Maple Flat Bow

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Project by edwardsk28 posted 09-12-2014 08:27 PM 1463 views 3 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was my first attempt at making my own bow. The tree I used was harvested from the Scotts Woods area of the Rivertrail in Lansing, MI.

It took about a year to complete if you include drying and seasoning time for the maple. I got the general shape and size of the bow roughed out while it was green and then set it aside for the winter to season. I was shooting for it to draw 50# at 28” but it came in around 30#. I was not terribly surprised or disappointed by missing my target draw weight. Seeing as it was my first attempt. It was a great learning experience and it hasn’t broken yet.

I used only hand tools for the entire project. Axe, hatchet, drawknife, spokeshave, bow saw, rasps and files. And my Becker BK7 knife. Which as long as you have gloves on makes a great drawknife in a pinch.

I finished the bow with black leather dye and boiled linseed oil.

Questions and comments are always welcome.


4 comments so far

View Richard W. Hyman Jr's profile

Richard W. Hyman Jr

716 posts in 1095 days

#1 posted 09-14-2014 12:02 AM

That is great! Have you done this before? What kind of resources did you refer to before you tackled this? I would love to do something like it, but seems rather intimidating. Thanks for sharing!

-- VR, Richard "Fear is nothing more than a feeling. You feel hot. You feel hungry. You feel angry. You feel afraid. Fear can never kill you"--Remo Williams

View RussInMichigan's profile (online now)


590 posts in 2204 days

#2 posted 09-14-2014 01:56 AM

Nice looking bow.

Did you shape this on a shaving horse? If you did, it would be great to see that project, too.

View edwardsk28's profile


8 posts in 777 days

#3 posted 09-14-2014 07:22 PM

@MilFlyer. This was my first attempt at making a self bow. I would definitely recommend that you pick up a copy of “The Traditional Bowyer’s Bible, Vol. 1” by Jim Hamm. Volume 1 is a great reference for starting out and in my opinion a must have. Volume 2 is great as well. It’s a bit more for folks that have built a bow or two but still useful for the novice. Both did a great job explaining techniques, tools, wood selection, layout, etc. They really made the process a lot less intimidating. There are also some great references on the web. The PaleoPlanet forums have some great build-alongs. Youtube also has some great videos on bow building. I currently have a couple of Hickory bows in the works right now. I will post pics when I finish them.

View edwardsk28's profile


8 posts in 777 days

#4 posted 09-14-2014 07:33 PM

@RussInMichigan. I didn’t use a shave horse. I have been wanting to build one though. I used my “redneck shave horse”. It is a wood bench with a small machinist vise mounted on one end. It’s not perfect but made the process much easier.

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