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Old 06-04-2017, 02:22 AM   #1
Whosure
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Default Am I crazy for considering this....

I am contemplating going to some bow making courses and entering the traditional bow industry. I have very little wood working experience, but the older I get the more and more I desire to work with my hands and build things. That being said, I was wondering what you would deem as the bare minimum equipment to make recurve and longbows. How do you come up with your longbow and recurve riser design? What would it cost to get a variety of woods, and laminates to make the limbs and risers? I live in a housing edition in San Antonio and I don't have a yard to build a shop in. Would a two car garage be sufficient space or would I need more toom? I don't desire to be like Black Widow, Blacktail or Stalker, but I envision it more like your setup as a hobby I do during my free time. I am just wondering what the initial financial charge would roughly be. I understand as a business some of this would be tax deductible, but I don't want to mortgage the house to do this. Or would it be a better idea to start with Selfbows since they don't require all the equipment, laminates, epoxy, hotbox, etc? Where are some of the fairs, festivals, and other shows that I could attend to sell the bows in my area? Any advice and lessons learned would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:32 AM   #2
Doug's_Optics
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All I can say is I think it sounds awesome!... Turn a hobby into a business!
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:14 AM   #3
Bisch
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Default Am I crazy for considering this....

I know one of the best bowyers in TX that built out of his garage for years before he finally got a dedicated shop! It can surely be done. Don't know what the essentials are, but I do know it can be done. Talk to a few bowyers. That is where you will get the best info as far as what things are most important. I think a LOT of guy who build bows as a hobby start by building kit bows from places like Bingham. Bingham sells everything you need to build bows, and if you start with the kits, you will have a head start on trying to figure everything out on your own. You also might check out some reading sources on bow building like the Traditional Bowyers Bible.

Good luck!

Bisch
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:21 AM   #4
Whosure
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I thought about the book, but unfortunately I just don't comprehend new concepts and practices well from reading. I actually have to see it to remember it and apply it. Great post and thanks for replying.
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:58 AM   #5
gatorgar
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Bisch gives good advice. Get yourself a kit and go from there. I've built a few, from kits, and it can be rewarding but extremely annoying at the same time. It might also help you to get a you finish bow. I know Sarrels used to sell a 75% complete bow. All the gluing was done, which is the annoying part.

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Old 06-04-2017, 10:22 AM   #6
Whosure
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Seems Sarrel's site is no longer active, but I will check out 3 Rivers for the kit. Thanks.
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Old 06-04-2017, 11:46 AM   #7
Briar Friar
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Id suggest saving yourself the extra expenses of laminated bows and equipment...and build selfbows. Keepem small and quick to build...for children...at first. Pimp them at rodeos, fairs and farmers markets. My little boy would definitely persuade me to buy one. I am not a bowyer. Good luck.
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:29 PM   #8
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Go to the poorfolks bow building website. He builds a variety of bows and gives decent info.

Since you state you want to get in the industry I assume you mean sell bows. it's going to take quite a bit of machinery to do consistent work required to be pro.

I suggest you build a dozen bows before you decide to invest too much. If you were closer I'd give you a few full length tapered lams to start. I teach my student that building is just a series of steps and an equal amount of troubleshooting steps. It's not rocket science but it's not simple either, especially at the pro level.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:20 PM   #9
El Paisano
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Check this out.
http://leatherwall.bowsite.com/tf/lw...GORY=9#4217257
I don't think you will get rich doing it, but who knows.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:36 PM   #10
M.E.B.
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Fedora used to give bow building seminars. I know that Jeff Massie went. Check and see if he still gives classes.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:40 PM   #11
Lost Arra
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If you are a hands-on learner and want to start with some selfbows come to OJAM next March. Just south of Stillwater OK. After 3 full days of draw knifing, scraping, tillering, sanding and shooting you will have a great time, be covered in yellow dust and get an idea if you want to do this as hobby/vocation without any investment other than gas.


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Old 06-04-2017, 07:28 PM   #12
chackworth3
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If you are wanting to build glass bows, my advise would be to start with a binghams kit. They have DVDs and printed instructions that show you all the basics and the things that you need to get started and the overall genre process of building a bow. Build a couple of their bows just to learn the process and get your own process down and then start working on your own design. I know a lot of guys that have started out that way that build very nice bows. Some trad sites also have build alongs you can look at to see how others go about their process and that can give you ideas and help you figure out the process that best fits you.
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:45 PM   #13
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Yes

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Old 06-04-2017, 09:14 PM   #14
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:16 PM   #15
Whosure
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I was thinking the same thing a simple emblem to put on the riser. I think I like Death Stalker Bows, deadly African scorpion, more than Tejas Bows. Thanks DRT for the feedback.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:35 AM   #16
Cwag
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I'm a bowyer in San Antonio. You can come by and check it out if you like. Pm me


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Old 06-05-2017, 05:19 AM   #17
60 Deluxe
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Build a few for yourself first. There is good advice above. From my observations building bows is a tough business. Several of the top bowyers in the country have walked away from the business at the top of their game. Google Brandon Stahl or Ken Rouloff (sp) and look at some of the gorgeous bows they were building when they hung it up.

On the flip side, for encouragement, you may want to get a copy of the book "Traditional Bowyers of America" by Bertalan. The book is not exactly contemporary. I think that it was written in the mid eighties so many of the bowyers written about have since passed on or retired. A common thread seems to be how many of them kept their days jobs but started building bows in their free time. Some techniques and procedures are discussed. If nothing else, the book is a good read and will give you a sense of what is involved in becoming a full time bowyer.
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:21 AM   #18
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How long have you been shooting traditional bows? How many different bows have you shot? Have you hunted with one? Do you like hunting and shooting them? Are you willing to not really do a lot of hunting and shooting any more? Which do you love more, hanging out with people who are really good shooters... or being a good shooter yourself? How patient are you? Are you willing to wait 5-10 years before becoming a bowyer that can make ends meet just being a bowyer? What experience do you have in running a small business?

Just a mixed bag of questions that I would ask myself and internalize.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:12 PM   #19
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Does osage wood make you ill..i have a friend who gets sick for a week after making an osage selfbow.
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Old 06-05-2017, 07:41 PM   #20
Whosure
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cwag View Post
I'm a bowyer in San Antonio. You can come by and check it out if you like. Pm me


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PM sent, thanks Connor
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Old 06-05-2017, 07:51 PM   #21
Whosure
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampRabbit View Post
How long have you been shooting traditional bows? How many different bows have you shot? Have you hunted with one? Do you like hunting and shooting them? Are you willing to not really do a lot of hunting and shooting any more? Which do you love more, hanging out with people who are really good shooters... or being a good shooter yourself? How patient are you? Are you willing to wait 5-10 years before becoming a bowyer that can make ends meet just being a bowyer? What experience do you have in running a small business?

Just a mixed bag of questions that I would ask myself and internalize.
Good questions,

I just picked up traditional, but still have a compound. I am new to archery hunting, but always wanted to do it. Now that the kids have moved out, I have the finances and time to devote to it. I just feel traditional is the ultimate challenge and those that harvest consistently are the ultimate hunters. Its just so hard to do, so they have my utmost respect. I don't mind waiting the 5-10 years, but think it is best for me and the bowline that it takes that long, because it won't feel like a burdensome job. If it grows into that great, if it doesn't great. I just find the traditional side to be very close nit and I value that. I just want to learn and craft that I enjoy and help others get into it.
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:38 PM   #22
Randy Madden
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It's a long road, but a rewarding one! Connor can answer all your questions!
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:33 AM   #23
El Paisano
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A couple of thoughts.
I always thought that I wanted to be a wildlife biologist. Then, in college I was working as a wildlife technician and figured out that wildlife biologists have to work all during the hunting seasons. I changed my major.
I shot a friend's osage selfbow the other day. I was very impressed. That thing was zippy and was less than 40# draw. You don't have to deal with the fiberglass fibers either.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:33 AM   #24
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I made and sold bows for 3 years from 2002-2005. They industry is saturated with builders and many folks hesitate going with an unknown bowyer. I decided I enjoyed making bows for my own enjoyment more and closed up shop.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:10 PM   #25
Whosure
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Thanks guys, those are some great points. I thought about making ARs and that too is saturated, but there is a comapny in SA call Sons of Liberty Gun Works who beat the odds, so I wonder if that could be me in 10 years. As many say, if the Good Lords wants it to happen it will, if it is not in HIS plan for me then it won't. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me. Thanks.
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:13 PM   #26
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Maybe if you got solid at it selling build along classes would be attractive to customers.

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Old 06-07-2017, 07:39 AM   #27
Whosure
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Paisano View Post
A couple of thoughts.
I always thought that I wanted to be a wildlife biologist. Then, in college I was working as a wildlife technician and figured out that wildlife biologists have to work all during the hunting seasons. I changed my major.
I shot a friend's osage selfbow the other day. I was very impressed. That thing was zippy and was less than 40# draw. You don't have to deal with the fiberglass fibers either.
That is what I am thinking I am going through now is giving it a hard honest look at the process and demands so I can determine if I have the skills, patience and determination to see it through.
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:42 AM   #28
Whosure
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRT View Post
Maybe if you got solid at it selling build along classes would be attractive to customers.

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Very good point. I am sure Boy Scouts and Outdoor enthusiasts might take it. I do enjoy guiding people through stuff.
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:45 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Madden View Post
It's a long road, but a rewarding one! Connor can answer all your questions!
I can only imagine. I did speak with Connor and he has offered me a chance to see his shop and ask questions. Thanks Connor!
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:37 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Arra View Post
If you are a hands-on learner and want to start with some selfbows come to OJAM next March. Just south of Stillwater OK. After 3 full days of draw knifing, scraping, tillering, sanding and shooting you will have a great time, be covered in yellow dust and get an idea if you want to do this as hobby/vocation without any investment other than gas.


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ojam rocks
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:40 PM   #31
Lost Arra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4dog View Post
Does osage wood make you ill..i have a friend who gets sick for a week after making an osage selfbow.
Amen!
I quickly found out building selfbows is NOT the "spit and whittle" club especially in the winter when you're closed up in the shop.
Dust collection system and respirators are pretty handy when dealing with any wood. Yew can be real nasty.
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