Picture of Make a bow for under 20 Bucks
Make a hardwood bow with no special tools, setups or working space for under 20 bucks. Everything was purchased at Lowes. There are more details at
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Step 1: Glue together Wood

Picture of Glue together Wood
I went to Lowes and got these thing.

48"X1/2" Oak trim piece
24"X1/2" Poplar trim piece
bottle of gorrila glue
Stanley hand planer
bundle of jute rope (In the future, hemp would probably be better)

The hand planer from lowes turned out to be just the ticket for shaving down the bow arms to what I needed. Its only 6 bucks and its about 3"X1" big. Any bigger would probably turn out to be too unweildy. Any sort of wood glue would work really.. as a matter of fact, gorrila glue is probably not the best one to use. The wood was just some project wood or you could use trim wood too, I guess.

This is pretty self-explanatory, just make sure you get the glue more evenly spread than it is in this picture. Use sticks and rope as a clamp and the piece until its cured enough to release. This should actually take a few hours but since I'm really impatient, I waited for half an hour and then started carving. Dont do that, it just messes things up in further steps. Whatever you do, don't try bending the bow until the glue is dry either. This just makes them pop apart.

Step 2: Plane down the wood

Picture of Plane down the wood
This is not really a hard step, but its pretty critical. Try to keep both sides the same and shoot for a shape like one in the diagram. I think The pictures can do a better job of explaining this than I can. So just ask me if you have any questions. Check out more detailed description on my website:

Step 3: Add handle

Picture of Add handle
It might look a little complicated but actually is just a rope wound around the handle in a spiral fashion. I soaked the rope with glue too so it would stay there. This does a good job as a handle and a reinforcer for the two pieces of wood.

What is the draw weight of this bow? I am trying to make a 50 pound draw weight bow for myself but nobody ever puts the draw weight in their instructions

i made a piramid longbow and it is 75 lbs at 28 this is probably 30-45

fun6833 months ago

How do you bend the bow? Your tutorial doesn't say how to.

kmuggerud2 years ago
also what is a good tool besides the planer to use?
kmuggerud2 years ago
when i click on ur website it doesn't show me the detailed description??
Wikiman122 years ago
Hello, I am 12 years old, is this too big of a bow for me?

How much is the pull weight? How heavy is the bow?

looks like im not the only 12-year-old around here. as a matter of fact, im a girl as well. i think i might try this project, or maybe a bamboo bow since i know a place where a whole shootload of bamboo grows.
You can cut down one thick peice of bamboo it should be almost as tall as you unstrung I'm 11 years old and I've already made a few bows
Thanks :) I found a piece even taller than me and already cut but it was stuck between the fence and rest of the bush :( obviously, I would have cut it a bit but thanks for the advice :) if I used a branch, would it work even if it was straight but still bendy? Gosh, I type too much. Haha one of my friends found a bow in a forest and the wood was thicker than my forearm and she said it worked XD
Come check out my instructable with explainations on what I said before.
Ill try to put up a thingy to explain... Three different bows
Well, It would depend on how tall your are, and your strength. You could always change the design around a bit, you're the one making it.
Imcrazydude2 years ago
DON'T use any soft woods pine poplar e.t.c only use hard woods oak cherry osage e.t.c
I remember long ago, when people used to make bows from a single piece of wood.
Is fir tree wood goo for making bows or should I buy another kind of wood?
Try oak or pine! :)
OK, thanks!
hedge98hog5 years ago
Do you have to use oak?
If oak were the only wood that could be used, then we'd still be throwing rocks at each other in stead of using guns. lol

Any wood that is strong can be used. Flexible is also a feature to look for. Bows can be made of more than one wood also, with layers to make for a different behavior altogether.

Fiberglass is also a great material for making bows.
my dad once worked in a fibreglass shop, he says it's bad for him
Mr. Thirty64 years ago
Is the bow in this 'ible good for hunting? I want to hunt deer, and only want to make a bow that will down a deer. Also, can sights be mounted onto it? The sight's thing isn't that important, I can improvise that somehow, but the deer thing would definitely be good to know. Thanks!!!
If you kill a deer, use a strong bone for an arrowhead
Shoot it at a target (piece of wood or maybe large roast if you don't mind wasting dinner or buying two) and if it goes through it can kill deer if you hit it right, if not try a different arrow or type of arrow, if that doesn't help use a heavier wood. (note I am in no way an expert in hunting, bows or archery in general; take proper precautions and its not my fault if you mess up or something bad happens when trying my ideas) now let's fire some hopefully deadly projectiles!
hedge98hog5 years ago
What type of string do you suggest using? 
Kite cord! strong enough to hold kites in strong wind!
Nylon, with Dental Floss to thicken a section in the middle so the arrows stay put
Get a big roll of floss and make the string yourself.
A jig is easy to set up with 2 nails and a plank of wood.
Set the nails partway in a plank of wood about as far apart as the string should be long.
Wrap 7-8 times around the nails with floss. Tie ends together so you have a big loop.
Now wrap floss tightly in a spiral over 4inch sections in the middle of both sides of the loop.
Slide the wrapped sections so they are around the nails.
Now wrap floss tightly both sides together about a 4 inch section in the middle for the arrow notch.
Pinch together the wrapped sections at each end to form a hole for the bow ends and wrap tightly with floss. Now you can take your finished string off the nail jig.
I used 5-50 military cord. This stuff will never break.
horsehair, or linen, maybe try using actual bowstrings!
Is there a way to make sharp arrows,anyone?
Use a pencil sharpener (manual) or a knife (whittle)
sharpen the arrow to a point then slitly char it useing a lighter or a candle ONLY any thing more powerful is not good ,the reson you char it is that the heat hardens the wood by taking away moisture and making the wood denser
Yeah, you can make wood arrow heads the glue on to the arrow, or do the same thing with stone, flint would be the best.
hamzah1233 years ago
what kind of bamboo u use??not any kind of bamboos are flexible
VERY THIN BAMBOO! Bamboo has the separator things. they might lead to a broken bow
hrodriguez73 years ago
if you buy the stuff at home depot, will it sill be @ 20 bucks?
Little bit lower. I know wood isn't the most expensive From Home Depot. probably 20 or so
Du7raz3 years ago
anyone else gonna use this for a hunger games cosplay?
Haha thats exactly why im looking at this tutorial. But it seems kind of hard! Any other websites that you found that could help me out?
Start with a piece of wood about 4 1/2' . Measure out the half point, and two inches each way to give yourself a 4" handle. With/without a parents help, plane a taper starting at your handle. taper the woods width from 1/2" to a taper leading to ~1/4". last sand it. WARNING sanding by hand is painstaking and hot. Take intervals of stop time to allow the wood to cool. last get a piece of kite-wire or sinew 4" smaller than the unbent bow.(3 1/8') Last, with a handsaw or Dremel tool, cut two nocks at the ends, about 1/2" away from the end. This will allow something for the bowstring to hold onto. make sure to pull it tight to get about 3" between the handle and the string. (To make an arrow, get a thin dowel for 75 cents each. saw or break each arrow according to the bow. Do this by pulling the whole dowel back, and breaking it when you can't bend further. Very last, hot glue, or temporary glue feather pieces to the end. when temp. glueing, bind them on with thin wire on a contsant interval. If thi is confusing, sorry.
ckardos Du7raz3 years ago
that is exactly what lead me to this.
Saurian242 years ago
Very nice, I enjoyed reading this and seeing your work. My only suggestion would be to maybe use red oak as it is a harder wood, the only problem is the physical labor that is required to shape the red oak. Once again, this is a phenomenal instructable. One of the best bows I have seen on here!
timmycutts5 years ago
why on earth would you make a bow out of bamboo? it'd be smarter to make it out of a sappy wood, rather than a grassy one... maybe maple or yew... anyway... this instructable isn't very acurate... there's nothing about tillering the bow, which is really important coz if you don't, the bow will either be too thick and snap or be too thin and snap, plus it's good to know the draw weight of the bow before using it...
Bamboo is extremely elastic and thus a good bow wood but it also takes "set" (permanent bending into an arc, which makes the bow lose potential energy) over time.
Bamboo is actually an ideal material for a bow, as many hundreds of thousands of people have discovered. It has be very dry though. When making a bow you adjust the draw weight as a part of the tillering process. As for not mentioning the tillering process what do you think planing down the wood in step 2 was supposed to be? although personally I use a scraper rather than a plane. The use of technical or craft specific terminology in an instructable intended for those who are not initiates of the craft would be pointless and slightly rude.
Judging from how elaborate Japanese bamboo bows are, there is quite a bit of work (and experience) involved in making one with any useful kind of draw. But it is definitely possible to make one yourself.
You need 3 layers, however, and the middle layer is traditionally not made of one single piece, but multiple small ones, which serve, together with a fairly elastic glue, as a means of lending more flexibility, coupled with a higher strength, to the bow. Or at least that is what I gleaned from looking at them, and using them.
what's tillering
tillering is the removing of wood to achieve the correct bend, draw length and draw wieght in the bowstaff. if you don't tiller it and the bow, it'll be to thick and you won't be able to pull the string back far enough. and if you don't check the draw length and weight, the bowstaff could be too thin and when you shoot with it the arrow will just fall on the ground.
pingo64 years ago
is this safe? i dont want my homemade bow blowing up in my face
Yes and no, when you make it you really need to listen for cracks as you tighten the string. Also make sure you choose a piece with VERY VERY VERY straight grain. I would not use oak myself due to its brittleness I would instead choose yew, ash, or elm.
Disagree. I used red oak myself and that didn't break. Granted, I built mine a little more "properly".
Aside from that, there are other cheap choices. Yew is rather expensive and I would put more effort into making a proper bow with yew wood. (shaping, tillering, backing, finishing, good bowstring)
And besides, by the time you hear one crack, it's too late and you'll need to start over. With anything other than a whisper crack you don't want to risk it blowing up in your face. Bend the wood slowly, progressively further, forming the compression in the wood with short and repeated pulls of the string.
ya is it safe? one of mine blew up in my face wen fireing it :D
xevilmickx3 years ago
wouldn't leather straps work better for this? might be a little easier on your hand as well, with repeated use. Just a thought...might try it myself.
im from Aus and i dont have a lowes thats a clothes shop here anyone know were to buy this stuff here.
i make bo staffs for my mates and charge them $60 and i use meserti or bamboo if you can suggest a cheaper wood that would be great.
would i be able to buy this stuff online??
fis00083 years ago
is the small bit on the outside or the inside
fis00083 years ago
Or anything else like that
fis00083 years ago
Is the diameter in inches or CM
cullenc19933 years ago
As a carpenter I would recommend hickory, or oak. Really, I think Osage Orange would be the best but unless you have an exotic lumber yard close that may not be an option. Maple would be good for a first time bow maker because the grain is more strait than oak or hickory and would be a little easier to carve. I would also recommend some clamps but I'm sure that set up would be alright as long as you give the glue 12 or 24 hours to dry.
yew and osage orange are probably the two best woods to use. but they are both expensive.
cool20004 years ago
would pine work?
defenently not
digrat cool20003 years ago
I would think that pine would be too soft of a wood to work well for a bow. Especially considering that you want as close to a knot-free piece of wood in your bow as possible (for strength) and most pine is littered with knots.
Brounds143 years ago
now its time to learn how to make DIY arrows!
wunmanband3 years ago
make a bow for free in the wilderness. there isnt much use to make a survival bow and carry it around, unless you are really in a survival situation, in which case you could just make one for free.
i made one to
hrodriguez73 years ago
I dont Know if its just me, but I coudn't find the more detailed descripton of waht the boww looks like
could you give me a direct link?
by the way, I found a wierd glich on the speed finger game.....
if you just press on the A key, the mph will go on forever!!!!
which piece is on the outside?
lucek3 years ago
I've never payed even $20 for a bow. A good strait sapling that grows on the back of my property has always served me nicely. OK the draw weight isn't commercial but I only use them for target practice and decoration. That's not to say any of them aren't serviceable with the exception of my really old attempts that I was learning while making. To the point I just finished one. I've yet to test it or varnish it but everything was done with a knife and my sore thumb.
Use B50, it's a type of string made for making bowstrings, get that and google how to make bowstrings.
dustindodd4 years ago
whats the lbs pullback?
9mvp94 years ago
This is awesome, i don't work with wood, but I'm making this! The bow-work is epic in these pictures.
ptsani4 years ago
how about compound-DIY_able??
should i use yew, ash ,maple or bamboo? im sooooooo confused!!!
For a first time bow don't buy an expensive wood. If you have access to ash, that'll be very good, same with maple. I doubt you do though.... Practically everywhere stocks Pine, so for your first bow I'd recomend that because it's cheap. No knots, as straight-a-grain as possible running parallel with the back of the bow. If the grain is at an angle to the bow it is likely to split along the grain. That's what happened to my first bow. Hickory Ash Pine Willow Elm Oak Cedar Birch Osage Orange Pine is a very bad bow wood, it's just good for your first bow to get the feel of making a bow.
where can i get a yew sapling? and an ash sapling?
if you want a yew limb to make a bow than cut it off of a yew bush. thats what i do and then i let it dry and carve it into a bow. i have a whole bunch of yew bushes in my backyard, if you dont know what yew looks like it is the bushes that look kindov like they are made out of pine, they have needles and they are much stronger than pine.
however, PLEASE don't chop down a yew tree. bushes are okay, but it takes ages for the bushes to become trees. Some are 2,000 years old!
They are not 2000 yrs old that is a common misconception. I could go into detail as to how the misconception arose but I just can't be bothered.
 if you want a part of a yew tree you could just take a branch.
cedar works or a bow? I always wanted a use for those cedars in my backyard!
temp xZCodmaNZx6 years ago
Is poplar good?
I wouldn't suggest pine since it's so prone to snapping. Red Oak makes a nice bow for a beginner, and most places you can get lumber stock it. a 2"x1"x6' peice works into a nice bow.
Pine isn't really a bad bow wood if you choose the right profile (flatbow) and tiller (only the middle of the limbs works - tips and handle don't ). Willow is waaaaaaaay worse than pine. Onec made one and it took 4" set... I've made 40 # pine bows. The limbs were 2,5" wide, but they shot like hell! Other (strange) bowwood I used was teak. Next week I'm going to try bankirai... It will be a flatbow 74" tall and 50# at 29" drawlength.
(My first bow was a flatbow, 2" wide and like 84" tall and it still snapped. It had a double thickness handle, I should probably have just made a D bow. It didn't bend in the tips either, and snapped mid-limb where the grain ran off the back. I have a better piece of Pine now, hopefully that'll be successful.
Wow 40#. What was the quality of the Pine? I know willow is a bad bow wood, i was just throwing all the possibilities in. Didn't realise it was that bad though. Ok now I'm gonna put together my bow making tutorial... Look at all these comments; it's definitely a popular subject. DEJAPONG, how many hits have you got for this instructable?
yew is the best, but try using a flexible wood but not weak wood
yew is the best material for bows
When i make my bows i use ash, hickory, and red oak
I just made one from red oak and the finish is drying right now it is a beautiful wood for bows
I would definitely recommend yew, I just made a bow out of white ash and it was a bit to brittle. But I have not tried bamboo yet hope this helps!
yew make some of the best bow but is very hard to work with i wouldnt recommend it to some who hasnt made that many bows
I made of bamboo and its way to flexible. The bow barely shoots an arrow 10yards.
That means you didn't use thick enough bamboo/ you need to use more bambo layers.
i would start with maple it has a good pull weight and is very easy to work with
redhawk444 years ago
Using wood from the hardware store is a waste of time and money and may well be dangerous. A bowstave for a self bow is split on the quarter or if you have to quarter sawn. The back of a self-bow stave should include the sapwood the belly the inner wood. Which generally means a source branch or trunk of at least 6" in diameter which would just produce suficient for 3 maybe 4 bows if it splits well. Branches are less suitable than the main trunk. The Main trunk should be suficiently mature that the first branches are at least 7 feet from the base ensuring few if any knots. The split staves should be air dried for at least 2 years before attempting to make the bow.
omagio5 years ago
okay i was gonna try this  when i can get around to it wondering if  white wax wood would work 
regrak5 years ago
Does the bow work well, And how far does it shoot?
aapch15 years ago
i did the stupid thing, and decided to use a cedar 2x2, now im's working, but its so hard to sand, and cut!!
I'm thinkin of makin' this (first time bowmaker) and i wanna now how you get the curve in the bow
soak it in water for how ever long till very fexable bend it and string it and let it dryit will have warped
the string keeps tension on the bow and thats why/how its bending if you soak it and bend it it wouldnt shoot
thats so you can put recurv in the bow easaly
FakingGlory5 years ago
Would cedar work in place of oak?
probably not it is relativly weak depending on if its mountain cedar(juniper) or not

handyman225 years ago
hey im in aus and its not such a great place to get wood for bow making, unless shipping from other places, but i was wondering, if pine wood, or Tasmanian oak are good types to use?
red-king5 years ago
 springbok horns are naturally already tillered fairly well. all you have to do is take a piece of wood and put it in the hole you drilled in each of the horns, then string it up. 

The only major problem (which is not a problem if you already draw a bow with such a high draw weight) is that it's draw weight is well above 100 pounds at a 28 inch draw and about 80 pounds at a 24 inch draw(according to the traditional bowyer's bible).
thedog4587 years ago
hey this is really good but if it your first time making a bow go for sum cheaper wood nothing like Willow or stuff because where I live its very expense.
 also willow is a terrible bow wood.
do u know how 2 make a crossbow oh yea can you buy wooden rods at a hardware store & use it as an arrow???
 no. wooden dowels are not cut straight with the grain of the wood.
maxgork1316 years ago
What is the best wood for bow
Osage Orange is generally regarded as the best (it's also called Bois D'Arc, or bow wood in French) but second to that is Yew and in a close tied third is Ash, or Black Locust.

Most serious bowyers will swear by Osage Orange, but if you aren't a particularly experienced archer and/or don't want to go to the trouble of finding and working with Osage (it's a fairly hard wood and tough to work with, it's kind of temperamental) you can go with Yew (which is softer) or Ash (which is pretty easy to find just about anywhere in the country.

They're all acceptable, and traditional, options.
 I hear that maple is very good to start with for making a bow. It makes bows of good draw weight but is fairly easy to work with, and straight. (so i'm told).
yew wood
steampirate5 years ago
aah so many questions! I have never made a bow before and wonder if i should even attempt to make a composite bow. If I do, where would i get thin enough pieces of wood from? Also what woods should i use? if I just make the bow described here what woods should I use? Should I use molding? And finally where do I get a hand planer? Thanks!
blupoop5 years ago
use spotted gum wood it works better im a proffesianal (wrong) bow maker
lucazoid5 years ago
what is the draw weight and how long did it take you to make
277237736 years ago
How about a recurve bow? Same strength as a longbow when short, but you must be very strong.
SG1Oniell6 years ago
robonut1237 years ago
Thats whicked how much pull back weight does it have and did you show how to create the arrows. It looks like its got some real power. looks like the bow of the rock in the scorpion king...really scary..i dont want to be hit with that
Flotonic6 years ago
Just a quick question. In this how to that I found on your site for this bow, I read that you used oak and poplar from Lowe's. I was wondering if you could link to their item pages. Please.

Also, how long would this last, how far would it shoot, and what's the draw weight?

Thanks for the awesome Instructable, and thanks in advance!
Cane6 years ago
Ive recently made a bow from Tahiti cane with which I can drive an arrow(8mm dowel)over 75 Yards. Thats when aiming at an angle into the air. It was pretty cheap and easy to make. And it looks much better than the ones posted here. But I do have one problem, its cracking all over, allthough it still shoots the same. Does anyone have a remedy for this. Ive heard that I must let it soak in a bath of hot water. Any advice would be appreciated.
With cane and bamboo, you need to heat treat the wood to cure it, or it will crack. However, do not heat treat bamboo until you drill a hole through all of the inner walls at the nodes. Otherwise it will explode. That is where the name comes from: BAM! BOOM! You can heat treat it by using a butane torch with a spreader nozzle, keep it moving constantly. The wood will change color and the resins will come out to the surface. If it starts to turn black, you have heated it too long in that spot. When the natural resin dries, it acts as a sealant and varnish, too.
one trick is to wrap the cracked areas in thin strong cordage
W trouble6 years ago
How many pounds is the pullback
AustralLord7 years ago
Which wood goes were? is this right:oak is outside piece and poplar is inside piece?
oak is the longer piece
hairydevil6 years ago
red oak is pretty good, but does anyone know somthing better that is readily available
I'm working on the bow right now i bought 4 feet of red oak for $0.97 per foot and i bought 2 feet of poplar for $0.65 a foot and i the plane is very nice it is 6 1/2 inches and bought for $9.00 and some gorilla glue for $3.95 all this at home depo so if your planing to build one go to home depo they pre cut the wood and every thing
Cane6 years ago
I forgot to mention, Ive tried pine a few times. Forget it. You will waste your time and money. Thats all Cherio
fly fisher6 years ago
this thing sucks u do not use oak
tausil86 years ago
omg!!!!!!!!that bow is scary!!!!i think its very hard to pull???btw VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY NICE bow!!!
deerslayer8 years ago
hey how do u bend the bamboo cuz it breaks
you tiller the bow by placing it on a tillering stick and pulling the bow down each nock on the stick gradually to relieve the stresses until you reach your draw length.
canid jvic19926 years ago
remembering to remove wood after each step in all the areas that aren't bending smoothely, or the wood around all areas that are bending too shaprly.
bamboo is actually very flexable.
Illamadi7 years ago
Where do you get staves of ash from
canid Illamadi6 years ago
if you don't live in an area where ash grows you can find many vendors of bowyery supplies that sell split staves of many woods, ash included. you can also make board bows from ash board lumber if you select the pieces properly according to gran straightness and orrientation. the ideal would be fresh cut boles [trunk sections] with a straight and even grain, no major knots/branches. these should be cured or kilned after splitting them up into staves, to help prevent undue splitting from checking during the drying proccess. many hardwoods make great selfbows.
Oengus7 years ago
OK... there are a LOT of misconceptions floating around here that I'm seeing as I read through the comments. With all due respect to dejapong, this tutorial is not to be relied upon if you're actually trying to make a working (and more importantly, long-lasting) wooden selfbow. I would direct you to , , or if you want good, accurate information and a knowledgeable community that can help you step by step.
when making bows out of yew(can get a length of it by cutting from a yew bush which it s the kind that most hedges are) it is wise to learn how to sharpen your tools as yew dulls tools like nothing ive evers seen
How is the wood even flexible enough to bend, it looks too strong.
uu ya just go out to the archery shop and buy a recurv bow for like $200 after u save up.
why on earth would you do that when that would be over priced and it is more fun making your own anyway? i make my own bows out of thick limbs from the Yew bushes in my back yard
that defeats the point of making something
i know i sorry but it's hard enough to learn to shoot without AlSO learning to make you're bow (to learn to shoot a bow good see my instructabke comming soon)
I figured out how to fire a bow and arrow without a bow and arrow.
can you tell me just how you manage that?
.....It's not hard.... to figure out how to fire a bow... without one If you don't figure out how to fire a bow before you get one, then you should at least figure it out within the first... say, 5 minutes you get one... or else... well, let's not discuss the consequences...
I figured out how to fire a bow and arrow with a selfbow...
Not everyone is patient enough to save up, nor does everyone have access to an archery shop, nor does everyone have that kind of money that they can use for something like that.
OR they feel that buying a factory made fiberglass bow is cheating. Or they just want to make themselves a bow to know how to do it and to say they have done it. Just cos it's one of those things that all boys love.
I know I know but if you do dicide to buy ond it's much easer to fire. right now i'm working on making all of the bows on this site and making an instructables to fire all of them. Also comming soon great fly fishing tecniques
you are right. I tryed to make this bow but it did not bend. I am going to try steaming it
Charles IV7 years ago
Wow really nice job and looks very professional.
lebelt7 years ago
This is the first good bow making Instructable I have seen. Poplar is a OK wood for bow making but you can make the entire bow out of red oak or any other hard wood (google making a self bow). Also remember that if you make the bow longer there will be less stress on the limbs so there will be less chance of it breaking. Another good way to keep the bow form breaking is to back it with something. to back the bow you need either a piece of linen, brown paper, hickory wood, or any fabric that will not stretch. next you glue the piece of backing to the back (outside) of the bow. If your going to do this I suggest doing alot of googling. I will make a Instructable when I make my next long bow, it will be 6" with a 60lbs draw at 29".
coconut guy7 years ago
i have a stanley hand planer and it doesnt shave down the wood it just barely does anything to the red oak im using how were u able to shave it down
you don't want to take much off at a time, it will take a while to tiller the bow. also make sure the blade is sharp enough to shave with. And take your time
A good name7 years ago
Hahaha, you spent money? I made mine out of wood that I had. Your's prolly works better, but I can make mine again and again... All I had to spend money on was on dowels to be the arrows.
ok heres a tricky in australia...wats the best wood thats like in the bush that will get a reasonable draw weight to it?
toxonix7 years ago
red oak is good wood if the early rings are really small. I've used poplar for parts like handles and stuff, but its not hard or dense enough and doesn't do well in compression or tension. Gorilla glue is also no good for bows IMO. Use a high strength 2 part marine epoxy. (EA40 or smooth-on epoxy) See Traditional Bowyer's Bible (book).
ferrari4847 years ago
How long must de bow be?
as tall as u are
Coffee bean9 years ago
Try PVC.
pvc dont even strecth man, or spring. ittll splinter ur hand, and cant be x rayed
lil jon1687 years ago
u can make a bow out of almost any soft wood but it needs to be soaked in hot water for best results
hey i hav bamboo can i make a bow out of that using the same instruction and do we hav to w8 for it to dry or do we carve it wen its fresh how do you get the wood to bend
yngcelt7 years ago
I tried to check out your website ( and everything was under construction.
how did u bend it, wieghs or is it just the twine?
ortho7 years ago
hickory has alot of spring and its hard it has been used in bows for along time
gunmanx7 years ago
did u use a wrasp to do this?
bowbeginner7 years ago
i am new to this and ive never tried anything like this but i have bamboo in a woods near where i live and im going to give it a whirl this week... i need a project to do... should i craft it when the bamboo is dry and brown or green and fresh... it can take bamboo like 5 years to dry out depending on what type so i might also try a wood like oak. oh well wish me luck. i dont have the right tools to do this but im pretty good at improvising so ill use my dads tools.
paulm7 years ago
do what I didi in my crossbow instructible, and use some dollar-store bamboo, it seems to work very well, and does not break.
Is blue gum a good wood for a longbow? And also when using the tillering board at what draw length should you stop carving the bow?
As a veteran bow-maker, I recommend everybody intersted in making bows to read "The Traditional Bowyer's Bible" Volume 1-3. It's written very good. The beginner as well as the advanced bowyers will have fun with these books...
Can you make your own longbow out of wood and then just buy a bowstring or can you make one?
again, you can buy them at your local archery store, even my local sports and fitness outlet doesnt sell them this instructable tells you how to make your own string too
lastvampire8 years ago
hey guys how do u put the feathers on the arrow shafts
Well I split the feather along the middel with a scalpel or something. Then after you have used 'n strong glue to glue it on you should also use a string that curls around it. Make sure the string does not break the form of the feather!
you gotta take a nice feather and cut it down the middle and have it straightened out over night. then take a small dab of super glue alone the edge of it and stick all 3 feathers equally like a triangle.
using pins to pin it in place helps
www.primitiveways.comI've done a little bit of researching on fletching. First, you need a fletching jig. then... um... go see!
available at your local archery range, or you can buy one at your local archery shop :( alternatively, stick one on, and then stick them evenly around the shaft, using the first vane as a reference. for example, if you want the normal 3 vanes youd have each of them 120 degrees from each other.
GreenPie7 years ago
If i wanted to make my own arrows... what wood would I use. Or does it even matter?
Legend GreenPie7 years ago
I just use dhowl from the hardware stores
I am an archer but i have only ever used fiberglass, wat wood should i use???
What woods do you have available?
pyromainac8 years ago
yew makes the best bow. do you have yew in the US? ash is alright two, as is maple
not sure about yew, how does willow work, got plenty of that here
They have Yew in the US. Supposedly Willow is a baaad bow wood, BUT again, use anything you have! I'm sure it's fine for a low poundage bow. Pine is sopposedly rubbish but that's all I've got at the moment, until I get good enough to order some wood from abroad (I dont trust myself not to ruin it).
qtm Legend8 years ago
Yew is a good wood for a traditional longbow. However, is the longbow the "best"? You can't shoot a longbow easily from horseback; the Mongolian composite bow, made with sinew and horn, was twice as powerful as the typical longbow and much more compact, which increases maneuverability and the ability to fight on horseback. For a simple self bow, if you're using alternative woods, change the profile. Instead of the "D" profile of a longbow, make it wider and flatter. In essence do what western Native American bowyers did, make a flatbow. I've heard that you can even make a flatbow out of pine, but for it to be usable it has to be several inches wide! So soft woods like pine are not ideal... but if you want to test your bowmaking abilities, give them a try. Otherwise any hardwood will make a good bow.
Legend qtm7 years ago
for a beginner, with bad wood, longbow isn't the best. Flatbows are easy to make and far more likely to succeed. Composite bows - The are insanely awsome, and insanely hard to make. DOn't even mention them here to first-time bowyers haha, my book says they take about 1000 hours to build.
Legend qtm8 years ago
Yeah I am making a flatbow, a Pine longbow would be a disaster! It's 2 inches wide, and my book says that much wider and you start loosing efficiency due to mass. Yew is a good wood no matter what style bow you use it for. It's one of the top bow woods.
But it is EXPENSIVE and HARD TO COME BY. Plus, if you mess up, you just wasted a lot of time and money.
Exactly, so use a different type of wood to start with. You can make your first bow out of anything really, just assume it will fail and get the experience from shaving it down and tillering it. Then invest in better woods If you're a beginner, more important than the type of wood is the amount of knots and the position of the grain. My first bow split along the grain, but it was all I had. I learnt alot from it, and the next bows have been successful.
Kingbow111 qtm7 years ago
Osage is a great wood for those living in the mid-south USA. And most of us are probably not going to be worrying about shooting on horseback. Anyways, we could use a Kyodo for that. A flatbow is indeed less inclined to break than the Longbow. However, a good longbow and flight arrows can allow for an archer to shoot in excess of 900 ft. Can a flatbow do that? I don't think so. (no offence there dude) And one more thing about your Mongolian Composite Bow. Not all of us have acess to sinew and horn, Let alone know how to back a bow with it. I mean no offence to anyone, but does anyone accually even add horn nocks to their bows?
xiao hawk qtm7 years ago
Then again, every nation utilisized the bow to fit their own needs. English longbowmen were foot archers. Mongols were always on horseback, so they needed a strong, yet small bow.
wiml pyromainac7 years ago
There's a Pacific Yew that grows on the west coast of the US, but it's been harvested into rarity because it's used to make some pharmaceuticals (taxol etc). So it might be hard to find. I wouldn't be surprised if the European yew has been brought to the US and can be found growing here and there though.
Should you use the most bendable type of wood for the longer piece and the strongest type for the shorter piece?
joemonkey8 years ago
SWEET! The best Bow on instructables! im using this as the bow on my crossbow instructable. Coming Soon!
... the "bow" on your crossbow is called a Prod. and its not gonna work well if its 4 ft long.
Ya and... I wanna see your Crossbow Design Joemonkey. What r u gonna use for your trigger mechanisim???
egadsman8 years ago
i did archery for a while and what i think you may find is that you may be better off using something a little softer on your hands say tennis raket grip or sumthing a little less coarse than rope, but you should also make a rubber holder for your arrow if you actually want this thing to fire accuratly almost %100 of the time btw always use a soft pliable flight for your arrow rubber guide you can variate this design for maximum accuracy | | | | |_______/
gnose egadsman7 years ago
go down to your local archery store and ask em for a stick on recurve arrow as hell
xiao hawk gnose7 years ago
Yes, but not everyone has access to a local archery store, especially those that live in cities or suburbs.
I've done a bit of archery, and I find that 1/2-1 in. wide felt, wrapped around is nice and soft.
whitetail167 years ago
i like this one, haven't tried it yet but im sure itll work.
hondagofast7 years ago
Sword cuts bow.
*archer shoots and kills swordsman at a hundred feet away*
El-Butchio8 years ago
rather than oak, use yew as it is incredibly strong and makes a much more powerful and accurate bow.
YAY YEw where did you get a stave of yew? I want some! I wish I had some... Osage is nice for making a bow too.
divel8 years ago
use nylon cord if you want best preformance.
No offence, but best preformance is probably Dracon B-50 or Fastflight. Nylon is not best, but is good for it's price.
Jute works great
aleCX7 years ago
hey could someone please tell me how to bend the wood
liny7 years ago
Its a good instructable, its better than most of the small ¨suposed to be¨ bows and arrows adn it is cheap. It is possible to shoot and arrow using a homemade spud gun too.
Kingbow1118 years ago
Couldn't you just use a vise or clamps instead of strings and sticks?
bear_cat8 years ago
i built this and when i went to bend it, it wouldnt so i had to take off the top piece and then i tryed it and the bow snapped splintering everwere. well, there goes 7 days of work
If you could take the top piece off... im sorry, but you didn't do it right.
Kingbow1118 years ago
oshidutako8 years ago
thats awesome. now for a longbow. i'll probably try making it 72" and 36" for the inside piece. maybe a little harder wood too. or bamboo. if i find any.
vertigo18 years ago
good job man, impressive planing skills obviously your no novice with a planer. i will post another comment with added instruct on lengths to build so you may use manufactured strings cheaper and maybe more accurate. damn impressive bud. - as for the FEATHER question, there are many tutorials on sportsmans websites about that. it is called fletching.
El-Butchio8 years ago
cut several notches further down the bow and progress 1 notch each day, this will allow the wood to "get used to" the stress. however do not leave the bow stringed for too long as it ajusts to the stress and will concequently lose power.
goss scott8 years ago
I cant bend the bamboo it keeps breaking. i've heard that if you soak it in water it will bend, is that true?
you need to oil it
Id have to imagine pretty well because oak is hard wood and i dealy that is what you want.but I would think longbow style instead of recurve would be better
How well would a red oak bow made out of plained down boards work. Recurve style. with risers of course.
soo.... how thick is the bow you made dejapong? and how thick would be recomender
I made my own bow and arrows with stuff in my backyard and it shot pretty far
I believe that this is the best bow instructable I have seen so far! The last bow I made was made out of a 1x2x6 it is actually very strong (55# @ 28"). How much do your bows tend to pull? Based on that, you can calculate the efficiency of your bow.
not a bad instructable i do archey and you can get good aluminium alloy arrows for $6 (aussie muny) a pop or tey the arrow making instructable if ur serious
You don't want to use aluminum arrows; they won't shoot straight from a self bow. What happens is the aluminum is too stiff. In modern bows, there is a shelf cut into the bow, so the bowstring pushes the arrow straight through the center of the bow. In a traditional bow, the string pushes the arrow *around* the side of the bow. If the arrow is too stiff, it just bounces off and flies in the wrong direction. If it's too soft, it bends around too much. The stiffness of the shaft must be matched to the weight of the bow, to allow the arrow to bend around the shaft and fly straighter to the target. It's known as "archer's paradox".
in china they use A-sysmetric bows that they fire at the floor from above their heads!!
Yukut8 years ago
Is it possible to make this bow out of one piece of wood? Also, for all you out there who want a cheap handgrip,tape the middle with duct tape!!
Legend Yukut8 years ago
Yeah he just used two woods for effect more than anything. The handle doesn't bend so it wouldn't matter what wood you made it out of. I made my bow from one 2x1x10. I cut it down to 6'3" and cut the remainder wood to 10 inches. I then stuck this square in the middle of the bow, and sawed, shaved and filed it into handle shape. You could bypass this all together, and just work the handle into the original thickness, but not with a wood like Pine.
LuisWalker8 years ago
how did you manage to string your bow??? i made one but the string keeps breaking on me.. and when i get a strong enough string i cant manage to string the damn thing.... lol what method of stringing do you use?
qtm LuisWalker8 years ago
As for stringing, the only method you should use is a stringer; otherwise you risk damage to the bow. A stringer is a heavy cord a foot longer than the bow. On both ends attach a "cuff" or "cup" of leather. The cuff should be narrow enough to just cover the tip of the bow, but not cover the nocks. Put a cuff on both tips, step on the stringer and pull the bow up; this will flex the bow evenly and allow you to bend it enough to slide the string up into place. If you have horn tips that you don't want to damage, make the cuff bigger so it slides further down the limb. You'll have to slide the bowstring up through the cuff but it's not that difficult once you figure out how.
qtm LuisWalker8 years ago
As long as you aren't worried about being "traditional", order a spool of B50 from an archery supply store. That will never break. Linen is traditional, but a bit pricey. Hemp is traditional, however the stuff you can buy (in the US) is inferior quality due to the restrictions on growing hemp. It can be used, but not for too long. Use a stick of beeswax and coat the strands individually before weaving into the final string, this will prevent humidity and add a bit of strength.
omg, pvc , the great american white tree.... coffee, sorry to rain on your perade but pvc would shatter catestrophically, like it always does, and probably pierce someone, somewhere...
Yeah, pvc doesn't work well if your looking for perfect accuracy or great range. But I made one a year or so back and it still works great(just make sure not to curve the bow reeeally far or it will break). If your looking for something that is quick and very easy to make, pvc is the way to go.
actually, pvc works quite well (at least for me). i fashioned mine from 3 pieces of pvc- with one thicker than the others and the remaining two a bit longer then the first. insert the thinner pvc pipes into the thicker one ( i know they tend to move around, but adding the bowstring will talke care of that). then i cut notches into both ends of the bow- about 1/4 of the way down from the OUTSIDE edge of the bow. for the bowstring i used the "rope/string" (sheesh i dunno what they're called) i found from my old running pants (the one that tightens your trousers to your waist)- pretty thick in itself, but as an alternative you could use shoelaces- braided together (sewn along the sides for added strength), cut just over the length of the bow. wait. sheeesh and to think i can actually make an instructable on this. hehe imma try posting soon
and so here it is- my very first instructable
srry to double post, but its been awhile since i've made a bow string (think lefeber northwoods boyscout camp, about 3 years ago), so could you outline what you did to do that?
goss scott8 years ago
I got a bow but it wont bend any more, but it aint bent enough, what should i do? and i need some bowstring, i have tried brainding yarn but it keeps breaking. any suggestions? scott
you might try buying sinew(sp?) from your local craft store (it will likely be in either the beading or leather working can also find it for sale at most Pow Wows), and braid several strands into the desired thickness. Sinew is very durable (it's spun deer tedon). I'm pretty sure it was traditionaly fairly common for both native american and europiean bowmen to use it in their bow strings, as deer were pretty readily available on both sides of the pond, but don't quote me on that. I'm a flint knapper not a fletcher... Jen
Legend Rowen278 years ago
Yikes! Sinew is a little advanced for now. I've just read that braiding is weaker, so dont braid it, just twist it. Then cover it with beeswax.
Rowen27 Legend8 years ago
sounds like a plan to me, the majority of my experience with archery was at camp years ago and seeing handmade bows on the pow wow circuit, but those weren't necessarily for use.... Jen
chuck it away
Well, first off, your problem was that you probably left the bow strung, when a recurve or longbow is left strung over a long period of time, it will eventually lose its tension, and, eventuallt become permanently bent like that, you need to unstring it. And for a bowstring, a professional dacron one would be best (assuming your bow is a standard length)
billy bob8 years ago
what do u shave it down with
A 3" hand-plane and a Stanley Surform Rasp. The plane takes off more wood, but at times it takes off no wood so you need the rasp at those points. You also use the rasp for fine tillering because you'll probably take off far too much wood with the plane.
nobie8 years ago
how is birch in bowmaking??? plz reply
Legend nobie8 years ago
Useable. Just make a bow, no matter what wood you have available! You'll learn far more than just reading about it. I put off making one for 6 months because I didn't think I knew enough, but you just have to start. Dont be afraid to fail. The only way to fail is to never start.
stranoster8 years ago
Awesome! Like miko said (i'm an aussie) you can get good arrows from camping shops etc. to save making them, fletching and so on. Brilliant work mate! (just thought i would say it to be stereotypical)
billy bob8 years ago
what would be the best type of string to use
billy bob8 years ago
what do u use for the string
Rowen278 years ago
thanks for this great instructable, I found it just in time for this years production of Robin Hood! Jen
Toddson8 years ago
when the bow is just resting, should there be a gap between the bow and the string?
when the bow is not in use, you should de-string the bow, as leaving the string on, causes longbows, and recurve bows to eventually form to that crecent moon shape, and eventually, loose power, which is the attraction of compound bows, not really nessecarily needing to be unstrung.
no need to do that mines a pvc longbow onsidering im a nerd and i find pvc lying al over the place it works good considering it cant break when bent unles u touch the ends together
dejapong (author) 9 years ago
Well, I havent made any arrows yet. Im still waiting for the glue to cure just a little bit more first. My thoughts were to use this sort of cane Ive seen growing around the lake here. Once I make the arrows if they're any good, I'll post the how-to.
Danny dejapong8 years ago
can i ask? how far does this thing shoot? you should video yourself shooting it
LuisWalker8 years ago
Beautiful! i've been wanting to make a bow for a long time.. every attempt resulted in the bow snaping in half.. im going to try this soon!!!
lukeRAMBO8 years ago
sweet bow man i think i will build it
zofo3008 years ago
i think u can ues bluser wood
double duce!!!!!!!!!!.jpg
Ointna, it's not a stupid question! It's called Tillering. What you do: After you've made your bow about the right shape (like a straight staff - bows are curved because the bow string is shorter than the bow its self), place one end of the bow on the floor and put your hand on the top of the bow (the bow is still unstrung at this point). Push down lightly on the bow untill it starts to bend and look at the curve. You will probably see a point which bends less than another point. To remedy this shave a little wood off the stiff part and bend it gentley again. If it is still bending less than other parts shave more wood, and do this for all the stiff parts until your bow curves nicely. Now put the bow string on and pull the string a little and still check to see if it is bending the same throughout the bow (The handle will be stiff unless you are making a bow which bends in the handle too - both are fine, but if you are making a 'working-handle' bow, make sure the handle is still the thickest part of the bow as this is the part which will snap if the bow is all one thickness. The bow should progressively become thinner towards the tips of the limbs.). If it is bending evenly, pull a bit further and look again. FInally when you are sure it bends consistantly throughout the draw, you can pull back fully, and fire your arrows!
bowman8 years ago
If you're serious pick up a copy of Jim Hamm's book on bowmaking. If you're in the west or southwest, Osage Orange is the wood of choice.
unknown1018 years ago
what do u use for string? I always used shoe string lol
Todumb4u8 years ago
w00t! Nice always wanted to make my own bow! Thanks!
ointna8 years ago
this is kind of a stupid question but... how to you curve or shape the bow?
In the southern US, at least, the best wood for bows is osage orange. It's a tree that makes a strange fruit kind of like a breadfruit or jackfruit. It's strong, tough, and has just the right amount of flex. It's also known as "bodark" which is from the French bois d'arc or "bow wood." it come with free arrows? if so...teach me...i'm eager =P
veltis9 years ago
In Finland, kids make bows out of young juniper trees. Just cut a straight-ish tree, trim off branches, whittle down fat end to match thin end. I assume this would work for certain US woods too?
This and the bamboo bow project on your website look like great weekend fun (finally, something I can legitimately use my machete for in the US where there are no durians...). What do you use for arrows?
bamboo tomato stakes work, so do dowels. duct tape make a good substitute for feathers. some weight on the tip-arrowhead or just some wire wrapping-balances the arrow slightly front heavy for better flight. i made a bamboo bow, but epoxied two slices together-ended up self-destructing catastrophicaly but was fun while it lasted.
kqrpnb9 years ago
Wood glue is best applied in a thin, even coat.
Polyurethane (Gorilla) glue is harder to work with and more expensive - which are good reasons not to use it in this case. It is stronger than regular wood glue, and could be used if you want to over-do it. All wood glue is stronger than the wood itself, so if done properly, it's a moot point anyway. Cool project.