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Thread: How to make a self bow

  1. #1

    Default How to make a self bow

    I just returned from a family vacation to Oklahoma. We were visiting my wife's family. While I was there, I cut down an Osage Orage tree and shipped it up here to make a home made long bow. I have never attempted this before although I have always wanted to. Anybody out there ever attempted this before? Do you have any words of wisdom you can share? I want to do a good job. That way I can pass it down to one of my sons when they grow up. I can tell them it came off of there Great Grandpa's farm in Oklahoma.

  2. #2
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    Thumbs up Tradgang

    If you want really good info and friendly advice and maybe even some new friends got to www.tradgang.com

    Anything you could ever want to know about archery and build archery stuff is there. Ask or search and you will get loads of info.

    Good luck!

  3. #3

    Default

    Yep, I'll second the Tradgang.com recommendation. There's also another good traditional archery forum but the website link isn't coming to mind offhand.

    The Traditional Bowyer Bible series of books are excellent.

    A few of us on the forum here are bowyers, feel free to ask questions and we'll help you out.

    Where do you live? If you're in Anchorage, I'd be willing to show you the process.

    Jeff

  4. #4

    Default That would be great

    I sure would appreciate the advice. I live out in the valley but I would definitely drive down to Los Anchorage to get your advice. Where is your shop located? Or do you work out of your home?

  5. #5
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm in the valley, give me a holler if you need some help.
    BHA Member
    Bowyer to the forces of light in the land of the midnight sun.
    The 3 fold way: Every step we take as we walk through life effects, our family, our comunity and ourselves. One should walk thoughtfuly.

  6. #6
    Member hntr's Avatar
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    Default These guys are more into longbows than recurves


  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    I sure would appreciate the advice. I live out in the valley but I would definitely drive down to Los Anchorage to get your advice. Where is your shop located? Or do you work out of your home?
    I work out of my garage. But since you're in the Valley, just get ahold of RickP. He has a few more bows under his belt than I do anyway

  8. #8

    Default

    another one, the boywers journal...

    or pirates of archery (almost all boywers).

    Split the stave and get'r sealed on the ends before she checks on ya. The smaller you split'r, the faster it'll come down to moisture content so you can start building.

    Hopefully she's clean, not to twisted, and not to knotty.

  9. #9

    Default Good advice guys

    How do I get ahold of you Rick P? Are you in the white pages? Can you send me a pm with your contact info?

    Thanks

  10. #10
    Member Rick P's Avatar
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    Default

    LOL, Well Droping me a PM is a good way to start, I'll just send you my contact info via the PM system. I'm in Palmer and have a tiny home shop
    BHA Member
    Bowyer to the forces of light in the land of the midnight sun.
    The 3 fold way: Every step we take as we walk through life effects, our family, our comunity and ourselves. One should walk thoughtfuly.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Another excellent site is paleo planet, lots of primitive building stuff on there. If you're looking for a good book get Dean Torges Hunting the Osage Bow, it has everything you need to know. He has a good web site as well. As already said tradgang is a great site with lots of helpful folks.

  12. #12

    Default

    man I didnt even think of deans book...dean also has a bunch of his writings back up on his web site (google his name).

    Another sleeper bowyer who has a 'book' out is brad smith.....IT's titled how to make your own osage longbow, the ultimate traditional bow by brad smith...if you can find it it's worth the few bucks to buy! The guy had a bow on the cover of tbm I believe it was years back...might have been PA, one look and you know he's a super bowyer!

  13. #13
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ibohnt View Post
    Another excellent site is paleo planet, lots of primitive building stuff on there. If you're looking for a good book get Dean Torges Hunting the Osage Bow, it has everything you need to know. He has a good web site as well. As already said tradgang is a great site with lots of helpful folks.
    I found the Torges book at an online bookstore... in German

  14. #14

    Default

    Look up Bowyersedge.com. Dean has his contact information there. Don't hesitate to call him. He's a great guy and will sign the book if you ask. Get the "mother of all rasps" that he sells. It has a course side and fine side that really gets it done.

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    Default split it

    How big of a log did you bring back? Length and diameter.
    Have you split it yet? If not you should study the logs bark to try and get a good feel of where you want the back of your bow to come from, then split the log and seal the ends like was stated earlier.
    Split it as many times as you can to get usable staves. Osage takes a long time to dry to a proper moisture content. You can speed that up with a hot box if you want to build one.
    I have a few books and a few osage staves in my garage.
    No expert by any means but will help you out with any quetions you have.
    Good luck
    Jason

  16. #16

    Default 2 Logs

    I cut two logs. One is about 71" long and about 5" diameter. the other is about 63" long and about 4" in diameter. Do you think they will work?

  17. #17
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    Default yes

    They will work, may end up with a rounded back trying to follow one growth ring, but u can always flatten the back out by picking a growth ring farther in towards the heart and then follow it down the center of the stave, cutting through the other rings, keeping the back flat.

    If all else fails get some sinew and back the bow. I have a box full of buffalo sinew I brought with me.


    Also you will want to get rid of the white sapwood and make ur bow out of the yellow heartwood.

  18. #18

    Default

    or decrown it and bamboo back it

  19. #19
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    Default

    Just a thought: you might want to read Howard Hill's "Hunting the Hard Way," in which he goes through both bows and arrows and their hand making processes. A classic book for your library anyway . . . . . I always used his recommendations for bowstsrings, arrows, and broadheads. I've never found a broadhead arrow with which I killed a head of big game, by the way. They all just went on through and sailed away. That included mulies, moose, and caribou. Great penetration, those old heads!

  20. #20

    Default Great Advice!!!

    Thank you all for all your advice and help. I have been an avid bowhunter for at least 20 years, and a traditionalist for about 10 now. But I am a novice when it comes to making a homemade bow. I have already called Rick P out in the valley and I am going to go spend the day with him at his shop.

    I just recieved my logs last night in the mail. I sent them parcel postage. So it took a few weeks to get here. But, they are here and boy are they beautiful. That heartwood is strange looking. I can't believe how yellow it is. I can't wait to start making my bow.

    I have two more questions though in the meantime. #1) what do I seal the ends with? #2) what about Jay Massey's book, the bowyer's craft? Is that a good resource also. I managed to find a copy of Bowhunting Alaska's Wild Rivers, and A Thousand Campfires. They were both fantastic to read for traditional hunting. But I heard that the Bowyer's Craft is about how to make a bow. Is it any good, and if so, does anybody know where a guy could pick one up?

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