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Discussion Starter #1
Quick info: according to Browning, this Nomad Stalker was made (most likely) in '78. It's my first bow, period. I figured I'd learn with a recurve because, in a nutshell, I like doing things to hard way.

So, I've read-up on how to refinish my bow, although it doesn't seem to need any in-depth refinishing... it's in pretty good shape. BUT, I can't help myself, so I'm getting it as perfect as I can get it.

While sanding with #0000, I've noticed that some of these little marks might actually be tiny little air pockets under the original paint/stain... My first thought is to not overthink it and just sand them to a decent level and touch them up with a black marker... but my gut tells me that if I want it to look really good that there may be a better route to go.

Any suggestions? Like I said, the marks aren't bad, just noticeable, but I'd still like to get rid of them.


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Those are air pockets inside/under the glass. That's not painted black, it's black glass. On older bows, those and small stress cracks are common. Don't try to sand them out or you might damage the glass.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Those are air pockets inside/under the glass. That's not painted black, it's black glass. On older bows, those and small stress cracks are common. Don't try to sand them out or you might damage the glass.
Ah I see. Think I could touch em up with black nail polish or something?

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Discussion Starter #4
Did some light research. Ended up just going to Lowe's and got a can of Valspar indoor/outdoor black satin.

I figure I'll...
•spray some on some junk cardboard and gently paint it on with something
•let it dry
•sand the rest of the bow with 400
•sand the whole bow with 2000
•then 3-5 coats of spar varnish

Might be overkill, might not... How's that sound?

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Discussion Starter #6
Update.
I dabbed the black paint on those spots. Looked like it would work but I didn't want to go too heavy to avoid creating bumps or edges. Sanded it smooth but "smooth" ended up being nearly no paint left at all.

So I'm thinking... I might try to find some black spar varnish, if that's even a thing, and just give the fiberglass areas of the bow a decent coat, then do the whole bow with clear satin.

I'm guessing they don't make black spar varnish in aerosol, which would be ideal for my makeshift paint booth I have set up. So I may end up having to find a way to tint some canned varnish and paint it on.

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Discussion Starter #7
So. After more research, Minwax makes a stain + polyurethane ("Polyshades") that seems to work perfectly for my application. I'm not sure about the color of fiberglass/its ability to change color (off the top of my head, I would think it's fairly straightforward), but for those of us with black fiberglass on our bows the black satin Minwax Polyshades is perfect.

Use a foam brush. I tried a small bristle brush, but despite meticulous cleaning it still left debris and a few bristles, which proved pretty hard to sand away. I ended up having to start from scratch.

So, after sanding the bow again, I reapplied with a foam brush. Let dry. Sand with #0000. I'm almost done sanding one side. Accidentally sanded one of the tips too much and removed the poly enough to show the air pockets in that area. So I'll just touch that up and continue as planned.

After I coat and sand the other side I'll finally lay the 3-5 coats of spar varnish and it'll be DONE. Done-done.

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I think that you are beating yourself up doing it way that you are. Break out some 150 to 180 grit and get the old finish off of the bow being very careful to clean those hard to reach places like between the shelf and sight window, string grooves, and any other hard to reach spot. You will be able to tell if there is still finish on the wood because it will be shiny and the dust will be white or light yellow as opposed to real wood sawdust where you are down into the wood. On the glass you don't want to get too deep but do want to remove as much as possible of the old finish. Look for the glass to have an even color when done. The finish that you go back on with is your choice. Just don't mix finishes unless you know what you are doing. I often use TruOil on wood and polyurethane on the glass. It comes out looking great and there are no bubbling issues like you run into using some of the hotter finishes. After you have the wood pores filled put on several to several dozen more coats of finish and sand with 400 grit wet or dry every five or six coats. When the finish looks like it is as thick as that on a grand piano do a final sanding with 1000 grit WetRDry (wet) then buff the bow with a LOW SPEED buffer and polishing compound. You will be amazed at the end product.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have been kinda obsessing over getting it as smooth as possible, afraid that when I put the last coat of black on the glass it might show ridges from the previous, partially removed one... So you're saying to just focus on even color and a nice helping of spar varnish will cover any imperfections in the sanding (or lack thereof)?

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