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Handmade Bows

There are many types of bows you can make at home. 
For this article we are going to make a non historical bow typically refereed to as a board bow.

What your going to need
Material
A bow stave (more about this a little later)
Riser (about 12" piece of wood for the handle of the bow)
Backing (any suitable materiel can be used and suggestions will be made farther down the page)
Bow String (premade or materials to make your own)

Tools
Saw (hand Saw, band Saw, jig Saw, or anything else you can use to cut the stave to length)
Rasp / files / cabinet scrapers (something to remove the wood semi slowly)
Wood glue or equivalent (titebond 2 or 3 preferred because of water resistance)
Clamps (C-clamps, Spring Clamp, Rubber bands, etc)
Tillering Tree (how to make one and how to make a bow without one)





Let's talk about Bow Staves first
A bow stave for this project is a suitable piece of Hard Wood typically around 1" x 2" x 72" (real measurements of the hardware store wood is closer to .75" x 1.5" x 72") these measurements are approximations and can be adjusted some in most dimensions. 
I wouldn't go smaller in the size of the board, going larger is not a problem. It just means you will have more material to remove from the board. 

When choosing the board you have to make sure the grain is running straight through the board you want as little run off of the grain as possible. Also when choosing a board select one with good grain definition. What your looking for is good proportions of thick late growth and thin lines of the softer early growth with no knots or holes.
After finding ones with good grain look for one with as little warpage of the board as possible and do not select a piece of wood that is twisting to make your first bow, all it will do is drive you as mad as a hatter. 

This means you may be digging through large piles of wood looking for one that will work as a bow stave. I went to several stores on a few occasions just to dig through the wood looking for a bow stave and did not finding a suitable piece.  But keep looking and eventually you'll find a good stave.

The Riser
The riser is a piece of wood glued to your bow stave to serve as a handle. Since it is not needed for the function of the bow any type of wood can be used for it. You can choose to use a piece of your bow stave if it was longer then the recommended 72" or you can buy a different type of hardwood to add different grain or color. All that matters is it should be about 12" long and the same thickness as your stave.

Backing
One of the most important parts of building a board bow is choosing a good backing. For my first bow I used Fiberglass tape used for installing drywall. Other suitable materials are cloth (blue jeans, linen, most anything that will absorb glue and still flex) , wood (another type of flexible wood),  rawhide, leather, thick paper (brown paper bag), etc. the point of the backing is to prevent the stave from splitting apart when flexed.







 
insert Pic of bow






Insert Pic of tools










Insert Pic of good bow stave and bad boards for bow


















Add pic of bow with multi color riser




pic of different backings to use