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My Bow Project (Read 3788 times)
Bikewer
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My Bow Project
Oct 21st, 2006 at 10:06pm
 
I've finally finished my red-oak longbow, I have a few pics up on my blog at:
http://bikewer.blogspot.com/

Took me a couple of weeks, as I was limited to working outside on my deck.
So far, this has turned out quite well.  I'm slowly getting my arm back in shape, and can hold the thing (50 pound draw weight) at full draw well enough to aim, though I'm only good for a dozen shots or so before I get tired.

Right now, I'm in the process of making some arrows, and greatly limited by lack of good resources locally and that I'm short of funds.
For a "big" city, St. louis is woefully short of traditional archery supplies; everything is geared towards modern compound weapons, carbon and aluminum arrows, etc.  Plenty of stuff available on the web....  Just need a few spare bucks.  (my "shopping cart" at Three Rivers Archery is up to about 40 dollars)
I'm presently shooting some cheap carbon arrows I got at Wal-Mart for about 3.50 each, they are terrible. The plastic fletching is so poorly applied it's a wonder they fly at all.

I have half-a-dozen "primitive" shafts in the works; I'll put up more pics.
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siguy
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #1 - Oct 23rd, 2006 at 6:57pm
 
i make decent arrows from "wild rose", or more commonly thorn or pricker bushes.  you strip the thorns off and bundle up the stalks and stick them somewhere for a couple of days.

i then add a hardwood foreshaft and sometimes primitive metal points.

i fletch them with a sandwhich of ductape, teh shaft in teh middle and then i trim it.  i lose my arrows all the time, adn this quick, nearly free alternative is great for me. 

don't forget to reinforce the self nock with cord or ductape wrapping, or else the arrow will split.

if you don't have any of these plants nearby, you can use bamboo from the local garden shop used for tomato stakes adn whatnot
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Bikewer
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #2 - Oct 26th, 2006 at 9:44pm
 
The "primitive" archery sites have some good articles on using Wild Rose shafts, and bamboo/river cane as well.

Cheap and effective is hardwood dowels from your hardware or hobby store as well; they're about 70 cents apiece.
I just did some test shooting with the first half-dozen I've made, and they fly true and seem well-spined to the bow.
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Cliff
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #3 - Oct 29th, 2006 at 3:09pm
 
Nice bow!
I'm thinking about making red oak bow too, as this bow and many others (such as cando's) seem to have turned out well.  I've looked at ferret's instructions, and they look good, although I know very little about making bows.  Two other similar sets of instructions that I have looked at are:

http://www.geocities.com/salampsio/oak.htm

and

http://www.angelfire.com/magic/jawge/boardbowbuildalong.html

(Both of those sites were mentioned on this forum a while ago, but now I can't find where.)  Also, I heard that using kiln dried wood can cause problems, but none of the sites I have looked at mention kiln dried wood, and I can't find anything against it with google.  Would it be a problem?
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Bikewer
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #4 - Oct 31st, 2006 at 9:40pm
 
From my reading, it's much more to do with the moisture content rather than how it got that way.  Too dry may become brittle, too wet will require "adjustments" as it cures.

As for mine, I don't know. I bought my red oak board from a hardwood lumber supplier who keeps all the lumber in a large building, so I imagine it gets pretty much to the ambient humidity level here in this area-fairly high.

I've been able to do a bit of shooting, using a few cheap store-bought arrows and three "primitive" shafts I finished recently.
I'm still not in very good shape, arm-strength-wise, but I'm getting there.  I generally make a few good shots each time I go out to the local "field" range.

I was checking out some of the targets, and found someone had put up a soda can on one at about 20 yards.  I skewered it with the first shot!  (the next two were a mite off....hehe.)
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #5 - Oct 31st, 2006 at 9:58pm
 
Nicely done  Smiley, any pics at full tiller? Any interesting observations on the fiberglass?

Cliff,
Stop hesitating and start building Wink... one of my first thoughts upon nearing completion was "Why did I wait so long to do this?!" 

If you use wood from a lumberyard/hardware store there won't be a problem, just make sure the grain is nice and straight.
That angelfire hosted site you mentioned in combination with ferretts board bow graphic should be treated like gods for your first attempt, if you pay attention and use some common sense, they'll guide you well Smiley. I haven't had a chance to check out the other site you mentioned but looks great from a glance at the pics.

If you're cutting your own wood - try searching for some of Hellfire's posts on this forum. Basically, Rough the stave out of green wood, and let it dry in a hot place for a couple weeks (preferably with the ends sealed in wax or similar) and then proceed.

We're here if you have more questions (and especially for the pics of the finished product)Smiley



If you have the time/resources to spare, I'd suggest making a rough bow first - quickly though thoughtfuly. You'll learn a lot in the process (especially if you don't have a whole lot of experience with the tools), and make your first "real" attempt go smooth and without any surprises.
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #6 - Oct 31st, 2006 at 10:37pm
 
Thanks Cando and Bikewer, the whole kiln dried thing was my only question.  Once I finish I'll definitely give some details, and I'll try to get some pictures up for all to see and laugh at.  I'll pick up the wood as soon as I can head over to the hardware store, which may be a week or two.  Your thread earlier is what made me research bow building seriously, and  Bikewer reminded me to go do it.  Unfortunately, I am limited to either wood from the store or random trimmings from tree pruning, which wouldn't be very good I'm sure.  By the way... sorry to hijack your thread Bikewer!
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Bikewer
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #7 - Nov 2nd, 2006 at 2:16pm
 
Hehe-Don't worry!  I've found this project to be a great deal of fun, and it's definitely gotten me back into archery.

I have enough material left for another bow, and trying to decide what to do with it.
The fiberglass drywall tape is a good dodge, and dead cheap as well.  However, it's extremely ugly...

Proper backing material is pretty cheap; the various suppliers have either hickory or bamboo strips ready-to-use for 20 bucks or so.    Fiberglass, as used in laminated bows, evidently requires controlled, heated drying for the epoxy adhesives.
I may try either the hickory or bamboo as a backing for the next project.
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #8 - Nov 2nd, 2006 at 4:52pm
 
good redoak needs no backing whatsoever. Bamboo isn't good backing for redoak anyway.
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Bikewer
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #9 - Nov 2nd, 2006 at 10:54pm
 
That's the problem, the remainder of this board isn't particularly good.  Too many runouts...That's why I used the fiberglass tape on the first one.

Just from reading, I see it's the opinion of many that bamboo is a bit harder to use; the nodes make it harder to get a good tiller.
Hickory would seem to be the best bet; cheap and readily available, and all you need is good wood glue and some clamps.
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siguy
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #10 - Nov 3rd, 2006 at 3:04pm
 
i have a theory:

what if you took a thick peice of bamboo and then crushed it.  it would then resemble a pile of small thin sticks.  crush it along the whole length, so that it splinters all along the length.  then you take these peices and bind them together.  my smallscale tests show that this should provide a very strong flexible bow that should work fairly well. 

also, this could be used for arrows, taking the large splinters and using them for the shaft.
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #11 - Nov 5th, 2006 at 5:32pm
 
Siguy, I think that could be workable if you wrapped the entire limb in some sort of chord to stop it from shattering, but I don't know if I'd really trust "fuzzed up" bamboo for any length of time.
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Re: My Bow Project
Reply #12 - Nov 6th, 2006 at 11:39pm
 
Some people I know have used bamboo flooring, which is just compressed bamboo, to good effect in making bows.  Some have even gotten six foot lengths for free from flooring stores as a "sample".
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