DIY: Homemade bow

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I decided to post it, because recently I remembered my childhood and those games with kid’s bows. It was something unforgettable. I even managed to create ballista! But that will be another story… And now, it is a comprehensive guide that focuses on how to transform your wood into a functioning bow. There will be cool photos of some bows to add you inspiration.

Step 1. Materials

mongolian_bow

Required Materials:

-Saw

-Sharp Knife

-String of choice

-Tree/Branch

Optional:

-Tape Measurer

-Sand Paper

-Buckets

Step 2. Finding the right tree

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In order to have a strong bow, you want to avoid using a dead branch on the floor of the woods. Instead, I recommend walking through the woods trying to find straightest branch or small tree possible that is still alive. It should be a small tree with no branches that will be thick enough to withstand the stresses of being used as a bow. After finding it, saw it down for further evaluation.

Step 3. Measure and Cut to Length

 

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Length can vary for your bow, but it will be enough to cut to 50 inches using the saw.  Mark the center at 25 inches by using the knife.

Step 4. Start Trimming Down One Side of Wood

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Starting about 4 inches away from the center in each direction, use your knife to trim away the bark on just one side of the bow. After the bark is removed, continue removing more of the wood from that same side until the diameter is halved.  For safety, hack away at the wood in a direction away from your body. Starting 4 inches away from center in each direction will give you an 8 inch handle and will give the bow a stronger point to bend around.

Step 5. Finish Trimming Bow

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Once the majority of the wood has been sliced off, try to smooth it down. The flatter the surface is, the stronger the bow will be. I used sandpaper to remove the impurities and flatten it out.  If you do not have sand paper, just carve away bumps carefully with your knife with a slower motion.  Bow should look like this once you are done carving/smoothing one side of it.

Step 6. Work a Bend into the Bow

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Slowly begin working a bend into the bow so the wood can get used to bending.   Be careful with this step.  If you try to force too much bend into the wood too quickly it will break.   Start by placing one end of the bow on the ground, bending the bow with your hands.

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If you get tired of this you can rig it to bend itself.  I did this by placing the center of the bow on the corner of a counter top.  Next, hung two buckets from each end of the bow.  Start to add a gallon of water to each.  Every 30 minutes add half a gallon to each bucket (increasing the force acting on the bow) until there will be 2.5 gallons in each bucket.  Llet the bow hang like this for about 6 hours.  Periodically, go over and rhythmically push each end of the bow downwards so the buckets will be bouncing in harmony to get more bend into the bow.

Step 7. Add Notches to Ends

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Using the tape measurer (or just eyeball it), mark 1/2 inch down from each side with the knife. Next, make a notches 1/2 inch away from each end that cover the entire circumference of the bow using your knife. The notches need to be wide enough to accomodate the thickness of the rope you choose to use.  The notches also need to be deep enough so that the rope does not slide down the bow when you pull the string back.

Step 8: Complete by Stringing up the Bow

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Stringing up the bow can be tricky. Place the rope around the notch at one end of the bow and tie a knot.  Next, tie a knot into the rope near the other end of the bow using a bowline knot. Tie this second knot so that the loop will be about 3 inches short of the notch it should rest in.

Then bent the bow and stretch the rope to slide the loop over the other end of the bow and into the notch already carved there. Done!
Be careful with this!

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