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need help making a bow (Read 4440 times)
person3
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need help making a bow
Aug 17th, 2005 at 10:27am
 
I have never made a bow before and I need to know how to make one
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #1 - Aug 17th, 2005 at 12:19pm
 
Are you good with wood?
 That's the first stumbling block anyone will encounter:  if you can't carve, you can't realistically make a good bow.
 If you can carve well most woods, then proceed.  I won't give a list of good bow woods, because anything can be a good bow wood, technically.  There are several rules to bear in mind however;
 1.  If the wood you are using is weak, to make it more powerful, make it wider.
 2.  Either; back the bow (put rawhide, sinew, nylon, whatever, on the side of the bow facing away from you when you are shooting), or don't cut through the wood rings on the back of the bow, or the bow will be much more likely to break.  A solid ring must be running down the whole back.
 3.  The bow must taper in some way to the tips to ensure an even bend, no hinges or compression fracture (which is when the wood cells collapse under pressure).  An even bend is also very important; it means that there are no weak points to break at, and this is a very, very important stage in making a bow (it's called tillering.)  You check how the bow bends, and carve/scrape away a little more wood in places that don't bend as much.
 4.  It's important to have a design of bow you want to make.  If you don't know what kind of bow you'd like, you won't know what wood to look for.
 5.  The point that wants to bend the most (the handle) should be reinforced the most, or else it will break.  If the handle is weaker than any other part of the bow, then it is likely your bow will break at the handle.
 6.  Longer bows are easier to make and more forgiving of mistakes.
 7.  Arrows are just as important as bows.  I can tell you about those in another post.
 8.  I will talk a little about efficiency later, but a good rule is to not get toooooo bogged down in it.
 9.  The tips should be as light as possible without breaking.  If the tips are heavier, then the bow will have to work harder to push them, and the arrow, forward.
 10.  A rectangular cross section is the best; every part of the rectangle does work, so there is more cast in it.  This means that in order to have a properly rectangular bow and still keep a growth ring on the back of the bow, you can do two things; either, you find a very wide, large tree with a big circumference, and split it, and all that, or, you can use a smaller branch and carve down the back of the bow to get a flat back with a single ring (this is called decrowning.)
 11.  The bow should be as wide as possible at mid-limb.
 Having said all this, the easiest bow you could make is this:
 A small diameter sapling, only the belly carved down, the back left normal, with the bark off.  Carve it down, but not too thin.  Make the tips and mid limb thinner than the handle, but not too much.  Then, carve/scrape down the side of the bow to the tips from the handle, so that you end up with a nearly flat branch which tapers, when looked at from the top, from the handle to each tip.  Nocks can be made by just cutting into the side of the tip, so it looks like a 3 step pyramid.  Do some research on the net, go to PaleoPlanet, check every article you can find on primitive/paleo/medieval/tribal/survival archery, and then make a bow.
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #2 - Aug 17th, 2005 at 1:35pm
 
All due respect to Tim Baker. Here is how to make a bow.

The following was erased during the recent archives crash. Here's a backup copy.

YOUR FIRST WOODEN BOW

Making your first bow can be a discouraging hurdle. But it doesn’t have to be. Following is a 40-50lb design that is easy and quick to tiller, is durable, accurate and fast, and costs about six dollars to make.
This bow is the length of your finger-tip to finger-tip wingspan. Its side-view shape is that of an English-tillered longbow. This design’s grip is part of the working limb itself, making the bow easy to layout and easy to make. It stores more energy than shorter bows, draws with little stack, and is more stable and accurate than most. It may have a larger number of good features than any other design. These instructions call for a lumberyard hardwood stave. With such a stave it’s possible to read this in the morning and be shooting your bow the same afternoon. Not likely, but possible.
If you don’t have access to such lumber do this: Cut a straight hardwood tree, split it down to four-inch wide wedges, take the bark off without damaging the wood surface. With saw or hatchet reduce the stave to your wingspan plus a few inches. Reduce it to two-inches wide from end to end, 1” thick at the grip, ¾” at midlimb, and 5/8” at the nocks. Set it horizontally in the warmest, driest part of your house and wait a month. Allow air to move freely over all its surfaces.
Selecting a lumber stave: Use any of the medium-weight or heavier hardwoods. White ash, rock maple, hickory, pecan, mulberry, red or white oak, yellow or white birch, black walnut, etc. Seleect a board whose face displays almost perfectly straight ring lines, with no meanders, islands or kinks. Pay no attention to ring lines on the side of the board; they can be misleading; they don’t need to run straight. Although on the rare perfect board ring lines will run straight on both sides and back. Viewed from its butt end, the board’s rings can be flat or angle through the board. Beginners should avoid boards having vertical ring lines. You will likely have to look through 50 or more boards to find a sufficiently straight-ringed stave.
Tools: A hatchet and a rasp are all that’s absolutely needed. But a spokeshave and coarse and medium rasps make the work faster and easier. A block plane is helpful if used carefully. A bandsaw saves about two hours of roughing out.
Front-view layout: With a sharp pencil and a straightedge draw the bow 1 3/8” wide from midlimb to midlimb. From there draw a straight taper to ½” nocks. Reduce the stave to these dimensions. Don’t stray past the line. Create smooth, square sides. Smooth out the slight angle created where the midlimb begins its taper toward the tips.
Side-view layout: Draw these lines on both sides of the stave: Let the center six-inches be 3/4” thick. Moving toward the nocks, let the next two inches taper to 5/8 then to 9/16” at midlimb, then to ½” at the nocks.
Reduce the stave to those dimensions. Don’t stray past the lines. Let thickness changes be smooth and gradual. Remove the wood from one side of the belly at a time, with the tool at a slight angle, such that when both sides are done a slight crown will have been created along the center of the belly. Then remove the crown. It’s important to reduce belly thickness this way. Otherwise at some point you’ll dip below the line on the opposite side and ruin the bow. This method also averages out any errors of reduction. It’s also easier than trying to remove full-width wood.
As you remove wood down to the pencil lines frequently sight along the length of the limb from a very low angle and make sure your work is smooth and uniform, with no dips or waves or dings. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF BOWMAKING--if thickness taper is smooth and gradual it’s difficult to break a bow.
Narrow the belly side of the grip just enough to cause a nocked arrow to rest square against it. Do this on both sides of the grip. Round all corners of the grip.
Tillering Cut string nocks with a rattail file or similar, then string the bow with a slightly slack string. Set the center of the grip on one end of a tillering stick--a 30” one-by-three board or similar--and place the string in a notch cut into that board, causing the bow to bend about five inches. Lean this rig against a wall then back up and inspect the curve of your new bow.
The shape you are seeking should not be part of a circle, but more the shape of a satellite dish antenna-an only slightly bending grip, with each portion bending slightly more than the last as you move from grip to mid outer limb. Elliptical tiller. The last ten inches or so bend should be a bit stiff, with less bend than midlimb.
It would be good to draw this shape on paper and have it ready to refer to while tillering..
If your bow does not take this shape, or if the limbs are not curving equally, make pencil marks on the belly where the limbs are too stiff. Remove wood from these stiff areas, first on one side of the belly, then the other, then remove the slight crown created. Do this with long sweeping strokes, creating no dips, waver or dings, frequently sighting along your work, as above. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT PARTS OF BOWMAKING.
When the curve finally suits you brace the bow about five-inches high with a proper-length string and inspect it again. Mark any stiff portions and reduce them as above. When content with the curve draw the bow to half its intended draw weight, measured by your best guess or a scale. Set the bow on the tillering stick at this length of draw and mark any stiff areas and remove as above. Re-check the tiller, re-mark, remove wood, etc. until perfect curvature is reached.
Now draw the bow to full draw weight. If full weight is reached at, say, twelve-inches of draw you need to remove medium amounts of wood all along the bow’s length. Do so by above methods, check for proper curve on you tillering stick. Correct where needed.
Again draw to full weight, now at possibly fifteen-inches of draw. From this point on remove only paper thin amounts of wood at a time. Pull to full draw weight after each curve check, setting the string into ever farther notches on the tillering stick as draw length increases. But only for a few seconds at a time. Once within five inches or so of full draw inspection time should drop to just a second or two.
This process of drawing to full weight after each tiller check--Jim-Hamm tillering--insures that you never come in under intened draw weight, the most common failing of new bowmakers.
Continue this process until about one inch short of intended draw length. Smooth all surfaces to your taste, slightly round the corners, and you’re done. The bow will settle right into its intended weight.
If using hickory, pecan or rock maple 50lbs is a safe weight. Redoak or ash or elm will be safe at 45lb. If birch or black cherry stay at 40lb. As your tillering skill improves these weight can rise several pounds.
When tillering is near complete, and if the tips are straight-causing the braced string to sit centered over the grip--narrow the last ten-inches of outer limb down to 3/8”. This softens any hand shock and increases cast. If the string is slightly off center narrow the tips only on the offending side. This will bring to string back toward center.
Nock the arrow just above the center of the grip. The arrow will fly more accurately with one limb or the other as the top limb, but this may change over the life of the bow.

Tim Baker

Thanks Tim!
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #3 - Aug 22nd, 2005 at 11:07am
 
I'd sugest going to Tradgang.com, it is a website devoted completely to traditional bows,  it has forums and u can get extreme amounts of help there
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #4 - Aug 22nd, 2005 at 3:41pm
 
If you want a nice, fun, really quick bow, go into the woods, chop down a fairly thin, straight sapling, with a nice, even taper, and no knots (if possible).  Take the bark off carefully, and cut nocks into it.  Dry it out over a couple of days, string it, and shoot it from about 1/3 up the lower limb.  And there you have an asymmetrical bow, like they use in Japan.  It may not be totally fast, but it's fun as Hell.
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #5 - Aug 22nd, 2005 at 6:03pm
 
Is that the kind with a round cross section? It's so easy to make. Cool!
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #6 - Aug 22nd, 2005 at 7:45pm
 
My very first bow was simply a willow branch I cut off. 'bout an inch-and a half at the middle (Yeah I know it's real thin but it worked). I wrapped some leather around the middle and a little arrow rest. I used some nylon string and tied them at the end. It worked somewhat good. But it was fun. It actually broke just today. Weird, huh.
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #7 - Oct 4th, 2005 at 9:07pm
 
mine was veeerrryyy simple

materials:maple sapling 1 inch thik, knife, twine of any sort as long as its strong.(i used a camping clothes line), duct tape,

i got a sapling and cut it to my preffered length. i then put notches in eether end. i tied the twine onto the ends of each. done. then i just wrapped duct tape around the grip for effect.
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #8 - Oct 4th, 2005 at 9:41pm
 
Quote:
I have never made a bow before and I need to know how to make one


You can also go to PaleoPlanet, in the archery section. You will find tons of info
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #9 - Oct 5th, 2005 at 7:02am
 
Why do you actually 'need' to know how to make a bow ?
I can see wanting to make one - just curious as to why you'd 'need' to know :-)  

Loading up dogpile.com and typing in 'how to make a bow' would also work :-)  

[url]http://www.hunting-with-the-bow.com/make-bow-and-arrow.html[/url]
I liked this one as he's so totally english it's not real, despite apparently being an american :-)
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« Last Edit: Oct 5th, 2005 at 11:00am by Curious Aardvark »  

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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #10 - Oct 16th, 2005 at 3:38am
 
Eh i want to make a Bow because i always hunt with a 22. rifle for rabbits but its better tryin new things and more challenging things. like last summer i ran out through arizona desert spearing rabbits with me rabbit stick. And its fun making bows.
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Hellfire
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Re: need help making a bow
Reply #11 - Oct 21st, 2005 at 9:08am
 
Read "Your First Wooden Bow" by Tim Baker at the thread I put up. Very helpful. You can make small short draw bows out of practically a stick. Go to www.primitiveways.com there is an article called "the sapling bow". It helped me a lot.
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