Powerful Takedown Bow From Downhill Skis





Introduction: Powerful Takedown Bow From Downhill Skis

This bow is made from a pair of Fischer downhill skis.  It pulls 58# at @ 28".  The riser is made from walnut and pecan and is coated in a satin polyurethane finish.  The string is made from paracord with bowlines.  This will be replaced by a dacron string when I get the time to make one.

The takedown shown in these photos is a followup to the instructable I wrote earlier this year.  I have received many questions asking "just how powerful a bow can you make from skis?".  This takedown bow shoots nearly as fast as my fiberglass/wood laminate recurves. Once I get my hands on a chronograph I will actually provide some numbers.  But based on target penetration and my experience I'd have to say that it performs quite comparably.   

So what makes this bow different than the previous takedowns?
  • Downhill skis - The limbs of this bow are made from rigid Fischer skis that require far more energy to flex than the old cross country skis I used previously.  This greatly increases the draw weight of the bow.
  • Angle of the attached limb - The angle formed between riser and the bolted on limb in this bow is <10˚ (compare this to the previous bows where the angle was 20˚-25˚).  This forces the limbs to be under more strain when the bow is braced (strung). Consequently the force required to flex the limbs at early draw is increased and more energy is stored in the bow.
Again, if you're interested in making a bow from skis check this out!

This bow was one of the many that were used in a performance at the Rurally Good Festival at Grin City Collective!  Shameless plug: Grin City is now accepting applicants for its Spring Residency!



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    41 Discussions

    I just measured my downhill skis. They are widest towards the pointed ends 3.5 inches and taper down to 2.75 inches. Do I need to cut the sides down to 2 inches all the way from the tip end to the riser ? There are steel edges. What will cut this steel ? Table saw ? Jig saw ? Band saw ? I have all three. Thanks.

    6 replies

    Grinder with a metal cutoff wheel worked best for me...if your skis have metal reenforced tips, cut them off too...DANGEROUS delamination hinge point...noticed it after about nine shots and cut off another couple inches to eliminate the threat of limb failure...I ripped mine down to a straight 1.75 inches wide and it's a sick, murderously powerful bow...don't forget your dust mask.

    One of my good friends shooting my new bow for the rest time...


    I am new to this group and have read the questions on the type of skis,The downhill skis are too wide, the better choice would be cross country skis, they are narrower and seems to be better suited for the limbs, my suggestion is to go to thrift stores to find cross country skis,I got some for $5.00 a pair at a thrift store and do not have a problem cutting them!

    If you read the intro you will see he previously made one with cross country skis, but couldn't get much draw weight so he made these intentionally out of downhill skis to overcome that problem.

    Thanks, you are the only person that helped! I can at least cut my skis down now. I have an angle grinder that cuts 1/4 " steel. I will cut off all the steel to make mine about 1.75 like you said. I hope this works out. I want to hunt with this! Woodworking and steel knives, hatchets, spears, arrow points are my hobby. Thanks so much!

    Anyone who made this still available here???
    I need some guidance.

    Those are not alpine skis but nordic backcountry skis! It's a shame to them cut up. Still, happy hunting!

    Do you happen to have any information regarding the draw weight changes between the different riser limb angles? I'm looking to put something in the 40-50# range for typical target shooting with perhaps a second riser to put it closer to your 58#.

    My down hill skis are wide 3.75 near the tip and taper down . They don't look thin like your pictures! Do I cut them down to 2 " all the way to the riser ? Using Table saw ? Or Band saw ? I have to cut through the steel edges on these down hill skis. There is steel edges on both top and bottom of both of the skis edges. Down hill skis have to be sharpened from time to time after use so a good sharp edge will give better control on the slopes. Skinny Cross country skis don't have steel edges. Any help will be appreciated. I can't wait to make this bow from my down hill skis. Thanks.

    3 replies

    Hello triumphman not sure if your still on her, but i have the same issue you had my skis ate racing skis and have the metal steel side rail as well as the aluminium tip. I thought abot cutting them ofc to make it less rigid but i was afraid of delamination of the material and taking away all of the useful rigidity. So i left them and while stringing it I started to hear cracking so I tested the weight by resting it on blocks and jumping on i, I weigh 160lbs and not a creak. So I figure with the skis in their natural for it must be pulling 200+ pounds or its the 15° angle adding to the stress either way I went ahead with attempting to string it after reinforcing the grip and naturally it snapped in half under the reinforced part. I used a mixture of red oak, hard maple, and pooplar. (Yes i meant to spell it like that). I fliped the template the wrong way and made the poplar the load bearing section. But I plan to reengineer it. My question is how do the skis hold up after cutting off the rails?

    I guess this will go un- answered. Maybe the maker has left for greener pastures ! Who knows. I have not got a word on this yet! Anyone know what to do here ? Read my quandry above. Thanks.

    My skis seem to be a bit wider. I have rossignol 180s. How should I thin the width down? I can't bend them at all :P

    2 replies

    I have the same problem, but my skis have a metal edge on top & bottom. They also taper wider from the front and narrower to the bindings. Do I cut this off to get the same width for the bow ?

    This is an awesome idea, but I dont understand how to make a bow string, can you make an instructable on how to make one that doesn't require a jig?