Making a Bow and Arrow for Bow Hunting

How to home craft primitive bow hunting equipment.



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The shaft is the body of the arrow, without the fletching and point. 
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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Any archery fan can add more enjoyment to the sport by making a bow and arrow. 
PHOTO: TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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Bow terminology.
ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow Staves
If you're careful, you can split two usable bow staves from a single sapling of about 1" diameter. In the right hands, a larger sapling or limb can be split into four staves. All subsequent shaping must be done with abraders; whittling can weaken the wood and may cause nicks.
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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Fletching gives the arrow stability in flight. The nock in the back of the arrow receives the bowstring. 
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow Rasp
Use a rasp to work the handle down to a size and shape that feel comfortable in your hand. Thin and taper the limbs gradually toward the bow tips. There is no one best size or shape for a traditional American Indian bow, but strength and aesthetics should be taken into account.
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow Limb Pull
With the basic shaping of the bow completed, it's time to check the evenness of limb-pull. Tie a stout cord from end to end of the bow, place your bare foot on the handle, and pull up gently. If one limb is stronger than the other, carefully abrade away belly wood until the limbs pull evenly.
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow C-Clamp
To put the curve in a recurved bow . . . boil the bow tip for four hours, then place it over the convex side of a 2 X 4 form. Lock the tip in place with a C clamp, then bend the limb around the form and lock it down with a second clamp. Allow at least 24 hours before removing the clamp
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow Sinew Fibers
The two ingredients necessary to sinew back a bow are sinew fibers from the leg or back tendons of animals, and hide glue (which can be prepared from raw materials or purchased). After the tendon bundles are dried and pounded, they will separate into individual strands. 
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow Applied Sinew
To apply sinew, first rough up the back of the bow to provide a good gripping surface for the glue. Wet the sinew strands, soak them in hide glue, then apply them in parallel rows until the entire back of the bow is covered. Allow the glue to dry, and then apply two more layers.
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow Tail
Arrow fletching.
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow Shaft
Arrow shaft. 
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Making a Bow And Arrow Head
Make arrowheads from steel, stone or bone. 
TOM BROWN JR./MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF











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