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

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



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


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











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


Eik reflex deflex

Eik reflex deflex

In opdracht

Na een aantal reflex/deflex modellen heb ik steeds een en ander aangepast aan de hand van ervaringen door het schieten van deze modellen, in dit model heb ik de deflex vanuit het handvat iets minder gemaakt en de reflex in de tips juist wat meer. De reflex zit er in opgespannen vorm nog mooi in maar wordt tijdens het uittrekken langzaam recht tot fulldraw. In combinatie met de deflex is dit een erg soepele boog om uit te trekken.
De kern is gemaakt van een strook eik en deze is getaperd van 5 mm in het midden naar 1 mm naar de uiteinden onder de tip. Deze boog is speciaal gemaakt voor een clublid en heeft dan ook zijn specifieke specificaties van 38 lbs op 26 inch treklengte.


Houtsoorten: ipé, eik, bamboe
Lengte: 66 inch
Trekgewicht: 38 lbs op 26 inch
handvat:acacia, eik
Extra’s: zebrano tip overlays


Reflex deflex tri-lam

reflex deflex

Drie lagen buigen in reflex deflex

Na een aantal drielaags longbows met o.a. esdoorn, padoek, purperhart en bamboe als kern begin ik de performance en looks van deze meerlaagse modellen te waarderen. De volgende moet dus weer een drielaags model worden! Nu zijn de verhalen over de performance en soepele schoten van een reflex/deflex model erg positief dus dit wil ik natuurlijk ook een proberen.

Om te beginnen een soort mal gemaakt van een paar balken om de boog tijdens het oplijmen de juiste reflex en deflex te geven. Dit getest met een strook bamboe en ipé om te kijken hoe de gebogen vorm er nou uit gaat zien. Bogenbouwen doe ik vooral op het oog dus afgezien van meten hoe lang een boogstaaf is meet ik verder niks.

Daarna een stuk eik als kern gekozen, deze houtsoort is niet heel licht maar lijmt wel erg makkelijk. Omdat dit een eerste test is voor een reflex deflex model heb ik de kern geen taper gegeven en is deze over de volledige lengte ongeveer 4 mm dik.

Na het oplijmen van de drie lagen een dag in de klemmen laten opdrogen en de dag erna een aantal dunne laagjes hout als handvat opgelijmd. Deze dunne laagjes buigen lekker makkelijk mee met de deflex in het midden en zien er wat mij betreft ook erg decoratief uit.
Na het tillerwerk met vers uitgezaagd hoekig handvat moest ik natuulijk eerst eens schieten, wat een feest! Wat ze zeggen over de soepelheid en snelheid van deze bogen is zeker waar! Daarna weer afgewerkt met danisch oil en later een handvat van paracord eromheen gewikkeld.


Houtsoorten: ipé, eik, bamboe
Lengte: 66 inch
Trekgewicht: 42 lbs op 28 inch
Handvat:eik, meranti, esdoorn, acacia
Extra’s: ipé tip overlays