This is the first of what I hope will be a series of interviews with custom bowyers. There is so much to learn from these bowyers who work full time doing the craft. I hope you find this information useful in your bow making!
Bill Howland is the owner and bowyer of Brackenbury Custom Bows, Nine Mile Falls, Washington. He has owned and operated the company since August, 2001. The company was started by the late Jim Brackenbury who died in 1991. Bill continues the production of several of Jim Brackenbury’s bow designs. I met Bill at the Pirates of Archery internet forum where we have often shared discussions about making bows. He always has about the best advice that comes from his extensive experience in making custom take-down recurves and longbows. Continue reading
My friend Brent scored big on this nice 10 point buck this weekend (November 3) with a bow that I made for him. One of his Facebook friends said that “Brent scored on a nice buck with is “old school bow”…lol. As you and I both know, there is nothing old school about a fiberglass recurve, but in this age of high-tech metal compounds I guess that a traditional bow seems like something from the past. There is something really cool about “building your own bow” and killing a deer with it. It is even cooler when it is someone else kills a deer with a bow that you made. Continue reading
Probably the best rasp in my tool box for making bows is the “Universal Bowyer’s Rasp,” also called the “UBR10,” designed and sold by Dean Torges. It is really useful for making all types of bows: recurves, longbows, and self bows, but it is especially good for self bows and wood-backed bows where you tiller the bow by rasping and shaving the belly.
I just want to say right away that I am not trying to be a salesman for this rasp. I don’t sell it on this site, nor do I get a commission for selling it, or referring people to buy it. I just like it…a lot…and that’s good enough for me. Continue reading
I just had to share this photo of a cool link I saw in the site stats for buildyourownbow.com. Only in the internet era is it possible to share around the world like this with like-minded people of different cultures and different languages. One thing for sure is that we all love archery. Please feel free to make a comment below if you agree. Thanks to the folks at www.mitbbs.com for visiting www.buildyourownbow.com and sharing with your friends.–Jim
Click the thumbnail to see a larger photo with the buildyourownbow.com link!
I think that bow balance is one of the most interesting and important topics about making bows. What can be more important than building a balanced bow? I mean, this seems like possibly the most important thing we can get right. The crazy thing is that for something that seems so important to making a good bow, there doesn’t seem to be much useful information about it in books or magazines. The archery forums have plenty of discussions about tiller and balance, but many comments just seem to be “what so and so taught me to do” or opinions that are not based on experience or fact. I’ve read everything that I can find about bow balance and four popular myths seem to stand out… Continue reading
A straight Osage Orange log is like a log of gold to a selfbow bowyer. As you probably know, Osage trees don’t usually grow very straight, so finding a clean, straight one is a rare find. My friend Brent brought one over to my house this weekend for us to split into staves. It was about eight-to-10 inches in diameter at the base and almost perfectly straight! He cut it down on his farm in northern Boone County, Missouri, and he wants to make a bow out of it since it grew on his property. That’s pretty neat. If he doesn’t get one made, then hopefully I can make one for him. I hope to make one or two out of it, too. This will be his first bow build, so I am encouraging him to make one by himself. Osage orange is really nice bow wood. It is rough and tough, and really forgiving wood for a first-time bowyer. Continue reading
I’ve never been one to bash any form of archery. I love all types of bows. But, I just had to share this photo (at right). What has happened to “archery”? I mean, look at all of the stuff on this bow. I have to admit that when I first really got into archery and bow hunting in the 1980′s, I was into compound bows. When I was shooting compounds, I think that I had every type of gadget you could buy attached to my bow. I had a rubber baby buggy bumper string nock so my release aid wouldn’t pinch the arrow nock and break it. My bow had a kisser button, a dovetail sight with fiber optic, T-dot pins, an arrow rest, a cushion plunger, a sling for the grip, an arrow gripper to hold the arrow on the bow when waiting for a monster buck to come, some magic plastic string silencers, Continue reading
What is a recurve?
A recurve is a curved portion of the tip of the bow limb. Recurves can either be static (rigid) or working (bending). Many sizes and shapes of recurves have been tried throughout archery history, and are still very popular on modern bows. Most modern recurves can be called “contact recurves,” because the string “contacts” the recurved portion of the belly surface of the limb. On some contact recurves, the string will stay in contact with the belly surface of the limb all of the way from brace height until full draw. On other recurve designs, the string will lift off of the belly surface of the limb at some point during the draw. The length of draw where the string lifts off can dramatically affect the force draw curve of the bow. Typically, the later in the draw stroke that the string lifts off, the more energy the bow can store throughout the draw stroke and the smoother the draw stroke will feel.
A recurve creates the effect of a cam as the bow is drawn. Because of it’s tightly curved shape, a bow with recurved limb tips provides even more leverage for the string throughout the draw, which allows a recurve bow to store even more energy than a straight-limbed, reflexed, or even a reflex/deflex bow.