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How to Make Longbows?

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Making longbows is a primitive art. People living inside or near the jungle are well aware of the use of longbows. However, the outsiders who get trapped in the middle of the jungle face a tough time making the best use of available resources like wood, water, and stones.

If you are fond of traveling, learning survival skills is an absolute necessity. For making longbows, you will need a couple of items and the archery skill and willingness to use your skills.

Choose the piece of wood

1st step involves choosing the right wood type for making longbows.

When you have selected the type of wood you want to use, you need to find the right tree.

This step is almost the most important of all – even with all the skills and tools required, the broken pole can ruin all your work.

Do not take a piece of the tree trunk that is quite short – you will need to find a piece about 6 to 8 feet long.

Another important thing to find the right trunk is to pay attention to its straightness. You will not prefer using a curved or spiral shaft. Also, try to avoid ditches, branches, bumps, and knots. When you have found the proper log and cut it, you will need to separate the necessary part and cover it with wax or shellac to prevent cracking during transport.

Separate and shave the staves

So, you made your decision and took a tree. Apparently, you can’t just string this rough log at this point when we start to explain the process of working on your wood.

The first step is to divide the log into staves – your 8-inch-wide piece of wood can be divided into six teams, so you don’t have to worry about messing up your first or second billet. If your workshop has a circular saw, you can use it to cut the piece of wood so that the log is divided into pieces 2-3 inches wide. Use shellac again to prevent cracks in the wood when you are done with this processing step.

The next step is to shave the sticks. To do this, you need to take a closer look at the growth rings. Growth rings will be different due to seasonal changes: summer rings are other and thicker than winter ones. A wooden part with a summer growth ring will fit the bow belly perfectly.

To remove the layers, you need to use your vise to secure the stave. Continue the shaving process until you reach the winter growth ring just above the summer one you have chosen for the belly of the bun.

Use your scraper to peel off this last layer of the winter growth ring, following it across the arch to the other. Take care of yourself! The more thoughtful, careful, and patient you are with shaving, sculpting, and stripping, the more likely you will make a decent longbow. When this step is completed, cover the floor with shellac.

Dry and shape the staves

This is the stage where you will need your ax and razor. Stop the board with these tools until the board becomes slightly larger than the desired product. You will need to put the shellac on the back of the arch and let it dry.

To make the drying process fast, you can make your own drying box. You can take several pieces of plywood to make a box the size of your floor, and install 40-watt light bulbs inside.

You can naturally dry the wood on a shelf in your workshop or garage. Still, this method cannot provide the desired level of humidity. Drying can take a long time – it will take at least 3-4 weeks, although some bow makers suggest it could take all year.

To make sure your piece of wood is dry enough, you may want to purchase a moisture meter. You can find several types of these devices at almost any hardware store. The moisture quantity should be around 15 percent or less than this. The perfect condition will be approximately 8 percent.

Once the drying is complete, you will need to draw the final design of your bow with a marker. This will help you follow the current contour while cutting. Use the knife to cut off the extra wood, then take a utility knife to refine your work. Use sandpaper to smooth the tips and edges. Make two deep notches on either side of the arch with the help of a chainsaw. Make them at a 45-degree angle so that the twine bends nicely.

This is the stage where bowing becomes an art form. When you have processed, dried, and refined your straight staves, you will need to set the correct curve. This process is called tillering. There are two steps in the tillering process of an arch, which we’ll describe in the section below.


Start this step by removing the wood from the bow’s belly to make the libs more flexible. Hold the toe with one hand and secure the second with your foot on the ground. Gently bend your floor to test its flexibility. Shave a small amount of wood step by step to create an arch. Keep on doing this until you reach the required elbow.

Be careful while doing this! This process demands a lot of patience on your part. if you don’t want to break your future bow and start over, have patience. Keep killing the ground until you get to the point where it bends as much as you need to put a parachute rope on it. The recommended distance between the string and the side of the belly in this step is about 7 inches.

Tillering tree

You will need a 2×4 wood block. Make a notch for every inch or half an inch on the long side of the block using the saw file. Place the string bow on top of your tillering tree and place it against the wall. Pull the rope and secure it in the notches you made. Do this step by step, pulling the string and letting it rest in the cracks for a while.

Shave the wood in the problematic places. Continue this process of tillering. Do it as long as you reach the 28-inch mark. This is a recommended draw length for many longbows. Take your bow and try to shoot it in front of the mirror several times to find the stiffer end of the bow. This end should become the lower end. Additionally, you should make a slight indentation in the handle. Choose the side according to the hand you are using to shoot.


We leave the decision to finish your bow to your creative mind. We have listed some recommendations that can help you perfect and customize your bow:

  • To prepare the longbow for any finish, use different grit sandpaper.
  • When choosing the color of your weapon, remember that bright colors are easier to spot.
  • Seal the product with three coats of transparent polyurethane and finish with one coat of satin polyurethane.
  • Make a comfortable grip by wrapping it in hemp, leather, or nylon cord using the whipping technique.
  • String your bow with B-50 bowstring

At this point, if you’ve followed all of the tips listed above, you can test your new survival weapon in action. Use a piece of plywood to make a target and start practicing. Archery is an ancient art, and it takes a long time to improve your skills.

Remember to use your bow wisely – you now have a deadly weapon.