Introduction: How to Make a REAL Homemade Bow

Picture of How to Make a REAL Homemade Bow

I admit now that this instructable was pretty trashy, so i'm gonna make a good english longbow instructable in a couple days.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

The materials list is as follows:

1.A long, straight stick about your height. Not bigger than about an inch and a half in diameter and preferably with as few knots as possible. Best woods would be hickory, elm, osage, yew, or certain types of ash.

2.String/cord. Preferably nylon cord or other strong, manmade materials that won't stretch out or get destroyed in wet conditions, but twine works too. I used kite string for it's strength and availability.

The only tool you absolutely need is a knife, but a hand plane is much better and safer.

Step 2: Preparing the Stick

Picture of Preparing the Stick

Alright, now that we have everything we're going to need it's time to get started. The first thing we need to do is to find the center of your stick. I have always just guessed and done fine but for beginners you will want to measure the stick with measuring tape and mark the center somehow.(I use a little pocket knife slash) Now go out a good 2-3 inches on either side of the center and make a little line that goes all the way around your stick. From here we start shaving off the bark. Try not to take off much wood, if any, during the shaving. I forgot a picture of this stage so here's what it should look like when your done.

Step 3: Bend, Not Break

Picture of Bend, Not Break

Now to determine the natural bend of the stick. Simply stick one end on the ground, hold the other loosely enough that it can rotate, and push on the handle. It should turn in your hand and reveal which way it wants to flex. Don't mess with what the wood wants; it can explode in your face and blind you if you do. Now mark the side which faced towards you when you found the flex and simple start shaving off wood on both limbs. NEVER, EVER, shave wood off of the side that faced away from you. You will want to have a nice thin pointed end tapering slowly up to the handle. when you think your done, just tie a string to both limbs, stand on the middle, and pull up with equal force on both sides. If one side is stronger than the other, take off a little more wood. Once it's balanced, string it with just anything for a minute and try to pull it back. It shouldn't take to incredibly much effort to pull it back to your cheek bone. If it's too strong, take more off.

Step 4: The String Thing

Picture of The String Thing

In order to make a strong, reliable string for the bow we are drawing in two skills that are key to survival;Knot tying and the reverse wrap. The reverse wrap has two styles, easy and hard. We are going with the easy one. Simply measure out a few strands of your cordage and tie it to something on one end, then twist the other one in one direction untill if you give the rope a little slack it bunches up. Then walk up to the tied end and attach your other end to the same object and pull the thing tight. once it's tight you can just twist it the other way for a few seconds and untie the other end from the object. Finally tie a knot in the end of the cord that was not in your hands a second ago. Once you have this down make your string. It loses a little more than half it's length in the process so make sure you measure out around 2 and a half times the lenght of your unstrung bow. Lastly, cut notches in the sides of your bow about 1.5 inches from the end of the limbs. Now just tie one end on securely and tie either a bowline or slipknot in the other end and attach it to the bow. Congrats! You just built a regular long bow. Now you can build arrows for it or make it better to last longer.

Step 5: Upgrades!!!

Picture of Upgrades!!!

There are many things you can do to your new bow. You can stain and waterseal it, you can cord wrap it, sinew-back it, the list goes on and on. I do recomend cord wrapping as it does increase power for a very small amount of work. I once tried sinew backing but it didn't work out for me. Just don't leave your bow strung too long and it'll be fine. Hoping for an arrow tutorial later this month, but have some more research to do. For now, just use store-bought arrows, they work fine. And remember, shoot little fluffy bunnys and evil squirrels, not little brothers.


NavinduP (author)2016-04-17

not bad bro

Brandonian22 (author)2013-07-10

Do u go to arroyo seco?

MWoodruff7 (author)2013-04-19

Sorry Bro but your bow could use a lot of work.

Imcrazydude (author)2013-04-07

And why does the bow have a hinge on the top limb?

Imcrazydude (author)2013-04-07

No offence but there's no such thing as a real homemade bow as long as it was made by you even if it was made out of fibre glass it's a home made bow

bfedorowytsch (author)2012-12-16

You should use a thicker peice of wood,.. so that you can allow for spots you think the woods structure would require to be thicker,... You can take wood off,.. but its a lot harder putting the wood back on.

That Inventor Dude (author)2010-02-25

A bows poundage is directly proportionate to the length of the bow.

That is not true. I realise this is a very old comment but I had to say something.

The draw weight at a certain draw distance will be less if you make the bow longer because the wood will not have to bend as far. It would be more accurite to describe bow length and draw weight as inversely proportional, but that wouldn't be true either because I don't think it is always a linear thing.

A longer bow of the same draw weight can provide more impulse because it can handle a larger draw length, so the force will be applied for a longer time.

in the book "The Traditional bowyer's Bible" it says that making a bow twice as wide makes it twice as strong, and twice as thick eight times as strong. length has a complicated formula, but each 1 % increrase in lenth makes it 5% safer from exploding

Sorry, but that appears to be incorrect. A thicker bow would create a stronger poundage in the bow, right?

by poundage i mean the strength required to pull back the string which is related to how powerful it is.

Yes, but a short bow could have a stronger poundage than a long bow.

poundage is related to many things like materials length thickness (as you said) string type and string tension but one of the most obvious way is to make it longer. i was thinking more to the fact that my recurve bow only seems to increase in length when i upgrade the poundage. i was however over simplifying

It's more a function of the taper from the riser (handle) to the tips. This taper can be introduced to the thickness (such as with the European longbow), to the width (as with North American flatbows like those used by the plains Indians), or to both (many Asiatic bows tapered both ways). While increasing the length, width, or thickness allows for a different taper, poundage is not directly proportional to any of the three and anyone thinking it is has an overly simplistic idea of what a bow is & how it works.

I see, thanks!

try the Quicks website thinking about it

cr34t1ve (author)2012-04-02

first off young sir, if it shoots arrows fast enough to pierce a cardboard box then it is a real bow and arrow.
A lot of people don't understand that by going outside and making a bow and arrow you are doing something that connects you with our ancestors, all the way up to the neanderthals or Cro-Magnon man.
Secondly, i have recently made a bow, i will be making a quiver, firing glove and armguard but mthis is not just a hobby.
picture this, the end of the world comes,
all the ammunition for all the guns are gone, but you never had to worry about that, you have a bow, and a renewable source of ammo as long as there are straight trees or other straight rods.
my bow is shoddy, it's homemade, but that was my first try,i WILL get better because i know i can, i will also be posting photos of the making of my first one with my own instructable. bravo sir
and congratulations you're now smarter than a monkey.

kterr (author)2009-09-15

how many pounds is the drawback, on this?

1000000VOLTS (author)kterr2010-07-22

it looks to be about 10lbs to me lol

nwagner (author)1000000VOLTS2011-06-22

could be which, isn't bad for a homemade bow...

aweis (author)nwagner2011-06-23

my bow was about there, but i was not satisfied with it at all. so i am making a new one, this time with an instructable.

Kryptonite (author)2010-09-02

Then the bow's poundage is not dire... you know, I'll just leave it there.

11richie21 (author)2010-08-07

for my hand grip i used a strip of sliced bike tube which is a good material for making sling shots too, I tied it really tight around the bow and its flexibility makes a great comfortable grip =)

MOBucky (author)2008-01-22

This is really a question: what keeps the wood from drying out if you don't seal it? Any ideas what people did about this before hardware stores? I thought maybe animal fat.

phoenix12 (author)MOBucky2010-03-19

Lindseed oil works pretty well.

11richie21 (author)phoenix122010-08-07

i made a bow and took your advice and my bow is still pretty flexible and hasn't dried out

1000000VOLTS (author)phoenix122010-07-22

ive used bacon fat that works quite well /when you take it out in the rain it you get little dropplets of water on the bow doesnt penertrate the wood.

homebowyerboy (author)MOBucky2008-01-23

if you don't seal it it does dry out but it holds its shape and strength nicely. I know that native americans (excluding plains indians who used horn bows) generally used a mixture of animal fats and brains. Inuit generally used seal or whale oil and Europeans used to oil their bows with any animal based oil quite regularly.

and whatever you do, DON'T TRY VARNISHING IT!!! It's like heat treating steel, it makes it harder but for brittle

1000000VOLTS (author)2010-07-22

this is a long bow.made from yew tillerd correctly sorry mate what you got there is a stick with some string on ,not wishing to be rude

greymatter21 (author)2010-06-22

no offence but this isnt a REAL bow and arrow.

i agree with you its terrible,100 yard more like 100 feet lol,at least he tried

1000000VOLTS (author)2010-07-22

im sorry but what kind of bow is that lol

hossweightlifter (author)2010-07-09

u try it yet i made a bow 100 yards 1st shot that prolly go 2 yds maybe it sucks

cezzie (author)2009-08-12

so, i didnt read through ALL of the comments, just some of them. So, a few questions. What is sealing a bow? and how important is it to seal a homemade bow? I'm in the process of researching on how to make my own bow. If anyone has any good tips I'd be happy to hear em :)

Tylertjt (author)2009-07-27

hey you said you would post how to make arrows I just wanna know when ok? my arrows with home made bow was catnine tail stems and a nail for the tip and two card board box cononers i should post it i made my bow from a willow tree and im makeing a cross bow soon

sharlston (author)2009-06-10

my way to bend sticks is to boil them in water then bend them and wait for them to dry

nomadic bowman (author)2009-06-03

cool i like it i am working on a sick bow maybe i will post it later

milamber (author)2009-03-15

a beter handle by the way is to buy leather shoe lases or leather thonging even tenis racket grip tape is ok

hg341 (author)2009-03-02

hey a made a commet about 2 years ago saying i was going to make a bow on your 'ible well i did

i have a knot in my handle the notchs for the string are a bit offin order the pic's are 1st top notch the 2nd handle the 3ed bottom notch last is the whole thing
btw it is about 4 feet long so short bow?

hg341 (author)hg3412009-03-02

oh sry for the duble post
but i get about 2o ibs of pullthe string is strechy(i dont feel like i should pull harder cuz it thin and might snap on me)

carroty (author)2009-01-27

I'd rather buy a whole new bow. I found one at a local store going for abot 100 - 150 dollars, can't remember exact price

X_D_3_M_1 (author)2007-11-19

a nice crude, simple bow, better than some. however if u want somethign real, look at dejapongs. still, good to play with, nice descriptions

homebowyerboy (author)X_D_3_M_12007-11-19

good to play with? i just put a comercial arrow into a target my compound doesn't even pierce further than 50 feet at 40 feet. It's a nice bow if you make it strong. That little one is one i made for my 11 year old bro.

Pat Sowers (author)homebowyerboy2007-11-24

How the hell is that stronger than a compound bow? What were you using Wal-Mart shit? If you want to do some real archery go to a hunting shop and pick up something nice that is meant to kill not a cheepo plastic bow compound.

NCRatSniper (author)Pat Sowers2009-01-13

Couldnt say it better myself. I have a longbow with a 55lb pull. Reliably kills deer (I have a license). Not that magnificent, but it works for me. Crossbow for anything bigger! By the way, great binder knife instructable!

Pat Sowers (author)NCRatSniper2009-01-13

hahah yeah i got a new bow about a year ago has an 80lb pull on it. but i want to gess a crossbow so bad! and thanks for the comment on the binder knife instructable! =]

NCRatSniper (author)Pat Sowers2009-01-13

Crossbows are GREAT. I started my crossbowing with a cheap Mtech crossbow about 80$ on sale at Big 5. Took many small deer, hogs that raid my friends ranch, and turkey too (remember to buy your license, better 30 dollars in the hole than 30 months in the jail). I added a small centerpoint 4x32 on it and used a permanent pen to make (I forgot what you call them, they are like mil dots but lines) for the bolt drop. I now have a second hand summit hd. I find cocking it to be easy, but invest in a pair of pull straps. Saves your fingers! Be prepared to spend a lot on arrows. You probably have this also from your bow, but the cheapo alluminum bolts bend very easy.

X_D_3_M_1 (author)homebowyerboy2007-11-25

ur compund bow sucks then. how many lbs ea?

Pat Sowers (author)X_D_3_M_12007-11-30

he said it was set at 47 lb but i dont think it is more than 20 lb.

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