View RSS Feed



Rate this Entry

First I must stress the difference between a short-term bow and a long-term bow. A short-term bow usually consists of uncured freshly cut wood that has not been shaped properly, and takes under an hour to construct, and is adequate for small game such as fish, frogs, birds, and maybe a small mamamal. These bows usually won't last more than a couple weeks. A long-term bow, although still under "survival weapons", is a bow that takes many good days of careful craftsmanship, and wood that has been cured until dry and has been oiled. These bows will usually last many months to a couple years, and sometimes lifetimes of good hunting if made carefully and tooken care of. I first travel into the woods with my hatchet, or a large chucnk of flint, and search the forests for a small tree that is anywhere from 1 1/2 inches to 4 inches thick in diameter. The tree is straight and about 50-78 inches long and has little to no knots on it. I carefully chop it down at the base, and give thanks. And you have to consider the type of wood, most hard-wood trees such as Oak, Walnut, Osage Orange, Ironwood, Locust, and many other hard-wood trees provide good wood. Medium hard-woods like willow or Poplar make servicable bows, but may lasts only a few months. Coniferous woods like Spruce or Pine have to brittle of fibers and make poor long-term bow woods. Any wood will long-stretched fibers and elacticsity make good bow. The woods are full of bow staves, but I choose the best one. I do not take small saplings, which consist of all sapwood, and the growth rings are spaced, so the wood will take a set and have poor spring. I have to options- Peel the bark off the stave, split it or leave it bear, rub it all over with nut oil or animal fat, seal the ends with birch tar or pine pitch to keep from cracking-------or work the wood into a bow while it's still freshly cut. When im making my bows with stone tools, working with green wood is much easier. What I like to do is make a small water proof debris hut next to my camp shelter, and store a couple bow staves in it to dry. And then work on a fresh cut stave into a bow. Here in Virginia by my house has plenty good wood. I Shape the stave by removing even strips of wood along the belly of the stave, leaving the reddish denser heartwood (found on 1 1/2 inches or more thick trees) on the belly to take the compression of being bent inward, and the I shave wood off the back to leave sapwood to take the stretch of being bent. I follow the growth rings and never cut into the back of the bow in fear I might damage fibers.I stick to primitive bow methods, no rigid handles or special laminates, just one single even bending arch. This will be less likely to break and will be easier to draw, and will last long. Once the bow is crafted, I put the notches on, and wrap the ends in sinew to prevent breakage (if I have any sinew). Using primitive cordage or nylon, I tie the bow extremely tight to a staright tree, so that it dries straight and doesn't warp. I rub a thick coat of fat onto the bow, and seal the ends off with pine pitch, cloth with fat, or birch tar. I make oil from crushing hooves of large animals, boiling it down to get oil. Crushing hazelnuts and acorns you can extract some oil to apply to your bow, but it may take a few nuts lol.Then I let it dry for weeks to come in the sun and next to the fire and smoke. The smoking penetrates the wood and turns it a bueatiful brown color. Fire-killed wood is something I always take advantage of, but it's rare especially in Gungy Wamp. That type of wood is already dried becuase the tree is dead, so all you enitially have to do is shape the bow and string it up to hunt with. I make some serious hunting weight bows, pulling 60 pounds, well enough to kill a deer. The arrows shoot anywhere from 85-105 mph, pretty fast. I always have staves on me so that IF my bow breaks I can make another from cured wood. I take care of my bows, rubbing oil or fat onto them every week to keep it from cracking and to keep the bow waterproof. All you need to make these bows are shards of flint, or a knife and hactchet. Just becuase a bow is primitively produced does not mean it won't kill for you, it can reguarly hit the bullseye. Iv'e killed plenty with these bows. But I put as much effort into traps and snares so I don't rely on just a bow to obtain food. I use nylon for my bowstrings, Yucca cordage and sinew crafted by my own hands. This is the simplest way I can tell you guys about making bows.

Submit "Aarows" to Digg Submit "Aarows" to Submit "Aarows" to StumbleUpon Submit "Aarows" to Google