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Old 03-22-2012, 03:09 PM   #1
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Default Has anyone made their own bow?

I'm interested in learning to make a good bushcraft bow. What wood do you use? Can paracord make a good bowstring? Do your arrows spiral? How much draw weight is recommended? What do you make arrowheads with? Anything else?

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Old 03-22-2012, 03:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Scratchammo View Post
I'm interested in learning to make a good bushcraft bow. What wood do you use? Can paracord make a good bowstring? Do your arrows spiral? How much draw weight is recommended? What do you make arrowheads with? Anything else?
I made one once when I was about 14. Got instructions in a field and stream magazine. I used braided 30lb. test fishing line. Wood from our old apple tree for the shaft and tried a bunch of different wood for the arrows. Fire treated and pulled them through a hollow knot in a board to straighten them out, used goose feathers for fletching. Fishing line and tree sap to bind the heads and fletching.

The arrows did spiral. It was accurate to about 50 yards. not a whole lot of power though.
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Old 03-22-2012, 04:21 PM   #3
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I made one once when I was about 14. Got instructions in a field and stream magazine. I used braided 30lb. test fishing line. Wood from our old apple tree for the shaft and tried a bunch of different wood for the arrows. Fire treated and pulled them through a hollow knot in a board to straighten them out, used goose feathers for fletching. Fishing line and tree sap to bind the heads and fletching.

The arrows did spiral. It was accurate to about 50 yards. not a whole lot of power though.
Nice I was thinking goose feathers would be the best. What did you use for arrowheads?
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
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I have always wanted to but never done it. My son made one in the 5th grade as a class assignment. His was the only one in the whole class worth a darn. He used some Almond wood and a proper bow string. Paracord would be too stretchy, you want something that does not stretch. Most of the other kids in his class used a curved piece of wood, my son used a straight piece with the string putting the curve in it. He used some willow sticks as I recall for the arrows and turkey feathers tied to the shaft for fletching. The assignment required all natural materials, like what the native Americans would have used, but allowed for a string out of modern materials and modern tools could be used to shape it. I think he used a stone for an arrowhead.

The fletching should be fastened so as to induce spin on the arrow which will stabilize it in flight (like a football will fly truer when spinning).

After all the kids had finished they went out to the field and shot their creations. Most dropped the arrow right at their feet, my son shot his 210 feet and nearly into the road on the other side of the field. It was a record at the time, I am not sure if it has been broken.

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Old 03-22-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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If i sent you a book on it would you return it to me scratch?

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Old 03-22-2012, 06:41 PM   #6
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Ive never spent time in making a really decent bow... but just messing around while camping I picked up a maple tree branch which had a nice curve to it, notched the ends and used string from a weed whacker. It worked really well. I don't know the draw weight it was putting out but if you are looking to use something other than actual bow string, I'd give that a shot. It packed a pretty good punch.

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Old 03-22-2012, 09:27 PM   #7
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3/4 inch PVC conduit heated with a heat gun or over an electric range untill it will start to get soft. Put it on a flat service, a work bench or even the floor and bend it to your desired curve for your bow. Then rub it down with with wet rags to stiffen it back to its original state. Cut a notch in both ends useing the edge of a small file for the string. String can be braided nylon, the small diameter found in chalklines works good. This makes a simple, inexpensive and suprisingly well made bow. Powerful enough for small game and accurate out to 30-40 yds. Hope this helps.

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Old 03-23-2012, 12:30 AM   #8
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I have always been under the impression that yew makes a really good wood for bows, but that could be false. However, a straight peice of wood will be easiest, but you can make a recurve if you feel froggy and it will give you more power in a smaller package. Otherwise you will need to make it big (longbow) to really get much punch out of it. As for arrows, you always have to option to simply buy them, but if you want to make them i would suggest a strong but a bit flexible wood. Arrows, even alluminum and carbon fiber ones, flex back and forth as they fly through the air. Trying to resist that flex with a stronger wood will more then likely snap your arrows as you fire them.

For string, go old school, sinew. Sinew is easy to make and extremely strong, it also doesn't stretch when properly made.

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Old 03-23-2012, 02:05 AM   #9
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I have always been under the impression that yew makes a really good wood for bows, but that could be false. However, a straight peice of wood will be easiest, but you can make a recurve if you feel froggy and it will give you more power in a smaller package. Otherwise you will need to make it big (longbow) to really get much punch out of it. As for arrows, you always have to option to simply buy them, but if you want to make them i would suggest a strong but a bit flexible wood. Arrows, even alluminum and carbon fiber ones, flex back and forth as they fly through the air. Trying to resist that flex with a stronger wood will more then likely snap your arrows as you fire them.

For string, go old school, sinew. Sinew is easy to make and extremely strong, it also doesn't stretch when properly made.
I have heard yew is one of the best, the old English bowmen used bows made of yew IIRC.

Building a recurve takes a great deal of skill, a long bow would be the best choice for your first one.

I hear cat sinew makes the best bowstring, but unfortunately lion hunting was outlawed here in CA back in the '70's by Ronald Reagan.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:41 AM   #10
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I have always wanted to but never done it. My son made one in the 5th grade as a class assignment. His was the only one in the whole class worth a darn. He used some Almond wood and a proper bow string. Paracord would be too stretchy, you want something that does not stretch. Most of the other kids in his class used a curved piece of wood, my son used a straight piece with the string putting the curve in it. He used some willow sticks as I recall for the arrows and turkey feathers tied to the shaft for fletching. The assignment required all natural materials, like what the native Americans would have used, but allowed for a string out of modern materials and modern tools could be used to shape it. I think he used a stone for an arrowhead.

The fletching should be fastened so as to induce spin on the arrow which will stabilize it in flight (like a football will fly truer when spinning).

After all the kids had finished they went out to the field and shot their creations. Most dropped the arrow right at their feet, my son shot his 210 feet and nearly into the road on the other side of the field. It was a record at the time, I am not sure if it has been broken.
That's awesome
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