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!
triumphman2 days ago

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.

triumphman2 days ago

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.

triumphman2 days ago

I have the skis, nut & bolts, wood for riser, glue, tools, etc.. But I have a few questions: 1: I shoot left handed. Do I need to cut the arrow rest on the other side of the riser ? Can I make a stronger bow for hunting by using the 10 degree angle ? Thanks.

jpalka2 months ago

Is there any chance you could post a PDF of the modified riser. It would be much apreciated.

are you wanting to add?

tdenney162 months ago

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

bkelly10125 months ago
This is beyond awesome dude, i currently have an ad on craigslist looking for some snow skis to be able to do this! Kudos man
dchall86 months ago
Paracord is nylon, which is inherently stretchy. Dacron is not stretchy. I would not take this project on until you found the Dacron line...which should not be hard to find. Back in the 90s I had a boat that I decided to use nylon line on. I needed 50 feet, so I bought 50 feet. By the time I had pulled it as tight as I needed it, I had to cut off 25 feet of the original 50. After a full season of retightening the boat every weekend, by the end I had pulled an additional 125 feet to keep the rig tight. For the next 9 seasons I used one 50-foot skein of Dacron and never needed to tighten it even once.
Yoshinok (author)  dchall86 months ago
Yes, this is something I a couple years ago when first making bows. As this was not a full i'ble I decided to leave out the part where I pre-stretch the nylon each time I go to string the bow. Thanks for the advice!
audreyobscura6 months ago
That residency seems rad!
I have a few questions about the riser and arms for this bow. I know you have templates of the other 2 risers that you made. Do you have one for this one too? Also, How long did you cut the limbs and how long is the overall bow? Last thing. I am around 6' tall and would need a draw of about 32"-33" (I'm guessing). Is there a way to adjust it from what you have built to accommodate for a longer draw length? Thanks.
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?
Yoshinok (author)  acousticlover966 months ago
There is a section in the original instructable (see the link above) that details how to make a string. I might make another 'ible just on that. Although a paracord string with bowlines isn't pretty it certainly does the trick. Paracord is ridiculously strong. When tillering bows I almost always use strings made from the stuff.
Jobar0076 months ago
As I read this, you can tweak the draw weight by altering the angle of the attachment of the limbs, correct? If so, it could allow you to potentially use shims to dial down to a certain level. As a result, you could build a bow for a child and have it "grow" with them in draw weight. Interesting idea...
Yoshinok (author)  Jobar0076 months ago
I've not played too much with shims. Hypothetically, yes. You might need to make a slightly shorter string as you shim the limbs. If you do paracord like shown here thats not really trouble. However, if you had a nice dacron b-50 string or flemish twist that would be far more difficult. If you do, let us know how it goes!

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