Make A Longbow

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As a professional bowyer, I’ve been building longbows for a couple of decades and teaching the craft around the country for some years now. I’ve come to realize that a lot of people enjoy making bows as much as using them, and for good reason. A bow is a fun project and something that can be made with just a few pieces of wood, a bandsaw, a couple of files, and a bench vise.

The only materials you need are a narrow length of yellowheart wood, a strip of bamboo, and a small block of hardwood. You laminate the three components together and then shape them into a bow. Woodworkers who don’t want to search out the materials can purchase the unlaminated parts for $120. A “quick-start” pre-laminated option is also available for $150. Both kits include a bow string. (See the Convenience-Plus Buying Guide for the kits and other supplies.) The 66"-long bow described in this article will suit a person as short as 4'11" or as tall as 6'3". Following the directions will yield a bow with a draw weight between 25 and 55 lbs., depending on how much material you choose to remove during shaping.

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