Intro: 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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.