Making Hunting Bows

My husband enjoys bow making and has tried making hunting bows from different types of wood. It takes months of work to make a good bow.

bow makingWorking on the Osage Orange Bow

His latest project is a bow made of Osage orange as part of a hunting workshop with Ancestral Knowledge. To make the bow bend correctly, he has to carefully shave and sand the wood.

The workshop series ended with actual hunting excursions in the fall. He saw a deer, but unfortunately he wasn't in the right position to take a shot.

Bow Staff

The staff or wooden part of the bow needs to be made of a strong wood. He has used hickory and osage orange.

He shapes the wood with a draw knife and smooths it at the end with sandpaper.


You need really strong cordage for the bowstring. He likes to use cordage made of dogbane. Coat it with wax or tallow to help it hold together and be strong.

There are several ways of stringing a bow and tying the knots for maximum poundage. See the Bowyer's Bible series of books for ideas.

More Tips for Making Hunting Bows

  • Do not expose your bow to heat, even leaving it in a hot car. He knows someone who lost a really nice bow because it warped in her car then cracked.
  • Try to get a nice D shape for good poundage but keep it even so it doesn't break.
  • You should only string your bow when you're ready to use it so the wood and cordage are not under constant strain.

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