Made a 20lbs @20 inches recurve bow out of scrap wood and mancave junk

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GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
Last week I found a curtain track in a dumpster and quickly noticed it was made from a thick strip of bamboo so thick the 1 inch wide 1/4 inch thick strip was almost flat, I joked to myself on my way past that I bet you could make a bow to shoot arrows out of that, when I came back home it was still there so I grabbed it and I did.


This was all just for my fun and entertainment whilst stuck in the city, then when I was there with my tongue sticking out with a big smile on my face having a great time I thought hey you should take pictures, at first i'd thought you could laminate multiple layers of the bamboo and then shape a bow from it, but it fitted much better to being the limbs of a recurve style bow.


I looked at pictures online of the handle bits and made a template diagonally on A4 printer paper for my bit of shop pine that was in a scrap wood bin I have, coping sawed this up to rough shape, then rasped it, then mora'd it (very small sharp knife) and then sanded it, hated it and rasped it loads more, then mora'd it some more, sanded it and started smiling at the shape, played about with the mora until I was happy and then put it down before it became kindling, cut the limbs from the bamboo, soaked the ends in hot water for 10 mins and then held them in the bench vice and added a slight bend to the end of each one for the knock area and kick.


I'm sure I have all the names of bits wrong, please archery folks take it easy with the beatings I am just entertaining myself and shared the madness :) I didn't even follow any instructions as I wanted the learning and discovery to be part of the fun, if i make a serious bow i will get some trusted guidelines, this was just for a laugh


So I awled holes for the screws in the bamboo and glued and screwed the limbs to the handle and then set about digging in the mancave for a good wrap, tried various bits of leather and other bits of fancy stuff but I never had enough of one thing to do it all so settled with the luminous tent guy lines, so this became the binding for the limbs and the handle, whilst finding the guy lines I found some tarp cordage that had a very slight bungee to it, gave it a rough tie up on the bent bow and it held shape and made a nice twang when you strummed it so i thought i'll give that a shot.


So I grabbed a cardboard box, stuffed it with 7 sheets of thick card and 2 pairs of old denim jeans, slapped one of my little cross bow paper targets on the side of this box and sat it on a stool at the end of my hall in front of my front door, i had marked the floor 5 meters away thinking it may not even reach the target (did i mention the no expert bit?).


So there i stand 5 meters from my front door inside my house with my makeshift bow in hand facing a target i made (as described above) and I take a Japanese longbow arrow (practice tip that you can see in the finish images) knock the arrow to the string, draw the bow about 2/3rds of what i think it can take and loose the arrow, it flies true straight through the target denting my brass inside letterbox cover, don't worry folks I don't have kids :lmao:


Please understand I am no expert in either bow making or woodcraft I just like playing with whittling tools and scrap wood and my imagination and anything that I might find in a rummage about the mancave.

I have just been advised that i was measuring my draw weight incorrectly, following the new advice and using a measuring stick i get 19.3 lbs @ 25 inches maximum draw length, that explains the holes in stuff better


Stuff used 2x2x14 inch long block of pine, 2 x 14 inch bamboo curtain track strips approx 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick, 4 small wood screws, wood glue, luminous tent guy lines, tarp cord for the bow string, my goal was to only use whatever I had already it became like a fun rule I tried to stick to and did, at the start I thought I was going to have to get something appropriate to use or make a bow string out of but the tarp cordage works a treat.


Tools used with tongue sticking out, tape measure, pencil, hand coping saw, Mora 120 sloyd style kniv, Japanese Shinto rasp, hand awl, wet and dry aluminium cloth sanding sheets


Test video coming as soon as I get some half decent natural light and make a more rugged target

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Nomad64

Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
1,073
583
UK
Brilliant - you really should have a TV series, a kind of "Jack Hargreaves doing Mythbusters" in his shed! :)
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
Pictures uploaded here for those who can't see my Mycotek hyperlinked images, Mycotek.org is just a mycology forum but it has sub forums about psychoactive and medicinal plants and some ISP's flag is as adult material we all need protected from and they block it, i had trouble with the service i get from T-mobile blocking the site and i had to prove to them i was admin and that i felt safe there and diod not need it blocked for my protection.

same 10 pics, hope that helps

IMG_20170301_132742.jpg IMG_20170301_132758.jpg IMG_20170322_133545.jpg IMG_20170322_133558.jpg IMG_20170322_134932.jpg

IMG_20170322_135451.jpg IMG_20170322_135510.jpg IMG_20170322_135512.jpg IMG_20170323_235923.jpg IMG_20170323_235930.jpg
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
Brilliant - you really should have a TV series, a kind of "Jack Hargreaves doing Mythbusters" in his shed! :)

I'm not sure how i'd deal with being on the tele but i reckon I could go for it as long as I could be myself and they didn't try to use me to sell pocket knives and survival tat
 

crosslandkelly

A somewhat settled
Jun 9, 2009
24,276
1,287
64
North West London
Looks good and a nicely shaped handle. Have you measured the draw weight? I've made a few Bhutanese bows, that had draw weights between 18 to 30lbs @ 30 inches.
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
Great job - and perfect proof that you don't need much of a draw weight to do some damage!

No kidding, I had no idea it was going to be lethal i would not want shot with this even with these practice tipped arrows even at 10m distance, never mind hunting arrows with broadheads on.

The furthest i have tried to shoot so far is over a 7 meter distance and it was thudding into the newer target i have made, I know 7 meters is a small distance in archery terms but i am sure with patience that could be used to hunt with, the style of hunting where you are perched over an area with repeated animal usage signs hiding your shape and scent and being really patient until something you want to eat comes within range.

Video coming this evening after i wait for the good light this afternoon for shooting video in and then time get it edited and uploaded
 
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GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
I was told how to test the draw weight, so having some good scales and a stick i gave it a go and got a draw weight 13.4lbs, not bad for a first bow made from bits of scrap wood and junk

You must have missed it in my mad ramblings :cool:
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
Not that i know of man i just made it up as i went along, i suppose if you look at the end of the babble you have all my materials used and a tool list and there is a talk of what i done through the writing pretty basic wood working skills only needed, the handle does not need to be overly shaped just a chock of wood you can hold and fasten two springy limbs too, i tried to keep it simple, my whole thoughts around the project were if i had to make a bow could i with just what i have, will it work? Will it be any good, do i have to spend money. i will definitely be making more bows in future but i also want to make a medieval crossbow all based on an image i stared at for ages as a kid that showed the inner trigger workings of them in the Hancock museum, it has stuck with me for life
 

ValeTudoGuy

Nomad
Mar 8, 2017
325
0
Preston, England
Fantastic. Just be careful of the screw in points. It might be an idea to upgrade to bolts.

The draw weight is taken at your draw length so the @30 would be 30" draw length.

You could try and beef this thing up some by adding another material... Those old jeans you mentioned would be decent. Bamboo is a great backing material so I would go for a denim belly and a compression resistant resin or glue like Cascamite perhaps? Failing that, hide glue or Titebond 3
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
right on the new info i have measured the draw weight and get totally different results, maximum draw distance is 50 cm measured from the handle to the string extended, the relaxed bow has a gap between handle and string of 14cm so from relaxed string to extended string is 36 cm draw distance and at maximum draw the weight is 19.3lbs, this time i used a carpenters ruler as my stick on the scales and bow, amde measuring way eeasier than my first attempt with previous stick and an added extended auto recoil tape measure

so it is either 19.3 lbs at 25 inches or 19.3 lbs at 14 inches depending on if the measurement is taken from the handle or the relaxed string, either way very happy with my mad experiment and no further changes will be made to this, the whole point to me was to see if i could make a totally usable bow from the junk in my house and not buying a thing, right now i know nothing about bow making and archery but what i am learning by just exploring before i go anywhere near anyone's teachings will be invaluable down the line to myself, plenty of time and plenty of cheap fun to be had as i learn
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
so it is 19.3 lbs at 25 inches, very happy about that :)

edit for bad maths error 50 cm is 19.68 inches not 25 inches

so finally :D

it is 19.3 lbs at 19.68 inches draw weight/length
 
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pentrekeeper

Forager
Apr 7, 2008
140
0
North Wales
Looks good, nice job and very satisfying I bet.
I used to do a bit of target archery a few years ago, and if I remember rightly you need a bow with about 40lbs pull to shoot a target at 100 yards with any consistency.
The arrow length is different and depends on your reach, with the bow held at arms length the draw is to your chin, the arrow needs to be 1 to 1.5 inches longer than that for safety reasons.
Lower poundage bows are good for shorter distances, and indoor shooting during winter months is usually done at 20 yards.
 

GGTBod

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 28, 2014
3,210
23
1
Right then the makeshift (does anyone get the feeling a lot of things in my life are makeshift?) 7 meter archery shooting range is ready for shooting arrows and movies and bow testing, i'm just waiting for a bit better natural light as the sun comes around the building and i will get shooting, the new target is a combination of the old target box with a new foam front and print out target face

17504618_1872590896347518_3809952537132873737_o.jpg
 

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