1. The Topic of the Month for October is "Make this the Perfect Bugout Location". Please join the discussion in the TOTM forum.

How to make a quick and easy longbow

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by beast, May 23, 2011.

  1. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    how to make a quick and easy longbow for hunting or defense
    out of materials growing naturally in the woods

    start with a nice ash oak hickory or other good hardwood tree
    of the three, ash doesnt need to season before you use it
    so its much better if you need the bow ASAP
    hickory is a bit too flexible when green but when dried works better
    oak is nice and rigid, lots of strength but may crack a bit when green
    it is usually best when well seasoned, air dried 3-4 years

    you need a young tree of good straight grain with no knots
    5 to 8 feet long and about 2-3 inches in diameter at the small end
    these are usually found in thickly wooded areas of older growth
    the surrounding trees force a faster straighter growth

    once you find your tree cut it down with a saw, machete or whatever you have
    stone axes work, just slowly...lol
    peel the bark off and make sure the grain is suitably straight and even
    use a plane, machete or drawknife and shave one side back flat
    do not cut deep enuff to go into the heartwood leave at least 1/4 inch of sapwood
    1/2 inch is better, this will be the flexing part of your bow
    you want a nice flat smooth face about 2 inches wide
    try not to cut any of the fibers, if you can, split this portion off cleanly
    on this face mark the center measuring in from the ends
    mark down 5 inches and mark this as your hand grip area
    draw lines on this face marking the shape of your bow
    narrow for the grip then go wide and taper down to the tips
    now cut down to your lines with knife, plane or machete
    lay your bow on its side now and measure your grip
    you want it around 1.5 to 2 inches from front to back, or what ever you like
    leave the wood thicker above and below the grip
    full original thickness of the log wont hurt, it just adds strength
    the heartwood is ok, in the back, thicker, supportive parts
    not in the bending portions, it tends to be brittle
    now draw a line from the thicker portion out to the tips
    youll want to leave the tips around 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch thick
    and part way towards the center youll want it the same
    as you do a few of these you will learn the tapers and thicknesses that work best for you
    the center part around the grip needs to be heavy and thick so it doesnt bend easy
    the farther out you get the thinner the bow is the more and easier it will bend
    kind of like a leaf spring set, more leaves in the center give the spring strength
    the same for the thickness of the wood

    dont worry about bending or bowing the ends. it isnt needed
    just notch them slightly for your string
    this type of bow doesnt need to bend that far for power
    if you need the ends curved forward it takes a while but is simple
    i usually stick the last couple inches of each end over a header log
    in one of my sheds, let gravity bow what it will
    you dont need to cure the wood for the longbow
    itll work fine as it is
    if you do cure it, yeah, go ahead and bend it some
    where you bend and how much is gonna depend on how thick th wood is
    where it bends naturally and where you want it to bend
    i cant give a definitive answer on that one

    the more material you have to bend
    the more power it takes to draw it
    and the more power pushin your arrow out
    recurves use bends to give more flex and spring with less material
    a longbow just uses material, the thicker the stronger
    the shape is importnt in how and where the wood flexes
    and how fast it returns to its original position
    like a leaf spring, they flex the easiest out where its thinnest
    but the double and triple layers help push it back to where it started from
    same for the thickier and thinner parts of a bow
    you can make it narrower and thicker
    but then it wont flex quite the same
    may even stress and break
    wider and thinner gives the bulk for strength
    with more flexibility
    bend a 2x4, see which way it bends easiest
    its greatest strength is on edge
    its greatest flexibility is the wide side
    Dunerunner and 3M-TA3 like this.
  2. madmax

    madmax Far right. Bipolar. Veteran. Don't push me.

    Well written tutorial.
  1. lonewolf88
  2. Witch Doctor 01
    Bow building links enjoy
    Thread by: Witch Doctor 01, Feb 15, 2016, 2 replies, in forum: Bushcraft
  3. chelloveck
  4. Brokor
  5. Tyler Danann
  6. Quigley_Sharps
  7. Brokor
  8. Brokor
  9. Kingfish
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary