Does your heart beat for archery? Did you always wanted to have a bow and arrow and could not afford it? The good news is that you can make your own bow and arrow very easily.
Archery is a wonderful sport of precision and skill and needs a lot of practice. The history of archery stretches back to the Stone Age. The earliest people known to have used bow and arrows were the Ancient Egyptians. These people used bow and arrows for hunting and warfare. Later its use spread to other countries like China, Japan, Greece, Middle East and England. The English long bow became very popular and was used in many battles in Europe. But since the advent of gunpowder the importance of archery reduced and today it has developed into a competitive and recreational sport. In ancient times bows and arrows were mainly made with wood but have since been evolved. They are now made with myriads of materials including carbon fiber and fiber glass. If you are a novice then you need a lot of information regarding the different types of bows available to help your passion for archery reach greater heights. But if you don’t want to spend money on these bows then you can make your own bow also. But first let’s look at the different types of bows used both for hunting and archery.
- Long bow
The prehistoric men used long bows mainly for hunting. It is the earliest type of a bow. It is a one stick bow and the best example of a long bow is the English bow. The English army used it as an effective weapon in all their wars until the invention of rifles. Long bows are known for their typical D-shape and are much bigger than the standard recurve bows.
- Recurve bow
Recurve bow is the only type of ancient bow that is used in Olympics. A recurve bow is almost the same a long bow with the only difference in the shape of the limbs. It is called recurve bow because of the recurve shape of the limbs. The center of the recurve bow curves towards the archer and the tips curve away. These bows are perfect for beginners and don’t require much strength from the shooter. It is the most functional bow among beginners and consists of a string, two end limbs and a riser, to help in balancing the bow.
- Compound bow
Compound bows are the modern bows which were invented in mid 1960s. Its sophisticated design allows the archer to pull its full draw length with less force as compared to the other bows. A compound bow has a pulley at the top of each limbs holding the drawstring. Its easy mechanism makes it a favorite of elderly as it does not uses much muscle power. Compound bows are used mainly for hunting but they can also be used for target practice. They are faster than the long bow and recurve bow. When used for target shooting a compound bow uses different accessories on the bow.
- Cross bow
Crossbow is a unique mash-up of either a recurve or compound bow. Cross bows are highly precise with more extended firing range as compared to all the other bows. Cross bows are used both for hunting and target shooting.
Making your own bow with wood for hunting
Choosing a right piece of wood is the most crucial part of making a bow. Find a dead but not cracking hard piece of wood like oak, teak, lemon tree, ash or juniper. The piece should be approximately 6 feet in length. Make sure the wood is free from any twists or knots and is slightly thicker in the center.
Bamboo or cane can also be used but they should not be too thick. Now find out the natural curve of your stick. This curve will only help you figure out where to place its most important features. Find out its curve by placing it on the ground with one hand and with the other hand hold it from the top and now slightly push towards the center. Now you have to determine the handhold and limbs. From the center point of your stick make a mark both three inches above and below. So anything within the range of these marks is the handhold and above them is the upper limb and below one is the lower limb.
Start shaping the bow now by putting one end of the bow on your foot and with the other on the top press outward, with the belly of the bow facing you. Make sure the bow is flexible. The upper and the lower limbs should both curve similarly and should have the same diameter. Use a sharp tool like a knife to shave off the wood from the stiff spots on the belly of the bow. Be careful while carving and take off too much from the belly. Make notches around 1 to 2 inches from each end of the bow to hold the bow string in place. Start cutting the notches at the sides, curving around the belly of the bow. Choose a string that is not stretchy as the force comes from the twine and not from the bow. You can use a fishing line, an ordinary twine, thin nylon rope, hemp cord, etc. Take your string and make a loose loop with very strong knots at the both ends of your bowstring. Now slip this over the lower and then the upper limb of the bow. Make the string shorter than the length of inflexed bow, so that both your bow and string are tightly stretched. Now holding on to the bow pull on to the string as far downwards as possible, making sure both the limbs of the bow are bending evenly. Shave off the bow as required. Your bow is now ready to use.
Making an arrow
Find the right sticks for making arrows. The arrows should be as long as the bow can draw back. Use straight dry sticks. Cut the wood smooth around the circumference. Carve a notch behind the back tip of your arrow to fit the bow string into it. Sharpen the tip of the arrow with a knife and then gently harden it in the fire. Do not burn it. Make an arrow head with a stone, glass, metal or even a bone. Carefully chip off your desired material for arrow head and fix it to the tip of the arrow. You can do this by making a notch in the tip of the arrow and inserting the arrow head in it. Make sure the arrow head is properly fixed to the arrow using a string or cord.
Apart from the bow and arrow you would need other accessories like a bow stand, quiver, bow cases and bow stabilizer
(For keeping the bow balanced),
Making your own bow and arrow is a little tricky and needs a lot of patience. But it is totally worthwhile. So go ahead, make your own bow and arrow and impress your friends and family.
Eat. Sleep. Shoot. Repeat.