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Thread: Primitive bows

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    cold leftovers Psalm25's Avatar
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    Default Primitive bows

    Any fellow primitive bow makes here? I am somewhat new to the art of primitive bow making, I suggest to anyone who has not tried making their own bow to give it a try, I can't explain how rewarding it is to put meat on the table with a weapon you created yourself from scratch. I back my bows with sinew and I use my own hide glue made from hooves, hide and some sinew all from whitetail deer, and bone for the tips.


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    Senior Member postman's Avatar
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    I also make bows, haven't tried the sinew backing yet. Mine are just self bows, but you couldn't be more correct when you talk about the satisfaction of hunting with a bow that you made.

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    Senior Member GreatUsername's Avatar
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    I'm a step behind both of you, having never hunted with my bows, nor backed them in sinew (having never hunted with any weapon, actually), but it sure is nice when you make something out of wood and your own effort that ends up being able to comfortably shoot heavy hunting arrows meant for a hi-power compound bow. It's all kinds of disappointing when it explodes in your hands though... one of these days, I'll finally make one that is beautiful, strong, AND doesn't break.
    Last edited by GreatUsername; 01-16-2013 at 03:12 AM. Reason: spelling
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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I realize both of you are FAR north, and probably are dealing with an entirely different set of flora, but what woods do you recommend for a sturdy short bow?

    I spotted a pretty nice Hickory stave out on Pa's place, about 4" dia at waist height. I have sinew piling up, ready to be used and made quite a big batch of hide glue a few weeks ago.
    Any chance of using crooked wood? I know FVR has used burdock before.
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    Hickory is a decent bow wood but not top choice. osage and yew are probably the top two bow woods. I have also seen maple used and black locast.

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    cold leftovers Psalm25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by postman View Post
    I also make bows, haven't tried the sinew backing yet. Mine are just self bows, but you couldn't be more correct when you talk about the satisfaction of hunting with a bow that you made.
    Glad to see I'm not the only one here who enjoys this Postman! I am in the middle of making a maple self bow, not going to back it with anything. Just waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before I do the tillering

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatUsername View Post
    I'm a step behind both of you, having never hunted with my bows, nor backed them in sinew (having never hunted with any weapon, actually), but it sure is nice when you make something out of wood and your own effort that ends up being able to comfortably shoot heavy hunting arrows meant for a hi-power compound bow. It's all kinds of disappointing when it explodes in your hands though... one of these days, I'll finally make one that is beautiful, strong, AND doesn't break.
    I have not yet had one explode in my hand, but I have no doubt the day will come. I have had it happen while tillering. After the first time it happened I made a new set up with a pulley system so I could stand back and draw the bow:

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    Quote Originally Posted by your_comforting_company View Post
    I realize both of you are FAR north, and probably are dealing with an entirely different set of flora, but what woods do you recommend for a sturdy short bow?

    I spotted a pretty nice Hickory stave out on Pa's place, about 4" dia at waist height. I have sinew piling up, ready to be used and made quite a big batch of hide glue a few weeks ago.
    Any chance of using crooked wood? I know FVR has used burdock before.
    As said below Osage and Yew are the best of the best for bow making. I actually find Hickory works very well for bow making, many bow makers use it. Oak is my personal favourite for what grows around here... I don't like using boards because it is so hard to find one with strait grain, if I cut my own tree and lumber I find it is much better. The Oak is very flexible when steamed and works well for bow making. I am looking to order an Osage Orange staff in the spring to make a new hunting bow for myself... I will be aiming for #65 draw.
    I think crooked wood can be straitened or made into a snake bow, never used it myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Professor View Post
    Hickory is a decent bow wood but not top choice. osage and yew are probably the top two bow woods. I have also seen maple used and black locast.
    I agree with Osage and Yew... best of the best. I do enjoy using Hickory myself... I have seen some really nice bows made from Hickory. I have never used Black Locast but I am working on a couple Maple bows right now... a pyramid and a self bow. Cut them both from a large Maple tree that someone needed removed. The grain is perfect. I have put it off for now though, when the snow starts to fly I usually close shop until spring.

    flies 232.jpg

    flies 230.jpg

    flies 229.jpg
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    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    I'm a trad bowyer, though I don't do much at present. I do have a few dozen bows under my belt.

    Of what I have readily available here my favorite wood for an unbacked selfbow, from board or stave is white ash. It has proved itself to be very forgiving and pretty durable, with it's greatest shortcoming in the later area being moisture absorption, which applies to all woods not properly sealed.
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    cold leftovers Psalm25's Avatar
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    I've never used white ash but have seen white ash bows. Beautiful grain when finished. I have some chinese ash, might give that a try one of these days. Really nice dark grain on the inside and a white outer grain.
    "If you're seeking to survive in the wilderness then good gear will get you to the last 10%. Training and practice are needed for the 90%."

    "If you can see smoke comin from your neighbor's chimney, your too close to your neighbor and its time to move on" - My Grandfather

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    1 inch PVC makes a great bow look up on youtube.

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    cold leftovers Psalm25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by techiedude View Post
    1 inch PVC makes a great bow look up on youtube.
    I've seen that That's one thing I love about bows... you can make them out of just about anything at hand
    "If you're seeking to survive in the wilderness then good gear will get you to the last 10%. Training and practice are needed for the 90%."

    "If you can see smoke comin from your neighbor's chimney, your too close to your neighbor and its time to move on" - My Grandfather

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    cold leftovers Psalm25's Avatar
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    Here's a link for a PVC bow:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zyV8tZGJtE
    "If you're seeking to survive in the wilderness then good gear will get you to the last 10%. Training and practice are needed for the 90%."

    "If you can see smoke comin from your neighbor's chimney, your too close to your neighbor and its time to move on" - My Grandfather

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    Senior Member postman's Avatar
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    I use red oak, white ash, or hickory, with hickory being my favorite. I've heard osage is the way to go, but its hard to get up here. I've also made a few laminated bows with bamboo and ipe, this is a great combination, very fast and virtually indestructable.

  13. #13
    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    Those PVC bows are pretty fun, but the heat-formed tapered ones are far​ better performers, like BackyardBowyer's recurve and horsebows.
    Last edited by canid; 01-17-2013 at 04:11 PM.
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    I've used madrona (pacific madrone) and big-leaf maple, but there are many other hardwoods in the PNW I'm interested in trying. Unfortunately, the natives of this region were almost exclusively fishermen, so I don't know what type of wood is good in my area, and I resort to random guessing. I do think however that oceanspray (ironwood) and red alder might be viable options. If I get around to making some out of those, I'll let you know how it goes.
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    cold leftovers Psalm25's Avatar
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    Here is a list of just about every possible wood one could think of and how good it is for bow making

    http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/top...-#.UPi3NPK5I84
    "If you're seeking to survive in the wilderness then good gear will get you to the last 10%. Training and practice are needed for the 90%."

    "If you can see smoke comin from your neighbor's chimney, your too close to your neighbor and its time to move on" - My Grandfather

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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    There are lots and lots of different oaks around here. I might try to whittle one down into a stabbie-chucker this year. Save that Hickory for when I know a little more.

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    I shoot compounds a lot I have never attempted to make a bow but was thinking about it recently and watched a really good show on you tube about this guy who has been making them for years- "Bow Making with Ed Scott" I don't want to try to post a link because my acct is new.

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    I stick mostly to osage for my bows, 60" down to 48". I am very surprised with one short 50" hickory that I made many years ago. Backed it with sinew and It is a nice shooting bow. It did take a little set, but is good shooter. I have two nice osage staves calling my name and a mess of whitetail sinew that needs to be processed.

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    cold leftovers Psalm25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubercrow View Post
    I shoot compounds a lot I have never attempted to make a bow but was thinking about it recently and watched a really good show on you tube about this guy who has been making them for years- "Bow Making with Ed Scott" I don't want to try to post a link because my acct is new.
    Edd Scott is amazing!! I could listen to him talk about bows all day long.
    "If you're seeking to survive in the wilderness then good gear will get you to the last 10%. Training and practice are needed for the 90%."

    "If you can see smoke comin from your neighbor's chimney, your too close to your neighbor and its time to move on" - My Grandfather

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    cold leftovers Psalm25's Avatar
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    Your lucky to have some O.O I am looking to get some shipped here from a buddy in another forum. I will pay the shipping and send him a bow out of one of the stave's for his trouble
    "If you're seeking to survive in the wilderness then good gear will get you to the last 10%. Training and practice are needed for the 90%."

    "If you can see smoke comin from your neighbor's chimney, your too close to your neighbor and its time to move on" - My Grandfather

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