Instructables

Making a Willow Bow

Picture of Making a Willow Bow
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1. I had heard of bow making classes at Native American community centers but never managed to make it to one. I had bought a hand made wooden Willow Bow from rual Mexico about 30 years ago but did not want to use it. So I wanted to make usable copy.
2. I stopped a arroyo and cut a nice section of Arroyo Willow about 5 feet long about 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter.
3.  I cut both ends even dopwn to length of  50 inches, I used a Japanese doubel saw as their teeth cut this material better in the past.
4. I used an old draw knife to remove all of the bark from the wood.
5. I laid out one side to be flat about 1/3 to 1/2 way through the length on the wooden piece
6. I made it tapper using my draw knife like the orginal one was.
7. I shapped the end to look the same and knotched them for a bow string.
8. I sanded the bow using a pumice stick as willow green will clog you sand paper quickly
9.  I heated the ends to bend them and set the shape of the bow.
10. I let it dry for two weeks. I braided nylon construction string for my bow string.
triumphman1 year ago
Nice job, put the sideways pics gave me a stiff neck! Can you correct the pics so they are horizonta ?
rimar20003 years ago
Is the willow elastic enough to make a bow? It seems so soft...
shawneegeek3 years ago
If you want to add a few pounds of draw weight to that, you can back it with raw hide... I use the unflavored dog treat raw hides from Petco, as they are squares about the right size, and are very cheap. Backing the bow will also keep it from splitting, although, willow you dont usually have to worry about that... makes it the perfect survival bow. Good post!
When debarking green wood DO NOT CARVE you should always peel when you carve it can make the bow crack when it drys