Build a Board Bow

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Build a Board Bow

Board Bow!

Did you know that you can build a great bow from a maple board that you can pick up at your local hardware store? Building a board bow is a great way to start building bows without sinking a lot of money into an osage stave. The number one question I get through my website is “where can I buy an osage stave?” If you’re just getting into bow building, you don’t need the stress of worrying about messing up an expensive stave. You need to enjoy the process, make mistakes, and learn form them. This video series will take you step by step how to build a board bow with easily accessible and affordable materials.

I make most of my bows from osage staves but I was very impressed with the durability and performance from this 70 inch maple board bow. After shooting it in it has no string follow at all after it’s allowed to sit unstrung for a while. To accomplish this, I tied to bow into a jig before applying the rawhide backing. These long bows are easy to make with minimal tools. All you need is a small block plane, and a rasp. A draw knife will speed the job up but it’s not necessary. Because you’re unable to follow a ring on a board, you’ll need to back it with something. I’ve seen these bows backed with fiberglass tape which will work great and is pretty cheap. I used rawhide which also works well and looks nice on the bow’s back. You can make your own rawhide or get it from my website here.

By | 2017-12-01T05:43:46+00:00 December 1st, 2017|Traditional Archery|9 Comments

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  1. Trevor Ward December 2, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I really enjoy you videos. They are very informative and enjoyable to watch. I look forward to the next one.

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

    Watching from Northern Alberta Canada


  2. Douglas Hudman December 6, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Clay, So glad you are doing this series. Can’t wait for the rest of them! I started a board bow out of red oak about a year a go, but have had very limited time to work on it. It is almost finished though. I have shot a few arrows through it and if it doesn’t break when I get it to full draw length, I will be happy! I chose to see how inexpensively I could build it so I backed it with fiberglass drywall tape. This is one of my “learning” bows, and I plan to build a few more. I have about eight Osage staves waiting for me in Indiana that are about as straight as you can get so I don’t want to ruin them. After I learn by building a few of the board bows, I will take on the Osage. Thank you for all the great vids and tips. Love watching your stuff.

  3. Wade jordan December 7, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Like the board bow videos,is making the bow 70 inches the key to getting close to 50 pound pull.thanks wade

  4. admin December 8, 2017 at 9:09 am

    No, you could make it shorter. We’ll talk about getting to your target weight in the next vid.

  5. admin December 8, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Thanks Douglas, these board bows are a great way to learn without the stress of messing up an expensive stave. ch

  6. Joel Hays December 18, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Clay –

    I look forward to the book!
    My local HD only has popular and red oak. Which would you suggest for a “kid bow” holiday father/son project?



  7. admin December 19, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Red oak will make a bow but it tends to take a little more set than maple in my experience. ch

  8. Paul Davis January 9, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    How you going Clay
    I live in a little country called New Zealand if u heard of it im keen to make myself a board bow hopefully I can find a maple board over here….anyway your vids have helped me alot with my journey into traditional archery I have started with a 50 pound hybrid longbow that I will use for hunting… but would like to make myself a 35 pound bow for better practice ….wondering if u can make a board bow to 35pounds….thanks for any advice

    Kind regards Paul D

  9. admin January 10, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Absolutely, you can make the bow to whatever specs you want.

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