Introduction: Re-curve Bow From Skis

During my most recent skiing outing and I flexed my skis in such an extreme manner that Glenn Plake himself would have gone white as snow,my brain retained this idea that skis must be unbreakable.

So without much ado,I dug out the old vokle skis from the shed and got stuck in with a grinder and.............. that's pretty much the only tool you need.

I've made various types of bows over the years and this has been the simplest and most powerful by far and can also be dismantled for ease of storage or transport.

length and width of finished bow is personal preference and I imagine different eras or skis and models could be stronger or more flex.You could probably use a snowboard as would have benefit of having both ends re- curved or a freestyle ski ( but could be too long)

Like most sports you can set yourself up fro the whole sport at a garage sale for about 20 bucks, but whats the fun in that? 


Step 1: Selecting Ski

Use any skis you can get your hands on,Dump shops,op shops, garage sales ( yard sales) ski shops, you see all the old 80s and 90s skis all over the place.


tools required

Angle grinder plus cutting disc and burnishing  disk                                                 G cramps x 2
rule                                                                                                                               nylon cord ( venetion blind string is ideal for bow string)
marker pen or some sort                                                                                               Arrows
earmuffs
eye protection
ventilated area

Step 2: Cutting Skis Into Staves

If you can get skis without bindings great,if not you will have to remove them.possie drive screwdriver and a flat head should be enough.You can always grind them off if you have trouble.

Once bindings are off find centre of ski I( used protractor) then strike a line full length of ski.strike another line 15 mil either side so you end up with 3 lines ( marker pen,chalk line up to you) 

I chose 30 mil as my width but there could be advantages in having 50 mil or tapering to much wider at the top. A quick google on bow design will give you an idea but it's mostly trial and error.

cut the strips from both skis as marked so you end up with 2 lengths both 30 mil wide.

I initially made the bow too long so after a bit of trail and error I found 650mil per stave optimum for my draw length.



Step 3: Finishing Strips

You must ensure strips are a uniform length and width to ensure the draw is 100% equal.

Make 2 notches each side of tips for bow string.

Cut 2 pieces 150 ml long out of the off cuts off each stave,you could use 2 pieces of heavy wood,steel or whatever you have lying around.These off-cuts are for cramping either side of join to hold bow together.


Step 4: Clamp Together

Clamp the four pieces together,you could use big hose type clamps or anything you can think of.I just used two woodworking cramps I had lying around.

Ensure the two 150 mil pieces are dead centre, i measured from string notch to piece to be cramped.

Notice how one of the pieces is a bit crudely cut, this isn't really ideal but it is a 15 min project.


Step 5: String Up

Get your length of venetian blind nylon or something similar tie a bowline around one set of notches then tie another about 200mil ( give or take) down from the other set of notches.

e.g if your bow is 120 cm long then bowline loop to bowline loop will be about 100 cm give or take. You can easily change it if it is to curvy or too flat.

You want the bowlines to be big enough loops to unstring the bow without undoing any knots.

It is a good idea to do a few test draws  (pulls) to check for any weak points.Bow making can be dangerous,I have had one of these snap when I tried to use epoxy instead of using cramps and got a face full of ski and a blood eye brow to show for it.

Bows are not toys ( unless it's a toy bow) they were man's most lethal weapon until the femme fatal.

Comments

author
Phil+B made it!(author)2012-08-19

Thank you for this idea. Until recently we lived near to a popular ski run and I saw old skis used there as fence staves just to make some use of them. I have been thinking about a crossbow and this would be a good source for the bow. What is your estimate of the pull in pounds from your bow?

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-19

About 45 lb ish.Quite nice to shoot.

cross bow you could prob keep original width, and cut it down to jst foot and half each blade.
would get a massive poundage.

author
Phil+B made it!(author)2012-08-19

Thank you.

author
jakeson made it!(author)2012-08-19

You clearly never had a limb from a recurve break and tag you in the nuts.... I love the idea but the potential for problems with this is huge... I have been shooting for a few years, and let me tell you, there is a TON of pressure on those limbs. I winced as soon as I saw the picture. Remember when this fails (when not if) there is a lot of power behind all those little bits and pieces to be hit with....

IF However it works for you thats fantastic and I really actually hope all goes well!

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-19

If You read the last step I noted I had been hit in the face from a breaking bow.

Sure there are potential problems,all risks are well mitigated.I am also a reasonably competent archer and I know how much flex a ski can take being an expert skier.

I have a bit more fear from I.E.D.s or from my chainsaw.!

I appreciate your concern.

author
jongscx made it!(author)2012-08-19

...Wut?

What kind of Draw are you getting on these things? (There-abouts)

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-19

I measured by putting the bow on a metre rule on a bathroom scale.Pull down to my draw distance.Is about 45lb ish.

I am intending to redo the handle so the two staves lean forward when unstrung much like a mongol horse bow which should increase draw weight.

author
Lt.+Duct+Tape made it!(author)2012-08-19

Ingenious! What material was your ski made from?

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-19

What ever skis are made of,I don't think it matters though a wooden ski might not flex as easily. These ones were made of an Aluminium sandwiching a core of some graphite type stuff.Hence the need for ventilated area,it sure makes a mess when cutting.

author
berteh made it!(author)2012-08-19

wonderful suggestion, thanks!

author
l8nite made it!(author)2012-08-19

oddly enough we do get snow skies in 2nd hand/thrift shops here in Florida, next time I see a pair I'll have to grab them !

author
rocklocker made it!(author)2012-08-19

I knew I kept those old skies for something. Great Idea.

author
couchpotato130 made it!(author)2013-08-18

PUTE IT IN INCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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couchpotato130 made it!(author)2013-08-18

PUTE IT IN INCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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fantasyman made it!(author)2013-06-13

thank you for this great instructable, i only have one question:whatk ind of material are(pardon, were) your skis made of? they are incredibly thin, compared to skis i've always seen

author
Imcrazydude made it!(author)2013-05-02

Draw weight?

author
darrenhall made it!(author)2013-03-21

This is an elegant and beautiful build - big respect.

DZ

author
triumphman made it!(author)2013-03-03

It would be nice if you stated your size measurements and weights in inches (USA) and pounds (USA) for us blokes across the pond, thanks mate !

author
builder928 made it!(author)2012-11-05

nice bow and thats a really good idea

author
snoopindaweb made it!(author)2012-08-27

Back when America was built with inches, the rule of thumb with Recurves and I'm sure Long Bows was 4" shorter String "Loop end - Loop end" than the Bow, a 54" Recurve needs a 50" String Braided "Artificial Sinuew <=== S/P? - comes off the spool endless and waxed heavily" - like from CrazyCrowTraidingPost.com, or maybe a Bow String from a Sporting Goods or Archery Shop for less than $ 10.00 last I knew (Not enough to ruin the Beer Fund), etc, etc.

author
snoopindaweb made it!(author)2012-08-27

Needs a period after 50" String, to make better sence.

author
Questor made it!(author)2012-09-24

and you need to learn to spell

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mr+magic made it!(author)2012-09-25

You can't start a sentence with a lower case 'and'

author
snoopindaweb made it!(author)2012-09-25

Sience..?

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mr+magic made it!(author)2012-09-25

yeah , maybe it means science.

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-28

Period after 50? Usually menopause strikes by then

author
snoopindaweb made it!(author)2012-08-28

=////=======> HAR..! 54" Recurve needs a 50" String, loop end 2 loop end.

author
herkavar made it!(author)2012-08-29

For safety reasons, I'd like to clarify. First of all, recurves and lonbows are very different, and you don't want to assume that they're the same. Recurves are a stiff in the handle bow, and a longbow is a bend in the handle bow. Recurves have a rectangular cross section, and longbows have a rounded cross section. A 54" inch recurve bow is going to have a very different string length and brace height than a 6 foot longbow. You can't apply this "rule of thumb" to determine string length. String length is different for each shooter, and each bow. To measure string length, you need to know the correct brace height for a given person on a given bow. This is found using a "fistmele" measurement. You place the back of your fist on the belly side of the handle, with your thumb fully extended. The string length should be such that the bow string just touches the tip of your thumb. Depending on the bow and the brace height for a given person, this can be anywhere from 2.25 to 4.5 inches.

author
snoopindaweb made it!(author)2012-08-27

Back when America was built with inches, the rule of thumb with Recurves and I'm sure Long Bows was 4" shorter String "Loop end - Loop end" than the Bow, a 54" Recurve needs a 50" String Braided "Artificial Sinuew <=== S/P? - comes off the spool endless and waxed heavily" - like from CrazyCrowTraidingPost.com, or maybe a Bow String from a Sporting Goods or Archery Shop for less than $ 10.00 last I knew (Not enough to ruin the Beer Fund), etc, etc.

author
Questor made it!(author)2012-09-24

I make my crossbow strings from waxed dental floss. find the proper length for your string. put two nails, at that distance, on a board. wrap about 15 or 20 wraps around, nail to nail. whip the ends to make loops the proper size. Find the center and start whipping, a layer or two, an inch or so from one side to the same distance on the other
of that center mark. I then drip melted wax over all the whippings.

author
snoopindaweb made it!(author)2012-09-25

Great idea..! & Yet another good reason to carry a couple packs of Dental Floss in an "Emergency Kit"... P.S. You woulden't beleve it, I looked a bit closer at My rule and realized what that stuff was on the bottom, Metrics, YUP.! Thanks Again. G-G

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-27

Yeah that is prob right. I was guesstimating.
four inches off 50 seems about right.
I just try and string it up from what I have lying around. Though I always thought when England built America they had invented the Musket.

author
scottyman79 made it!(author)2012-08-26

Why not drill 4 holes on each stave and bolt the whole assembly together with hex bolts? This would prove effecient and still allow the disassembly of the unit.

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-27

wouldn't want to compromise strength with holes.

author
scottyman79 made it!(author)2012-08-29

I dont understand how that would compromise the strength of skis, though if you were dealing with fiberglass then yes it would really cause problems with the integrity of the unit but skis generally have a core made of high durability metal. I agree that a small snowboard would be better because it is already one whole unit and though I know almost nothing about skis I do know a thing or two about snowboards because I own a couple myself. I may be wrong about the skis core materials but snowboards do in fact have a metal core. = )

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-29

You wont know till you try it out

author
scottyman79 made it!(author)2012-08-29

Regardless I think your idea is brilliant. I am a survivalist living in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, U.S.A. and this tutorial is excellent reading. Thank you.

author
ClandestineIntestine made it!(author)2012-09-13

With electrcity and internet access? HEATHEN!

/JK

author
acoleman3 made it!(author)2012-08-29

well, you could always make 3cm x 18 cm panels, sandwich the staves between them and use 2 hose cramps on each side of the break. that might bind it together enough.

author
etb made it!(author)2012-08-28

You said 650 ml for your draw length. But what is yiu drawlength? 28"? Or more

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-29

74 cm that is about 29' in the old fashioned measurments

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goldie25 made it!(author)2012-08-28

A gret idea. I like the comments about using a pipe to join the two pieced. Th pipe could be flattened into an oval cross section with a sledge hammer and a block of steel to act as an anvil.then use remocable bolts with wing nuts so you don't have to carry an anvil. Hope to see you on Turoa.

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-29

turoa sat. look out for the flash

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bmwsid made it!(author)2012-08-28

When I saw this, I had a good idea. Make the bow so that you shoot THROUGH the center, instead of off one side. The benefits are great, and the arrows don't need to be as stiff. (spine)
Also, then it is SO much easier to shoot right OR left-handed!
Just make the hole in the riser big enough to get the fletching through.

author
wiatmatt874 made it!(author)2012-08-28

Use a good carpenters glue like lapages (must be an indoor glue like cabinet makers qualtiy) and clamp it together. you cant pull it apart but it will be alot stronger.

author
jtmcdole made it!(author)2012-08-26

What about overlapping them pieces and bolting them together (along with glue)?

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mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-26

is good to keep equal pressure on each limb so whilst overlapping would presumably work it is not a mirror image.

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AJMansfield made it!(author)2012-08-27

What you could do though is sandwich the skis between the scrap lengths of ski you cut of, and drill-bolt-glue the thing together.

author
robertjm made it!(author)2012-08-26

This is AWESOME!! I've got some mismatched skis in storage. May just have to try this. I did have to cringe slightly as I recognized the pattern on those Vokl skis you cut up. Something like $800+ new if memory strikes me.

author
mr+magic made it!(author)2012-08-27

yup,good skis.money well spent.

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