How Bow and Arrow are made?

Bow and arrow are a projectile weapon that is known to mankind for over 60,000 years. Bow started simply as a piece of a flexible wood whose ends are bent and tied with a piece of string but in time this design was improved. Arrows also started as pointed sticks only develop into a wide palette of arrows for different purposes.

Bow which is made from one piece of wood can deform if held in moist atmosphere, become brittle in cold weather, or forever stay in bent shape and lose power. Because of that, bows are not made of one but of composite materials. For these materials are used various types of woods like red elm, maple, cedar or bamboo; fiberglass, or carbon fiber. Materials for bowstrings were sinew, twisted rawhide, gut, hemp, flax, or silk but linen thread is mostly used today for wooden bows and steel wire for compact bows. Recurved bows are usually strung with Dacron, a synthetic fiber that stretches very little. Shafts of arrows were also made from wood like ash, elm, willow, oak, cedar, or Sitka spruce. Modern arrows are hollow and made of aluminum, fiberglass, graphite, or carbon fiber. Arrowheads were made of flint, bone, horn, bronze, or hardwood while today we use steel. Fletchings (feathers at the end of the arrow) were historically made from turkey feathers. Today, they are plastic.

Picture Of A Shoshone Man Using An Arrow Shaft Straightener

When making recurved bow, first all materials are cut in to long, narrow rectangles which will be used for layers of the limbs (two for each bow). They are colored to desired color, glued and stacked on each other. Glued stack is left to dry. After that stack is placed in a form that will shape the limb and cured for 6 hours on the temperature of 80°C. A riser (middle part of the bow that holds the limbs) is made from a layered part of wood (similar to material of which the limbs are made of) or out of a solid block of aluminum. After the riser is shaped, it gets pins at its end which will fasten the limbs to a riser. Limbs get holes that match the pins and are attached to the riser so the joints could be sanded to fit. When removed from the riser, limbs are marked for cutting, cut and shaped at the ends so a string can be placed. Shaping of a riser is finished with making of an arrow rest, a sighting window, and a grip. Limbs are attached back to the riser and limb tips are shaped. Bow is the sanded by hand and covered with clear epoxy.

Depending on strength of the thread and strength of the bow, number of threads is determined for the bowstring. First all threads are divided in three groups, covered with beeswax and woven into a cord. Loop is made at the beginning of the cord. When almost finished, cord is hanged by the loop and weighted to stretch. It is measured again and finished with another loop.

To make an arrow, a piece of wood is first cut so its grains run as close as possible to its length and then it is cut along these grains. Square blanks are sawed that are slightly larger than the desired shaft diameter. Those blanks that are not completely straights are heated and straighten by force. Four corners of this blank are then planed off to form an octagonal rod then planed again and then sanded to make a round shaft of the arrow. Nock is cut into one end and flatcher feathers are glued. Which arrowhead is placed on the other ends depends on the use for the arrow - sport or hunting.

Picture Of A Shoshone Man Using An Arrow Shaft Straightener