{Here comes my howto build a flatbow}


Unfortunately my two bows wich I brought from Germany are broken.
Therefore I had to build a new one.
From Craig (thanks for that!) I got the allowance to cut down an elm tree wich died in a drought 2 years ago.

In theories the outer side from a bow (away from you) gets stretched; the inner side get pressed.
That means for a well working bow you need the two properties of wood:
sapwood will bend well, heartwood is strong under pressure.
Therefore I started not with a wooden board - with a small stem instead.


...please click the pictures to enlarge...
Here you can see the log.

I started used a chisel to drift into the thick end.

The resulting gap I enlarged with a small hammer head as second wedge.

Two halves :)

Now I have to split this in quarters.

Always simple following the appearing gap.

Four quarters :)

Choose one wich is not too twisted.

Shape it with the drawing knife.

Flatten both corners.

This wedge (under the clamp) helps to hold the stave in place.

To flatten the sides I used two different planes.

On the left the heartwood, right is the sapwood.

Yes the stave is not dead straight - but who cares...

Drawing a few lines for the tapered ends.
Above the old bow as a template.
Taper the end with a plane.

Filing the gaps for the string.

The stave is ready for tuning.


tuning (the German bowmakers use the word: tillern)
carefully remove heartwood to archive a consistent bending.
In the picture below you see the red spot where the stave needs weakening.

The tillerboard is just a meter long piece of wood with serrations
every 5 cm and a rounded gap on one end.
It is used with a temporary string.
When you lay down the bow in front of you it's easy to see where the bow needs improvement.

First try - not to bad isn't?

Fine tuning with block plane and scrapers.

Enough tuning for now.

Smoothing the surface with a hand scraper, build from a old hacksaw blade.

Test with the real string - looks good.

First shoots.

10 layers cardboard, distance 10 meter :)

It tooks me circa 1 hour to split the log
and 6 hours to build the bow.

Have fun and take care!
Viel Erfolg beim Bauen!
Tom
please email me if anything is missing

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  © 20. März 2014 · thoMas ·