An Ultimate Guide to Making a Recurve Bow from Scratch

Last Updated on May 19, 2021 by James

Archery is a by-product of the primal skill of hunting. If you are into woodwork, knowing how to make bow on yourself will be an added bonus for you. Making a bow like the one we will be guiding you through this article is referred to as recurve and it comprises of a handle (riser), two limbs (the bending and flexible part), an arrow rest and a string. When you pull the string back, all the energy is invested on the limbs of the bow which when released pushes the arrow to move forward. The limbs are weighed in pounds which begins from 28 lb and goes up to 40 lb or even more. Hunting bows can weigh up to 60 lb. This poundage is a representation of the force that has to be withstood by the riser.

Recurve bows are well known for their versatility and powerful draw. An archer can derive the same strength of a longbow as that from a recurve bow. For example, if a 7 inch longbow can provide upto 90 pull weight then a recurve can the same amount of drawback power depending on how the recurve bow is built. So, hence learning how to construct a recurve bow well is one of the most important things for an archer. For this purpose you will require a list of items such as wood laminate or fiberglass. In this article, we share with you the steps on how to make a recurve bow.

How To Build A Recurve Bow

1. Get The Stave

The first step towards making a recurve bow is to get a stave and the best way to do this is to get a tree whose diameter is 1 to 20 cm. It could be an oak or ash. Post that, axe the tree down. Once you cut the tree, you would require to cut 1.6-2m off the tree. You have to split the cut pieces in quarters and then remove the bark of the wood. Then, put glue on the end and back of the wood so as to avoid any kind of cracking in the long run. Let the wood dry for a month.

2. Chase The Ring

Chasing the ring refers to leveling the entire back of the stave so as to maintain a single growth ring, which will help to remove any bad wood outside the ring. Here are the few things you will require for chasing the ring: drawing knife, regular knife, files, and sandpaper. For this, first mark the ring of the wood piece and then start removing the outer ring. Now use sandpaper to remove the thin layer which will be left.

3. Laying Out The Design

Your design layout depends on which part of the stave you would want to use. So the best way would be to mark the stave with a marker or pencil. Now measure ¼ inches separately from the markings on both ends and cut off for ease of maneuverability of the stave. You will notice that your stave is now half an inch longer than the required the size. Now locate the midpoint between the two points and draw a line across the stave which will be the midpoint of the handle. Now put strings at the tips where the nooks are supposed to be so as to increase the tension. Post this, draw a line with a pencil or marker along the strings.

4. Targeting The Weight And Thickness

You need to choose a target draw weight. So, say you are targeting the draw weight at 50 pounds then you have to ensure that the bow is also 50 pounds. For this, you have to draw a line through the sides of the stave for half an inch from the back. Now cut through the line and save the handle, which should be robust. And ensure that the edges of the handle are narrow.

5. Bending The Stave

Place the tip of the bottom of your bow against the innermost part of your foot, with the bow’s back against your foot. Now grab the handle with your hand and place your other hand against the back of the bow. Now start bending the stave gradually and ensure that both ends are of the same degree. Keep bending the stave until it gets to about 15 to 20 cm.

6. Strings

You would require a knife, a parachute cord and a tillering stick to create a notch on both ends of the stave. Now use the internal part of the tips to create the notch so as to protect the outer edges with the help of a tillering string. However, ensure that you do this only after you have bended the stave at the desired position. Create a loop on the edges on a string that has to be twice the length of the bowstring you will be using. Now attach the loops on the notches and then put the stave on the tillering stick and then pull the tillering string.


Once you have completed the task you now need to add the laminate to it, which could either be wood or fiberglass. Also, make use of glue to keep the laminate together. The performance of your recurve bow will entirely depend on how you construct it. But with these steps, we can assure you that your recurve bow will be a reliable and durable one.