Instructables
Picture of Making an Ash Recurve Bow
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**Please note that this is an ongoing project. I'm publishing it so you can all watch as it develops. Feel free to comment with any suggestions, criticisms or advice you may have. I'd love to hear it.**

     In this instructable, I will be showing you how to make an ash recurve bow from tree to deadly weapon.
I know that there are a lot of other bow instructables on here, but many of them are bad (sorry but its true) or downright dangerous (I've seen some nasty results from shattering PVC). I'm going to show you how to make a good bow for hunting, target shooting or whatever.

Shown is another ash bow I made to give you an idea of what the finished piece will look like.
 
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Step 1: Tools and materials

Picture of Tools and materials
You can make a bow with just a knife, but a few basic tools will make it much easier.

Tools:
Drawknife
Regular belt knife
Ruler or tape measure
Half-round rasp and half-round doublecut file or 4-way shoe rasp
Scraper of some sort
Hatchet or axe
Saw

Materials:
Some assorted sandpaper
A bowstave
2 m of cord with with at least 100 Kg breaking strain (3 mm braided nylon cord will work well.)
Pencil or other marking tool (sharpie not recommended)
Finish (wax, oil, et cereta)
Dye (optional)

* Note that power tools are not recommended because it is too easy to ruin a good stave.
tetra281 month ago

The hazel I know grows in both trees and bushes, and often grows quite straight. So you could probably build both a bow AND all your arrows, just from one thicket.

DarkArrow2118 months ago

Tnx for this I'll try if I can create Daedric bow with these helpful and easy steps.. Wish me luck..

K4nyix1 year ago
Thanks for this !
A shame I didn't find it earlier, I cut myself a nice hazel sunday and immediately removed the bark and a couple rings with my (antique, might I add) drawknife... And didn't split it before I let it dry for the upcoming month.
I hope you'll come check out comments soon so you can tell me if that will work anyway or if I should go get another tree (especially another species... I figured Hazel was good as it bends easily, but... yeah. Might very well be wrong) :P
bluestone52 (author)  K4nyix1 year ago
I've never seen hazel. As far as I know it doesn't grow around here. I have heard of it making good bows. Here's a relevant link if you're interested: http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/topic/56375
Wow ! This man is really good ! Thanks for the post. Been roaming around on paleoplanet and the other forums you linked for the past couple days. I also acquired the Bowyer's Bible(s) and was horrified reading the "seasoning wood" chapter : I had left this trunk unbarked, missing one or 2 growth rings, in the steaming heat (about 100°F lately) and in the sun, without pluging the ends... Needless to say, when I got to the summer house today, it was cracked from top to bottom, it's now worthless. A true shame. But, we learn from our errors, don't we ? And I should be able to make myself a bow by end of september if I find "the" tree soon enough.
Anyhow, thanks for the good advice, the links to these amazing websites (particularly like paleoplanet, it's a broader source of info, I guess), and for sparkling the interest in serious bowmaking. I had so far stopped to kid bowmaking 101, and I'm glad this came up !
tureluur1 year ago
where did that reply go I jist posted?
20 cm hazel? Wow, I just know these as some kind of bushlike trees here in Holland. The firewood thing kinda works, I think it's dried naturally. Only the pieces were a bit short, and anyway I liked to make a transportable, detachable bow, and also welding is a lot of fun. Here pictures of the result. For this oak bow I used a bucket with 15 kg of sand to measure the pull. Then plane with electric planer (tricky) till it got the right pull length. (take it apart of course to plane)
bow.jpggrip.jpg
Very nice bow design ! Good craftmanship right here. Not the kind I'd make because it's just not what I want, but good looking and clever !

And yes, they mostly are bushes ; but they can grow as trees in the proper conditions ; plus, if you cut one of those trees, a good number of offspring will grow from the remaining roots, forming a bush in its stead ! Yielding edible goodies :) I may have exagerated a bit, it may be only 15cm, but as it's at my summer house and I haven't gotten back there since I cut it, I couldn't say for sure haha
tureluur1 year ago
because quite different from bluestone52's, here my tool list:
For the bow: circular saw table, electric planer, rotational sander, band sander. For the notches: chisels, files, jigsaw, battery drill (since oak is hard to glue I screwed them in). And for the steel:, tig welding machine, angle grinders.
tureluur1 year ago
Maybe better to use a more stable and harder kind of wood. A hazel branch would have to be quite thick to give a strong heavy pull and shoot. I have some hazel hanging around and drying, but didn't make a bow out of it yet.
According to what I gathered one uses a thicker branch, like 20 cm, of a slow growing wood, and then use the perfect part to make a bow.
Untitled-1.jpg
Thanks man. Also, does your firewood solution work ? Or is the wood too dry to shape properly ? I know that for wood lathing, the firewood quality has not endured the right drying process. To dry our latheable wood, we take off the bark then get it to the closest thing we can to an 8-sided section then let it dry in the lathe's shed for a couple months, hence my wonder.
I'll try with the hazel, of which I got a nice 20cm, 3m long, fresh specimen, and I'll let you know. This particular tree I got has quite slim growth rings though, so maybe it'll be okay. Anyhow, first bow. There are got to be mistakes so I have an excuse to try again haha
Another thing against hazel : it has quite a lot of branches, at least the ones I got in my forest, and the bark doesn't get off easily ^^
tureluur2 years ago
eeuh,
Find a tree. Yes.
And cut it.
I guess this has to be done without getting arrested.
I'm on it.
Will let you know how progress is going.
I found a source of wood (In this part of the world all trees got chopped in the 17th century to make ships to conquer the world, they never grew back)
Anyway it is possible to buy firewood, even in 2 meter already split staves.
Bring a chisel or planer to check the grain, otherwise it's impossible to see which kind of wood you have.
wood.jpg
Haha man I gather you're French ("euh" being typically French I guess)
There are trees in forest, and since you're not cutting down a big tree, it's kinda okay. I mean, sure it won't be easy if you don't live next to a forest so you can grab a tree and quickly take it back home to safety but yeah. It works.
whats wrong with this instructable


What happened here
Nice bow I'm going to try and make my own
nclark5571 year ago
Hey just wanted to let you know, this isn't a recurve bow this is what would be classified as a long/short bow. a recurve has 2 bends so that it actually bends back on itself in kind of a zig zag
bluestone52 (author)  nclark5571 year ago
Yes it is. At least it's supposed to be whenever I get around to finishing it. Progress on this has pretty much stopped since school took over my life.
Nice start. I like seeing these types of builds.