Part I. Shape The Bow
- You can either buy yourself a wooden stave measuring 6 feet long to save you all the trouble of making one; or make yourself one to save you all the money. Make sure your stave is completely dry before you use it to make your bow. It should also be malleable, strong and flexible. Good wood choices include osage orange, hickory, lemonwood and yew.
- Gather all the tools you would need. Even though you can make a bow using just a knife, but it is way easier using the following tools:
- Small vice
- Tillering stick
- Screw clamps
- Bow-shaping frame
- Draw knife
- Large file
- Use a pen in marking the outline for the arrow rest and limbs of the bow using a pen.Using one hand, make the stave stand up, and use the other to swing the hatchet. Smooth out the sides well.
- Decide the specifics on your own! The flat, narrow and wide limbs, and the handle can be decided and marked out according to your comfort.
- Now, test the stave to make sure that it could bend.The tip at the bottom should be against your instep and the upper one is held by your hand. Pull back towards you ( face the away from you as if you are going to shoot). Be careful when you do this as doing it too much to avoid damaging your stave.
- Form your bow’s limbs. Remember the marks you made for them earlier? Start shaping them out. Next, place your intended handle section in the vice. Tighten it. The back should be facing upwards. Then, use a draw knife to draw long strokes along the stave. When you reach your desired thickness for your bow, sand down the rough edges. Note: Don’t make it too thin or it will break.
Part II. Finish the Bow
- Cut notches on the inside where the string would be placed, then put them into the top of your bow’s limbs as well as the bottom. These will keep the bowstring steady in its place. You can use a knife or a flat and narrow file, but it would be best if you use a long, cylindrical file.
- Remove very small amounts of wood from your stave’s sides. Before you start this, use a bow shaping frame to secure your bow in place. Bend the limbs as equal to each other as possible. To do this, the stave should be bent at equal distances from both ends of the bow’s handle.
- Once you got the shape you desired, place a tillering string twice as long of the actual bowstring to be placed on your bow. In each end, tie and attach the notches on the bow’s limbs. Tip: You can use parachute cords for as tillering string.
- Pull the string to the notch closer to the stick’s top. Then, slowly and carefully, pull the bow more Take note how your bow is bending. You should also be patient as this process could take a long time. When you hear the bow making a noise, stop pulling and shape your bow’s limbs a bit more. After doing so, you can measure its draw poundage to get your desired amount. This is usually between 50 to 70 lbs.
- Once you see that your bow has an acceptable draw, take it off the tillering stick and replace the tillering string with the bowstring. Loop the ends securely around the notches.
- When you’re done tillering, you can decorate your bow as much as you like as long as it doesn’t hinder the bow to fire at its full potential. It is also recommended that you apply a protective coating on it.
And there you have it! Although it would really take time to get a perfect home-made recurve bow, the effort is all worth it. I personally made mistakes the first time I made this, but after assessing where I went wrong, I managed to make the next one as good as it can be. Do not expect that this could perform as well as the ones made professionally. However, you should not also underestimate how your own, personalized recurve bow could perform. You will be delighted with the results!