How to make a bow.

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by waenlotien, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

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    I am doing archery and I want to make my own bow. I would like it to be from the time period 1400-1450. I have been told because I am short (a whopping 5'2") that I need directions for a kids long bow. Does anyone have an idea or directions for making one?

    I make my own arrows, so I don't need help there.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    ooo, that sounds like fun. I wonder if I could turn one on a lathe. hmm
     
  3. Gavaha

    Gavaha Art House Member

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  4. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

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    OMG!!!! that is sooooooo perfect!!!!
    **huggles** Gavaha
    hehehehehe
    ty ty ty


    Hey Turin, if it you do it and it works, let me know hehe
     
  5. Turin

    Turin Valar Morghulis

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    Nice link,

    I'll let you know Waen, but I doubt I will even have the time to mess with it :(
     
  6. Gavaha

    Gavaha Art House Member

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    ohh, awsome, I am so glad it helps. If you do do it, we would love to all see the process and result, I'm sure a few would like to know how to make a nice longbow.
     
  7. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

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    I will, i don't have time yet, but will soon. I need to get a scanner or a dig cam first though too lol
     
  8. hackandslash

    hackandslash The Fighters Guide House Member

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    You really dont want to try and make your own bow, unless you have a lot of experience woodworking before. It's much more difficult then you might think and you will go through a lot of wood.
     
  9. waenlotien

    waenlotien Healer/ Magicuser

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    i have done other woodworks. just not a bow.
     
  10. Gavaha

    Gavaha Art House Member

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    I think it seems as if she has enough experience, and there is nothing wrong with trying.


    P.s. hack and slash, you need to apply before you post
     
  11. kasaari_the_archer

    kasaari_the_archer New Member

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    well, i am a big 'fan' of middle age history and all i know is this:
    the longbow first appeared with the pagans (saxons, angles, vikings,e.t.c.) as a simple solution to the problem that a small selfbow (crafted from a peice of wood) could not draw back to the chin, and was made of ash, elm, or yew. when the normans conqured england, william the conquerer demanded the entire saxon army give him their weapons, but not their bws, as archers posed little threat during the invasion of england. this made the longbow the simbol of free english. it was realised that yew was by far and away the best wood of them all, because it had a band of stretchy sapwood on the outside (back of the bow) and heartwood on the inside (belly of the bow) but as and elm were still used as they were more common (over here in britain ash wood is dead easy to find) and they were incredibly powerful.
    your bow will almost certainly by asmetric because symmetric longbows are cut from branches about the thickness of logs, and are about 90-180 lbs draw weight.
    it should be the length of your armspan, not your height. your bow should be cut from the wood like so the back is sapwood and the belly is heartwood
    and being short is not important, a longbow is tailor made to fit the persons size. keep in mind they quite often look ridiculously thin but don't worry they are meant to be.
    remember, a longbow is long in proportion to your size, not to other bows. tools i would recommend are:
    woodworking hatchet
    draw knide
    knife
    plane
    (well, that's what i use and it works very well.)
    oh btw in england is illegal to cut yew trees, dating back to the 14th century when longbows were very important.
     
  12. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    No. You might be able to do this with arrows, but not a bow.


    Now if we all had that attitude, how would we ever learn? Pity Waenlotien hasn't posted since 2005, I wonder if she ever made that bow....

    Anyway. Luckily I've got a friend who's made hundreds of wooden bows, showing me how to do it. Half the process is simple carpentry - make a stave, mark your lines, plane , cut and scrape it to rough shape, saw string grooves into the tips etc. That part to form a roughly bow-shaped object is simple high school woodworking.

    For the basic learning process, we're using bamboo floorboards (be sure to get vertical flooring, not semi-horizontal flooring), $8 per 6 foot length. It's about 12cm/5 inches wide, cut it down the middle, plane the faces flat, glue it together with Titebond 2 wood glue or a suitable flexible superstrong epoxy, then do the simple shaping. If you stuff up, you've only lost an $8 floorboard, and $2 worth of glue.

    I rocked up to my friend's house with 2 bamboo staves, and in 7 hours of using only hand tools, we'd shaped 2 staves and started the tillering process. Tillering is where the stick becomes a bow, and it's what I'm just learning now (literally, had 1 lesson so far :D

    Tillering involves bending the bow gently and progressively to ensure both limbs bend evenly. If not, you scrape or shave off small amounts of wood at a time, check it again, scrape, check, scrape, check repeat ad nauseum. And hope you don't hear a nasty "crack!" sound as you go :)
     
  13. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    I'm quite lucky ~ I've met Chris Boynton, who's appeared with Ray Mears on TV, on a number of occasions who's an excellent bowyer (Aeon uses one of his longbows). He runs a bow making class 1-2-1 for little more than the cost of a decent bow and you come out with a bow at the end made by yourself under his guidance.

    Very tempted to go for it in 2007 :)
     
  14. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Hehe, my mate is showing me for the cost of a carton of beer per day :D
     
  15. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    You're giving away beer :O ~ sounds a good deal as long as it's not decent beer :D
     
  16. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Hehe, Carlton midstrength, about $30 per carton. And I don't drink so it don't matter to me :D
     
  17. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Well due to a major case of the flu kicking my butt this weekend, this didn't happen. So it'll be mid-January at the earliest before I can finish these 2 bows :(
     
  18. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    Cheer up, get well & think positive ~ what a great project to look forward to completing at the start of a new year :)
     
  19. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Well it's now the end of March, and one bow is done! I went back on Sunday just gone and we finished the flat bow. It's about 45lb @ 28 inches, and flung a ~450 grain test arrow 135m. This doesn't compare too badly to the 165m from a 48lb bow my mate made with a much better material.

    It's already taken about an inch of set in each limb, tiny bit more in the top limb, as I've learnt you want to top limb to be a little softer and the bottom limb a little bit stiffer.

    I'll be sure to put a bunch of arrows through it when I get a chance, which doesn't look like happening until the end of April. Who knows if it'll last or if it'll take a massive amount of string follow, but hey, for $10 it made for a great learning experience.

    I've got a D-shaped longbow stave to tiller myself, of course that will have to wait until I've got a vice, tillering board, spoke shaves, wood rasps, files, cabinet scraper etc etc etc.......

    I also learnt how to make braided strings which are surprisngly easy to make! So now at least if someone's string breaks, I can have a go at making them a new one.

    photos to come when I get a chance to take them
     
  20. Soulsmith

    Soulsmith Forging souls anew...

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    NIce work Mububban. Im making a bow myself tomorrow and just need to know which wood to make arrows out of otherwise i know how to make them completely naturally though i'll probably order heads off the internet.
     
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