Almost any tough stick that will bend to a good curve will answer for a bow, but white ash such as is used in hoe- and rake-handles is probably best and easiest to get. A brittle wood like hemlock can be used, if used with great care; indeed, some Eskimos, who can get only dry, brittle driftwood, still make a splendid bow by wrapping it completely with sinew. The bow should be shorter than the archer. Plane each end tapering, first on the bottom, then on the two edges. Leave 6" in the middle straight for a handle. Notice the shape, (see diagram), of the three steps in the planing of the bow. Be especially careful to get the second step right, then the third will come easily. File notches near each end somewhat the shape of the loop on the bowstring. Before the bow can be finished, it must be strung and pulled a little to test it,—to see if both ends bend the same good curve,—not the curve of a circle, but that of the broad side of an ellipse. The ends should curve more than the middle. When it bends true, smooth it well with a coarse file, or glass, and sandpaper.

Do not be tempted to pull the bow too far and so break it; one that bends easily is less apt to break than one that is too strong. When the bow is strung, the center of it and of the bowstring should be marked with thread or color.A piece of strong fish-line makes a good bowstring.


Timber-hitch knot and Bowline-knot
BOW plans

Click on the image to view a full size diagram.