How to Make a Bow and Arrow
Knowing how to make a bow and arrow could save your life should you be lost in the wilderness and be in need of catching food. The below guide should help you piece something of value together.
1- Find your piece of wood. A hard wood, perhaps oak, pine, lemon tree, yew, hickory, teak or black locust should be o.k. Mulberry or juniper is perfect as they’re quite flexible. Similarly, young bamboo can be used. You want it to be about a meter in length, with no knots or twists, and it should be dead and dry, but not grey or cracking. If you cannot find dead wood, green wood such as a pine can be used if you first remove the bark and soak it in hot water. You only require a very slight curve in the wood.
2- Shape the wood by shaving it down on the inside of the natural curve so that the fat end is shaved to the same thickness as the thinner end. Leave the centre slightly thicker than the rest of the bow.
3- Cut half-moon shaped notches out of the outside of either end of the bow about an inch before the tip. These will hold the string.
4- Find some string. Ideas for string include: nylon rope, fishing wire, hemp cord, rawhide, strong vine. The string should not be stretchy as the power comes from the bend of the wood, not the string.
5- Arrows should be made from the straightest sticks that you can find. Use dead wood. Each arrow needs to be slightly longer than the bow can be drawn back. The arrows require shaving to create a smooth shaft and even circumference. Holding the sticks over hot coal will help you straighten them. Sharpen the heavier end (if there is one), and carve a small notch in the tail end to accommodate for the string.
Should you have suitable materials, it is preferable to fit a head to your arrow using metal, sharp stone, or glass. Notch the wood to fit it in, and then re-enforce by lashing the two pieces together.
Feathers or similar (fletchings) will improve an arrow’s accuracy. They can be glued to the back of the arrows, or a slit can be cut into the tail of the wood and the feathers slid in.
If shooting fish, aim slightly below the fish to accommodate for the refraction of the water.
Wrapping your bow around the centre two thirds with a wet strip of leather will both protect your bow and provide extra power.
A notch can be cut in the centre on which to rest the arrow.
The shavings of the arrow can be left attached at the tail end to act as fletchings.