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Latest attempt- maple board bow

2583 Views 18 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  High Desert Flipper
Here is my latest bow build, finished a few weeks ago. It has ~500 shots in it now and seems to be surviving well and hasn't taken on any more set since breaking it in.

Made from a maple board, it is 65" nock to nock, has phenolic reinforced limb tips and a D97 string. Made straight it has taken about 1.5" set after breaking in. Looking forward to trying to add some reflex / deflex someday soon but this one is just straight.

This is also my first try at a layered handle- I am happy with the way it glued up but want a do over on the colors and shaping the handle (will try to get those more to my liking on the next one).

It pulls 46 lbs at 28" and 43 lbs at 27" (my draw length) and shoots 9 grain per pound arrows at 160-165 fps and holds 155 with 10 gpp arrows.

It also badly breaks the rules against ring violation and grain run off on the limbs- pic of the top limb back included below. To counter this I treated the back by sanding it rough and painting it up with watered down wood glue. My idea was to try and impregnate the top bit of wood with glue hoping to stick it all together to prevent layers or splinters from lifting up. Not sure if that worked or if I just got lucky, but it has held together well for several weeks of shooting and ~500 shots. When I learn about reflexing and / or flipping the tips I am also looking forward to adding bamboo or other backings to support limbs like this with poor grain patterns. And while it seems to be ill advised, the grain pattern on the limbs is visually pleasing.

Part of the my adventure with self bows is learning how to shoot a bow instinctively- I've always used a site before. Learning to shoot with both eyes open has been challenging and fun. And thankfully that is coming along. Pic below is shots from 20 yards on one of first outings with this bow. I am getting most arrows inside an 8" paper plate at 10 yards now and looking forward to the day when I can consistently do that from 20-25 yards.

A few pics below and a short video showing the limb bend while shooting is at


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HDP - really impressive. I tried to build a bow and have a great deal of respect for those who can.

I noticed that you are using vanes. You can shoot vanes from a trad. Bow - but it requires really carefully tuning. Do you have access to feather fletching? It is a lot more forgiving. What spine weight arrows are you shooting?

One of the best instinctive archery coaches is Tom Clum at Rocky Mountain Specialty Gear in Wheat Ridge (Denver Metro Area). RMS Gear is a mecca for trad. Archery and the shop and range alone are worth the trip. Let me know if you are inspired to travel here. I am happy to host you and make all the arrangements with Tom.
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HDP - take your arrows to the local shop and ask it to strip the vanes and install feather fletching. I buy cheap shafts at Wally World when they go on sale after hunting season. I strip the vanes with a utility knife and install feather fletching. Easy-peasy!

Keep grouping those arrows! You can move the group at a later date.
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If your shelf is not slightly convex so that the arrow rests on a narrow ledge, put a match stick perpendicular to the arrow, under the shelf material, at the same point as the ledge of your stick-on rest.
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