Recurve Bow




In this Instructable I will show you how to make an easy, inexpensive, powerful recurve bow! but remember this is dangerous and you should take caution when making and using this!

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Step 1: Riser!

The recurve bow can be broken down into two major components, the riser and the limbs!

the riser is the 'wooden part' in the accompanying pictures, put simply this acts as the handle, arrow holder, limb holder and all round main structure.

Firstly I have laminated a piece of 19mm ply between two lengths of jarrah, simply by using wood glue and a few clamps. While drying I drew up my riser design and cut it out with scissors!
I then stuck my paper riser blank onto the timber and cut it out carefully using a jigsaw, and then more intrecitly with a small band saw (however this is not vital!) remembering to cut a small notch out for the arrow to sit in, this must be on the left of the riser if you are right handed and the right if you are left handed! after doing so I sanded the riser untill it was smooth and seamless, also sanding the handle untill it feels comfortable in the hand and ergonomic.

Step 2: Limbs!

For the limbs, I have recycled old snow skis and cut the tops of them about 500mm from the tip, and also cut using a band saw two round cut outs 50mm from the tip to house the bow string! I then lined up the skis to the riser and drilled two holes 25mm apart for the bolts to fix the limbs to the riser, once you have done this, line the limbs up again on the riser and mark the holes onto the riser then drilling them out also, so the limbs can be fixed to the main body.

Step 3: Bow String!

I decided to make my own bowstring since I had made everything else.
I have simply cut 6 lengths of hemp twine, and using my cordless drill I have tightened the Chuck of the drill onto one end of the 6 twine lengths and then tied the other end to something solid, now slowly spinning the drill to wrap the strands around each other, once I have done this I coated the string in a thick layer of bow wax and then kept the tension on the string for a few hours so that it doesn't curl up when taken off. now that you have done this tie one end to the tip of the limb and the other end to the opposite side!

Step 4: Finishing Up!

To top it all off, I coated the timber in linseed oil after thoroughly sanding it and also don't forget to 'de-string' the bow after using it as it takes the strain off the limbs and riser.

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    10 Discussions


    1 year ago

    This has got to be one of the best Instructables on Making Recurve Bows I have come across to date. Not to mention it is great looking too!! GOOD JOB and Nicely done article!!


    I got myself a pair of old skis today but I'm unsure about the riser. Can you give me an idea of the dimensions of the jarrah you used, and the dimensions of the riser please?


    4 years ago

    Nice job. The next time you make one and if you have the means, buy coupling nuts and cut one end to match the angle on the limbs. You could also use countersunk t nuts and countersunk allen headed bolts for a cleaner finish. Even if you have too cut half the Allen head off the bolts they still will work. Make sure you use Loctite on the threads so it stays tight.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I really like your idea of using recycled/repurposed ski tips. These are available in both laminated wood/fiberglass and metal, either of which would make a very strong bow. If I were building this I would make one change: I would use 4 smaller, high strength (grade 5), NF cap screws with knurled washers. After drilling the holes for the bolts I would use a forstner or spade bit to recess the holes in the riser for the nuts & washers square to the bolts so they would sit flush when tightened.

    I'm thinking about using your ski tip idea for a crossbow. Thanks!


    4 years ago

    How well does it work? Any idea of draw strength?

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Hi, runesda. The bow works very well with the ski's as limbs, not 100% sure of draw weight however the further you pull the string, the greater the force and therefore greater the speed of the arrow etc.. so you can sort of make it as high pundage as you wish, without the limbs snapping obviously, just tighten the string more.. hope I answered your question.


    4 years ago

    Pretty well, billstar414. I love the idea. Thanks for the quick response!