Intro: Bow Made From Skis
I am making this instructable to show how I made my own bow from a pair of skis. I got the idea from another instructable so it is not completely my own creativity but this is how I did it.
If anything is unclear at the end, please comment below and I will do my best to respond. Hope you enjoy this!
Step 1: Find a Pair of Skis
I don't have the tools or equipment required to curve wood to make the limbs of the bow. I read that skis were a good substitute so I went to several different Goodwill stores to find a pair of skis. They have enough flexibility and seem to do the trick. It also cost me less than $10 for the pair.
Step 2: Design and Cut Stencils for the Riser
This step will require some research as well as a bit of your own creativity.
The size of your skis may vary so you will need to modify the width to accommodate the skis you intend to use. I took a template off the internet and modified the size to fit my skis which are about 2.5" where the attach to the riser. I made the stencil 3" wide to allow me plenty of room to work the wood down when sanding. I designed my riser and cut the stencils out of paper. I then transferred the stencils to a piece of particle board so I have them as a rigid template for cutting the actual riser and cut the particle board with a jig saw.
Step 3: Starting the Riser
I wanted a very specific look for the riser so I picked up 3 pieces of hobby board (varying thickness) from Home
Depot for about $17. I used Red Oak and Poplar. The Oak is very solid and made a nice and strong center spine. I cut the boards into thirds (~16") and laminated them with wood glue and let that set over night. After it dried I transferred the stencil to the block and prepared it to be cut.
Step 4: Cutting the Riser
This step is fairly simple if you have transferred your stencils accurately.
Using the relief cutting process I was able to accurately cut out the shape of the riser to a rough finish.
Step 5: Sanding
I forgot to take pictures of this step but it was actually the most time consuming part.
I spent over 6 hours over three days sanding the riser to my liking. Part of this step is aesthetics and also comfort. I made the grip fit to my hand almost perfectly.
This step is also when you take out any imperfections in the wood. These can be dents, scratches, chips, etc. If you left enough extra wood you'll have a lot to take off anyway to make it the correct dimensions, so you can fix any unsightly errors.
Another key thing to focus on here is making sure the angle of the limb is as accurate as possible and it has a smooth flat surface to anchor to. I chose a 15° angle which gave me a stronger draw weight. I don't know the weight for sure but it is at least 50 lbs. A 20° angle will lighten that weight slightly and make it easier to draw.
Step 6: Cutting the Skis
I did this with a Dremel and the rotary cut off tool attachment. Each set of skis will vary in thickness as you go towards the middle so again you will need to determine this step based on your particular set. The length of the limbs should be somewhere between 22-26 inches roughly. I also took a paint stir stick and attached it to the bottom of the cut portion of the ski and then sanded off the overhang. This gives a flat surface where the ski can rest on the riser.
Step 7: Drilling the Holes
I struggled here to get it perfect but with patience you can get a great outcome.
It is important to make sure the flat back surface of the riser is parallel to the ground when you drill the holes and that you drill perpendicular to that surface.
The holes should be in line down the center of the riser. I chose two connections to prevent it from rocking back and forth at all. Once the holes are in the riser, clamp the skis to the riser and follow the same hole through the riser and into the ski.
Step 8: Finish the Wood
I applied a clear coat to protect the wood from damage. Three coats with sanding between worked perfectly
Step 9: Assemble
This is almost the end and one of the best parts. I assembled the bow and made a string for it. The string is paracord, which I tied myself and made it fit the bow.
I have not yet shot it but I will upload a video once I do.
Skis: $10 (or free if you have an old pair)
Wood: $17 (or free if you have scrap available)
The whole project was less than $40 for me.
Step 10: Test It!
This section will be posted soon!