How To Make A Hunting Bow

Need to know how to make a hunting bow? Building a hunting bow from scratch can be an arduous task.  Follow these steps and you'll be hunting with your new homemade bow in no time.

To make a hunting bow, you'll need:

  • Hand axe
  • Machete
  • Draw knife
  • Wood rasp
  • Rat tail file
  • Fish scale that goes up to 50 pounds
  • Carpenters pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge
  • Bow string (obtained from any archery shop)

With a good list of tools needed we are ready to begin the process of building a bow.  Please note that the above list is a bare bones list.  If you have power tools and feel comfortable using them, then by all means do so.

  1. The first step in building a bow is selecting a tree.  Most any wood will work, but slick bark hickory makes an excellent first time bow.  Try to select a tree about four inches in diameter, straight, and with few knots. Cut the tree down and cut the straightest section to a length of six foot. Allow the stave to season for at least six months.
  2. After six months peel all the bark off the stave using the draw knife.  Select the cleanest and straightest side of the stave to lay out your bow on, using the carpenters pencil.  Make the layout as follows:  the bow should be 68" long with a 4" handle section in the middle.  With hickory you want to leave the limb wide, or make them 1 and 3/4" wide to mid limb so that the last 17" of the limb then tapers to 1/2" at the limb tips.
  3. Use the hatchet and machete to cut away any wood not needed.  You can use the wood rasp for finer work if you wish.  Once you have the profile cut out, it's time to thin the limbs down.  Mark them so that they are 1/2" thick their entire length.  Leave the 4" handle section about 2" thick.  Again use the machete, axe, and wood rasp to shape the limbs to thickness.
  4. Once all of the rough shaping is done. Gently place one bow limb against the floor and press at the handle.  Look to see if the limb is bending uniformly.  Go slow, it doesn't take a lot of wood removal to effect a change. Repeat the process with the opposite limb.
  5. Once both limbs are bending equally, use the rat tail file to cut notches in both limb tips about 1" down from the tip.  These are your nocks.  String the bow using the string you bought.  Now look at it from the side.  Do the limbs bend evenly in a near semi circle?  If not, scrape wood gently from the stiffer limb.  Continue till the bow looks like a semi cirlce when strung.
  6. Using the fish scale, draw the bow slowly.  Do not go over 50 pounds and a draw distance of 28".  If the bow goes over 50 pounds scrape a little from the inside of both limbs, remembering to keep the limbs even as you go.  Continue until you get the bow to the draw weight you desire.
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