A quick Bush Bow + Arrow

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
5,126
Reaction score
100
Location
Melbourne, Victoria
Start with a sapling. This one had died recently, it still had brown leaves attached and was standing.
I looked for one which was (relatively) strait and free from branches (at least in the section I wanted) :
P1133380 (Medium).jpg


Using the axe to trim down the belly, leaving the middle area as a handle :
P1133381 (Medium).jpg P1133382 (Medium).jpg

Once roughed out, I cut notches for the string. Generally make the string approx a hand span less than the length
P1133383 (Medium).jpg P1133384 (Medium).jpg

Time for a bit of tillering. No fancy stuff, just bending the bow by hand, foot or knee to judge where material needs to be removed.
I used axe for gross removals, and knife for more delicate work (and to smooth the bow a bit).
P1133385 (Medium).jpg P1133386 (Medium).jpg P1133387 (Medium).jpg

I left the back of the bow with its bark on. It would probably be better to remove it, but since this was a quick bow, and the bark and stick were dry, it probably isn't too much of a problem.

Bow done !
P1133394 (Medium).jpg

The handle of the axe is touching the string. Its a very short draw I guess 40 - 50 cm, but quite a bit of force I guess 10 - 12 kg ??
(The bow string is a synthetic twine from home)

Next for a very quick arrow.

Start with a not too wonky stick. Dry so its light, but still strong.
Peel the bark and try and whittle it as smooth and straight as possible ....
(Ok a bit more time and effort could have yielded a much better arrow, but time and resources were limited)
P1133388 (Medium).jpg

I found a feather (just one). So I split it and attached with gaffa.
I whittled a nock in the base and sharpened the point like a pencil.
P1133389 (Medium).jpg P1133390 (Medium).jpg


Action time !
P1133391 (Medium).jpg

I shot the bow about 20 times and it held up perfectly !
The arrow was definitely wonky, and eventually I lost it. I couldn't aim it too well, but it flew forcefully and in the right direction.


I spent about 1 hour making the bow and arrow.
All up this worked excellently.

If I'd thought about it earlier in the day I could have picked up better arrow stick(s) on my walk, and kept a look out for some feathers.

More time tillering would have given a better draw length, and I could have adjusted the weight too.
Of course more time finishing would give a nicer end product too.

I believe a better arrow would have make for a really good setup.
Earlier in the day I passed an area which would have been excellent for arrows, but it was too far to go back to.
(Alternatively a green stick could be straightened over a fire; or more time searching and I may have found one).

I used gaffa to attach the arrow (because it was quick and not a nice arrow), you can tie the fletching on with thin fibers which I could have sourced nearby (time permitting).

The bow string would be a problem using local materials. I'm not sure that I cold make a string strong enough, but that's another challenge for another time !


The bow was crude, but did the job.
 
Last edited:

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
5,126
Reaction score
100
Location
Melbourne, Victoria
For want of feathers you could make the fletching entirely out of tape.
Yep. LOL.
I was going to do that, but I found the feather on the way to get the tape so I thought I'd stick it on and try and find some more ... which I wasn't able to !
If I was more careful I prob could have got 2 fletches out of it.

But I thought I'd give it a go as it was, it really wasn't a very good arrow anyway, so it was really just to have something to shoot to prove the bow worked,

As an alternative to tape in the past I have used :
- green leaves. They don't last long, but they will work.
- shredded fibers (attached on the shaft) from any plant material.
Also
- Leather - some cross bow bolts were traditionally fletched with leather! I haven't used leather, but I though I'd mention it because it may inspire someone


Remember the feathers primarily keep the arrow head facing forward, so any "drag" at the back will do that ... of course nice aerodynamic shapes etc are better than dodgy stuff, and really nicely placed fletches can assist with spin etc ... but beggars can't always be choosers !
 

Bloffy13

Jon Muir
Joined
Apr 11, 2012
Messages
2,820
Reaction score
140
Location
Albany, Western Australia
I remember making bows and arrows as a kid but haven't thought about that for years. Might have to have a play around at some stage.
Chers
Bloffy
 

Chris8546

Lofty Wiseman
Joined
Feb 14, 2017
Messages
184
Reaction score
9
Location
Perth, WA
I might bring my bow, a bunch of arrows and my target to our meet up on the 08-10 Feb if anybody fancies a crack.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Taplow

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Feb 10, 2012
Messages
671
Reaction score
35
Location
Sydney
Great project - that's definitely something I'd like to try one day! Brings to mind a post a while back about a metal "survival card" with arrowheads, needles and fish hooks to press out. That would give you an instant point for your arrow.
 

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
5,126
Reaction score
100
Location
Melbourne, Victoria
Great project - that's definitely something I'd like to try one day! Brings to mind a post a while back about a metal "survival card" with arrowheads, needles and fish hooks to press out. That would give you an instant point for your arrow.
I've made my own points cut from stainless steel in the past, just like the sort you would get from those cards (there are quite a few on the market) - a bit under 1mm think from memory.

I'm not sure they are all they are cracked up to be.
Undoubtedly they are a point, but you need to build the bow first, and if you can build a bushcraft bow, you can probably fashion a suitable point.

... last weekend I picked up a few sticks to make a nice(er) arrow, but ran out of time to do anything with them.
I'll try and make an arrow or 2 and experiment with some bushcrafted points this weekend ...

If I can't get out I may whip up some more ss points, they only take a couple of minutes if you have an angle grinder ...
 

Randall

John McDouall Stuart
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
555
Reaction score
365
The ends of the arrows can be hardened with heat (fire). In Irian Jaya they do that - their arrows are just sharp hard wood. They have barbs carved into the wood up to the point. Their bows and arrows are both long - from memory the bows are about 5' long. The arrows are designed to break if an animal, or man, is wounded; you can't pull the arrow out. I think the bow strings were made of split bamboo. Many native peoples used to make pitch as well - but it is very time consuming. I suppose sitting by a fire with nothing else to do gives you that time. Just had a search - the arrows look like they are bamboo too, which is a whole lot easier. The heads are wood, not bamboo, attached with string or pitch or both depending on the arrow use, tribe etc.

bow and arrow.jpg
 
Last edited:
Top