How to Make a Bow and Arrow Out of Wood
Our ancestors have used wood for a lot of amazing ways and one of these is to make weapons. Possibly the most widely known weapon made from wood is a bow and arrow. This guide will walk you through the steps on how to make a simple bow and arrow set.
Bow and arrow made simple
You can make your own bow and arrow set at home. This project needs absolute precision otherwise your bow and arrow set will only serve as a decorative item. Here are the steps that you must follow to the T.
Things you’ll need
- A long piece of wood for the bow
- Bowstring material (rawhide, thin nylon rope, hemp cord, fishing line, strands of cotton or silk from caterpillars or ordinary twine)
- Wood for the arrow
- Arrow head material (metal, stone, glass, or bone)
- Sharp knife
- Saw or circular saw
Constructing the bow
Look for the ideal wood to construct your bow. You can use a piece of dry and dead hardwood that has no cracks or visible dent. Choose from oak, lemon tree, hickory, yew, black locust, teak, ash, juniper, or madroño wood. The wood should be about 1.8 meters (about 6 feet) or as long as your height. Choose wood that is free from knots, twists or limbs.
Choose a flexible type of wood such as juniper or mulberry. If you want to use bamboo, use young bamboo because this is flexible as well as strong.
Determine the natural curve of the piece of wood you want to use.
This curve will determine where the main features of the bow will be. To find this, place your wood on the ground, with one hand holding the wood at the top. Your other hand will press lightly against its middle. This will swivel and its natural center will face you and the back faces the other direction.
Determine the handhold and limbs and use a knife or similar tool to shave wood of the unyielding spots on the belly. Do this until both the upper and lower limbs curve and look similar. Remember, the bow is strongest and thickest at its handheld.
Cutting notches for the string and string the bow
Cut notches where the bow string will be attached. There should be one on each side at about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) from the end of the bow. Select a bow string and string the bow. Your string should be slightly shorter than the length of your unflexed bow, to make the bow and the string taut. Hang the bow upside down by the handheld from a branch so that you can pull the string downward. You can pull as far down as the distance between your hand and your jaw.
Constructing the arrows
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Your arrows should be constructed from the straightest sticks that you can find. Use dry and dead wood. Each should be half as long as the bow, or as long as the bow can draw back.
Shape the arrow by gently heating the shaft over hot coals and then holding it straight as the wood cools. Carve a small notch in the back tip to accommodate the bow string.
Sharpen the point of the arrow
You can do this by whittling the point. Use a small knife or pocket knife to sharpen the point. Your arrow is now ready to be launched in the air.
Make fletchings from feathers.
Glue these on the back ends of the arrow. You may also split the back of the arrow and slide the feather in. Wrap a thin threat around the fletching. If you use this technique, you can use anything as a fletching. Fletchings are similar to rudders on a ship or a small plane. This will guide the arrow through the air to hit the target in a more accurate manner. However, this is not a priority for most arrows made for survival.
Making bow and arrows out of wood is a very interesting project which demands perfection. From the time you choose the ideal type of wood for the bow and arrow to the final stages of threading the bow and gluing the fletching, you need to follow each step to create a good bow and arrow set that will work on the field.