How to Make a Recurve Bow

Compared with the conventional bow, recurve bow can drive the arrow at a greater distance with increasing power. This satisfying sport has its roots, which fixed the primal hunting skill. However, recurve bow is trendy due to its versatility. The drawback of power depends on the construction. If you are a woodworker, it will be very beneficial to make some part of your own recurve bow. So, it will satisfy you.

The recurve bow construction consists of a handle or riser, a string, two limbs, and an arrow set. When you pull back on the string, the limbs’ energy transferring can propel and release the arrow forward. The limbs can be graded into poundage. The hunting bow goes up to at least 60 lbs, whereas the beginners may use 28lbs. Here the pros may be drawing up to 40lb or more than that.

Recurve bow building needs enough time and energy. You need to gather lots of skills and years to make an ideal recurve bow. You need to follow simple steps, and you can get your desired bow. To make a standard recurve bow, let me help you to get started with the following steps:

What Do You Need For A Recurve Bow?

To make a standard recurve bow, you need some necessary materials and tools. But with those materials, you will have to keep patience and give some time and energy to make this excellent and workable recurve bow. However, all the materials will depend on your bow’s size that you are feeling comfortable using.

Here I will show you the exact list of materials and tools you needed for your recurring bow.


  • Saw
  • Large file
  • Long cylindrical file or knife
  • Flat file
  • Large screw clamps
  • Hatchet or Axe
  • Drawknife
  • Heat gun
  • Pencil
  • Rasp
  • Tillering stick
  • Ruller
  • Measuring tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Bow shaping frame

Necessary Materials:

  • Wood: lemon, oak, hickey, or maple wood. Remember not to use any bamboo or birch wood because they don’t work correctly.
  • Parachute or nylon type bowstring
  • 2/ 4 feet wooden board
  • Bow stave
  • Wood laminate
  • Wax, finish, or oil

From Where You Can Get all Those Materials?

Your nearly local hardware store and home improvement can deliver you all the above materials and tools efficiently. I think the most important material that you need is the right selection of wood. The location is also responsible for which materials and tools you can get quickly.  The locally sourced wood that you can get easily from the sawmill woodshop. It will be a fantastic task to choose the wood from the forest if you are a craftsman. You can select a suitable tree and then chop it down.

I hope this article will help you make a nice bow without purchasing thousands of materials and tools.


Prepare the Recurve Bow

  • Step:1

First of all, you need to purchase a wooden stave. It would help if you had the wooden stave to shape your bow. The length of the bow you want to make will be the same as the wooden stave you need to use. Find out the tree which has a diameter of 20 cm or less. During cutting the tree, you have to reduce the length between 1.6 to 2 meters. To get the shorter length, you need to piece into the quarter. Always focus on the stave materials, which must be strong, durable, flexible, and of course, malleable. It would be best if you choose the materials like maple, lemonwood, or hickory.

  • Step:2

The design layout will depend on which part of the stave you want to use. Now take a pen and then mark the outline limbs and the arrow rest of the bow. Measure ¼ the inches from the marking that you already take on both ends and quickly cut the stave. Now you may see that your stave is half an inch longer than the required size. It is the perfect time to stand the stave in an upright position in one hand and swing the hatchet into the other hand. Finish the side of the stave smoothly. It is up to your choice to choose the arrow limbs, which will be wide or flat. And also, mark on the stave where you want to put your handle.

  • Step:3

Now you have to test your wooden stave. During putting the bottom tip against the instep while your one hand will hold the upper tip in place and pull all those towards you, you need to check whether it would band adequately. During shooting, the side needs to face away from you.

  • Step:4

It is appropriate to shape the limb after getting the bow into an outline with the hatchet. Keep the handle portion in the perfect place to the stave in the vice and then tighten it correctly. Target the draw weight at 50 pounds and also ensure the bow must be 50 pounds. The backside always is facing in the upward position. Now take a draw knife and then draw the draw knife along the stave in the long stroke. Do this process again until you get the desired thickness of your bow.

  • Step:5

Take sandpaper, and after that, sand down any rough, ragged edges of the wooden stave. Please don’t make the bow too thin. Otherwise, it will break down so easily. Maintain the level of thickness.


Shape the Recurve Bow

  • Step:1

Based on the exact curve that you want when you have prepared your bow, you need to move it on various segments accordingly. For each limb of the recurve bow, you need two curves. One curve should be away from the handle, while the other should be back towards the handle. Use some screw clams to secure the stave with the frame. If you still face some problems, it’s better to use the hit gun, making your work easier, which will make you stave up and secure the whole thing accurately with the shaping frame.

  • Step:2

It would be best to take the actual measurement, which will be very precise, and bend both of the limbs as equally as you can. To get the proper size, you need to bend the wood stave equally from each end of the bow’s handle.

  • Step:3

To avoid any intolerable and messy situation, leave each section properly to secure the bow shaping frame for about a maximum of 12 hours. If 12 hours is not suitable for you, then leave them for a minimum of 6 hours. All these processes will allow the wood o set in position and at the same time ensure longer effectiveness and life span.


String the Recurve Bow

  • Step:1

To cut the notch of both ends of the stave, you have to use a parachute cord, knife, and a tillering stick. Start to cut the notches for the string and put them into the top and bottom of the limbs. If you want to hold the bowstring in a perfect position, notches are necessary. You can use the elongated cylindrical file or use a narrow flat file or a knife. Cut the notch on the bow’s interior; you need to protect the exterior bow’s durability.

  • Step:2

To provide your bow with a draw means tillering. Softly use the tillering stick to cut the stave on that point which one you already marked. After bent the stave into the desire position, you have to do this after getting the actual shape to install a tillering string and then tiller it. The tillering string’s length will be almost the same as the length of the bowstring you want. Now secure it with the stable loop with both ends of the string. For this purpose, you need to use a rugged parachute cord.

  • Step:3

Now it’s proper time to pull the tillering string to one of the notches. This site must be the upper portion of the tillering string. Then again, pull the recurve bow and see whether the bow bend or not. Do the tillering process steadily and slowly, which will make the whole thing strong. If you notice any unwanted sound during this process, you must stop right now and then take a large file and again shape the limbs. To get a suitable length, you have to give a few months for the tillering process.

  • Step:4

Remove the tillering stick and take the tillering string off when your bow gets the acceptable draw. After that, you need to bind the bowstring after looping both of the ends around the notches. To make the bowstring, you may use nylon.

That’s great. By following the whole process, you can already get your complete recurve bow. After finishing the tillering process, now it’s time to add the artwork and cover to protect the bow to give a complete finish work. I can say that, for the beginner who wants to make a homemade bow, this recurve bow-making process is suitable for them.

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