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



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


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











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


Asymetrische reflex deflex

asymetrische reflex deflex

Lange werparm

Laatst een heel aantal verhalen gelezen over voor en nadelen van een asymetrische boog.
Er zijn mensen die zeggen dat een boog fijner schiet als de pijl exact door het midden van de boog gaat en er zijn mensen die zeggen dat een langere bovenste arm voorkomt dat deze te veel belast wordt.
Er kwam niet echt een conclusie uit of het beter was of niet dus dan zit er niks ander op dan het zelf maar eens te proberen.
De bovenste werparm is 5 cm langer dan de onderste en de pijloplegger zit precies in het midden van de boog.
De reflex en deflex in deze boog iets minder extreem gemaakt en deze keer een esdoorn kern gekozen voor het contrast tussen de donkere ipé en de gestoomde bamboe. De bamboe op de rug wat kleurverloop gegeven en afgewerkt met Danish oil.


Houtsoorten: ipé, amerikaans esdoorn, gestoomde bamboe
Lengte: 66 inch
Trekgewicht: 50 lbs op 28 inch
Handvat: acacia, meranti, padoek
Extra's: zebrano tip overlays