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Building a longbow! (Read 10564 times)
Eagle17
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Building a longbow!
Mar 29th, 2006 at 3:12pm
 
Well I have always been fascinated by longbows and I am pretty excited about the prospect of building one. I have scoured the internet and have'nt really found any novice friendly guides, most are desinged for people with experience.

I don't know anything about the pieces involved in making a long bow, the logistics, lenght, width, etc. I was hoping someone here who has some experience could give me some pointers or show me in the direction of a place that can!

Thank you for your time and I look forward to posting more here!

Nick Limongi
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Roy
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #1 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 3:41pm
 
Nick first welcome to the site.

   One of the best things you can do is find a copy of the  The Traditional Bowyers Bible  there is one, two, and three (start out with 1 Grin).

  What sort of wood were you considering using?
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Eagle17
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #2 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 4:11pm
 
Well ideally I would like to use something I can find in my enviroment naturally. I live in Florida and Im not quite sure if there any types of wood that would be good here.

I will look for that book tonight at borders!
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #3 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 4:20pm
 
It'll cost around $20, but its very worth while.
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #4 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 5:27pm
 
send me a pm. I can give you some advice.
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CanDo
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #5 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 6:54pm
 
Welcome!

excellent step by step site for beginners (he has a lot of other stuff on that site as well so click around): http://www.angelfire.com/magic/jawge/boardbowbuildalong.html

One possible set of dimensions (you could follow something like this exactly, but feel free to experiment as I have done):
http://residents.bowhunting.net/sticknstring/brdbows2.html#choosing

Our very own, Hellfire is making what should be a very nice buildalong here: http://www.slinging.org/forum2/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=other;action=display;num=1142...

Scour the older threads as people post the bows they make, by the end of this weekend I'll pyrograph and stain/seal my latest (second) bow. It's made out of red oak, 1.5 inches at the widest point, 48 pounds at 28 in.
My first bow is here: http://www.slinging.org/forum2/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=other;action=display;num=1137... (the pic is on the second page). I promise that this one is MUCH nicer. I asked the questions that I had/have in that thread so you may find it useful. Pages 3 and 4 of the primitive weapons section have a lot on bows.

Also be sure to check out Johnny's incredible red oak bow here: http://www.slinging.org/forum2/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=other;action=display; num=1114654417;start=0#0 ... I wouldn't expect that to be what your first bow looks like, but you'll get it soon enouch (I think that my third bow will be somewhat comparable). Hellfire has posted some very nice pictures of his bows, but I don't know where they are Sad

As for woods, almost any hardwood will work. Yew and Osage Orange are thought to be the best bow woods but are rare and expensive... also take a bit more skill to work.
If you can find red oak, white oak, maple, elm, ash or anything with good grain you can make a nice bow out of it. Remember that the world's fastest shooting longbow was made out of kiln-dried pecan, according to Hellfire. If you don't want to or can't cut a tree down a lumber yard or home depot if you're in the US will have the wood you're looking for.

Don't be intimidated by all of the stuff that you read, It's a lot easier than it looks... The best advice that I can give is, "JUST DO IT, experiment, learn, and have fun" Even if the first bow dosn't come out great, you should be very pleased with your second or third.

Good luck!
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Eagle17
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #6 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 7:32pm
 
Thank you very much for the advice!

I plan on going out tomorrow to pick a tree that looks nice and use that wood. I don't really know what kind will work but there is only one way to find out right?

I have two more questions before I start though.

What parts go into a bow? Can you just have the bow wood and a string? And how long should the wood be when I start {I am about 5' 7" if it makes a difference}.

PS!:

I am thinking I might use a palm tree as my wood, I really am only baseing this on the fact that they have evolved to bend during hurricanes so I would think it was a flexible wood?


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Eagle17
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #7 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 7:39pm
 
Sorry for posting again but I was doing research on palm trees and using them for bows and the Machiguenga and Seminole tribes used palm trees to maufacture their bows. Apparently the wood has a super strong flexible core.

Cutting down a palm tree is gonna suck lol.
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Hellfire
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #8 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 7:39pm
 
). Hellfire has posted some very nice pictures of his bows, but I don't know where they are  


Here is a few of them.

50# at 28" red oak bow. Osage handle, walnut nocks. I'm selling it to a buddy.
...
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40# at 28" hickory longbow. 1" wide at the handle, very gently tapering to 3/8" wide nocks.
...
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Elm stickbow made out of a 1 3/8" wide branch. Big kink in the upper limb. Sorry no full draw pics. It has a snakeskin handle and black painted sinew wrap on tips.
...

60" long elm eastern woodlands style bow. 63# at 25". Not a very comfortable bow. Heated in low angle recurves. 1" set, maybe 1 1/4" wide at the handle. This design was really pushing elm's limits as a bow wood.
...


40# at 28" long elm longbow.
...

43# at 22" 50" long plum bow. Made as a replica as one of the plum branch bows out of the bowyers bible. It is 1 1/4" wide at the handle, with wrap on sinew tips. Left the bark on, just sanded it down to a thin layer. Looks really cool.
...
...
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Hellfire
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #9 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 7:51pm
 
I am thinking I might use a palm tree as my wood, I really am only baseing this on the fact that they have evolved to bend during hurricanes so I would think it was a flexible wood?


Good hypothesis but as I understand even balsa grows in the tropics, so its not a valid theory. Palm (I think) is strong bow wood however so I suggest you use it. Another good bow wood I think grows down there is guava and crepe myrtle. Good luck making bows.
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CanDo
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #10 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 7:53pm
 
Make sure to read Hellfire's tutorial, posted in the link above! He talks a bit about selecting the right tree in it. It may be fairly obvious but it will be a lot easier to use a tree thats just a couple inches in diameter.

Palm tree.... I have no idea, never held palm wood before, is it a hardwood?

As for the length, the length of the stave you make should be the same length as you want the finished bow to be. Obviousy better too long than too short, so give yourself an inch or two extra to work with.  I recommend that your first bow be very long, since it will be easier to work... six feet or so. In addition to being easier to make, if you tiller it too thin, you can lower the nocks to add weight at the end (this process is described in the above links).

Short answer, yes, just a bowwood and a string for the final product is all you really need.  Because I have to buy my staves, I buy the thinnest that I can get away with (3/4 in.), and so I glue on in additional piece of wood to make the handle thicker. This is described in further detail in the link about my first bow above. You could also use leather or something like that.
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #11 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 8:00pm
 
argh,  apparently a lot went on between clicking reply, and posting. I had to leave half way through....

Sorry about the redundancy, nice bows hellfire Smiley



P.S. (bold so that it is known to be a ps) Hellfire, about how much are you selling that bow with the walnut knocks for, if you don't mind me asking? I'm getting a lot better and am considering selling some future bows.
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Hellfire
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #12 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 8:48pm
 
well, I'm selling that bow pretty cheap (just $20.00 with a string included) but it only took maybe four or five hours to make. String material (dacron) is very cheap. I value my time at maybe five bucks an hour (on top of that hes a friend of mine so I couldnt charge much).

The materials were practically free, I had that redoak board basically lying around. The walnut was a piece of firewood I split into some thin slats and planed down. I only used two or three cheap ($3.00) C-clamps to glue it with, and I used Titebond for the glue. The osage handle  was from a fence post that fell over on a neighbors farm.

I have had people actually pay me to get a tree "removed Grin" and I use if for bow wood. Of course one tree removal took six hours but for goodness sakes it was an 18" diameter elm tree. Most of the work was just cleanup from the broken branches and a woodchipper. I must have got about twenty staves out of that tree, so it was well worth the effort.


I would suggest though that you charge maybe six bucks an hour with a materials fee. Six dollars will better pay for any tools you may get, and making a bow is fairly strenuous manual labor.
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Hellfire
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #13 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 8:56pm
 
Quote:
Sorry for posting again but I was doing research on palm trees and using them for bows and the Machiguenga and Seminole tribes used palm trees to maufacture their bows. Apparently the wood has a super strong flexible core.

Cutting down a palm tree is gonna suck lol.



Why is cutting down a palm tree going to suck? Is it very hard to cut down? Or is it because they grow mostly on other peoples property? 


If you want some knowledgable advice on palm wood, go to

http://b.16.ezboard.com/bpaleoplanet69529

Put up a thread called "palm help" or something like that. There is a pile of very knowledgable people there, including some of the people who wrote the Bowyers Bibles.

I think palm is a monocot, so it is related to bamboo and other grasses, so maybe you will need special preparation for it?
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Re: Building a longbow!
Reply #14 - Mar 29th, 2006 at 9:32pm
 
hmm, thanks for the info. i'm afraid that I put at very least two and a half hours just into sanding the bow (down to 600 grit sandpaper. it's now smoothER than glass, so it was well worth it   Grin) not sure if customers would like the extra cost however, 180grit should be fine for most people...

maybe just roughly tiller bows and include a string with only one knot tied. then you could sell them as "do it yourself kits"! I think that would be quite funny actually... I can imagine people getting psyched to 'make' a bow, and honestly I don't blame them; even if it wouldn't be much work or take much skill it's still a good introduction. Ok, so I wouldn't sell a bow like that unless someone requested it... which will never happen.
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