The Archery Library
Old Archery Books, Articles and Prints
Home > Books > Bows and Arrows for Boys > Making the Bow
Chapter I

Making the Bow

Part 5 of 6
Figures 11 to 13. Details for attaching handle, nocks, arrow plate, and hand grip
Click for a larger image

The next step should be the gluing on of the handle block. (See Figs. 11 and 12.) Find a piece of the same kind of wood of which the bow was made, ¼ inch thick, by the width of the bow at the handle, (the length of the distance between A and B in Fig. 4). Have the surface that fits next to the back of the bow perfectly true. Then, with a wood file, roughen the surfaces to be glued, across the grain, and glue and clamp them. Be sure that the ends of this piece are clamped down tightly. Most glue should harden overnight at least, and, better still, for two or three days, with the clamps on.

Now, if the back is to be rounded the American way, draw a line on both sides about ⅛ inch from the back, and two more lines on the back, about 316 inch from the sides; all running the full length of the bow. With a plane, cut away the wood between these lines, as in Figures 10 and Figure 11. Then rasp off this surplus with strips of coarse sandpaper, as was done with the belly. The handle should taper from the center gradually toward both ends and sides. Its purpose is to provide a rounder, thicker grip for the hand.

The shape of the bow should be very much as the cross section in Figure 12 indicates, at different intervals along the limb and handle. This form should be studied closely if a good bow is desired.

The bow is now ready for the nocks at each end to hold the string. These can be made by cutting half-round notches in the back and sides of the tip with a knife or slim, round, wood file. These notches should be deep enough so that more than one half the bowstring. fits easily into them.

Still better for nocks, would be two long cow or ox horns that are round and not checked at the tip. Cut the tips off about 3 inches in length and drill a tapered hole in the larger end of the horn about 1 inch deeper, not larger than ½ inch at the outside. It is best to drill a "lead" hole first with a ⅛-inch drill, so that the burring reamer will bore straight. Shape a stick of soft wood to the tapered form and force it into the horn. By clamping the stick in a vise, the horn can be held in any convenient position while being shaped. A heavy wood file or a blacksmith's rasp will take the horn down fast, then finish up with fine sandpaper and a small, round, tapered file. The ordinary form is shown in Figure 13. The upper tip is of slightly different form than the lower one (if the horn is not curved enough, it can be soaked in hot water and bent to the right form), so that a leather thong can be used to keep the bowstring in place while the bow is unstrung. When the horns have been shaped and the notches filed with the round file, fit them on the bow tips with the notches toward the back, and glue in place.

While the notches are drying, construct the bowstring.