What Substance is Placed on a Bow to Increase Friction

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
archery - aiming bow

In general, to increase friction, most people like to use a substance called Rosin. Rosin is a substance that is used primarily by professional archers all over the world. It helps in increasing the friction that would result in gripping the string and pull it further back from its position of resting. Rosin should be applied carefully on the bow so that it can create enough friction that when the bow is pulled back in archery, it can shoot the arrow with enough force that it can hit the target.


What Substance is Placed on a Bow to Increase Friction


Rosin is a sticky substance that is placed on a bow to increase friction. It is a sticky substance and hard substance that is made up of risen, and sometimes risen is mixed with wax. This is applied to the bow hair regularly for increasing friction. For making the bow stick, the initial woodworking part is done on a straight stick.


Factors That Affect Friction



Factors that can affect the friction are as follows:

  1. The smoothness and roughness of bow hair affect the friction. (1)
  2. The arrow needs proper adjustment on the bow, or it will affect friction.
  3. The design of the bow affects the friction.
  4. The force that acts upon the bow hair from which the arrow nock slides so that arrow can align correctly means the increased friction that exerted pressure can also affect.
  5. sliding can also affect friction.
  6. Dry friction is also another factor that affects friction.
  7. If rosin is not applied carefully, then it can affect the friction between the arrow nock and bowstring.


Reducing Friction


Factors that can help in reducing the friction are as follows:

  1. Applying rosin carefully can help reduce friction.
  2. By reducing the forces applied between the bowstrings and arrow nock can help in reducing the friction.
  3. Making the bowstrings of the archery more smooth can help reduce friction.


Surface Interaction



The interaction between the bow string and arrow nock is important. a bow works the same exact way as the spring. the moment the bowstring is pulled back in the flexing limbs of the archery bow the potential energy is stored.

The instant the bowstring is let go the energy that was stored is instantly transferred to the arrow which sends the arrow flying down the range. that’s why the archery professionals have said that it is dangerous to pull back the bow string and let it go when the arrow is not attached, this phenomenon is known as dry fire. the energy that is transferred to the bow from the arm stays in the bow string because it has no place to escape. The arrow flies very fast because of the interaction and friction of the bow string and the arrow nock. there is so much energy produced that when a dry fire is done it can shatter the archery bow. 


The Substance to Use: Rosin or Colophony



Rosin is a solid resin form that is obtained by the resin liquid by vaporizing volatile components. Colophony is rosin, and it is basically a residue that is left after the oil of turpentine distillation from the liquid resin that is used in the preparation of pharmaceuticals, fluxes of soldering, archery bow professionals, and also by violinists for making a smoother sound while playing the violin. (2, 3)

The rosin is the best substance to use for creating friction in the bow. Rosin adheres to the bowstring faster, which helps the archery to become more responsive, and it will also help in creating higher friction which would make the arrow fly in the right direction.

Professional archers like to put darker rosin on their archery bow to make it smoother so that better friction can be generated. And they advise the students to use lighter rosin for practicing and getting used to it.


What is Rosin made of?



Tree risen is the base of rosin that is collected from pine trees of different types. The resin tree is tapped in a similar way to maple syrup. The resin trees are not harmed in any way in the process of extracting the rosin, and the tree grows and lives as normal.


What else is it used for?



Rosin is used for many different purposes like its chemical derivatives is used for developing varnishes, printing inks, paper sizes, binders, gloss oil that is used in paints, soaps, sealing wax, driers, adhesives, soldering fluxes, pitch for casks, laser paper printing, photocopying orienting paper, soda. Rosin can also be used as an agent of glazing in chewing gums and the development of medicines.


Is Rosin toxic?



In regards to human health, it has been proven that rosin toxicity is very minimal. There is no acute oral toxicity in rosin, and no effect level of repeat doses is noted. But there are some health effects that are related to exposure to resin. Like skin contact sometimes can be resulted in contact dermatitis, irritation, and allergic effects because resin leads to contact dermatitis. Photodermatitis can also occur because of resin exposure.


Where can we buy Rosin?


Rosins can be bought from various markets like supermarkets, or the places that sell violin also sell rosin, and it can also be bought from online supermarket places or huge e-commerce markets like Amazon that sell almost everything.

Rosin is a sticky substance that is used to increase friction. Archer considered it the best product to used for the archery bow as this helps in generating more friction which helps in making the arrow fly in the right direction. Rosin is made from risen trees, and they are used for many different purposes. You can get rosin from:



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(1) friction – https://www.britannica.com/science/friction
(2) distillation – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/distillation
(3) pharmaceuticals – https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/033115/what-difference-between-biotechnology-company-and-pharmaceutical-company.asp