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Author Topic: Wood suitable for archery bows  (Read 1941 times)

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Offline Nick_of_Kansas

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Wood suitable for archery bows
« on: January 25, 2004, 04:06:28 PM »
I would like to make a homemade bow. Does anybody know of a reference about flexibility characteristics of different woods? I wonder what might have been the preferred wood used by American Indians of the mid west?

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Wood suitable for archery bows
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2004, 04:12:01 PM »
Osage orange...commonly known as hedge round here is right at the top of the list.....

Offline Tom

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Re: Wood suitable for archery bows
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2004, 05:32:41 PM »
I once sawed for a local bow maker who made laminates.  He quit and started making natural bows.   The last conversation I had with him, he asked about mulberry.  He said that mulberry was supposed to make an excellant natural bow.

Not being a bow maker I don't know so take this for what it's worth :)

Check this out

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: Wood suitable for archery bows
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2004, 05:48:07 PM »
Osage orange has always been associated with the early archery bows. You may check with some of the "traditional" bow makers though as Tom says, mulberry is also used.



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Re: Wood suitable for archery bows
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2004, 04:29:49 PM »
  Hickory and persimmion have been used around here.  Most use glue ups.  I saw a deal where a man was making bows by splitting out osage orange and making the bows.  They could sure shoot.  Most indians carried osage in the mid west.

Offline Tobacco Plug

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Re: Wood suitable for archery bows
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2004, 08:03:11 PM »
I dug out my "Book of Indian Crafts and Indian Lore" from my Boy Scout days and found ths: "Almost every wood found on and around the almost treeless prairies was utilized for bow-staves, Osage-orange, or bois d'arc as it was called by the French voyageurs, was considered to be the best wood, but, because it grew in a small are and so was difficult to obtain, hickory, juniper, oak, ash, white elm, cedar, ironwood, and will were more commonly used.  The Eastern Indians made their bows from shagbark hickory, ash, red cedar, white oak, willow, birch, and hemlock, while in California hickory, ash, mountain cedar, juniper, willow, elder, and yew were used.  The latter is considered to be the best wood of all."
How's everybody doing out in cyberspace?

Offline PatrickG

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Re: Wood suitable for archery bows
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2004, 07:16:49 AM »
I don't know if it is betteer late than never or better never than late but here goes...

As a lad I researched bow making and tried my hand at it.  Didn't have yew so the next best thing available to me and a good choice was the bois d'arc , hedge apple, horse apple whatever it is called in your area.  Was trying for the equivalent of the English long bow.  If memory serves (bow making was 50 years ago) these are called "self" bows being made of one piece of wood.  Even animal horn was used in bow making, Turks I believe or somewhere over yonder.

I now have recurves and even one of those new fangled tangles of cable and pulleys in addition to long bows but none are any more fun than the longbow I got for Christmas when I was in the second grade.  It allowed me to stand at the goal line of a football field and shoot arrows past the opposite goal line.  Wouldn't that be a topic at the PTA meetings these days!  I had a .22 also but wasn't allowed to take it (or my inherited 12 gauge) out withought supervision till I was 12.

:)  Pat   :)

Offline SDave

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Re: Wood suitable for archery bows
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2004, 07:39:51 AM »
There's a real good article on making bows in the Febuary issue of "woods-n-water news" (a Michigan publication) if you can.'t get an issue, e-mail me your address and I'll cut out the article and mail it to you. It appears, from the article there's a lot more to making a bow than meets the eye.

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