Monday, April 23, 2012

Well Bow Me Down!

Lilly's first bow
Jute twine bow handle
Primitive kids bows
Primitive kids bows 2
Primitive kids bows 5
Primitive kids bows 4

A couple of weeks ago I constructed my very first fully functional bow.

This is the culmination of a year or more of obsession. About a year ago I was doing some research on the Plains of Abraham. While researching the look of a french musket on youtube I noticed on the suggestion sidebar that there was a video on the English longbow. This set off a chain of events that has led me to purchase a longbow and recurve bow in the last year.

On top of taking up archery, I have developed a healthy amount of knowledge of how to make my own primitive bow. Now, all the knowledge I have is theory gained from reading books like "The Traditional Bowyers Bible" volume one and two, "Bows and Arrows of the Native Americans" and a heap of youtube videos. I have to admit that without youtube my ability to understand what I have been reading would have been greatly limited, but fortunately for me that was not the case and the information so generously provided by people around the world has allowed me to successfully construct this bow.

In truth it is not a bow for me. It is a bow for my daughter who is two and a half years old. Wah... wah... waaaaaaa....

Before you are too disappointed, let me tell you this is one heck of a bow. It has truly exceeded my expectations and has given me the confidence to continue and build larger bows.

It is made from what I believe to be poplar. I cut it about 4 years ago to make a walking stick and it had been seasoning in my parents garage for all that time . The other day I was over for the afternoon and had some spare time so I grabbed a hatchet and an Opinel knife and went to town on the wood. All in all it probably took me about 5 hours to figure everything out and get it shaped up. I then wrapped the handle with jute twine and used waxed nylon cord to make the string.

Like I mentioned earlier, once I put a string on this thing I was not disappointed with its performance. I tested it out using plastic arrows with suction cup tips that belonged to a dollar store bow we bought for Lilly some time ago. Well let me assure you they all rest in pieces. This thing shot them so hard they literally shattered on impact when they hit the wall I was shooting them at.

Needless to say I'm holding off giving this bow to Lilly until she is older and I can build her some arrows that can withstand the bows power.

If you could have seen the grin on my face when I realized that this thing worked. So proud. I have already started on my next bow which is slightly longer than my first attempt. My first bow measured in at 36" and my next which is made from oak gathered from the riverbank is about 43" long.

In my haste I have already come up against some obstacles. Number one the wood is green and unseasoned. My fist bow was very easy to make because the wood had such a balanced strength to it due to the amount of time it was given to shed its moisture. The wood I am currently working with still has a fair amount of soft flex to it, and will need to dry longer before I put the finishing touches on it. If I can maintain my patience and not muck about with it too much, it should get stronger and easier to work with as time goes by.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.

Stay golden Bony Boys and Girls.


Adrian J.K. Shum, CGD said...

Very, very cool my friend... very, very cool. ;)

James said...

Thanks Adrian!

I'm having a blast making these. Maybe in a couple of years I'll be able to make a composite bow of some kind. Right now I'm having fun making these caveman style mini-bows.