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How to Make Good Wooden Bows & Arrows in the Woodshop

2012-08-27   Views:1

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No one knows exactly when bows and arrows were first used, but they have existed for many centuries. In the Middle Ages, bows and arrows were invaluable as weapons of war; English laws of the time required all men to practice archery. With the advent

How to Make Good Wooden Bows & Arrows in the Woodshop

No one knows exactly when bows and arrows were first used, but they have existed for many centuries. In the Middle Ages, bows and arrows were invaluable as weapons of war; English laws of the time required all men to practice archery. With the advent of firearms, the bow and arrow became largely redundant in warfare, but archery has never been abandoned.

Skill level:Moderate

Things you need

SawCarving knifeViceTree branchesPencilStrip of soft leatherCraft glueFishing lineNylon TwineDental FlossArrow tips5 inch Feathers

Instructions

Bow

1 Select a straight branch from a yew or an elm. The best limbs or branches for a bow are as straight as possible; they should be 60-inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Cut the limb from the tree with a saw or knife.

2 Grip one end of the branch in each hand. Put a foot on the centre of the branch. Bend the ends towards each other to test the suppleness of the future bow.

3 Fasten the centre of the branch into a vice, being careful not to hurt the wood. With a saw or carving knife, remove all twigs and side branches to make a smooth stick. Avoid cutting into the wood of the main branch.

4 Remove the branch from the vice. Push the dull edge of a carving knife between the bark and the wood; loosen the bark one strip at a time. Pull it off by hand, loosening the bark with the back of the knife where necessary. Let the branch sit in the workshop for at least two days to properly dry the wood.

5 Place your hand on the centre of the branch; put a pencil mark next to your palm. Wrap the centre of the branch with strips of soft leather to fashion the arrow rest and hand grip. Secure the leather with craft glue. Cut a notch on each end of the bow, using the knife.

6 Cut a length of nylon twine; the twine must be 12 inches longer than the bow. Loop and tie the twine tightly to one end of the bow and guide it through the notch. Make a loop in the twine at a place 6 inches shorter than the bow. Place the strung-end of the bow on the ground; bend the bow until the other loop slips into place in the other notch. Secure the twine tightly to the notch and cut the excess twine.

Arrows

1 Cut straight branches 1/2-inch thick from a hazel or elm tree. Cut the branches one-half the length of the bow.

2 Trim off any side branches. Loosen the bark at one end of the branch with the back of a knife; peel the bark off by hand, loosening it with the knife where needed. Place the branches in a shady place to dry for at least two days.

3 Notch one end of each arrow with a carving knife to serve as the bowstring catch. Wrap twine around the notched end to reinforce it, and keep it from splitting or breaking. Secure the twine with craft glue.

4 Cut a slit into the tip on the other end of the arrow shaft. Push an arrowhead into the slit. Wrap the head and the top of the shaft with twine, and secure it with glue.

5 Hold the quill of one of the feathers in your left hand. Hold the vane of the feather as close to your left hand as is possible. Separate the vane from the quill at the very tip of the feather; carefully pull down the vane with your right hand. The vane typically splits from the quill and leaves two halves of the feather. Do this with all the feathers. Tie three feather halves evenly around the notched end of each arrow with fishing line. Add a drop of craft glue for reinforcement.

Tips and warnings

The wood for the bow needs to be fresh, green wood. Old wood will crack too easily.

Dry wood is also a good choice for arrows.

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