Making a homemade longbow, advice?

Ok using red oak plank from hardware store. Cut it down, glued a handle. Glued 6 layers of fiberglass drywall stuff to the “back”? Of the bow. Not the belly. Anyway so near the handle it’s about 5/8 and at the tips it’s around 1/2 inch. I have it on a till with a tillering string but I can’t get past 15” without severe pulling power.

My dad recommended soaking it in water (glue is waterproof so that’s irrelevant), but I’d rather it naturally bend rather than, well, otherwise. I figure if I soak it, bend it, let it dry on the till, it’ll just give me a harder # per inch.

Other option I’m thinking is manually doing the work, carefully. Widdle down the wood, slowly, and take my time tilling it.

Benefits, drawbacks (pun)? Any ideas fellow bowyers?

It’s 66in btw. 72 minus 8 for the handle (2 inches on either side carved down). It’s nice and balanced per my initial center line I started with. Looking for around 60#+\- @ 28in draw

Thanks peeps!


Also I imagine leaving it on the till won’t help the wood bend or “remember” this position, bc if that was the case I’d be able to stretch the limbs further. Probably bad to keep it on a till for a long duration? I would think so...

Update 2:

I agree “skeptik”, although it should be noted this is my first handmade bow, so I guess I gotta work with what I got - I’ve come this far using hand tools so, I gotta see the project through. Next bow will either be a “master” bow, made from a specialty yard, or poplar for my daughter (12 years old). Just figure this is a stepping stone toward greater bow-making so any help is, very beneficial. I’ll keep that in mind, cause this has to be kiln dried hence no elasticity as mentioned in your post

Update 3:

Interesting to think a particular stave, “lumber” or otherwise makes the best bow all around. I do in fact am working on “lumbar” with correct Grain qualities, although diving deeper by what Bean said and what I’ve seen on many videos, a specific stave/part of wood or tree, does in fact make the best and easiest bow. I considered grabbing an axe at a small tree, splitting, and working “raw”. Sounds to me as if that would have been my best decision... and yet I continue to complete this project

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1 Answer

  • BBean
    Lv 7
    2 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    At least you`re getting experience so don`t discard any tools because red oak may break first or second pull. Never use planks from a lumber store because they are rarely grain conscious when they plane the planks. Look on ebay for bow staves cut and cured by someone who knows bows and shows grain. Also, has bois d`arc staves which are superior to all woods for bow making. A lot of work goes into bows so why not put your best $buck$ forward?

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