Picture of Homemade Maple Tree Bow and Arrow
This will give you step by step instructions teaching you how to build a survival bow and arrow will nothing but simple tools and materials found in your backyard.  It is a comprehensive guide that focuses on how to transform your wood into a functioning bow.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Required Materials:
-Sharp Knife
-String of choice (I used parachord)

-Tape Measurer
-Sand Paper

Step 2: Finding the Right Tree

Picture of Finding the Right Tree
In order to have a strong bow, you want to avoid using a dead branch on the floor of the woods.  
Instead, I recommend walking through the woods trying to find straightest branch or small tree possible that is still alive.  

I found a small tree with no branches that I thought was thick enough to withstand the stresses of being used as a bow.  

After finding it, I sawed it down for further evaluation.

Step 3: Measure and Cut to Length

Picture of Measure and Cut to Length
Length can vary for your bow, but I chose to cut mine to 50 inches using my saw.  

While the tape measurer was out and next to the wood, I took the time to mark the center at 25 inches using my knife.  

If you do not have a tape measurer, you can use your string to find the center.   Place the string over the bow and fold it in half over itself.  Measure from one end to find the center and make a marking with a knife.

Step 4: Start Trimming Down One Side of Wood

Picture of Start Trimming Down One Side of Wood
Starting about 4 inches away from the center in each direction, use your knife to trim away the bark on just one side of the bow.  

After the bark is removed, continue removing more of the wood from that same side until the diameter is halved.  

For safety, hack away at the wood in a direction away from your body.

Starting 4 inches away from center in each direction will give you an 8 inch handle and will give the bow a stronger point to bend around.

This video may be useful:
papastretch507 months ago

Pine is too soft of a wood to have the structure to deal with the stress. Reputedly the woods of choice are, in no particular manner except for my memory, English Yew, Osage, Bois D'arc, Hickory, Ash, and you go by the density of the grain from this point. Paracord, for string and handle wrap. Not being in a hurry is the only thing I advise.

rimar20003 years ago
I never have seen a maple tree (I live in Argentina). Is its wood enough elastic and flexible as needed for a bow? Forgive my ignorance.

As a native Pennsylvanian and now West Virginian: no. Mayple is not particularly springy like hickory or ash.

gavin10101 year ago
This is cool how far can it shoot acctaly at a target
Really in depth. I might try this for an elf costume. Have you attempted any other kinds of wood since then?
Thanks for making a good bow with real string not a rubber band its awesome
you can also make a super easy tillering board ( do research ) to give your bow a perfectly even bend. Also, pull it back to 28 inches means the length from where the bowstring is not pulled and to where it is pulled to the max limit.
McScweebles2 years ago
Hello! I was just wondering if there is any reason to make the bow out of Maple specifically. I was reading somewhere else that pine is best - do you happen to know if there is any truth to this? How strong does this bow end up being? Do you just use it for fun? I really like your tutorial by the way, it's very well done. Thank you!
ben519982 years ago
ilpug3 years ago
Nice bow, although it looks like you could remove more wood from the belly to get a better effect. At this point, it seems like it has more potential in it. Look up the process of tillering a bow online and give it a go.
msundman (author) 3 years ago
@mbreukel, I am new to archery so I am not quite sure what you mean by "can you pull it to 28 inches". It is very strong though and, yes, I think it shoots pretty well.

This is my first instructable, glad you liked it!
this is the best bow instructable i have read good job!
mbreukel3 years ago
Nice bow!

a few questions:
can you pull it to 28 inch?
how strong is it?
did you ever shot it?

@rimar2000, maple is usuable for bows, my personal bow also has maple inside of it.