Introduction: Powerful Takedown Bow From Downhill Skis

Picture of 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!


triumphman (author)2014-04-14

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.

HTWTUSA (author)triumphman2014-05-19

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.

HTWTUSA (author)HTWTUSA2014-05-19

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

Jim chin (author)HTWTUSA2016-01-21

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!

VanD13 (author)Jim chin2016-04-17

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.

HTWTUSA (author)HTWTUSA2014-05-19


triumphman (author)HTWTUSA2014-05-27

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!

manofsteelinstructable (author)2016-03-30

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

BenjaminG35 (author)2016-01-13

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

fpatrum (author)2015-09-24

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#.

Adrian-OvidiuP (author)2015-08-11

Hello Yoshinok, can you please tell me how long are the limbs?

Adrian-OvidiuP (author)2015-08-11

triumphman (author)2014-04-14

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.

kiisu888 (author)triumphman2015-02-19

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?

triumphman (author)triumphman2014-04-21

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.

triumphman (author)triumphman2014-04-22

Hey, Yoshinok , where did you go ?

tdenney16 (author)2014-02-15

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

triumphman (author)tdenney162014-04-22

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 ?

tdenney16 (author)triumphman2014-09-18

That's what I'm thinking.. I dunno haha. I still have'm sitting in the corner XD

acousticlover96 (author)2013-10-06

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?

Make a Flemish style string out of Dacron B 50, this is easy to do but you need a Flemish string board. You should be able to google how to make a Flemish string board and a Flemish string but if you can't find it, I can tell you how to make them both.

Make a Flemish style string, it is easy to do with Dacron B 50 that you can get at any archery shop. You do need a Flemish String board but they are easy to make as well. You should be able to google how to make both a string and a board but if you can't , I can tell you how.

Yoshinok (author)acousticlover962013-10-06

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.

triumphman (author)2014-06-04

Yashinok , are you still with us ? Dis you take that ten year shuttle to Mars ? No email out there ? Too bad! See you in 10 or 20 years, maybe!

triumphman (author)2014-04-14

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.

triumphman (author)triumphman2014-06-04

Is the maker still on this planet ? He has not answered any questions in a very long time! Seems HWTUSA is answering all Yoshinok's questions for him. Tanks.

HTWTUSA (author)triumphman2014-05-31

too much force will cause limb failure at the attached end of your limbs... stick with the specs for the riser angles...and yes, if you're a lefty, mirror the arrow rest...

HTWTUSA (author)2014-05-19

Pretty cool...getting over 63# (at 31") out of my build...great idea.and I will build many favorite bow now.

We used the back end of the skis for a longbow style....excellent...will definitely harvest deer this fall with one of these great bows.

cút1 (author)2014-04-25

Dear Yoshinok... i prepare to make a riser...but i still have something don't understand

it's about pivot point of raiser....someone said it is under sight window (under rest point) and at hand holder place...but with yours, it see it actually at rest point of riser...

so, with type more balance and stable for riser !

plz help me ! i'm on my way to make it now

triumphman (author)cút12014-04-26

He is not replying!

triumphman (author)2014-04-26

Yoshinok is not here anymore! Where is he ? He hasn't answered any current questions! ??????

jpalka (author)2014-01-21

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

chibonharjo (author)jpalka2014-04-11

are you wanting to add?

survivalist at home (author)2013-11-29


bkelly1012 (author)2013-10-28

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

dchall8 (author)2013-10-11

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)dchall82013-10-12

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!

audreyobscura (author)2013-10-07

That residency seems rad!

preachercotton (author)2013-10-07

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.

Jobar007 (author)2013-10-04

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)Jobar0072013-10-06

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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