How can I learn to make bows?

How can I make a bow and arrows for hunting with materials from the wilderness?

Wooden bow

Wooden bow     Photo: erix!/Flickr

Primitive archery is exciting. For years, I made my own wooden bows, hand-fletched arrows, and arrowheads for use in hunting, but it takes time to acquire the know-how.  I’d recommend taking a class with an experienced bowyer or going to one of the many primitive archery rendezvous around the country. The monthly magazine Primitive Archer is a good way to locate someone in your area.

Another great resource is the The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible. This four-volume set of books was a tremendous help to me when I was starting to make bows. I learned from these books how to make bows using 1”x2” pieces of lumber from Home Depot, instead of seasoned lumber I had to collect afield. Figuring out how to make bows from this readily-available material make the learning process much easier.

I would start by getting a copy of volume one of The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible and reading through the "Bows From Boards" section. After that, pick up some lumber to practice on while seeking out someone in your region to fine-tune your skills. Be aware that this form of woodworking can become addictive once you deliver an arrow from your first handmade bow.

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