Bow Building

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InstinctiveArcher
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Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » December 20th, 2015, 11:11 pm

Hi everyone. Several years back when I first got bit by the traditional archery bug, I got bit pretty hard. Within a year I had four bows, and my collection and obsession took off from there. After a while, I started to look for a way to get even more enjoyment out of archery, so I decided to try building my own bow. It turned out pretty well, and before I knew it I had built another. I am know at the point where I enjoy building bows almost as much as I do hunting with them. Lots of people ask me how I make a bow, and I thought that I would do a build along on one that I am currently working on. I hope you guys enjoy it.

One of my favorite parts about building a bow is picking the wood for the riser (handle) of the bow. You can do some really sweet looking designs. For this bow, I didn't do anything fancy, just a piece of teak between two pieces of maple, all in between to pieces of mahogany. I chose these because they contrast nicely.

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After that, I cut the rough shape of the riser out. For this bow I am making a 60 inch recurve, aiming for a 55-60 pound draw weight. I do a lot of sanding on the riser to make sure that it is square across the top. Otherwise the fiberglass limbs will not glue on correctly.

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Here is the wood veneers for my limbs. I have clear fiberglass and am putting bocote wood in between. It looks cool now, but it looks ten times better when it is glued.

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After I have all of this, I glue the entire mess together, and it really is a mess. The order that I glue is fiberglass, wood, riser, wood, fiberglass. It's basically a big sandwich with the riser in the center. After glueing all of this I wrap it in clear kitchen wrap to keep it from sticking to the mold. I also put kitchen wrap over the bottom half of the mold to keep it from sticking as well. It really helps to have two people when doing this. I wrap all of the curved parts with electrical tape while someone else holds the laminations from slipping. Once this is done, I put a pressure Jose over the laminations and clamp on the top part of the form. Then the pressure hose is inflated to 60 PSI, this squeezes everything tightly so that it fits the form. Then the entire thing goes into a makeshift oven so that the glue can cure at 180 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours.

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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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caliber420
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Re: Bow Building

Postby caliber420 » December 20th, 2015, 11:19 pm

very cool. I always wanted to build a bow. I want to do it this way though with a full stave rather than separate pieces.

someday i'll do one like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpPnlYj5NPc
2015 elk: http://i852.photobucket.com/albums/ab85 ... payoff.jpg
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » December 20th, 2015, 11:22 pm

Here is what it looks like when it comes out of the form. It's a mess, with globs of hardened glue and kitchen wrap all over it. I chisel off most of the bigger pieces, then use a belt sander to remove the rest. When I glued this up, my laminations slid a bit in the press. I don't think that it will affect the bow, it just won't look quite as nice.

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I couldn't help myself afterwards and peeled a little of the tape off of the limbs. The bocote looks awesome. These are going to be the coolest looking limbs on any bow that I've made. The laminations that I got are mostly straight grained, but I did get a few neat swirls in the grain.

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After I get the bow cleaned up, I then cut the limb tapers so that they get thinner towards the tips. I make sure to leave plenty of extra material so that I can account for any error.

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So that's as far as I've gotten so far. I hope you guys enjoyed this. I think bow building is an interesting process. I'll keep updating this every time that I get something done. If you guys have questions about anything let me know. I'll post some pics of other bows that I've made later.
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » December 20th, 2015, 11:26 pm

caliber420 wrote:very cool. I always wanted to build a bow. I want to do it this way though with a full stave rather than separate pieces.

someday i'll do one like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpPnlYj5NPc


Thanks. You should try it, it's a blast. :) I have made one piece bows out of oak, which is a great beginner wood. I currently have some hickory, locus, and Osage staves that are curing, which can take anywhere from 1-5 years. I'm excited to see what I can do with those, but right now, I'm just sticking with fiberglass while I wait.
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » December 21st, 2015, 11:52 am

Today I cut out the riser overlays. These help shape the riser to fit my hand better. I know that they look really big right now, but I'm going to be cutting a lot off later when I cut out the handle.

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Sorry, I don't know why my picture is rotated. :oops:
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » January 10th, 2016, 10:57 pm

Finally it to glue the riser overlays on. This time of year is way to busy! :roll:

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Also got the string nocks cut into the tips.
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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Exanimis
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Re: Bow Building

Postby Exanimis » January 18th, 2016, 9:17 pm

In the fourth photo of your first post you show everything glued together in a frame with a pressure hose. I have never seen a pressure hose used before so I have no idea what it is. How did you make the frame for gluing it together? Did you make the frame or buy one? The backgrounds look more like an industrial wharehouse than a garage, are you making this at your place of business?

Looking forward to seeing more of this bow, great to see someone doing something they love.
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » January 18th, 2016, 9:49 pm

I don't have certain pieces of large equipment, so I got permission from the high school to come in and use their work shop. Most of the work I can do at home, but certain things it's nice to have bigger equipment for.

The pressure hose is put into the form uninflated. It's then pumped up to 60psi in order to spread even pressure over the glued laminations. I made the glueing form myself. I stared out by buying the plans from a company called Bingham Products. They are a fantastic company and have everything you need to build your own longbows and recurves. Anyways, I bought the plans for the form, and after building a bow made some of my own modifications to it. I'm really happy with the bow's that I'm getting out of it. When making the form, it's really important that both surfaces are flat, otherwise the bow will come out with twisted limbs.

I love building bows. Lots of people think it's stupid, and some compound shooters have thrown some pretty nasty words about it, but I love what I do and get a lot of satisfaction out of it. I would recommend building a bow to anyone, even if it's just one to shoot in the backyard. It's an absolute blast! I'll get some more pics up for you guys soon. :)
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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InstinctiveArcher
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Re: Bow Building

Postby InstinctiveArcher » January 18th, 2016, 9:53 pm

Here it is strung. I have a string on it right now that is way to long, so it's not bending nearly as much as it should be yet. Right now I'm just checking for limb twist. All bows have a little bit and it's fairly simple to correct.

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Sorry, I can't figure out how to rotate the picture. :x
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So long as the new moon returns in heaven a bent, beautiful bow, so long will the fascination of archery keep hold of the hearts of men. - Maurice Thompson
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Exanimis
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Re: Bow Building

Postby Exanimis » January 19th, 2016, 1:45 am

There is an easy to use free program called Fastone Image Viewer, it makes resizing, rotating and editing photos really easy.

Here is a link or you can google it yourself
http://www.faststone.org/FSViewerDetail.htm

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