Building a Board Bow #2: The bow takes shape

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Blog entry by wildbill001 posted 11-08-2011 06:55 PM 7762 reads 2 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: A Wood Bow is dreamed up. Part 2 of Building a Board Bow series no next part

When I started this blog, I had no idea what lay ahead. Work, health issues, death in the family, more work and just life in general. So it has been some time since I last posted. I have a few minutes before I have to start work so I thought I’d try to get caught up.

When I started this bow, I have to admit that it was a bit of a folly and I had no idea how it would turn out. Didn’t even think to photograph the progress so this is not a complete “build-along”. No, it’s more of “Wow, I did this!”

The design is what is called a pyramid, flat-bow. Pyramid because the limbs of the bow are long triangles, tapering from about 1/2” at the tip to about 2” near the handle. This design is very forgiving of both wood and technique. But it does yield a nice, shootable bow. It also has a non-bending handle, i.e., when drawn, the tension stops at the handle and the wood does not bend through the handle. This is accomplished by cutting what are known as fades.

Next stop is cutting the taper in the limbs. Didn’t photograph that, sorry. Once I got the limbs cut and roughed out, the wood removal process starts on the belly of the bow. The belly is the part of the bow that faces you when you are shooting. The idea is to remove equal amounts of wood so that the limbs bend evenly throughout the drawing of the bow. This then leads to a process known as tillering. Tillering is gently bending the bow to get the wood used to bending as well as ensuring even bending on both limbs. A board known as a tillering tree is used for this process.

Removal of wood on the limbs is also how you get the draw-weight to where you want it. Mine ended up at about 45lbs at 27” (my draw-length). A little more than I was shooting for but still good for me.

Once I got the draw-weight and tiller where I was happy, I cut in the handle and shaped it.

A little more sanding, some finish (wiped-on poly) and I now have a bow! Total cost about $20 for wood, glue, and finish.

-- "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back" -- Unknown

2 comments so far

View Blair Helgason's profile

Blair Helgason

169 posts in 3378 days

#1 posted 11-08-2011 08:48 PM

This is amazing! You’ve given me a bit of confidence that ours will actually work. Thanks a lot for posting.

-- Blair

View Wayne's profile


196 posts in 2557 days

#2 posted 11-09-2011 04:34 AM

VERY COOL! Another one for my bucket list builds!

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