Youth bow build-along

Thread starter #1
Today I started building a 48" youth laminated longbow, no glass on this one, just hickory for the limbs. I think I will "back" the bow with linen, but we'll get to that part in a day or two. There are many different ways to build bows, this is just one of them I chose to use.

I had a 24" long piece of 5/4 (1 1/4" thick) Hard Maple left over so that's what the riser will be. I cut a 1 1/2" wide strip on the table saw, and traced out the basic fades. Next, it was over to the bandsaw and cut the fades leaving a good 1/8" excess past the lines, final shaping was done on the oscillating drum sander.
 

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Thread starter #2
I had some nice straight grained Hickory pieces already cut to 1 1/2' wide, by 1/4 thick, and 72" long from another youth bow ready and waiting. Just needed to run them through the planner to a thicknes of .110". One I cut to 52' long, and two were cut to 25" long. Just a quick pass or two with some 60 grit sandpaper, to rough up the surfaces for gluing, and we have what we need to glu up the bow.
 

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Thread starter #3
I decided to use my 48' R/D form this bow but it could just have easily been glued up on a flat board as well.

I applied a layer of paste wax on the form, and the pressure strips, covered the form with plastic wrap. The pressure strips wre covered with wax paper as well, to prevent the bow from sticking to the form.

Smooth-on epoxy is what I always use for the bows. Applied a layer of epoxy to the top of the 52' lamination, put in on the form, more epoxy the to the bottom of the riser and the fades. Tapeing down the riser, as well as clamping it to the form, keeps it from sliding off center. A little more epoxy to one side on the 25" laminations and set them in place, with the pressure strips on top of them, and tapeing them down securely. Time to cover the bow in more plastic wrap and secure the bow with the stretch clamps.

Off to the bow oven you go, for the next six hours !
 

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Thread starter #5
Day 2 on the build.

Pulled the bow out of the oven this morning and removed all the clamps, stretch clamps, pressure strips, etc. Before removing the bow from the form, I marked the ends of the bow where it needs to be trimmed, as well as the centers of the limbs. Clamping a tightly pulled string from end to end, marks my centers, and keeps the bow straight through out the build. Next the rough outline of the limbs was traced in pencil.
 

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Thread starter #6
Time to cut out the shape of the limbs on the bandsaw leaving an 1/8" of excess material, bandsaws will destroy your bow build if you get carried away, and cut to close to the line. I belt sand down to the line, then remove the line, with a 1/4 sheet palm sander. The 3 step process lets you carefully shape the limbs.
 

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Thread starter #7
After cutting in the string grooves 1" from each end with a1/8" chainsaw file, it was time to string the bow for the first time. I always use a bow stringer, even on the youth bows. The tiller was dead even and looking good. I made the initial cut out for the sight window on the band saw, I use masking tape to prevent splintering and marring the wood. Using a hack saw, I cut the remainder of the sight window chunk out, then used the fine end of a 4-way file to clean it up.
 

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Thread starter #9
At this point I have the bow ready to spray on the finish, but as I mentioned in the beginning, I think I'll back the bow with some linen. This lightwieght bow doesn't require it, but it will make it stronger under tension, not to mention dress it up a bit too.

I have some camo cotton fabric from the local Wally World I picked up years back. I cut a piece of fabric about two inches longer that the bow, and about 1 1/2 inches wider than the bow. Using Titebond 2, a thin layer of glue was spread all along the back of the bow, being careful not to drip on to the edges of the bow. The the fabric is layed in to the bed of glue and carefully smoothed out using just your fingers. After drying for about an hour, a layer of glue is spread on top of the fabric, and that will dry overnight.

That's it for today, time to check on the venison stew I've had cooking all afternoon in the slow cooker. Me tired!
 

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Thread starter #11
Here's how the camo looks after the glue dryed over night. To remove the excess material, just carefully run the fine end of the 4-way file, holding in it at about a45 to the edge of the bow, and take short light strokes. Takes it off nicely! Looks like I'll be spraying the finish on the bow tonight. :flag:
 

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Thread starter #14
Thanks Steve.

Mike, you are correct sir. It will yellow the colors a tad, but not a problem on the camo pattern or dark colors.
 
Thread starter #16
Tonight was the final night working on the little bow. Just added the calf hair rest to the bow, and strung it up. Checked the final weight, and exercised the new limbs on the tiller tree.

This was just a minature wooden longbow for the littlest of archers, ages 4 to 7. Always great to see them start out that young! The bow came in 10# at 18", and just over 12# at 22" draw. I hope some of you who had been asking, got to see a few things that helped answer your a few questions. :flag:
 

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Thread starter #17
I didn't get to take any good pictures outside in the daylight due to the few hours of snow shoveling after work but, you get the idea.

Here's a comparison of the mini 48' bow, to a 64" adult bow.


Good luck on your own bow builds! :flag:
 

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