Patchy yew

Yew sapling flatbow

This is a bow I made a while ago which actually failed because of a few mistakes I made. Decided to try a fix I would have never thought of without seeing it here. (Thanks Del!)

The story:
A friend of mine gave me some yew staves from a 200+ year old hedgerow. This was a small diameter branch with some knots and a fair bit of deflex (The reflex side was unusable due to lots of knots and wind damage from it’s neighbouring branch)

It started out as a 55 lbs bow but after 100 or so shots a knot on the belly collapsed. The knot goes through the whole side of the limb, I thought is was pretty solid but should have drilled it out instead;-)

After reading Del’s patch stories I decided to give a belly patch a try. (I call it a “Del patch” everytime someone at the range asks me what that thing is on my bow) So I did as Del does and rasped out the collapsed area and made a matching yew patch for it. Quite a challenge to rasp a nice rounded area and make an exact fitting patch! Glued it down with smooth on and sanded it level with the belly. Had to touch up the tiller a bit and left the patched area a little stiff for insurance.

Now to shoot it again after patching was a little scary;-) Shot it a few sessions and to my surprise I had another piece on the belly collapse! This time on the belly of the flipped tip. There was probably a split there wich I had not noticed. The funny thing is it collapsed downwards. (sometimes the belly cracks a bit when bending with heat but that is always a clean break outwards)
So I decided to try another patch on the belly. This was easier to fix because I could just sand the bottom of the curve flat and glue some wood on it. This time I glued on a piece of oak and had it shooting again after two days!

Now this was months ago and I have been shooting this bow three times a week for two hours per session since! I am usually not into fixing a bow with mistakes but somehow this bow wanted to be a shooter.


Wood: yew
Length: 66 inch ntn
Draw weight: 51 lbs op 28 inch
Handle wrap: leather from old jacket
Extras: ipe tip overlays
String: 8 strand fastflight


Bamboo belly pyramid

Bamboo belly pyramid

This bow started as a “normal” bamboo backed ipe pyramid bow. I made it for someone who wanted a light bow for target shooting but when I finished it he suddenly backed out. I never shot it really because it was only 35 pounds or something so it just gathered dust on my bow rack.

Then I read somewhere that bamboo was a good belly wood also so then I figured it would be nice to try that on an existing bow! I quickly flattened the ipe belly of the existing pyramid and flattened a piece of bamboo with my draw knife.

I decided to blend the bamboo belly into the fades at the handle. I cut the bamboo in two halves and pre-formed the fade areas with dry heat over and old can which happend to have an acceptable radius

Glued the two pieces of bamboo on with titebond and some clams and sanded the bow smooth the next week. When I first tried to brace the bow I was shocked! It had gained so much draw weight that I could not get it to bend! This was a problem because you can’t really scrape much of the bamboo belly oops!
I decided to narrow the bow as much as possible to reduce the weight and aso trapped the back to lose some more weight.

I now had a very slender but heavy bow! It measured about 70 pounds at 28 inches and was extremely fast! This was a fun experiment and a lesson learnt: bamboo is great belly wood but keep it as thin as possible;-)


Wood: bamboo backed ipe, ipe belly
Length: 64 inch
Draw weight: 70 lbs op 28 inch
Extras: ipe tip overlays,
String: 8 strand fastflight


Yew sapling flatbow

Yew sapling flatbow

This was a fun bow to make! I recently broke a mulberry bow in the handle (big hole at handle area but I thought it would make a cool feature, oops) so I wanted to start another bow quickly to forget about the mulberry.

A bowyer who lives near me gave me a small diameter yew sapling. He did not want to mess with it since it developed some sideways bend while drying (see pic below). He roughed it out on his bandsaw already so I could start with it immediately. (I don’t have a bandsaw or any other power tools so roughing out takes me some effort/time usually)

I had it braced within an our or so but of course the string did not line up at all. I clamped it belly up in my heat treat form and heat treated each limb for about 30 minutes. This aligned it good enough to finish tillering to 28 inches. After narrowing the handle a bit the string still did not line up enough so now I clamped it sideways to bend the handle with some dry heat. I got lucky because it worked in one 10 minute session.

The bow ended up 68 inches nock to nock and exactly 50 lbs at 28 inch. If it keeps some reflex I might pike it a bit but it shoots really smooth now so not sure yet.
Because is has a lot of sapwood and the heartwood is really light coloured I decided to give it a little color on the fades to light it up. Took some water colour markers from my daughter and just blended it directly on the wood.

Handle is some leather from an old jacket I got for 2 euros at the flea market. Finished with danish oil and an old fast flight string which happened to be the right size.


Wood: yew sapling
Length: 66 inch ntn
Draw weight: 50 lbs op 28 inch
Handle wrap: leather/suede from old jacket
Extras: ipe tip overlays, watercolour at belly fades
String: 8 strand fastflight



Mulberry flatbow

Mulberry flatbow

This bow came from a pretty rotten mulberry log I got from a friend of mine. Sapwood was all crumbly and there where lots of drying cracks. I managed to split some small staves from it.

Chased to the fourth ring beneath the sap to get a clean back and by then the stave was too thin for a stiff handle so I glued on a piece of ash to fix that.

The stave has a s-bend and had long drying splits on both sides. Could not avoid the split on one side so I decided to keep it centered in the tip, put some CA in it and ignore it for the rest of the build. (You can still see the split in the detail pic of the tip)

It needed some string alignment when first braced so I fixed the limbs with dry heat and flipped the tips a bit at the same time. Heard the split tip cracking more while heating it, oops.

After it was finished I did not like the look of the ash handle so I spray painted it. I also did not really trust the split so I reinforced the end of the split with some CA soaked serving thread. The serving did not look very nice on its own so I added it to the other tip and the fades as well and painted the tips black to look like the handle.

This is my first mulberry bow and I really like the wood. Works really easy and is really light in the hand.


Wood: mulberry
Length: 66 inch ntn
Draw weight: 53 lbs op 28 inch
Handle: ash
Extras: ipe tip overlays, serving thread wraps
String: 8 strand fastflight


Bamboo backed ipe mollegabet

Bamboo backed ipe molly

This was the first bow I made for the purpose of flight shooting. I read that both mollegabets and reflex/deflex bows are especially suited for flight shooting because they are usually quite fast (if built right) and also shoot pretty smooth.

I decided on a short combination of both models and started off by glueing ash levers to the tips using a curved form so I could get the reflex in.

This was done to two separate limbs which I then glued to the preshaped handle. The top of the handle was shaped to provide the deflex. Quite hard to get this right with only hand tools!
This worked pretty good so after drying and cleaning up a bit I added the backing and the powerlam and started the tiller.

After tillering I then started the process of thinning the tips so the bow would actually shoot as fast as possible. This turned out to be a nightmare because the thinner the tips got the more unstable they get! It worked out in the end and I got to shoot it to 260 meters with a 350 grain flight arrow. (Which is way too heavy for a flight arrow but I did not know at the time)

I later shot this bow using a 27 inch arrow and broke it. Drawing it beyond 26 was a little too much haha!


Wood: bamboo backed ipe
Length: 46 inch
Draw weight: 50 lbs op 25 inch
Handle: walnut
Extras: ipe tip overlays, ash powerlam, ash lever inserts
String: 4 strand fastflight











Black Locust static HLD

Black locust static

This bow came from a stave I got from a fellow bowbuilder in the Netherlands. It was quite big so I decided to split it in two, this is the first bow from that stave.

The stave had some propellor twist and a sideways bend in the middle section. After roughing out I steamed most of the bend in the middle section out and started the tiller. Since this was going to be a hollow limb bow I started with a gauge until I could brace it. After getting the first brace even I steamed the recurves in and fixed some of the prop twist at the same time.

From then on I tillered the whole bow using a gooseneck scraper, this works great for HLD bows and is surprisingly quick too! I heat treated the bow thoroughly and fixed some more of the twist. There is still some twist end bend in the bow but the recurves line up perfectly so it is not a problem.

After some shooting and finetuning the tiller I “fumed” the bow for five days to get the dark colors. I taped the middle section and removed some of the tape every day to get the fade effect.

This bow won the Primitive Archer April/may 2016 BOM contest.


Wood: black locust
Length: 66 inch
Draw weight: 62 lbs at 28 inch
Handle: leather wrap (from old jacket)
Extras: fumed, ipé tip overlays
String: 8 strand fastflight, double loop


Meidoorn Flatbow

Meidoorn Flatbow

Lokale houtsoorten

Één van mijn bogenbouw missies is om van zoveel mogelijk witte houtsoorten uit de buurt een boog te maken, op dit moment is hazelaar duidelijk mijn favoriet maar dat heeft meer te maken met het feit dat het voor mij zo makkelijk te vinden is.
Ik was al een tijdje op zoek naar een stuk meidoorn voor een meidoorn Flatbow maar kon nergens een recht stuk vinden dat in ieder geval lang genoeg was voor een halve boog. Op een gegeven moment tijdens een zoektocht naar wat hazelaar draai ik me om en zowaar…. Er staat er gewoon een op mijn pad;-)
Er zat een flinke “dogleg” aan één kant en aan de andere kant kwam onder de bast een lange scheur/inkeping tevoorschijn met een twist van 45 graden, hmmmm gaan we hier wel mee verder?
Na zeker 6 hittebehandelingen om de twist aan de ene en de kromme poot aan de andere kant eruit te krijgen hebben we er toch een boog uit gekregen. Waarschijnlijk wat “overbuild” maar een leuk experiment!

Update: Ik heb deze boog inmiddels wat bijgewerkt door vooral de laatste 20 cm van beide armen smaller en dunner te maken:

Meidoorn flatbow


Houtsoort: meidoorn
Lengte: 64 inch
Trekgewicht: 56 lbs op 28 inch
handvat: opgelijmd stukje acacia
Extra’s: Hard maple tip overlays


Reflex deflex mollegabet

Reflex deflex mollegabet

Verschillende stijlen combineren

De mollegabet die ik voor mijn dochter gemaakt heb is nogsteeds één van de fijnste bogen om mee te schieten. Het is maar een boog van 30 pond maar toch erg snel en soepel. Nu had ik eerder geprobeerd een mollegabet voor mezelf te maken, maar die had ik veel te dun gemaakt bij de overgang van de stijve uiteinden naar het buigende deel. Die was dus ontploft na een paar keer schieten, oeps foutje;-)
Nu liep ik al een tijdje met het idee om de reflex/deflex boog te combineren met een mollegabet. Deflex vanuit de handvaten en de reflex in de stijve tips lijmen. Om de reflex er iets makkelijker in te krijgen heb ik stukken padoek op de ipé gelijmd en daar later de bamboe overheen gelijmd. De overige stukken padoek gebruikt op het handvat en de powerlam om te voorkomen dat het handvat loslaat tijdens het buigen.


Houtsoorten: ipé, padoek, bamboe
Lengte: 66 inch
Trekgewicht: 50 lbs op 28 inch
handvat:acacia, padoek
Extra’s: padoek inserts in uiteinden, padoek powerlam, zebrano tip overlays


Hazelaar HLD

hazelaar hld

Geen platte buik

Eén van mijn favoriete bogenbouwers die vaak bogen post op het primitive archer forum is Simon Siess ( uit Duitsland. Hij maakt echt prachtige bogen en is een paar jaar geleden begonnen met zogenaamde “Hollow Limb Design” bogen. Hij heeft de theorie dat vooral bij kleine diameter takken het uithollen van de armen aan de buikzijde een betere verspreiding van de druk oplevert, alsmede een lichter totaalgewicht. Dit wilde ik al een tijd proberen dus een redelijk dunne tak genomen om een hazelaar hld testen.

Het uithollen van de armen in eerste instantie met een hole steekbeitel gedaan en later met een schraapstaal. Dit werkte eigenlijk erg makkelijk met hazelaar. Gaat niet erg snel natuurlijk maar je hebt fantastische controle.

Omdat ik erg van selfbows met “flipped tips” hou en om de boog nog wat meer te laten werken voor de test heb ik na het eerste opspannen de tips dus gebogen met stoom. De boog kwam precies op 50 pond op 28 inch uit en heeft tot op heden bijna geen set. Dit is best bijzonder voor een 64 inch selfbow met recurves.
Omdat dit een relatief dunne tak was en ik deze over de lengte gespleten heb vond ik het handvat wat dun dus daar heb ik nog een stuk mahonie opgelijmd.


Houtsoort: hazelaar
Lengte: 64 inch
Trekgewicht: 50 lbs op 28 inch
Handvat: mahonie, paracord wikkel
Extra’s: ipé tip overlays


Ipé bamboe pyramide

pyramide boog

Pyramide boog

Na een aantal verschillende pyramidebogen en de laatste korte “pyramide holmengaard achtige” wilde ik nu een wat langere versie met een iets hoger trekgewicht maken. Iets langer omdat dit soepel schiet, en wat zwaarder om de pijlsnelheid wat op te krikken.
Geen pijloplegger deze keer maar wel een deuk in het handvat omdat dit erg fijn in de hand ligt. Ik maak deze deuk altijd in het exacte midden waardoor de boog goed balanceert in de hand.
Met een paar inch reflex opgelijmd en de tips smal gemaakt om de handschok te minimaliseren en de pijlsnelheid te verhogen.
Het donkere bamboe op sommige plekken nog wat donkerder gemaakt met wat verf en afgewerkt met danish oil.
Tot op heden één van mijn favoriete bogen om mee te schieten!


Houtsoort: ipé met bamboe rug
Lengte: 68 inch
Trekgewicht: 50 lbs op 28 inch
Handvat: acacia, mahonie, geperst bamboe
Extra’s: ipé tip overlays