How To Make A Recurve Bow [Detailed Guide]

How To Build A Recurve Bow Recurve bows are popular for their versatility. While longbows get their strength from their lengths as it aids a powerful draw, they can still be awkward in certain environments. Also, the strength that an archer would derive from a longbow because of its length can also be derived from a well-constructed recurve bow well-constructed Best recurve bow . For instance, while a 6’’ longbow can provide up to 80 pull weight, a recurve can achieve the same amount of drawback power depending on how well constructed it is. Learning how to make a recurve bows is one of the most important aspects of owning a well-structured bow. You

There a wide variety of materials that are needed in the construction of homemade recurve bows like fiberglass or wood laminate that provide a strong arm for the bow. You also have a variety of materials to use if the normal feature of bows to be able to carry easily or to be used while interchanging bow arms. This feature offers improved drawback power for better penetration power and a wider range.

Also, there is versatility and easy maneuver that is provided by the short length of the recurve bow. In this article, I would explain, in detailed terms, how you can easily use turn part of a tree into a well structured recurve bow. Making recurve bows from scratch require lots of tools which are mentioned below.

Tools required for building Recurve bow

While recurve bows are fairly easy to make and you can build one with just a knife, there are still other tools that you would have to have in your possession to make the process easier, less dangerous or both. It is recommended that you void power tools as you can easily ruin a stave with them.

  • Belt knife
  • Drawknife
  • Half-round rasp and half-round double cut file or 4-way shoe rasp
  • Hatchet or Axe
  • Scraper
  • Saw
  • Ruler or tape rule



  • Assorted sandpaper
  • A bow stave
  • Pencil or another marking tool
  • 2m of cord with at least 100 Kg breaking strain;3 mm braided nylon cord would be sufficient
  • Finish, i.e. wax or oil

How to build a recurve bow

  1. Getting the Stave

  • The first step would be to get a stave, and the best approach would find a tree that has a diameter of 15 to 20 cm. Two very common types of trees to start with, especially if you are a beginner are ash and oak because the rings on their wood are obvious than, for instance, Maple.
  • Then, you would use your axe or hatchet to cut down the tree. You would have to have had experience in tree-cutting, if not; you would need to seek he services of anyone who does.
  • After the tree is cut, you would need to cut out 1.6-2m off of the tree.
  • Split the cut piece into quarters.
  • Remove the bark of the wood. You should be very careful not to cut out too much so as not to increase the work you would have to do later.
  • Put glue on the end and the back of the wood to prevent cracking later
  • Dry wood for a month.

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  1. Chasing The Ring

Chasing the ring involves leveling the entire back of the stave so that there is only a single growth ring. This technique is used to remove any bad wood that is outside the ring, and you can skip the process if your stave has a pristine back as any blemish can be removed by sandpapering it out.

Tools needed for chasing the ring:

  • Drawing Knife
  • Regular knife
  • Files
  • Sandpaper


How to Chase the Ring

  • Mark the ring that you are targeting on the engrain
  • Start by removing the outermost ring. You can achieve this by using your draw knife too early wood in between the two early rings and the chipping it off.
  • Use a +scraper to remove the thin layer that is left when you are close to your goal.


  1. Layout Your Design

  • You would start laying out your design by knowing which part of the stave you intend to use especially since the stave is usually larger than the bow that is designed. This would mean that you find a good section of the stave and mark it out with your pencil or any other marking instrument. It is advised that you mark the back as this is the only part that you would certainly not cut out during the shaping of the stave.
  • Measure 1/4 ‘’ separate from the makings on both ends and cut off. This is to provide for easy maneuverability of the stave while leaving you enough space to work with. The stave is now ½ ‘’ longer than the desired size of your eventual bow. This half inch would be cut off later.
  • Find the mid-point between the marked two end points and draw a line across the stave. This is to indicate the mid-point of the handle.
  • Find the centerline by putting strings at the tips where the nooks are supposed to be and then increase the tension.
  • Next, would be to draw a line, with your pencil, along the strings.


  1. Remove the Wood Outside Your Drawing

In this step, you would roughen out the wood, profiling the width. In this section, it is important that you closely observe the grain so that you do not split the bow stave.

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  1. Profiling the Thickness

It is important that you choose a target draw weight that you would work with throughout the process. If you are targeting a draw weight of, say, 25 to 50 pounds, then you should make the bow between 25 to 55 pounds.

This is the part that you also consider what you intend to use the bow for. Do you desire to use the bow for hunting, and then you would have to put up a high draw weight depending on the animal you choose to hunt.

  • The first step in regard this process is to draw a line through the sides of the stave ½ ‘’ from the back.
  • Cut through the line, saves the handle. The handle should be robust. However, the edges of the handle should be narrowed.


  1. Bending the Stave

  • This is one of the most crucial parts of making the bow.
  • Start by placing the tip of the bottom of your bow against the innermost part of your foot. The bow’s back against your foot.
  • Grab the handle with your hand.
  • Place your other hand against the back of the bow, close to the top
  • Bend gradually. Make sure both ends bend to the same amount of degree. If you have a problem with this, then removing wood from the belly might help.
  • Bend until the stave gets to 15 to 20cm.


  1. Strings

This is the section that you string the bow. You would need a knife or/and a file, a tillering string (parachute cord) and a tillering stick.

  • The first thing to do would be to create a notch on both ends of the stave; This can be done with either a cylindrical file or a knife a flat file.
  • Use the internal part of the tips to create the notch so that you can protect the outer edges.
  • Place a tillering string. This is after you have gotten the stave into the shape that you desire. Tillering provides the bow’s draw weight so you might want to be very careful with this section. Create a loop on the edges on a string which should be twice as long as the bowstring that you intend to use.
  • Attach the loops on the notches.
  • Put the stave on a tillering stick, then pull the tillering string, slowly and watch as the stave bends. This is part of the bending process in Step 6. This process can take months.
  • Once the desired draw is attained, then it is time to attached bowstring after removing tillering string.


  1. Finishing

This is the part in which the laminate is added. This can be done with wood or fiberglass.

You would need a saw to cut out the wood. You would also need glue to keep the laminate together.


There are different ways in which you can glue your laminate together. This includes the rubber band technique, the firehose method, and the c-clamp method. There are also methods which entail the combination of some of these methods; For instance, the rubber band and the c-clamp method.

You can also add an art design and/a leather work.


As earlier mentioned, the performance of a recurve bow relies on its construction. With these steps strictly adhered to, you can rest assured that the resulting bow would be both durable and reliable.

Learning how to build a recurve bow involves some level of commitment as it is both time and energy consuming. However, it is a moderately easy task and can be done if you are seriously committed.

Learning how to build a recurve bow comes with its benefits, aside from adding to your skills, it would give you a better knowledge on bows generally and enable you to become a better archer. You would also be able to learn how draw weights and other bow features relate to enabling high performance.

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