Making a Simple Laminate Longbow

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Introduction: Making a Simple Laminate Longbow


This is a short guide on how to make a VERY simple laminate longbow. If at the end of this tutorial, you have any questions that are not answered, or you would like more detailed instructions on how to make a longbow, check out www.makingtraditionalbows.com

Step 1:


Step 1
Cut the laminates using a circular saw or a band saw. The dimensions of the belly laminate should be about 75" by 1 1/2" by 1", and the dimensions of the back laminate 75" by 1 1/2" by 3/16". The grain of the back laminate must run straight down the length of the board and be uncut.
When shooting a bow the belly side is towards you and the back is facing away.

Optional belly woods: Yew, osage, lemonwood, ipe, oak and more.
Woods for backing: Hickory, ash and more.

Step 2:


Step 2
Glue the laminates together using the strongest wood glue you can find, then use clamps and alike, to clamp the laminates together. Let the glue dry.

Glue recommendations: urac 185, smooth-on, UHU plus endfest 300 and Casco actually makes a two component boat glue that also works. Important! Always mix the glue well.

Step 3:


Step 3
When the glue is dry, mark out the bow. Draw a straight line down the centre of the bow stave, and with reference to the line mark out the width of the bow.

Width: 1 3/16" at the centre and then let it taper evenly down to 1/2" at the tips on both sides.

Thickness: 1" at the centre and then it taper it down to 1/2" at the tips (Important! Only taper the belly side).

Step 3 1/2
Cut the belly tapers and then cut the back tapers (In other words, simply cut along the lines you just drew).

Step 4:


Step 5
Shape the belly of the bow like it is shown in the photo and carefully take the edges of the back laminate. A rasp works fine for this job.

Step 5:


Step 6
Make some temporary nock grooves using a 5/32" round file.

Fit a temporary bow string and slowly start bending your bow. If and when the bow bends nicely carefully draw it a little further, if any stiff areas present themselves, remove a little wood from these areas and NEVER from the weak areas. Continue like this until the bow bends nice and evenly throughout the entire length of the bow. If the bow is too strong you need to remove wood from the entire length of the bow, but be careful you do not remove too much. Important! When doing this work only remove wood from the belly side of the bow, not the back.

Step 6:


Step 7
Sand the bow and apply the final touches to the nocks.
Last apply a varnish and fit a bow string and you are ready to start shooting.

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    80 Comments

    0
    highjacked
    highjacked

    9 years ago on Step 6

    What's the draw strength on this bow?

    0
    Lord Jon Bigglesworth
    Lord Jon Bigglesworth

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    Longbows were originally drawn back to the ear or farther, while most other bows were pulled back to the eyes. Longbowmen required 10 years of training in order to build up the muscle in their drawing arm. A typical longbowman could fire 12-15 shots in a minute, with very high accuracy. In this way, they were actually more effective than the muskets which were coming into use. However, you didn't need 10 years to train a person to shoot a gun, so longbows were used only in England, and only for a very short window of time (around a century, if memory serves).

    In any case, there is no measure of how much power the bow has per say, unless you know exactly how far back you draw it every time, and you know the equations based on your bow, the type of wood, the string, your draw length, etc.

    0
    TheOriginalNerd
    TheOriginalNerd

    Reply 1 year ago

    If your first sentence was correct than there would have been a lot of one eared people in those days.

    0
    cblackwell
    cblackwell

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    Also, native american style bows were usually shot "instinctively", which is a different style. The bow arm is pushed forward while the arrow hand is pulled back to the area of the chin or corner of the mouth. One fluid movement and then released when 'instinct' said it was on target. The bow was not held in the pulled position for more than a second.
    The hold position seems to come from a military background where archers worked in groups rather than a hunting style where they worked alone. For most native traditions the range was much closer than modern hunters would believe. 3 to 10 feet being the range for a honorable kill of the animal. "the arrow would enter the animal before the fletching/feathers passed the hand." It takes good stalking or hiding/camouflage/scent masking skills compared to a tree stand shot at 50 feet. A different skill set for a different time and tradition.

    0
    RichardP28
    RichardP28

    Reply 5 years ago

    I seen a similar shooting style applied to a slingshot, and it dramatically increased power on impact. I wonder if that was same for native American bow shooting. I want to guess and say they didn't have 60-75# bows like we do now. And also the arrow construction was different entirely, being ultralight in the back, weight loads up most in the front. Most had foreshafts that where friction fit, designed to search from the arrow if the animal hit brush. That was for recovery, but may have added to the ballistic potential of those arrows. If I have a choice, that's how I make mine, and seems they fly pretty darn good, and last longer. Can be a few grains heavy, compared to modern arrows but they hit like a truck. I like it most because I can change tips on the fly, and in a second or two. I would love to learn how they made the bows though

    0
    DaiVrath
    DaiVrath

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    One small correction: Longbowmen used back muscles just as much as arm muscles, both are required to use such powerful bows.
    Other than that everything you said was right on.

    0
    TheOriginalNerd
    TheOriginalNerd

    Reply 1 year ago

    It amazes me how many "experts" some questions bring out. People speculate an answer and assume they must have deduced the correct one without having done any real research to find out. Movies, TV, comics and hearsay are not research.

    I've been a professional longbow archer for over 19 years and some my friends/co-archers have been at it a lot longer than I. Question: What is the draw strength(weight) of the bow? Answer: It depends on several factors, Type, thickness, width, length and shape of the wood/bow, temperature, the twist in the bow string, age of the wood and age of the bow, the persons draw length and more. Draw length is different for every person, but the average adult's draw length IS 28" and while that average is very common, it is obviously not the same for everyone and as ChrisMBows points out the distance a person should be drawing the bow back to these days is the corner of their mouth or check, but it is more important to draw consistently to the same spot than how far back you draw and people never would have back past their ear or there would have been a lot of 1 eared people back then.

    One more thing about weight; the archers of the Middle Ages could draw bows of 150 - 180 lbs. Some of my co-archers use 90# to 120# bows.

    Otzi, the "Ice Man" had a long bow with him when he was found in the Alps. He lived some 5300 years ago. So the longbow has been around many hundreds of years. It was eventually replaced by guns/gunpowder, because, as 1 comment pointed out correctly, it was easier/quicker to teach someone to use a gun (or cross-bow) than a longbow.

    0
    SavannaK4
    SavannaK4

    Reply 4 years ago

    It depends on the thickness

    0
    ChrisMBows
    ChrisMBows

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    40-60 pounds - it is really hard to say because it depends on which type of wood you use, your bow making style and skill:) If this is the first time you make a bow, it will probably be lower than 40 pounds before you are done with it.

    As mentioned, the draw weight also depends on your draw length (the distance from the back of the bow to the string when you draw the string back to shoot the arrow). On average when target shooting, this distance is 28" and most people use the corner of the mouth or the cheekbone as an anchor point.

    0
    scorpman
    scorpman

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    longbows do not have a set draw length like a compound bow. You pull it back to the length you need. The father you pull it back, the harder it get.

    0
    Mrjamfunkalot
    Mrjamfunkalot

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Actually there is a draw weight to longbows. The draw length on average runs about 28" and the weight is measured by placing the bow on a suspended scale and pulling down to that distance. Based on the thickness and number of your tapered laminates including the length of your bow there will be variations to this weight. Material also plays a roll. Indeed there are different drawing distances based on who is pulling it back but the draw weight is measurable.

    0
    AngusL7
    AngusL7

    Tip 1 year ago

    You can also glue the bow in shape, by constructing a wooden frame with holes along it for clamps. Make the frame a little thicker than the bow, in the shape that you'll ultimately end up with (slightly curved arch), then apply the glue like butter, and clamp the bow along the frame. If there is a part where no glue squeezes out, you just apply more, then leave to dry and continue construction [source, (basically just shows what I typed but with better terminology) https://youtu.be/-qdLw79_JUM]

    0
    TheOriginalNerd
    TheOriginalNerd

    Reply 1 year ago

    Why would you want to pre-curve a long bow? New long bows are straight when not strung, until they age and get an ever-worsening permanent curve in them. When that happens they loose some of their poundage and can't throw an arrow as far as they could when they were new.

    1
    Ghost Wolf1
    Ghost Wolf1

    4 years ago

    What is the best woods to use

    0
    KingJingaling
    KingJingaling

    Reply 3 years ago

    i've heard that yew is the most common to use, due to it being strong but flexible. but other types work just fine

    0
    TheOriginalNerd
    TheOriginalNerd

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yew wood is called self-laminate or self bow, if it has both the heart wood and the sap wood in the stave. That's because Yew heart wood is hard and the sap wood is soft/flexible/elastic. You want a hardwood belly to resist the compression and push the bow back "straight" when released. You want a flexible, elastic wood on the back to stretch and pull the bow back "straight" when released. By "straight" I mean strung but not drawn.

    0
    AngusL7
    AngusL7

    Reply 1 year ago

    Pretty much any hardwood would do for the primary construction (yew, lemonwood, hickory, oak, are the most common i believe). I think for the back part, you can use bamboo, which is less traditional but functions well. See my other comment for the youtube guide

    0
    Zach S.B
    Zach S.B

    4 years ago

    Where is a good place to buy bow strings long enough for a 76" bow (i.e. 73")? Most every place I've looked has only stocked up to 68".

    0
    AngusL7
    AngusL7

    Reply 1 year ago

    Make your own ;)

    there are a lot of youtube tutorials for good methods

    0
    Hessmannn
    Hessmannn

    4 years ago

    does it work with teak as backing and oak as belly???