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How to Make a Long Bow Out of Wood

2013-06-17   Views:2

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For many of our ancestors, the great outdoors was their backyard. For those that lived off the land, survival tasks were an everyday activity. From hunting to fighting, longbows have been tools of survival for over a thousand years and are one of the

How to Make a Long Bow Out of Wood

For many of our ancestors, the great outdoors was their backyard. For those that lived off the land, survival tasks were an everyday activity. From hunting to fighting, longbows have been tools of survival for over a thousand years and are one of the oldest weapons and means of hunting. Since longbows can be crafted from a piece of wood, a blade or saw, a piece of string and a length of leather, they can be easy to make.

Skill level:Moderate

Things you need

Bow blank, or a piece of wood 1x2 at least 5.3 in lengthRiser piece, 6 inches long, 2 inches wideBand sawWood raspWood glueSand paperLeather, 3 feet long and 3 inches wideStringWood clampLacquerRag

Instructions

1 Start with the bow blank or piece of wood properly measured to the appropriate length and weight. The bow's length is based off the archer's arm span, or reach, and draw length. Measure the draw length by determining the length of the archers arm-span in inches. To do this, have the archer stand, arms out to the sides and palms facing forward. Don't stretch when measuring, stand naturally. Measure from the tip of one middle finger to the other. Then simply divide that number by 2.5. The quotient is the proper draw length (in inches) for the body size. Determine weight by holding a different pieces of wood and choosing which piece feels like a comfortable weight to carry and most importantly, hold steady.

2 Choose arrow length. This is important because this also helps with counter-checking the bow length. This can be achieved by putting the arms in front and clasping them together. Measuring from the centre of the chest to the tips of one of the fingers. adding 1 inch to the measurement of the archer's arms, outstretched to the front. For example, if your bow length is 48 inches, you would need an arrow length of about 14 to 18 inches.

3 Place the bow on its face, and with wood glue applied to one side of the riser, attach it to the centre six inches of the bow .

4 Next turn the bow on its face, and with a plane gradually shape the wood down. Using a knife, shave down the riser by cutting the riser down into the shape of a curve. Then take a wood rasp and smooth it down.

5 Lacquer the bow. Lacquering strengthens the wood and pulls the fibres together. Apply lacquer by soaking the end of a rag and running the rag down the bow. Allow the lacquer adequate time to completely dry, then repeat three more times.

6 Cut notches to hold the bow string. Using a knife, cut notches about 1 to 2 inches from each end of the bow. The notches should be in the shape of a half moon on the outside of the bow's natural curve. Bowstring can be made of rawhide, nylon rope, hemp and fishing line. The bowstring should be tight, not stretchy in the least so that the power can come from the wood.

7 Place the tip of the bow on the ground with the other tip under one arm. Slowly apply pressure and try to bend the bow inward. If it feels durable, it's ready. Wrap one end of the string in an overlapping fashion, then bend the wood down. Take one hand and make a thumbs-up sign. Place the thumbs-up sign, or fistmele, against the inside of the bow. A fistmele is the distance of your hand in a thumbs-up sign. This is the distance that should be between the bow and the string. Repeat on the other end.

8 Wrap the centre with leather. Take the length of leather and tie it around the top of the middle section. Wrap it tightly around the bow, intersecting at the back. Reverse and wrap around the front. Repeat until all six inches are covered with leather and hold the leather in place with either weatherproof leather glue or sewing it with a needle and sturdy thread, using a blanket stitch.

Tips and warnings

When constructing a bow, be mindful of its curve. All wood has a natural curve. The key is finding it and using to your advantage.

Juniper, mulberry, bamboo and cane are all examples of wood that make good bows.

Continually check the strength of the bow by bending it. This will help form the wood more easily.

For first-time bow makers, it is recommended to buy two or three bow blanks in case one breaks during the process.

Always check for knots in the wood before starting the project. Sand any knots down before beginning.

Green wood can be used, but is not recommended because it does not provide the same strength as dry wood. If using green wood, skin it and then soak the wood in hot water.

Bows are intended for hunting or archery only.

Use sharp objects and heavy machinery at your own risk. Kids should not try to make a longbow without the help of a parent.

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