How to Make an Eastern Native American Longbow

Published on August 3, 2014 by Carol

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Eastern Native American Longbow

1. Select your piece of wood. It needs to be a straight grain flexible hardwood(or just oak). Also needs to be free of knots( places where branches have grown and left a little tiny bump). Needs to be exactly seventy two inches long. To get it like this you could cut it.

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2. Using a tape measure, find the center of the bow. If done correctly, your center should be each 36 inches). Look at which side of the bow has the straightest grain (make that side the back of the bow or, the side that faces the target).

3. Then you should get a T-square and mark a straight line across the width of the belly(or the side that faces you when you shoot).

4. Then from each side of center you mark 3 inches away from the center using the T-square (this will be where the handle is at).

5. Measure from the back tips and measure a quarter of an inch and mark it. Then you get a plane(a tool used for making wood even) then you start at your three inch marks from center and you shave the wood off till you get a slant(after, the tips should be a quarter of an inch from the back of the bow).

6. Shave form the sides of the bow at the three inch mark and make the tips of the bow a half inch wide. then you get sandpaper and round off the edges of the belly and the tips of the bow as desired (hint: the more you take off the less strength it will have). Then you want to make notches on the tips for the string to fit on. Then use sandpaper to smooth off any rough edges of the notches. Then on the handle you want to make your arrow rest. If you are right handed you will make a notch a half inch deep and 3/4 inches away from the top of the hand, then smooth everything with sandpaper.

7. First you want to slowly rotate the bow over a fire for thirty minutes(you need to make sure that the bow is completely dry for this step. Then while it is hot, put animal fat on, until you get a nice coat and let it soak in. Then rub the bow down with wax after the fat dries(it will protect from moisture). To back it take sinew or artificial sinew cable and tie it at both ends of the bow at the back of the bow. Then get a stick and twist it in the strands and it will form a very strong cable. Then you get some artificial sinew and tie it tightly through the bow. Then you take out the stick and the cable remains tight and twisted. Then wrap around the cable in intervals. This is known as a cold weather backing. It is done in places where it is too cold for glue to dry. The cable adds more spring and stretch to the bow.

8. Tillering is making sure it is strong and flexible and will not malfunction during shooting. I will teach you hand tillering. You take a rope and tie it at either end of the bow. Place the bow on the floor, put your foot in the center. You then pull on the string which will tell you if it is ok. You must have both sides bend equally. As long as no problems you should start stringing. You put it between your legs and pull with the top of the bow. Then slowly pull several times until you can pull the string back twenty seven inches.

Source: wikihow Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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