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


Mulberry bendy

Mulberry bendy

This was a leftover split of mulberry, both length and width are almost unchanged except for some sanding. Kind off nice when roughing out the basic profile takes only 10 minutes;-) there’s only two rings in this bow, you can see the light earlywood separation in the closeup of the tip.

I don’t make a lot of bendy handles but somehow it felt right for this stave.
Narrowed the handle just a bit and flipped the tips a little with steam.

This was a very pale coloured mulberry so I fumed it for about five days. Came out pretty dark for cheap low concentrate ammonia from the supermarket!

I glued some cork on the handle to make it a little more comfortable (I like beefy handles) and wrapped it with cotton cord and some brown b50.

Shot it a bit over the last week and it shoots really smooth so I am probably going to use it for the upcoming target competitions.

update: The bottom limb developed a hinge at the bottom of the recurve, I heated that spot with a little extra reflex to stiffen it up and removed some wood from both limbs to even the tiller. The bow is now about 43 lbs at 28 inch


Wood: mulberry
Length: 62 inch ntn
Draw weight: 48 lbs at 28 inch
Handle wrap: 2 different color stringwrap
Extras: ipe tip overlays, fumed
String: 8 strand fastflight


Elder HLD Flatbow

Elderberry HLD Flatbow

So I am just trying out all the local woods which I think can make a nice bow.

This elderberry stave was cut in may with a hld in mind. I split it immediately, debarked it and threw in the corner of my shed. Thickest part was about 2.5 inch. A few weeks ago I decided to take it out of the corner and start work on it. The hollow pith was split across the whole stave while drying but this was only a problem in the handle. Roughed it out and steamed a sideways kink in the handle straight. After that I rasped the handle flat and glued on a small piece of acacia over the split and the remaning hole.
First plan was to make it short but I kind of liked the snakey tip so decided to keep it long and see what would come out.

The limbs where also twisted about 40 degrees, got some of it out during heat treating and left the rest. (Twisted staves plays tircks on you while tillering because it looks so different from opposite sides!)
Ended up at 60@28 and shoots really smooth! I think hld and lighter woods like elder make a great combo! Shot it quite a bit and still shows no sign of set so I probably could have gone narrower or shorter. Did not really measure anything, just chopped away and left it as wide as the stave allowed.

The back was dyed with ecoline ink. This stuff soakes in quite deep. It will probably fade a bit over time, just an experiment to see if it will work.
The handle was wrapped with four peaces of leftover leather lace.


Wood: elderberry
Length: 66 inch ntn
Draw weight: 60 lbs at 28 inch
Handle wrap: 2 different leather lace
Extras: ipe tip overlays
String: 8 strand fastflight


Elm mollegabet

Elm mollegabet

This is my first elm stave and my first self bow mollegabet. (Did make a couple of laminated mollegabets) It was a bit of a wonky stave (see rough out pic below) but since it is elm I decided on a molly design anyways.

The stave, although waxed on the back, was full of drying cracks. But after building my mulberry bows with huge cracks held up fine I decided to ignore it and continue the build.
Roughed it out with the drawknife and straightened the tips with dry heat. (See rough out pic below why this was needed)

Tillered the bow to brace and flipped the tips a bit for looks.
Then I heat treated the belly for 40 minutes per limb and let cool overnight. The next morning when I took it off the form I was shocked that the previous corrected bends had returned! Guess I heated a little too far into the levers. So I had to clamp the tips up and correct them again. (Sounds bad but is actually really easy with a heat gun and some clamps)

After heat treating and straightening the tips again I tillered it to 25” and started shooting it at a low drawlength. After a few shots a weak spot next to the handle showed up (despite being 3 mm thicker then the other side!) and I lost about 12 lbs trying to correct that.

Since the elm looked a little boring besides the brown streaking and cracks on the back I added some paint to the tips and some red serving thread to divide the color and the wood. (thread and super glue are also extra security for some drying cracks that run out where the levers begin) Sanded the paint a bit to “age” it and put some leather on for a handle.
All in all a project which was full of mistakes and problems but came out as a super smooth shooter.


Wood: elm
Length: 64 inch ntn
Draw weight: 48 lbs at 28 inch
Handle wrap: leather cord
Extras: ipe tip overlays
String: 8 strand fastflight


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


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


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