Making your own archery bow is a way to get into the sport from the ground up. People have been making bows for centuries. With the comparatively recent invention of fibreglass, bow makers have found that it has become easier than ever to construct effective, quality bows that last a long time and perform well. With a few common tools and a little persistence, you can start making your own as well.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 2-by-6 plank (any wood type)
- Band saw
- Fibreglass cloth
- Fibreglass resin (polyester epoxy and hardener)
- Belt sander
Cut out your 2-by-6 plank to create the outline frame for your bow. Do this very carefully, preferably using another bow design you wish to copy. Draw a line on the flat side of your 2-by-6, then carefully cut along the line with a band saw, creating both sides of your bow template. This template should look as the bow will when it is unstrung.
Clamp the lower half of the bow template (the front of the bow, the side that faces the target) to a table or other fixed surface. Sand the template edge as smooth as possible to avoid more work later.
Lay down a layer of fibreglass cloth along the template edge of your 2-by-6 and then apply your first layer of resin with a paintbrush over the cloth. Once you start applying resin, you should work quickly to complete your work before hardening begins.
Lay successive layers of cloth and resin, laminating and creating strength in your bow until the desired depth is attained. Place the other half of your template (the side of the bow that faces the archer) over the fibreglass cloth regularly to determine which areas require more fibre application, such as the handle, which will be far thicker than the arms of the bow.
Clamp the two sides of your template together once the main shape has been attained. Allow to cure for a few hours before removing the bow from the template. Loosen the clamps after curing has hardened the bow. Remove the bow.
Draw on the outline of the bow silhouette, including the string notches, arm outline, arrow rest cutout and any other design elements. Cut the bow out to this shape on your band saw, carefully feeding the bow into the saw and gently cutting away the outline you drew.
Clamp your belt sander to a fixed surface with the sanding belt facing upward, and smooth and sand all the surfaces of your bow to your liking.
String your bow with a string that matches the dimensions you made it to and test. The successive layers of laminated fibre cloth and resin will provide great strength and spring to your bow, allowing you to shoot arrows farther than otherwise.
Tips and warnings
- Try adding thin layers of wood between the fibreglass cloth to give an artistic effect to the bow, which also helps to improve strength.
- Bows can be very dangerous. Always use them with caution.
- Always wear appropriate eye protection when using power tools.
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