' bow. I have learned not to question my wife on the issue of costume accuracy!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:21 AM on July 9


Surely this is a problem that has already been solved multiple times.

Not really, I haven't found many answers beyond 'it depends' and I'm trying to come up with a plan and a fallback plan so that she's not SOL at the event.

Worst case scenario she goes with it unstrung but she'd be less than happy about it.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:28 AM on July 9


You don't have to make it 'fake string' you just need to make it inoperable. Take a small section of rubber tubing (like say automotive fuel line or vacuum line) and then clamp it(or even hot glue it to avoid the big ugly clamps) over the piece of the string where the arrow nocks onto it (say about 12" or so). Then also remove the nocks on the arrows you are carrying (if carrying arrows). Thjis will be hardly noticeable. I would avoid any 'weak' string solution as the limbs on a strung recurve have considerable energy stored and could cause some injury if released unexpectedly.

I would also bet there is some kind of contact info for costume questions for the con if you contact the safety person/committee to run any solutions by.
posted by bartonlong at 11:48 AM on July 9


You're going to want to talk to the con organizers and get proof of what their definitions of "non-working" and "peace bonded" are, because even if you know that it's safe, if some security guy disagrees, it's a lot better to be able to say, "I got this signed piece of paper from Steve Conorganizer last month that says it's appropriately non-working."
posted by Etrigan at 11:49 AM on July 9


I'm working that con and just sent an email about this to some of my contacts. I'll let you know what they say.
posted by _Mona_ at 11:51 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


If you want stainless tubing smaller than 1/8" diameter, I can recommend VitaNeedle. I've used them for a few projects in the past that required 316 stainless in very small diameters.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:56 AM on July 9


You don't have to make it 'fake string' you just need to make it inoperable. Take a small section of rubber tubing (like say automotive fuel line or vacuum line) and then clamp it(or even hot glue it to avoid the big ugly clamps) over the piece of the string where the arrow nocks onto it (say about 12" or so). Then also remove the nocks on the arrows you are carrying (if carrying arrows). Thjis will be hardly noticeable. I would avoid any 'weak' string solution as the limbs on a strung recurve have considerable energy stored and could cause some injury if released unexpectedly.

That's what I was hoping as well. There will be no arrows, just small (un-notched) dowels with fletchings that are screwed into a wooden panel in the quiver. They can't be removed from the quiver at all.

I'm working that con and just sent an email about this to some of my contacts. I'll let you know what they say.

That would be fantastic. We really want to make sure it's safe and that everything complies!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:05 PM on July 9


I've seen many people carrying strung bows at that con, so as long as she isn't carrying fireable arrows I'd say stringing it with the proper bowstring (possibly with the nocking point covered as described above) is safer than trying to come up with some sort of other stringing material that might snap and/or damage the bow.
posted by oblique red at 1:26 PM on July 9


Hate to be a killjoy, but a strung recurve is a very dangerous thing on its own: if the string slips off or breaks the ends whip back with extreme force and speed - and one is usually the right height to gouge someone's eye out. Completely out. And this is much more likely to happen with some sort of jury rigged fake string. This can also happen if you don't know the correct way to string a bow (step through with one leg and brace the lower limb again your other shin, that way if the string slips off the end it goes away from your eye).
posted by 445supermag at 7:30 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Make a fake bowstring with elastic? Give it enough tension to stay on the bow, but not enough to actually put tension on the arms. Any half-decent haberdashery store should carry a round, lightweight elastic on a spool in either white or black. It won't be perfect, but it will be harmless. As a bonus, you should be able to pose with it and make cartoony *twannggg* noises. Edit: this is assuming, of course, that the bow will still look like a bow without the tension of a bowstring to pull it into shape?
posted by ninazer0 at 11:15 PM on July 9


I would think not having arrows would count as inoperable, since that is sort of key to the whole 'bow and arrow' being a weapon. But you should check with the con organizers and get something in writing that she can print out and bring along in case there is any question.

And yes, seriously, if it's a real bow, do not string it with anything weaker than an actual bowstring. Aside from the high likelihood of it snapping, as far as I understand from my few archery lessons, the bowstring is part of what gives the bow its shape. It will kind of flatten weirdly if there isn't enough tension on the ends.
posted by ananci at 12:02 AM on July 10


The con folks I checked with said the following (this should not be construed as official information, clearance, etc):

Inflexible plastic tubing has been accepted before for similar props and should be just fine.
posted by _Mona_ at 5:26 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Super _Mona_ thank you!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:08 AM on July 10


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