How to Make an Archery Heat Box for Stave Seasoning and Epoxy Curing

If you’re an archery hobbyist, you’ve no doubt considered taking your bow making to the next level. Basic single stave bows are fun to make for awhile, but more complicated bows offer a greater satisfaction, as well as greater durability, stronger draw weights, and more design option.

When creating a bow involving more than one layer, you’ll need to use an epoxy, or glue of some sort. To do this correctly, you’ll need a heat box to dry the glue at a high temperature. In addition, if you use limbs to make your bows, you could find yourself in need of a good seasoning box. A heat bow will allow you to season green wood faster than it would by sitting it in a corner for six months.

If you want to construct a permanent heat box for your archery shop, this tutorial is for you. Below are instructions on how to create a cheap, durable, multi-use heat box for archery bow curing and stave seasoning.

Items Needed:

Large sheet of plywood

Saw (Table Saw preferable)

Metal Corner Brackets

Screws

2 x 4 wood planks

Light System*

Foil insulation

Heat Resistant Caulking

(4) Hinges

Temperature probe

Step 1: The goal for any heat box is to be large enough for your maximum project size, to be air tight, and durable. For this project, we are going to use plywood as the wood of choice, as it is cheap. If you have a great deal of other wood available, however, it will work also.

You need to make a box that is about 70″ long, 12″ high, and 12″ wide (more so if you want to heat multiple staves at once).

Take the plywood and cut out four rectangles that are 70-inches long and 12-inches wide. Now, cut out two squares that are 12″ x 12″.

Step 2: The boards will be screwed together to make a rough box. The easiest way to do this is with metal corner brackets. These are cheap, and are simply metal brackets that have holes for screws to go through.

Lay one of the large boards on it’s side, and a small board at one end. Use a corner bracket to screw it together. If you can’t visualize this, look at the diagram to the left. Repeat this process with the other side so that you have a rectangle.

You will need to permanently attach the bottom, simply set the long board on top of the rectangle and screw it down. Now, flip the box over and prepare to put the lid on.

Step 3: Screw the four hinges into one of the long sides of the last loose board. Space them evenly, and screw them down tightly. Once it is finished, set the lid on top of the box and simply screw the hinges onto the box, so that the lid is securely attached.

Step 4: The box itself is now done. You should be able to lift the lid, and move the box around without it feeling flimsy. Now it’s time to seal the edges to ensure the heat stays trapped.

Make sure your caulking is meant for heat, as you don’t want to risk it catching fire when exposed to higher heat temperatures. Load the caulking into a caulking gun if it is a tube, or simply squeeze it if its a bottle. Use it along the outside edges of the box only, so that it is not exposed to too much heat. Run it over all the edges so that they are completely filled.

Next, put a drop over each screw. The screws should be in tight enough to keep the air in, but it never hurts to make sure.

Step 5: Now that the box is finished, you’ll need to create the light element, which will heat the box up. This is done by mounting light fixtures inside the box, on the sides, and plugging it into a wall. If you do not know how to do this on your own, seek an electrician or someone that understands how. This can be very dangerous if done incorrectly.

Step 6: Once you have the light system installed, simply make a small stand to rest your bows on – it should be just large enough to raise the bow to the same height as the bulbs for maximum heat exposure. Make sure it’s not close to a bulb, however, so that the wood doesn’t suffer any burns.

Step 7: Now place the thermometer end of your temperature probe inside the box, close the lid, and turn on the lights. Ideally, you want your box to be about 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you find it gets to hot, you can either crack the lid, remove a light bulb, or, if you installed a dimmer switch, simply dim it to the appropriate level.

Optional: if you find that your box does not get hot enough, try placing insulating foil on the side of the box to help reflect the heat into the center of it and concentrate it. Insulation foil is cheap, and can be purchase at most hardware stores.

*If you do not already possess the knowledge of how to correctly wire the light strip, them please have someone with electrical knowledge to do it for you. This is not a small project – the lights will be plugged into an electrical outlet, and will have enough power to potentially fatally injure if wired incorrectly.

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