Reinforced PVC Crossbow With Laminated Stock




WARNING-Don't be foolish with weapons or power tools they are dangerous.

This is not powerful enough for big game.

I made this for my sister. She has shown some interest in archery and I couldn't think of anything to get her for her birthday. Really I just wanted an excuse. this is my first instructable so sorry for the shotty camera work.The bow is a prod when talking about crossbows

Thanks to nick at backyard Bowyer after seeing his crossbow I had to make one

His YouTube Chanel is great check it out

I got a lot of inspiration form

Tools i used are:

Table saw Dremmel with attachments Belt sander Coping saw Various wood and metal files Clamps Awl Chisels

Hand plane Bench grinder

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Step 1: ​materials

I used 6 foot sections of wood. Red oak, hickory, and mahogany. Look for the straitest grain possible. They are 4 in wide

The pvc pipe is half inch in diameter. I ordered colored schedule 40 sections online, but white schedule 40 is best

fiberglass driveway markers

I also used scrap pvc, a gate hinge and some old bolts

Step 2: Cutting and Marking

I cut each board down to 3 feet. I used a miter saw but this can also be done by hand. I was going to make it a little longer but I like the idea of having enough extra for mistakes.

The pvc pipe comes in five foot sections. Again I cut it in half, 30 in,for extra just in case. The boards were then ripped with a table saw. It was my first time using one so I made a few mistakes and was very glad to have the extra material. The red oak was ripped to 1/2 in, the hickory to 1/4 in, and the mahogany to 3/16 in.

Step 3: Laminating and the Prod

Next the boards were sanded lightly in prep for lamination. I used tight bond 3 to glue it all together. After applying glue to the layers smear or paint the glue so it coats the entire board. Then clamp! The more the better! I didn't use as many as I should have. Also they were sandwiched between some scrap 2by4's to try to keep an even pressure while being clamped.

I reinforced the pvc by cutting down two driveway markers to 26 inches. Use a file not a saw to cut! WEAR GLOVES!!! You really don't want fiberglass splinters they hurt, they itch, and you can never get them out.

They were wrapped in vinyl tape after being cut to size. Don't use a lot of tape or you won't be able to get it in the pipe. I used some dish soap to lube them. To get them to to be evenly spaced from the tips I marked 2in on an old socket wrench an hammered it in to the mark. You could easily use a dowl for this.

Next is flattening the pvc. With it being so short I heated it in my oven. Seemed that 230f was the magic number on mine. I sandwiched the pipe between two boards and sat on it for around 10min, clamps could be used here as well.

To curve the tips I simply heated the ends over my stovetop but I normally use a heat gun, both work just as well. Don't burn the pipe! Take your time and heat it slowly. Once it's soft I applied pressure around a tin can.

I used a file to cut the nocks. You want to use the center prong for the string. I cut them a little deeper than in the photo.

Para cord was used for the sting, this is only temporary as I plan to tie a true bowstring in the future. I tied it about two inches shorter the the prong.

Step 4: ​fixing My Screw Up

After unclamping the boards I shaved it down to remove the uneven edges and make it square. That's when I noticed some pretty significant gaps.

I had never used a table saw before this project and should have run some practice cuts before jumping right in. I purchased some fiber glass resin to fill the gaps.

Before mixing the resin I taped up the boards with wax paper and foil to contain it. After mixing I added a couple drops of red acrylic paint for color.

Pour the resin over the gaps carefully. Then tap the sides to release air bubbles.

After it cured I ran it through the table saw to shave off any excess. Resin doesn't take to chiseling or hand planing well, it chips and cracks.

I felt so relived that the whole thing was salvageable after seeing the end result. I thought it was ruined and that I had to start all over.

On to shaping the wood!!!

Step 5: ​shaping the Stock

I cut down the board to 33 in. This just felt better put up to my shoulder. Then I freehand drew a rough outline. I started the cut with a jigsaw but quickly switched to a coping saw. I prefer hand tools to power tools because, to me, it is way to easy to make a large mistake in a blink of an eye.

After it was cut roughly to shape I took out some old files and went at it. I'm sure there's some easier way to do this but I really enjoy using hand tools. For the butt end of the stick a belt sander was used.

To cut the nock for the prod I measured the length and width of the flattened pipe and marked on the wood so it would be recessed and at an angle to reduce wear on the string. Holes were drilled in the corners, with help from my son. Another hole was drilled at center two inches back from end. This is for the rod to lash down the prod. I strung my coping saw through the holes and cut it out. I ended up filling it down to size.

After seeing it shaped in decided to cut some more off to give it more of a traditional stock look.

I marked down 15 in and drilled a center hole all the way trough the stock. This is for the trigger. Then on either side a hole was drilled an inch in. These are for posts to hold the string.

To make the arrow channel I first ran a dremmel down the center line to make a groove. Then I wrapped a dowl in sandpaper to get the right width.

I used boiled linseed oil to seal the wood after sanding tool marks out. I used a lot of thin coats over a couple days. You could use any kind of finishing oil or varnish. I thought about staining it but I like to let the true color of the wood speak for its self

Step 6: ​hardware

For the posts to hold the string I found this little squared rod in my scrap box. It was cut in half and notched around the bottom to grip better. I gently hammered them in after putting a couple drops of two part epoxy in the hole first. You could use nails or dowls or anything strong enough to hold the string. I used this set up so notched arrows could be used between the two posts. I then tried out the bow to see if the posts would hold. I ended up filing them both down a bit and rounded the edges.

I cut a steel rod down to 41/2 in. and hammered it in the hole behind the notch for the prod.

For the stirrup I used a decorative gate hinge. It had the other end of the hinge ground off and the end shaped to size. I free handed it by it ended up 8 1/2 in long. It was epoxied before being screwed on and the screws were predrilled. I planned on bending a steel rod to fit in the hinge for the foot hold but never got to it. If I do I'll update. Para cord was looped through for a foot hold.

Next I flattened two scrap pieces of pvc. White schedule 40 for the bolt holder and grey schedule 40 for the trigger. Both were heated in my oven and then clamped down between two 2x4s. The white pvc was cut in half before being flattened. I free handed the shape of bolt holder after being cut down to 8 in. The grey was cut to 13 in and rounded at the corners. I shaped them after careful heating over my stovetop, again a heat gun works as well, and molded them by hand. It took a long time and a lot of trial and error to get them the way I wanted. After the pieces were screwed on I cut a bolt down to size and rounded the edges. It's not pretty but I works well.

If you can tell from the pictures the bolt lays flush in the stock but when pulling the trigger it pushes upward, releasing the bolt. With the posts and the trigger being in line with one another it cannot be dry fired, it pushes up on a nocked bolt not the string.

Step 7: ​attaching the Prod

First I cut a price of scrap cloth four inches wide and a foot long. You may need more or less depending on how tight the fit is to the stock. I then wrapped it neatly around the center of the prod using a little contact cement to hold it on.

I used para cord again to lash the prod on the bow. Use a cross pattern to hold it tight. It's not pretty but it holds.

Step 8: ​final Thoughts

After the build I would have changed the length of the prod, 36in and the rods 32in. Being so short I have heard some uncomfortable creaking when cocking. At 30in it's pulling at 80lbs give or take. Will still have plenty of power for shooting if the prod is longer.

I forgot to add that I waxed the part of the stock the string comes in contact with bees wax.

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    34 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hey what pvc did you use?? Because mine just folded and is now ruined...


    3 years ago

    Drive way markers are fiberglass poles you mark your driveway when it snows


    3 years ago

    I have long wanted to make a crossbow and this looks a great project.


    Forgive my ignorance but - what on earth is a 'driveway marker'?



    4 years ago

    You can remove fiberglass splinters, just soak whatever has the splinters in hot water.

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    umm... no... don't rely on this.

    All depends on how big fiberglass splinters are.. in case you get some microscopic shards in your eye, they won't be removed even in the hospital. Talk to people producing fiberglass optical cables


    Reply 3 years ago

    The reason to wear eye protection, some sort of respirator and some ear covering is to prevent all that dust and splinters from attacking you. I also wear light weight, I call them "Micheal J's", cotton gloves. They breakaway real easy and can be washed if desired. Actually Volvo includes a pair in their jack kit. Two final tips...when heating PVC...well ventilated and a good mask...

    PVC = Poly Vinyl Chloride = Poison Gas

    Don't touch your face when working...when finished rinse all exposed skin.

    O...always have a bottle of eve wash on hand. I think I'll do a shop eye wash



    3 years ago

    Something to keep in mind with your pvc selection is that it is a material that decays under sunlight. Much of the stuff on the market has been sitting exposed for a long time. But i am not trying to be a nay person. This is a great project. Build it, Don't get hung up on the potential pitfalls. They will smooth themselves out as you progress with it. This is a very doable project which deserves to be done.


    3 years ago

    We need to see a little video in action. I need to understand how it's works and also made. Thanks for awesome instruct! (:


    3 years ago



    3 years ago

    the dog have five paws?

    Suraj GrewalArghus

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    my one had 4 kg with single pipe and 8 kg with 2 pipes (small pipe inside bigger diameter pipe.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Not to knock your instructable, which is quite good, but PVC can actually shatter at low temperatures and as it ages. Some type of sleeve to cover the PVC so potential shards are contained wouldn't be a bad addition.

    1 reply

    did a stress test on mine...the limb flies out so slow that it causes no harm and simply hangs down from it...still safety glasses are advised while using such stuff.

    It's safer than potato guns.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    with a sharp bolt/arrow, it actually takes little power to kill big game.

    the bolt only needs to cut through about 3" to kill an elk. 1 to 1.5" to kill a deer. 1" penetration will kill a human.

    These are NOT Toys, and can KILL if shot at a living thing.

    Be very careful and have FUN!

    3 replies
    Suraj Grewalfzbw9br

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    to kill a big animal with weak weapon will be will realize that it is gonna die...a gun can kill without making it realize it.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I beg to differ with you, why do you think that they have a limit on the length of the blade of a pocket knife as being 4 and 1/2 inches, that is because it will not penetrate enough to get to the heart. I guess they do figure that you can slice the neck, but good, I like carrying a pocket knife. I don't know where you got your information, but from any angle besides maybe from underneight a deers heart is at least four inched in, and protected by the sholder blades from the sides. An elk is brobably at least twice as far.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I'm sorry you failed highschool biology, but as a hunter, I can tell you for a fact a deer's heart is NOT behind the shoulder blade.

    Google up some pictures of deer/elk anatomy, you'll see that the heart is in the bottom of the chest, and lays almost, or right against the ribs.... and the ain't much meat over/behind a deer's ribs.

    As for a human, not that long ago, and fellow in my city was killed, stabbed in the heart with a 1.5" blade.
    Here's a little test for you. Back up to a wall, and have someone measure how deep your chest is, then subtract the diameter of the average human heart (about 4"...) and see how little you have left.... 4.5" ????? that will damn neat hit your backbone.