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
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
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
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
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!!!
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.