How to make a bow.

waenlotien

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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.
 

Turin

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

waenlotien

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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
 

Turin

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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 :(
 

Gavaha

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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.
 
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waenlotien

waenlotien

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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
 

hackandslash

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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.
 
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waenlotien

waenlotien

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i have done other woodworks. just not a bow.
 

Gavaha

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hackandslash said:
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.

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
 

kasaari_the_archer

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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.
 

Mububban

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Turin]I wonder if I could turn one on a lathe

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


hackandslash said:
u 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.

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 :)
 

~Elladan~

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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 :)
 

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