Instructables

3$ bamboo longbow

Picture of 3$ bamboo longbow
here is a quick and easy project for the budding archers among us.
make a bow ,terrorize the local wildlife{dont really though}.
useful for survival situations.
 
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Step 1: Materials list and overview

good day folks today im going to show you how to make a longbow out of bamboo garden stakes.
this material shows up every spring in the seasonal sections of dollar stores and walmart gardening centers.if your lucky and have bamboo or river cane growing near you the your price just dropped.
a bow like this is not going to take down a deer but in a survival situation being able to make a light bow out of available materials may just give you the edge you need to not die of hunger.

materials required:
2 packages of 48"bamboo garden stakes{20 pcs) ................$1 each
1 Roll dollar store jute twine.........................................................$1
Total $3
optional:
roll of hockey or electrical tape
glue to coat bindings
tape and glue are not 100% necessary for this project .

tools required:
none.
but a pocket knife or small finetoothed saw wont go astray{even a sharp rock}

Step 2: Arrange the materials

first thing to do is pick through your sticks.
select the best and straightest ones you have
line them up from thickest to thinnest {this will save you from the first result i got)
make 3 even piles choosing an even cross section of all sizes of cane.
i selected six sticks for each bundle and discarded two{the numbers of sticks are optional but more means stronger}
in 2 piles line up the sticks with the thicker ends all together.
in 1 alternate between butts and tips

Step 3: Tie off the ends

take one of the two aligned{bias} bundles and even up the ends{thinnest section}.
tie it very tightly about 1 inch or so from the end.
then about a foot or so down the shafts tie it again very tightly.
repeat with the other bias bundle.
so what you should have now are two bundles of sticks tied near the thinnest ends.
how well does it shoot?
lennyb (author)  JonathanNoldin7 months ago
not as well as a proper store bought bow ,but better than throwing the sticks at a target, lol.
the biggest issue with it was it broke on the third day that i used it.
i made a much better one from old tent poles later that worked a bit better because it wasnt as chunky and didnt break.
next one is gonna be made from fibreglass driveway maker poles.
some people have even made the from old arrows.
Tset Tsyung10 months ago
Hi LennyB,
Having some trouble with the nocks... I've made the main bow but the nock keep sliding down the body as I string it. To be fair even the main binding slip but I made sure that ALL bindings and nocks were down very tight. So much so that the bamboo was creaking as I was tying it... any ideas how to stop the nocks from moving?
lennyb (author)  Tset Tsyung10 months ago
i ended up taping the seams and nocks with black hockey tape.
glue also comes to mind dip the nock end of the bow in some wood glue and let it dry at least a day before stringing it up.
also if you have one heavier bit of bamboo sticking up you can try a pin nock where a pin through a loop is all you use i havent tried it myself yet{at least not with bamboo}.
my description of it is a little thin so google it in images youll see it there.
hope this helps
P.S. Thanks for this cool project!
A real bamboo bow is actually carved from a branch from a bamboo plant. Of course, the plant must be quite old before it is big enough for that, but bows made that way are among the best in the world, outperforming yew and even most synthetics.
shoppe12 years ago
where do u buy the bamboo stakes in indianapolis IN
Just go to lowes, or even walmart in the garden section, i live in terre haute IN by the way so i know lol.
shoppe12 years ago
where do u buy the bamboo stakes
Reinu02 years ago
Can i use duct tape insteand?
lennyb (author)  Reinu02 years ago
if thats what you want to use sure go ahead.
it should work just as well
bceballos2 years ago
can cotton twine work?
lennyb (author)  bceballos2 years ago
not very well
but if it doesn`t stretch too much or break you might get away with it
nunzilla5553 years ago
I just made a bamboo longbow from my own design, but I found with the large body the arrows tend to fly to the side. Any ideas on now to fix this?
lennyb (author)  nunzilla5553 years ago
that depends on how thick it is.
usually an arrow if its properly flexible for the draw weight used will flex around the middle of the bow and go straight.{although it will whip side to side in flight}
but if the middle of the bow is too wide it cant or if the arrow is too stiff same problem.
a lot of designs have the mass at the middle of the bow wider front to back instead of round like bamboo bows usually are.
also if you are using storebought arrows designed for a compound or other heavy draw bow there probably not spined correctly{matched flexibility}.
hope this is helpfull.
let me know how you get on with it.
handyman224 years ago
hey i was just wondering if you could give an opinion, I have tried to make a bow and am going to attempt to make a type like yours also, but i was just wondering what kind of rope/string i should use for the launcher rope, people say nylon string is the best suited for a bow, but do you have any other recommendations? i would like to have a string that can increase the range and accuracy. thanks
Hemp string will last for a long time...
but it is sometimes hard to get it , depending where you are
lennyb (author)  handyman224 years ago
i just used twine for this one.
for a more powerfull bow dacron string or any good strong string that doesnt stretch much.
popomaster5 years ago
so just to clarify, when you said to tie off the thinnest ends of all the sticks, do you mean the thinnest sticks? or the thinnest ends. I just don't want it to break. also, should the ends of the bow be all thin ends of the sticks? or should i make the ends, thin, fat, thin, fat, etc. please reply soon. thank you
lennyb (author)  popomaster5 years ago
generally i have the thinnest ends towards the ends of the bow and the butts in the middle(for the sticks that extend to the ends) the ones in the middle that dont go to the ends i alternate the tips. i broke bows like this several times before i got one to stay together and that broke eventually . it may be that i was using an inferior grade of bamboo but dont expect it to last as long as a properly made wooden one{even they break too i broke my favorite red oak longbow just yesterday}. the good thing about this type bow is how little money you have to spend to get a shootable bow. enjoy and please feel free to write a version of your build as an instructable.
I had a thought while reading your instructible. Why not use some fishing poles. The ones made of fiberglass might be better. People throw awqay fishing poles all the time. I have a hard time getting rid of them as I am a packrat. I might even try it after my try at making a laminated bamboo one.
lennyb (author)  superdave54815 years ago
sure fishing poles should work. so will fibreglass rods like those driveway markers. even old arrow shafts could be lashed together to make a bundle bow . i think several tearling hardwood saplings might work too but i havent tried it ... yet. if you make one from fishing poles take some pictures and post it
wonton lennyb3 years ago
 driveway markers!!!  did i just hear that from another instructables member about making a bow and arrow.  this instructable reminds me of my past so much.  i once made a bow out of a single driveway marker and some string and as an arrow i used a bamboo tomato stake like you did but with 2 big nails duct taped to the tip.  my brother killed a bunny and a tiny bird with it.  haha.  my mom almost kicked our asses. but it was worth it.  that was our first experience in archery
lennyb (author)  wonton3 years ago
i have seen references too driveway markers on other websites and instructables.
its not an original idea of mine.
i wanted to try it out this year but all the driveway markers i could find were steel or iron rod.
and the bamboo in the garden centres this year is even worse than when i made the bow in this instructable so no go there.
guess im gonna hafta go scootin in the woods for a nice maple sapling or 2
I Have the same type of bamboo as you do at my 5 minute away rona, i have a hunting license and have been hunting with a rifle, but i want to try killing small animals with a bow (You never know when theirs an unexpected zombie apocolypse and then whos prepared when you have no ammo?) and im wondering how many rods i should use? Or if i should use something else entirely
Depending of the diameter of the material you would use more or less. My experience tells me that the bamboo reeds will fail after a period of tine by breaking near the area that is receiving the most bending stress. It might be best to have 3 to 4 going to each limb of the bow. If you want a really strong bow go to this website: bowstick archery. they have answers and material. by the way, a bow that breaks while being drawn back is fairly dangerous to you. Be carefull. It is better to make a laminated bow from hickory backed with bamboo. You would be happier with the results, trust me. Some of the reeds that are avaliable are going to be brittle and more prone to failure. Good luck!!!
lennyb (author)  superdave54815 years ago
agreed but the skill level and time required to make a properly made bow are way beyond most peoples skill / willingness level. a bow like this takes 10 minutes and is not suggested as serious archery tackle. also i wouldnt try tp get more than a few months out of one of these bows. as for safety a breaking bow can mess you up bad if you dont have it backed or wrapped to keep it from exploding. the bamboo bows tend to break much more gracefully unless you over draw them by a huge amount. usually a failure will just crunch and not rebound but if you panic and release the arrow you may get yourself in the hand if you have overdrawn. also watch out for the splinters as bamboo can be sharp when my oak board bow snapped off the rawhide backing kept it from fragmenting it just cracked off clean at a hinge that had formed a day or two earlier.
You are right! It does take considerable skill to make a laminated bow. And if all you are after is a little use you will be sucessful with the reed bow. And just a couple weeks ago I had split some large sized bamboo and was sliced on the finger as if cut by a razor. Eye protection, perhaps even sunglasses, would be advisable. You can even make your own bowstring with dacron fishing string and wax. There are some great tutorials to be found on youtube. good luck with your endeavors and be careful of the dangers.
if u cant find some go to the piund shop or if your in the america the dollar store and get the 3 metre ones and open them up and put the thickest togetther
i mean pound not piund sorry
ok, thankyou. im thinking about making a short bow with this.
you can make a lot of atl-atls with all those bamboo sticks. how much bamboo do you get out of one pack anyway?
lennyb (author)  nutsandbolts_643 years ago
usually 10 sticks or so.
the bamboo the dollar store has this year is shorter though and thinner.
not worth trying just now.
if it were straighter it would make decent darts but its kind of twisty.
i bought some 4 foot x3/8 dowels to make some atl atl darts.
i fletched them with duct tape {later crow feathers} and made points from 308 fmj bullets soldered into cut off cartridges .
looks smooth and sticks into archery targets nicely{when i can hit em}
 lol, ok thanks.
octo1374 years ago
you could get a long thick one piece of bamboo and just string it i made one and some arrows in about 5 minutes, and it draws around 50 lbs.
I would tie a loop in each and put it in the middle and reverse it over all the bamboo
lennyb (author)  spenfisher124 years ago
that would work well
sharlston4 years ago
what is the range of this?
lennyb (author)  sharlston4 years ago
i would say with practice that you should be able to hit a rabbit sized target at 20 metres. of course the closer you are the easier it would get.
what about if you shot it in the air at about a 130 degree angle how far would it go?
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