View Full Version : YOUTH BOW (easy) build along...

11-14-2006, 03:14 PM
I’ve gotten a lot of interest in plans for the Youth Bows I recently started building. So, here we go…

First, go here and read the sections on selecting boards and tillering board bows. Ferret's Board Bow instructions (http://residents.bowhunting.net/sticknstring/brdbows.html) Some of this will apply to these little bows, some won't but read the material selection and tillering sections for sure.

Secondly, I gotta give credit to Mike “Elkninja” Miller for posting a similar thread on TG and giving me his blessing to share them here along with some of his pics. I’ll use some of Mike’s pics to get us started today and start taking and using my own when we get to the riser design as mine is a little different than Mike’s.

The Plans Diagram


2 – ΒΌ”x 2”x 48” Red Oak Planks (about $5 at Home Depot or Lowe’s)
Wood Glue (I use Titebond II)
Stain (optional)
Finish (clear gloss or satin finish)
Tennis racket grip ($3 for 3 of them at WalMart)
#20 Hemp cord (enough for 3 bowstrings for about $3 at WalMart)


A Jigsaw is a minimum but a band saw is helpful.
Rumor has it that a belt-sander in also helpful…I just use sandpaper and elbow-power.
4-way file (optional)
Tape measure

Step 1:
Cut one of the planks into 2 – 2” pieces for the tips and 3 – 6” pieces for the riser. Do this for each bow you’re making.

Step 2:
Make a mark at the center of the bow and a line 3” on either side of center (see first image below). This is where your riser pieces will be stacked and glued-up (see second pic below)
Side note: to save time here if you’re building several bows for Scouts or something, buy and use a 1”x 2”x 60” Red Oak board for the risers rather than stacking the 6” pieces.


Step 3:
Glue-up! Place the 2” pieces at each end (measurement "A") and stack the 6” pieces in the center on the opposite side (measurement "C"), glue and clamp. Whipe excess glue as you clamp with a clean, damp rag. Read the directions on the glue you decide to use for drying time. I usually remove the clamps after an hour or so and glue-up the next one but don't strees the glue by cutting for 24 hours or so.


Step 4:
Limb Layout. Use the diagram at the beginning of this thread to help layout the limb tapers from riser to tip and remember that we are using a finished 2" board so our width is already 1-1/2". Start by making a couple of dots 1/2” in on both ends of the limb tips (see measurement “D” in diagram and red dots on pic). Next measure 1-1/2” from each side of the riser and make two more dots to mark measurement “B” from the diagram (see red dots on image below). Now connect the dots! These are the lines that you’ll use to cut the limb profiles down. I try to cut just outside the lines and the sand to them.


That’s it for now…don’t cut the limbs down yet! It’s easier to rough the riser out first while the limbs are square, then cut the limbs down. I’ll post more on the riser layout and roughing it out with a jigsaw later…or tomorrow.

Steve W
11-14-2006, 03:23 PM
oh no. i can feel this one getting in my blood.
dang you Tinman, dang you.

keep post'n plllleeease!!

11-14-2006, 03:55 PM
Hmmm, think I might make one for my 4 year old. He's got a fiberglass cheapie now. He can't pull it all the way back yet, but I just like the look of a wood bow. Then he could be just like dad when I bust out the recurve from time to time! :)
Thanks tinman!

11-14-2006, 04:51 PM
Step 5:
Layout riser lines onto 6" riser area using trace template above. You may have to save the picture and adjust it's size to fit before printing template...or just free-hand it. To build a lefty riser, flip the template over. I am trying to come up with a good design that will work for RH and LHers and still have enough structure not to break in the middle...I'll have to get back with you on that. If you plan to build several of these, make a trace template out of wood like this one.


Total layout pic done with a Sharpie so the lines show up better.


Step 6:
Riser cuts. The riser has a total of 6 cuts...at least it takes me 6 cuts with a jigsaw to get a decent riser. Anyone using a bandsaw or scroll saw may get nicer cuts, faster and with less work. I do mine in this order using the color codes in the pic below.

1st - Red
2nd - Yellow
3rd - Blue
4th - Green


Make certain that the intersection of the Blue and Yellow cuts are not too close to the Green cut or it will break under pressure.

5th & 6th are the Pink cuts on the sides, seen here. Jigsaw users, be careful making these cuts and everyone cut away from the limb!


Step 7:
Limb cuts are pretty self-explanatory...follow the lines and cut right through tip overlays too. I'll post pics of a roughed out bow later...I gotta go get my daughter from school.

Don't cut yourself! :)

11-14-2006, 10:13 PM
Rough Cut pics. Sorry for the quality...I was having trouble with the flash reflecting off the floors.

Riser top...

Riser side...

Limb rough...

Tip with basic nock notched in...

Next up sanding and tillering...

11-15-2006, 08:00 AM
Dang you Tinman!!!! THis is awesome can't wait and see the rest...... Excuse me I must be on my way to Home Depot!!!!!!

11-15-2006, 09:01 AM
This is awesome!!!! keep it coming.This is one of the best DIY projects I have ever seen. My daughter is already asking me when I am going to build her one.

11-15-2006, 02:17 PM
OK, it's time to sand...

Step 8:
Use file and rough grit sandpaper to knock the rough edges off and prevent yourself from getting splinters. If you have a beltsander, this is a good place to spend sometime shaping the handle a little bit...if not, this will take forever! Finish sand will be done after we tiller.

Step 9:
Build a bowstring (or just buy one, AMO 48" should work fine). There are lots of places online to teach you how to build a bowstring but I'll post some quick instructions for the simple strings I am building. They're not flemish, they're not served, they are simply tied together, but after hundreds of shots around here they appear to be safe.

Use two pieces of the 20# Hemp cord to make each string (WalMart crafts area with beads for making necklaces). Try to use two difference colors for a nice look when it's twisted to length.

First, I took a 2"x 4" scrap and placed a couple of sheetrock screws 44.5" apart. Next tie a 1" loop in one end of the cord and loop it around one of the screws. Then just wrap it back and forth around the screws 3 or 4 times to the end and tie it off about 1" away from the last screw it'll wrap and cut off excess. Repeat the process with second strand make sure that you are wrapping the cord in a continuous circle and not a 'figure 8' pattern. You should have 6-8 strands of cord now.

Next is the 'semi-serving'. These bows are only around 10-20#s so I have been able to get away without a real serving. I take a 12" piece of the leftover cord and tie a knot about 1" in from the screw. Then loop the long end through the end of the string repeatedly with 1/8" - 1/4" spacing all the way around the loop. Tie it off tight and clip the ends leaving just enough excess to pull knots tight from time to time if needed.

Should look like this on both ends...


Remove one screw from board to slide the string off without damaging it. Wax it heavily with bowstring wax as this does not have any wax on it. Once on the bow, you'll tie a nock point on it'll be ready to go.

Step 10:
Tiller-Time! Read Ferret's tillering section to learn the basics of tillering? Here's where we cut some time and start testing our limbs for safety at the same time...we string and brace-up the bow. If it's gonna break that easy, we want it to break on us right now or while we are shooting the bow in. I've yet to loose one of these little bows by skipping the tiller tree and tillering them at brace.

Brace height should be around 5.5 - 6". If it's shorter, twist the string a few times 'til it's there. If it's longer than that, take some twist out of the string until you get it there....we call this advanced tuning techniques in the trad-forum.:)

Here's what it's supposed to look like at brace and at full draw (pics nabbed from the Ferret's page, link above).


If it doesn't have the nice cresent-curve, you gotta take some wood off the belly. I use the edge of my 4-way file to do this with the bow at brace until I get the shape I want...if you can resist shooting the bow at the stage you're a better man than I. Keep a 22" arrow around so you don't draw it too far, it will break.

If you run into tillering problems, post pics of the bow at brace in the trad forum...maybe one of the real bowyers over there can help you save it and teach us both something in the process.

Step 11:
What's next? Remove string and finish-sand to get it ready to stain/finish.

Be back later...I got 5 of these starting Step 10 right now.

11-15-2006, 03:24 PM
Tinman, this is too cool, Thanks ! ! I have a Grandson and a Granddaughter that will get one for Christmas. Don't forget to tell how you personalize each one. I am off to Home Depot and Wal Mart. :) :cool:

11-15-2006, 03:28 PM
So 22" arrows are what we need to use with these?

11-15-2006, 04:10 PM
too cool , the kids would love that.

11-15-2006, 04:40 PM
so is tiller-in shaving off the 1/4 thickness or the tapering ?

11-15-2006, 08:42 PM
Joey....I got my nephew's bow this morning from Casey. It looks great! I can't wait to give it to him at Christmas! Thanks alot. I really appreciate it.

11-15-2006, 09:52 PM
Thanks Joey, this is going to be fun to build.

11-15-2006, 10:49 PM
so is tiller-in shaving off the 1/4 thickness or the tapering ?

Eric - since these limbs are so flat, I take it off the tapers and try not to round the sides/belly too much. It's only 1/4" so you can't really round it too much I guess. If it were a thicker board bow like the 45-55# ones in the Ferret's wepage, you might want to round the back more and take the wood from the belly of the bow.

Chew - glad you like it...string it up and shoot a few from it!

Junior - yes, 18-22" should keep the bows in a safe range where they will last longer. I just cut off a couple of my old carbon arrows and add a rubber blunt tip for the little ones and a field point for the 5+ year-olds...I prob'ly shoot 'em more than they do. ;)

My daughters bow with an 18" arrow and the rubber tip will blow a nickle-sized hole right through sheetrock! The fieldpoints will bury into a target rather than bounce back like Liam's old bow did at a 3D shoot this Summer. These bows are not really toys that I'd turn the kids loose with. I surpervise every shot to prevent injury or property damage.

Glad to see you guys are enjoying the info! More to come...

11-15-2006, 11:00 PM
Thanks for sharing this Tinman. I'm going to give it a shot and see what happens.

11-16-2006, 08:08 AM
Joey, thanks for the info! I'll be picking up Ryan's from Heath today at high noon! I think I'm more excited about than Ryan is!
Thanks Again!

11-17-2006, 10:28 AM
Would love to see more picture of the finished bows.
Mainly risers and nocks.

11-17-2006, 10:57 AM
With the picture from Ferrets' Board Bows can you tell me which side of the boardyou would use as the Belly?

11-17-2006, 07:57 PM
Easy, I'll get some pics of nocks/risers up next. The 1/4" boards are too narrow for you to see the rings curve (like they do in that pic). I just look for one with lines that run the full length of the board without knots/rings on the surface.

11-18-2006, 10:44 PM
wow thats awesome, ive made a few selfbows and that looks byfar the eaisest, thanks tin

11-26-2006, 01:55 PM
Nocks (http://www.stickbow.com/FEATURES/BOWBUILDING/nocks.CFM)

Easy - Sorry to leave you hangin', check out the link above for info on nocks. Also, you can use the pics from the Ferret's tillering page above.

Here's a pic of a nock built by "Elkninja" on the Tradgang thread...

I'm not really much of a craftsman and I'm working with a jigsaw so my nocks are not nearly as fancy. I pretty much just cut a notch in the middle of the tips with a chop-saw and sand the edges to round them. See the pic above with the other rough pics, now sand the edges. Nothing fancy at all.

Here are couple of pics of finished bows...I'll try to take some that'll show the riser better.


11-26-2006, 06:37 PM
Way too cool!

Bill in San Jose
11-26-2006, 07:21 PM
What an awesome gift for a child. Put their name on it with a Sharpie and they'll always treasure it.

11-27-2006, 03:10 PM
Put their name on it with a Sharpie and they'll always treasure it.

Funny you say that Bill 'cuz that's exactly what I do!

Step 12
After you finish sand with some fine sand paper, it's time to decorate. Apply a stain if you wish or leave it natural. I am using Minwax Red Mahogany 225 on the ones I'm building.

After you stain, time to add some personalization. I write the childs name with a Sharpie on the belly-side of one limb and the name "NEOTRIBE" on the other limb. I have no intentions of starting a company called "NEOTRIBE" or anything, I just like the name for a youth bow. Knowing how important the name/brand on our own bows can be to us, I figured these better have a name on them too.

You could also draw pictures/designs, do some light wood burning, maybe allow the older kids to add their own drawings to the limbs, etc...

Step 13
Whether you stain the wood or not, you have to seel it. I use a "Clear Gloss" spray on polyurethane also made by Minwax. You can apply several coats if you want a deep glossy look, or just a couple of coats for more a satin finish. They do also make it in a "Clear Satin" instead of the Gloss that I have been using.

Step 14
After giving the finish plenty of time to dry, put the tennis racket wrap on the handle. This really made a big difference in hand shock. Because of my injured elbow, I was very sensitive to shock and could really tell a difference when I put the wraps on. It's worth $1 each to save their little joints from being jolted everytime they shoot. I use Wilson Ultra Wraps (3 for $3 from Wal Mart) because the have a nice look to them. No tape and they come in several colors. I mainly use Black for the boy's bows and Hot Pink for the Princess' bows...my Wal Mart is out of these two colors right now. ;)

Step 15
String it and SHOOT! Have fun shooting with your little ones and all their friends. My daughter and nephew both have a hard time sharing with others...especially each other! When it comes to their bows, they seem to better at it because it allows more people to play along with them.

Total build time is around 4 hours. Considerably less with practice for anyone building several. Greatly reduced if you build 3-4 at a time also.

Here's some operational and safety info that I sent out to the guys who's kids I've built them for so far. Just trying to share a little of what I have learned from working with the 2-4 year olds especially.


Tie on a nock-point. Rather using brass nocks which might hurt little arms and discourage them from shooting quick! I use waxed dental floss or a serving material to tie one on for consistent nock placement on the string.

For the real young ones, I tie a nock above and below the arrow. It seems to be easier for them to remember that the arrow's nock goes in the middle than to remember if it goes above or below the nock point.

Arrows - I just take an old Gold Tip or Carbon Express arrow and cut it down to 18-22", add a field point for older kids and a rubber bludgeon tip for real little ones. Replace vanes with feathers for better arrow flight. They also make the rubber stopper youth arrows and they'll shoot just fine too. Problem I have with the little ones is that the nocks don't clip/stay on the string so the kids have to hold the arrow in place and pull the string...it's tough for the little ones.

Shoot arrows off the shelf like most any longbow/recurve. This may require a little canting of the bow to keep the arrow on the shelf. With my 5 year-old nephew, I found this has really taught him to draw slow and smooth rather than jerking it back like he does with his other bow. He's much more focused on what he's doing with this bow and is shooting it better already. With my 2 year-old, this means I have to help her cant the bow by keeping on hand on the riser or bottom limb.

Form - Don't sweat it too much with the little ones, just let 'em have fun shooting with you and progress at their own pace. They will learn how to shoot and smoke X-Spot's State Record later in life if they enjoy what they're doing now. Liam was 5 before we started working on form at all. Jadyn may get serious sooner than 5, but if not that's OK too.

Fun - Find ways to have fun. Contest and balloons make it fun. I'm using balloons to get Liam ready for a bunny hunt...but he just thinks he's popping balloons! The basketball classic H-O-R-S-E is popular with some of the older neighborhood kids around here. Liam's(5) starting to get in on this while Jadyn's(2.5) too young to understand what's going on...she just likes to shoot a few arrows here and there. Sometimes she'll go for a target, sometimes she just wants to see how far it'll go...I'm good with whatever makes her happy.

Safety and Care:

Do not let older kids draw them beyond 22" as they are just wood bows and will break. They will last for years if not drawn too far (even one time), dry fired (a bunch) or left out in the weather. Having arrows cut to 22" or less will help prevent them being overdrawn.

They are serious shooters! My daughters bow will bury a bludgeon through a sheet-rock wall (my wife is very happy that I know this to be a fact) :). A field point is downright deadly (well at least to lizards, frogs and maybe a rabbit) from one of them. I have not shot a broadhead from one yet but can't wait to see a little one harvest something with one...even a grasshopper would be cool. My point is obvious, shoot with your kids at all times with these things...please! I would hate to see one of our little ones injured from one of these bows. Not really a "toy" but still a lot of fun.

Don't let 'em get too close to their target in case of arrow bounce-back! Kids like to get close at first and even though these bows will bury an arrow into most any target, if they half-draw from 2'...look out! Someone's gonna lose an eye. Start 'em and keep 'em at least 5' from the target.

Care? - I don't know...I have had my daughter's bow strung for a couple of months now and it still looks good. Don't leave 'em out in the sun,rain,cold, etc...Don't let 'em be drawn too far...maybe use a little lemon oil??? It's just bent wood but it can last a long time. But then I broke the first one I built 'testing' the draw length on about the 12th pull....I pulled it back too far.

The bows that I send out have been shot dozens of times during the build process and again after they're finished to try to insure that they'll be safe. But the bottom line is be safe and check the equipment by shooting it yourself often. Replace string the minute that there's a problem and listen for any new creeks or cracks when drawing the bow. If you hear something, time to hang that one on the wall and build a new one.

11-27-2006, 03:53 PM
I made one this weekend...
Was suppriesed as to how EASY it was. I have maybe 3 hours in it so far and all that is left is to Stain (Maybe) and seal it. I will try to take some pictures to add to those posted here already.

11-27-2006, 04:00 PM
Too late to edit previous post but I wanted to add a quote from a thread in the trad-forum, some of it has been covered here already, some hasn't.

Under 5, I don't try to teach them form at all...just try to keep them from taking off an ear with the bowstring and make it fun. Jadyn (almost 3) may shoot two arrows a day, she may shoot a dozen or more and some days I couldn't beg her to shoot...I don't try, she shoots whenever she wants. Rarely does she shoot more than 5-6 arrows at a time before she's ready to move on to the bike or soccer ball or something. Either way, when she's ready to put it up and walk away, we walk away. Sometimes she goes for the target (and she'll tell me she's gonna hit it) and sometimes she just wants to see how far she can shoot the arrow...whatever makes her pull another arrow back is OK with me.

Over 5, teach 'em how to anchor at the corner of the mouth and start expecting a little more focus and consistantcy. My nephew, Liam just turned 5 so we are starting to work more on form and hitting the target more than we have in the past. I may push him a little more right now to shoot another arrow or two when he's getting bored but not to the point that it's not fun anymore.

I also pressure myself to find creative ways to keep it fun for both of them...and half the kids in my neighborhood too! LOL Balloons, games like H-O-R-S-E, bet ya can't do this, etc...

Buff also had a good tip on the other thread about cutting kid's arrows off to their exact draw length to keep them from drawing too far. I have a lot of kids shooting around here so I can't really do that because I want them all to share the same arrows.

Easy - I look forward to seeing your pics! I hope everyone will post some pics of their young 'uns with their bows on here!

11-27-2006, 07:56 PM
Here is what I have so far. I think I am going to leave it natural and just use a clear coat.

11-27-2006, 10:43 PM
Very nice, Easy.

That one looks like it could'a been built in my garage.

Hope your little one likes it as much as mine do.

11-29-2006, 01:39 PM
Just a little more final sanding and time to start another one.

12-04-2006, 10:54 PM
Anyone else got pics of your projects yet?

12-05-2006, 07:03 PM
I bought some red oak this weekend & I think I'm going to try a full size version. If I don't goof it up too bad I will try to post some pictures.

12-05-2006, 09:41 PM
Just finished one with a 3 inch wide board. Looks great but...
I could hear the limb cracking when I strung it...:(

12-05-2006, 10:08 PM
Good luck, Garry. I blew up a tip on the one I was building for my brother while floor-tillering it last week. I think wood selection is very important when trying to build a 45-50# bow with Red Oak. I have seen some on Tradgang and Stickbow.com so I know it can be done but my first attempt was a failure.

I used these plans...


I was thinking of trying it with a 1" x 3" as well. May modify the plans a little and try that next.

Wish I could find some Hickory hardboards locally to use rather than Red Oak.

12-05-2006, 10:34 PM
Neat bow. Might have to try it.

12-06-2006, 03:14 PM
I went ahead and built two of them this weekend. My son and daughter love them. Took me about 12 hours to build two of them, but thats because I broke a couple and had to keep going back to Home Depot to get more lumber.

Thank you for starting this and showing everyone how it is done.

12-06-2006, 08:27 PM
The hardwoods place that supplies cabnet shops;that I was trying to remember when I was on the phone with you; is called Paxton. They should have some better quality wood.

Also I may give you a call sometime if you are up to cutting some bois d'arc. I'm certain we can find plenty at my place in Cleburne.

12-07-2006, 07:15 AM
Tinman, Got the 1st bow made, Looks awesome, really easy to build. BUT the draw weight is way too much for 4-5 yr old. What do I do? Limbs seem thin to take too much off belly. HELP ! :confused:

12-07-2006, 08:20 AM
nice. Thats awesome

12-07-2006, 03:06 PM
Doc - do you have a planer? If so, place the riser in a vise to hold it and try to plane a little wood off the sides of the limbs. If no planer, I use the edge of a rasp file to take wood off the sides.

You're correct about the belly being too narrow to take wood from there.

Garry, thanks for the info. I'll look 'em up and see what they got...gotta be better than the hardwood selection at Home Depot/Lowes.

Good deal Hog Hunter! btw, I made a lot of red oak kindling at first too...still make some if I try to do something different.

12-09-2006, 08:52 AM
Thanks for the idea, i have always wanted to build a bow, and even better I was able to build it for her as a birthday present. Here is the picture of where I am at this time, I have not finished it yet, but it was a lot of fun to build. Once I have finished it I will try to get pics of my daughter shooting it... Thanks again for posting the plans.

01-15-2007, 05:55 PM
Sorry I had to send this back to the top , so I can get started on my own...thanks alot tinman.I have been looking for something like this for a long time& really never found the right (simple, inexpensive) plan

01-20-2007, 10:35 PM
I glued two together tonight. I will start cuting tomorrow.

01-20-2007, 11:05 PM
Cool deal, Wil!

I broke two of them tonight!!!:mad: :mad:

I still have three others that are tillering right now but I haven't broken one since Thanksgiving! (20-2 through the X-mas rush!)

Then I break two in ten minutes!!! :mad: :mad: :mad:

I think it was the cold/humidity...I'll quit messin' with them for a few days after that and try to save the other three when we warmer weather mid-week.

01-22-2007, 08:19 AM
I did get one to work with a three inch board rather than the two inch. Same basic design just left everything wider from the riser to the tips. Had to get it in the mail fast so I forgot to take pictures...:eek:
Looked good IMO...:D
Made the riser about and inch taller and maybe 1/2 inch wider with a little flare to the wider limb. Gained a very noticeable increase in draw weight.

This is a great project. Four good bows so far and one dud... Of coarse I just had to go get some new tools;) . Like I really needed a reason...

01-22-2007, 03:07 PM
Well, I just finished two of them. I am waiting for them to dry so I can take some finished result pictures. I did find a Quick way to do the heavy sanding, I used my 4" grinder with a Tiger Disk (sand paper) as long as you do not get into it real heavy the wood will not burn. Although it does make some cool looking marks in the wood.

02-04-2007, 03:25 PM
did find a Quick way to do the heavy sanding, I used my 4" grinder with a Tiger Disk (sand paper) as long as you do not get into it real heavy the wood will not burn.
Good idea. I just got a new rotary tool to use for building bows.

Helps with the sanding and really lets me shape both sides of the grips better than before...might have to start leaving the tennis racket wraps off.


02-06-2007, 06:24 PM
My son and i have built 9 or 10 of these for the kids in the neighborhood and for the niece(pink with hearts and a white tennis grip, she loved it) and nephew. We also made one at 1/2 scale that turned out really cool. I am hanging it in my office. This is my first post, but I have been reading on here for a few years. Thank you very much for giving me and my son a project to do together that we spent days enjoying and learning. I will also add that I am not good at carpentry in any way, but your instructions were great. I found out that my 14 years old son is already a better carpenter than I am and he is really into woodworking now. I will take some pictures in the future and post them.

Thanks again,


02-06-2007, 08:15 PM
Carey, Welcome and hope you start posting more. Can not waite to see some pictures.

02-06-2007, 11:58 PM
Lurker no more! ;)

Welcome, Carey.

Sounds like you've been doing good work, look forward to seeing the pics too.

02-08-2007, 09:19 PM
Thanks guys, I wouldn't call it good work, but it has been a learning experience. My son actually made a couple out of poplar and swears
they are better shooting bows. He really likes to try different stuff.
he also made a crossbow using these limbs and an old release of mine. It looks like something out of a Horror movie, but shoots really good. I will not let him take it out of my shop, but it is really pretty neat. The bad thing about this is he is really wanting to get into traditional and has been shooting these bows and not his bowtech. I know that is not bad, but I am not a traditional guy and know nothing about it really. I guess he can teach me as he gets into it.

02-28-2007, 11:18 PM
If you like this thread...see this one. (http://discussions.texasbowhunter.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8702) ;)

05-30-2007, 02:56 PM
What would you think about using other wood types?
What considerations should be made if choosing another type of wood?

I think that I am going to run up to THD tonight and start one for my daughter. My only real questions at this point are related to wood selection.


05-30-2007, 04:56 PM
I tried Poplar...didn't work for me...but it could've been the board I tried. Someone else said that their son had made a Poplar bow and liked it better than the Red Oak.

[BTW, most of the DFW area Home Depots don't stock the Red Oak in right size (1/4" x 1-1/2" x 48")...but most of the Lowe's stores do.]

I stumbled into a place in Mesquite that has some nice exotic woods (Purpleheart, Maple, Ebony, Zebrawood, Tulipwood, etc...) in this size (1/4" x 1-1/2" x 48") and I'm planning to make my daughter one with Purpleheart and a 1/8" backing/veneer of Zebrawood, with Purpleheart tips and a Zebrawood riser...it's gonna be $20+ in materials but it should be a very pretty bow.

You can also get exotic boards here, http://www.bowstick.com/storefront/.

I also want to try glueing one of these 1/16-1/8" laminations (http://www.bowstick.com/storefront/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=19_49) to a Fast Flex limb core (http://www.bowstick.com/storefront/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=19_23&products_id=585) and see how that works with this little design. But you're looking at $30+ in materials to go this route.

Even with these light weight bows, the wood's grain direction is much more important than I originally thought. Look for grain that runs straight down the board from-top-to-bottom. No swirls or rings.

05-30-2007, 05:23 PM
Thanks tinman. I am heading out now. Luckily there is a Lowes, Walmart, and a Home Depot within 2 miles of my house.

I am not really looking to get exotic, just functional and strong. Its one thing for the bow to break while I am using it, but I would not be able to forgive myself if my angel got hurt. I will definitely be looking for wood with continuous/straight grain markings.

05-30-2007, 08:25 PM
Well, I could not find any red oak, so we are going to try with the polar.

05-31-2007, 10:10 AM
I see a couple of Christmas presents here! What kind of draw weight do these usually end up at?

05-31-2007, 11:05 AM
Should the rest sit approximately in the center of the bow?

06-01-2007, 11:17 PM
Dangit, I just busted the first one. I had it all finished sanding and went to put the string on it. ....SNAP. :D

Well, anyway, the limbs were starting to twist real bad, so maybe the next one will work out.

06-04-2007, 12:01 AM
...the limbs were starting to twist real bad,...
That's one reason that I'm getting away from the Red Oak too...the harder woods are proving to make much more stable limbs.

Should the rest sit approximately in the center of the bow?
I had trouble with this at first...one limb coming out 1/2" longer than the other??? I finally decided to set the shelf about 1/4" lower than the center of the nocks...seems to me that this should put the center of the arrow at the center of the bow?

What kind of draw weight do these usually end up at?
Good question? My draw scale starts at 20#...these don't register on it so all I know for sure is that it varies from one board/bow to the next...and all are less than 20#. :)

Good luck with your next one(s)!

07-25-2007, 01:27 AM
pvc bow

06-05-2008, 09:11 PM
Hey tinman, this is just the thing I was searching for this evening. My son is wanting to build a bow this summer. He's about to turn 12. By any chance do you still have the pics from the previous posts? If needed, I can host them on my SmugMug account. Maybe we could get a mod to fix the old links to show the pics again. Great info even without the pics though. Thanks!