Osage takedown

Osage Takedown

Let’s start by telling this bow is a special one for me. I always put a lot of effort in my bows but this one even more! Why: a few months ago I was having some friendly mail conversations with Simon. Now anyone who saw my bows and Simon’s will immediately notice where my inspiration comes from;-) so all of a sudden out of nowhere he mails me there is a package on the way! A week or so later the package arrives and in it where two pairs of osage billets and one of Simon’s signature takedown sleeves! You can’t image the joy I felt for such a generous gesture! So I immediately decided to build an even more Simon inspired bow;-)

Started out with chasing a few rings on the best pair of billets and drawknifing the profiles. I had to glue on some extra wood at the handle/takedown part. Even though Simon even sent an extra piece of osage for handles I decided to use some ipe, walnut and maple for that. The plan was a reflex/deflex static so I had to attach the sleeves in an angle to get the deflex part. Planed the top flat at an angle and did most of the fitting with my drawknife and rasp and finished the exact fit with a sharp chisel. (I only use hand tools for my bows)

Got the sleeves to a perfect fit and started tillering. Tillered it to brace and boiled the recurves in. After that I heat treated the limbs and added a little more reflex to the last part of the limbs. Besides a big scary split at one tip (which went away after narrowing them) the tiller went pretty good.

I then started to narrow and thin the handle. I do this with a rasp and I always start with those facets which I usually round when I am almost done. Somehow they looked good halfway down the process so I decided to keep the facets on this bow.

Shot it about 100 times to make sure the tiller stayed the same and added horn tip overlays and arrow pass. Of course I had to fume the bow so I put it in the fume pipe for about 5 days and for some extra looks I darkened the tips with a bit of water based dye.
I glued a light brown piece of leather over the metal handle and wrapped a darker and thicker strip over that, leaving a small gap so the light brown would still be visible.

This bow has quite an extreme rd profile and in combination with the heavy takedown sleeves is a dream to shoot. No handshock whatsoever and really fast.
So again Simon when you read this: thank you so much, you are the best!


Wood: osage
Length: 62 inch ntn
Draw weight: 50 lbs at 28 inch
Handle: metal takedown sleeves
Handle woods: maple, black walnut, ipe
Extras: Buffalo horn arrow pass and tips
String: 8 strand fastflight





Full draw

Laburnum 5 curve

Laburnum 5 curve

A few months ago I got this really crooked piece of laburnum with a huge reflexed kink right in the middle from my friend Pinaka Longbows. The stave was already cut with a bandsaw so my width was pretty much set at about 1.2 inch max. (Stave pic below)

I first started to get the sapwood down to three rings. This worked really easy with this piece of laburnum since it has a nice crunchy darker layer between the sap rings.

Now I knew that much reflex would almost be impossible to keep in a self bow but it felt like a waste to just steam it out. Then I remembered Simson’s osage fivecurves and decided that this was the perfect stave have a go at that!

So I cut a caul for the deflexed parts out of some pine and steamed the deflex next to the handle in. I used my old reflex caul to steam in the reflexed tips. This was done in four sessions in about a week. Left it to rehydrate for another week and started tillering.

Now this stave has quite a few knots and most of them where really brittle and some even crumbled out so I drilled them out on the belly and inserted some laburnum plugs from another piece I had lying around. After first brace I had to correct one of the deflex curves because they where to uneven for my liking. Then after reducing the width at the tips I had to do about eight! heat corrections to get the string alignment right. I don’t think I ever used so much heat on a bow to get it to shoot!

Finished it up with buffalo horn tip overlays and arrow pass.
The handle is really rounded so decided on a simple wrap to make life easier. Wrapped it with a strip of leather and a cotton shoe lace and that came out way prettier then I expected, sometimes the easy way out is better;-)


Wood: Laburnum
Length: 64 inch ntn
Draw weight: 50 lbs at 28 inch
Handle: leather strips and shoe lace
Extras: Buffalo horn arrow pass and tips
String: 8 strand fastflight


Yew deflex static

Yew Deflex Static Recurve

Lately I have been on a bit of a deflex reflex kick with my self bows. Had a piece of yew with lots of sapwood and not so much heartwood which would need a handle build up anyway. So I chopped that into a rough bow stave and steamed it at the handle.

This steaming did not work at all, even though it was not that thick and I steamed it for an hour! So I then decided to cut a piece out of the middle section and bend it there. This bent fine and I filled the gap with a piece of beech I had lying around. (see pic without handle wrap below)

Added some walnut and padauk to the handle to cover the beech insert and build up the handle. I then removed about ten rings of the sapwood but faded them in the handle section to keep some thickness there.
Tillered the bow to brace and cooked the recurves after that. Tillered it to brace again and then added some more reflex just below the recurves with dry heat. Most of this came out during final tillering but I decided to leave it like this because the string tension at brace is already amazing.

Added some ipe tip overlays and a horn arrow pass. Stained the ipe to match the arrow pass and added a black leather handle wrap to match those.
Shot te bow quite a lot the last week and boy is this thing fast and smooth! Going to try some more variations of this concept for sure!


Wood: Yew
Length: 62 inch
Draw weight: 55 lbs at 28 inch
Handle: walnut padauk buildup, Leather from old jacket
Extras: Buffalo horn arrow pass and ipe tips
String: 8 strand fastflight


Osage Reflex Deflex

Osage Reflex Deflex

A few weeks ago I got an osage stave from a friend of mine. He cut it narrow to get rid of all the cracks. Cracks kept appearing so he did not want to risk it and gave it to me.
I chased about five rings to get to a decent back, still some drying cracks remaining but since it is osage I decided to leave it like that. 

The stave was relatively straight but had huge propellor twist. With all the cracks, a few knots and the prop twist I decided to play it safe and go for a low stressed reflex/deflex design.
Steamed some deflex in the handle and removed some of the propellor at the same time and started tillering. 
The reflexed tips where steamed in after first brace. I always do this after bracing the bow so I know for sure both limbs are even and I can string the bow up without any problems after recurving the tips. (You need to make sure both recurves are exactly the same of course)

Now I wanted just a reflexed bow but the tips kinda look like recurves when the bow is strung. They open at full draw like I wanted to so I just left it like this.
I heat treated the bow and tried to correct some more of the prop twist but it did not really work out and I did not want to heat it too much with all the cracks in the belly so I left it like that. The tips needed some correction to line up. Unbraced it looks a bit weird with the prop twist but it lines up perfect when braced and drawn.

Top limb looks a little stiff mid limb. There is a big knot there with a concave spot in the back right after it and a drying crack really close to the side. That spot scared me so I left it stiffer on purpose.
This bow took me a lot of effort to get right and since it is my first and only piece of osage I decided to put my only snakeskin on it. It is a cobra skin I got from a friend of mine when I gave him a bow. He bought it more then 20 years ago.

I usually don’t make arrow passes but on this one I inlayed a piece of buffalo horn to match with the tips.
I have made a lot of laminated reflex/deflex bows but this is my first rd selfbow and I am pleasantly surprised by the smoothness and speed. It shoots as wel as my last few laminated rd’s so I will definately try some more rd selfbows!


Wood: osage
Length: 64 inch
Draw weight: 50 lbs opat
Handle: Leather from old jacket
Extras: Buffalo horn arrow pass and tips
String: 8 strand fastflight





prop twist





sunny, just for fun pic

full draw in the backyard

Black locust recurve

Black locust static recurve

This stave has a few knots on one limb and had a sideways bend in the middle but the other side is really clean.
After roughing out I corrected the sideways bend in the handle with steam. It also has some twist but I could not get that out. The grain curves down in the handle section (still visible in the handle pic below). Because of this grain dip the stave was thinner at the handle so I glued some maple, walnut and bamboo on the belly.

Started the hollow limb with a large gouge and bent the recurves with steam just after first stringing.
The original plan was a 70/75 lb bow but halfway during tillering the large knot on the side split from the side (which I left extra wide for safety). I thought the bow was ruined! Examined the bow the next day and decided to fill the crack with superglue and rasped of as much of the knot and crack as possible. Now there is half a knot on the side, will see how long this lasts…

Lowered the draw weight about ten lbs for safety because there is stil a little of the crack on the side. Shot about 50 arrows to see if it holds up and then fumed it for 4 days.
Kinda liked how the handle glue up turned out after fuming so decided to leave it without a leather handle wrap.


Wood: black locust
Length: 64 inch ntn
Draw weight: 63 lbs at 26 inch
Handle wrap: build up wood laminates
Extras: Fumed, Hollow Limb Design
String: 8 strand fastflight


Ipe/Boo static recurve

Ipe/Boo static recurve

Lately I am on a self bow kick but I have always wanted to try a static laminated recurve. So in-between some self bows I started this one.
My lam bows are almost always backed with bamboo and for the belly I use either massuranduba or ipe. Since I only have access to hand tools (Except for a cheap belt sander) I decided on only two lams for this one to make sure I had enough belly wood to shape when tillering. I know there are lot of guys who make laminated bows with extreme precision which come out of the form and are ready to string up. This is not how I do it. Basically I laminate the rough form into a bow stave and from that work on it as I would with a self bow. The obvious advantage is of course that you can easily add reflex and deflex shapes at glue up.

Now gluing in a static recurve is a little different since you can’t bend ipe with heat and you can’t bend a thick piece over a tight radiused form without breaking it.
So after some googling around for info I stumbled upon an old thread by Justin Snyder. He used kerf cuts to bend recurves in ipe. This basically works by cutting your tips in half and thereby creating two thin lams which are still attached to your bow;-) So I got the handsaw out and cut my lams in half, then stuffed some very thin ebony I had laying around in between with some glue and clamp it on the form. By far the easiest recurves I have ever made!
After drying they looked great but where still a little thin so I added a piece of ash to stiffen up the recurves a bit. Rasped the transition from the ash with the belly smooth after drying and then glued up the bamboo and the powerlam. The reflex/deflex was glued in by using a few different height blocks and clamps.

After that I added some leftover contrasting woods as a handle and started tillering as normal. The only problem I had was that during the glue up the bamboo at both tips had shifted a bit (left them a little too thick at the tips for the tight recurve radius) This was a problem because bamboo has a bit of a crown and since it was not really centered at the tips anymore one side of the bamboo will be thicker when you shape the tips to final width. So after first stringing the tips bent over to the side as expected. I did leave them wide so after some shaping from opposing sides and a little from one side of the belly (on the strong side) I got them back in line.

For the finishing: The bamboo I used is already caramel coloured and I added some brown paint to the nodes and tips. Sanded the sides after that and added some layers of Danish Oil for the finish. Dulled the shine a bit with super fine steel wool.

This bow was chosen “Backed bow of the year” by the users on the Primitive Archer message board


Wood: bamboo backed ipe, ipe belly
Length: 63 inch
Draw weight: 54 lbs op 28 inch
Extras: bamboo powerlam, ash and mahogany recurve inserts, ipe tip overlays
Handle woods: Maple, wenge, bamboo flooring
String: 8 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


Hazelaar HLD

hazelaar hld

Geen platte buik

Eén van mijn favoriete bogenbouwers die vaak bogen post op het primitive archer forum is Simon Siess (primitive-bows.com) 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


Hazelaar recurve

hazelaar recurve

Kromme tak nog krommer maken: hazelaar recurve!

Na een paar boardbows en flatbows uit een stam wilde ik nu eens een recurve in een boog uit een stam maken. Omdat ik nog genoeg hazelaar had liggen en omdat het zo fijn werkt snel een stam gespleten en in de basisvorm gehakt. Ik maak de recurves meestal als ik de boog zo ver heb dat de armen net beginnen te buigen. (Na het floortilleren) Dit stuk hazelaar was best krom en met een flinke s-vorm in één van de armen. Mooi stuk hout om mee te experimenteren! Het buigen ging na een uurtje stomen erg makkelijk. Na een paar dagen drogen de boog verder getillerd en wat pijlen mee geschoten.
De pees liep alleen zeker twee cm naast het handvat door de kromme boogstaaf. Hier moesten we wat aan doen dus de boog met het handvat boven de stoompot gehangen en een uurtje laten stomen. Daarna door wat gewichten aan één kant te hangen het handvat gebogen totdat de pees door het midden liep.
Na het inschieten de boog wat “aangekleed” met een beetje verf en wat draadjes als contrast en het handvat gewikkeld met hennep. Daarna afgewerkt met Danish oil. De cambiumlaag was bij deze boog goed blijven zitten en ik vond het eigenlijk zonde om die eraf te schrapen.


Houtsoort: hazelaar
Lengte: 64 inch
Trekgewicht: 50 lbs op 28 inch
handvat:hennep wikkel
Extra’s: ipé tip overlays, geverfde uiteinden en middenstuk, randen van servingdraad


Essen recurve

essen recurve

Essen balk

Na de workshop bij Erwin had ik de smaak goed te pakken. Ik wilde meer bogen bouwen! Ik had bij Erwin meteen een stuk essen meegenomen zodat ik thuis aan een nieuwe kon beginnen zonder eerst naar de houthandel te gaan voor een goed stuk bogenhout.
Op internet al verschillende houten recurves gezien dus dat wilde ik ook eens proberen. Een vorm van afvalhout voor de recurve gemaakt en de uiteinden van de boogstaaf verhit met stoom boven een pan met kokend water. Daarna de tips met de hand over de vorm gebogen, fantastisch hoe je zo hout kunt buigen!


Houtsoort: essen
Lengte: 70 inch
Trekgewicht: 30 lbs op 28 inch
Handvat: Mahonie, leer