Instructables
Picture of How to Make a Bow and Arrow
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The classic bow and arrow, made simple.
 
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Step 1: Some history

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The bow that we will be making is called a longbow. It is very simple in design, and could be made from things almost everyone has.Longbows were ideally made from yew, Italian yew being the best, but white woods elm, ash, and hazel were commonly used due to availability. Longbows were often built to be as tall as the archer and a well made bow could shoot well in excess of 300 yards (275 meters) using flight arrows. A longbow archer could shoot up to 12 arrows per minute as a crossbow man could only fire up to three. For the rest of this article click here. Now lets get on to the fun stuff!

Step 2: Materials

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This bow and arrow will be made from wood. The wood must be easy to bend, and is easiest to get from small trees. You will need a branch about an inch in diameter and 4-5 feet long for the bow and a branch about a half an inch in diameter and a foot long for the arrow. The length of the bow really depends on how tall you are. I'm about 5 and a half feet tall and my bow is around 4 and a quarter feet tall.

Step 3: Making the bow

Making the bow is very simple. All that needs to be done is to cut two notches in each end of the bow. The notches should go about half way into the bow, and should be about half an inch from each end of the bow. Also the notches must be on the side of the bow opposite the inside of the natural curve of the branch. It will help if they are at as much of a right angle as possible. These notches will be used to hold the bow string in place when it is in use. This is a little hard to explain so check the pictures below for some clarification.
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Flash671 month ago
I agree with colbynguyen. And wouldn't the paper fletchings give you paper cuts while the arrow is flying?
yoyinsola1 year ago
thanks for the post
you put the fletchings too close to the end... it needs to be a little farther to the tip so that you can hold the bow properly.......
There is nothing wrong with being a predator as long as you are ethical .Never use an animal for target practice . Do not kill or wound for pleasure . People who harm living things for fun are soulless, cruel, and mentally damaged .
laydbkleo5 years ago
the fletching is to provide spin on an arrow in the same manner that the grooves on a modern firearm barrel cause a bullet to spin. this improves accuracy and stability tremendously while increasing the distance your projectile will travel. that is why smooth bore muskets are obsolete. it is simple physics. you will also increase your draw strength if you make your limbs of more than one type of material and laminate together. making a real bow is a very time consuming and intensive project if you want something that wont fall apart after the 5th shot.
temp laydbkleo5 years ago
No. the feathers create drag on the back of the arrow. this causes the front of the arrow to "lead" the rest of it as it goes along. While some arrows are designed to spin it isn't necesary. Bullets are stabilized by spinning causing a gyroscopic effect. That's why smooth bore rifles are VERY innacurate.
Smooth bore rifles ?
laydbkleo temp5 years ago
you're correct as to the fletching (feather) creating drag. as an amateur archer I conducted an experiment. I fletched my arrows straight and with a spin. the ones with spin were noticeably more accurate. also, every store bought arrow I ever saw was designed to spin.
temp laydbkleo5 years ago
But were you able to still make fairly accurate shots with the straight fletched arrows.
laydbkleo temp4 years ago
they were passably accurate fletched straight but were probly 25% more accurate with spin.
actually I think the flights are for keeping the arrow on a straight course

There not called flights there called fletchings trust me iam in archery .

So if you're "In Archery" shouldn't you know this?:It does not matter what you call them but vanes are only plastic or rubber. I've even heard my friend saying "Fletches".
Outsmarted,
Highvoltageguy

End of argument
They're not called either, they're called vanes.
Vanes are plastic fletchings are natural and flights is the term for both referring to some system of stabilization of the arrow in flight wether it make the shaft spin or just not flip end over end.
They are called any and all of these terms plus others. It depends on the person.
fletchings.
I suggest we just call them simply feathers for siplicity's sake and to avoid a very pointless argument...
ChuckIorn1 year ago
If not using your bow for a while then take the string off it, so as not to make it weak. I only ever put two flights on my arrows and us tape for it...........
I have extra feathers laying around ...
abeliha20002 years ago
I've been experimenting with making crossbows which are praps a little easier to make though don't have the same range. Being from Aus I can't source the traditional woods mentioned but I found that the Chinese Plum (prunus mume) is a good substitute. @archery+softball I used a trianlgular rasp. @Keli33, gamefreak360 I started off using kitchen twine but it kept stretching too much so I had to keep restringing my bow. Builders' line is excellent; it does stretch, but returns to its origional length instead of distorting. Hope that's useful :)
use a thin cane as ashaft for the arrow it makes th errow extremely light and will fly further
could i use some fishline string for this.
with step 3, what's the best way to make the notch?
Keli332 years ago
Hey, what kind of string did you use?
What kind of string is the best for bow strings?
ethiran2 years ago
i think you must use a nylon string not a string
This was a really good instructable. I made a decent bow, but the string is really tight. I was wondering how to make the bow bend more. Should i keep it strung for a while?
esmith372 years ago
The fletching on an arrow shouldn't come that close to the nock. You want enough space for your fingers to fit between the nock and the fletching. Then you can draw the bow properly, using all your finger strength. Just curl the fingertips of your index, middle and ring finger around the string with the arrow between your index and middle finger.
btw firstly a notch in the bottom at the side of the arrow is more reliable than a slit in the bottom and secondly the arrow is to be held with the thumb and the index finger ( the first crease from tip of finger)
viola902 years ago
That's a common mistake that a lot of us have.
oh, and also, it's better to use a fresh stick right? Not a dried out stick, cuz that would just snap...
It is probably better to get a dry stick like ash. If the stick is wet or fresh it will bend easy when it hits the target (eventually snapping) and won't fly strait all the time.
alfonso (author)  Nalydorthebuilder6 years ago
Just as long as the stick isn't from a "dead" tree it will work fine. The stick can be dry just not dead. Also, I sharpen my arrows so they will go farther.
You are acctually quite wrong. "green sticks" as they are called fresh are hardly good for a bow. In genral the way to do it is dry a good quartered log for a few years...
BowMaker956 years ago
the arrows you say to make will not spin. Hunting arrows are the nly arrows that spin and they spin so that when they hit the target they cut and do more damage. Regular and homeade arrows do not spin because most are made for targets or safety
rrr BowMaker952 years ago
Hey bow homemade arrows can spin i made one myself out of this piece of wood and crow feathers and it does spin.
saxis2 years ago
I have read all the comments and am confused that there has been very little criticism of the actual quality and workmanship of the bow. I am no expert but it does look a little on the shonky side. I am sure that Bear Grylls could comment further on this and give some technical advice.
chadwell6 years ago
people just go to walmart with 3 dlars and buy an actual arrow that works garanteed
rugnor chadwell4 years ago
im from spain and here we dont have wallmarts(in fact where i live there arent shops that sell thing like that at all)
Billgun rugnor3 years ago
Yeah u have Walmarts, ASDA or something is europes walmart but trust me theres a walmart in just about every single country on earth wal-mart is a HUGE company
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