Re-curve Bow From Skis




About: I like to make things out of stuff

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
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.

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    75 Discussions

    Phil B

    6 years ago on Introduction

    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?

    2 replies
    mr magicPhil B

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    1 reply
    mr magicjakeson

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    mr magicjongscx

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    mr magicLt. Duct Tape

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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 !


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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 !


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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, 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.