How to recurve a bow?
Recurve bows were proven to be deadly and efficient weapon since ancient times. Still in XXI century those traditional bows made from wood are successfully used by many hunters around the world. This design with specific advantages have many fans. Recurve bows strung up are coming with higher initial tension what helps to get more out of the piece of wood. They usually are more compact that longbows and well made are faster. The process of crafting such a bow is a bit complicated. The bowyer has to overcome challenges like dealing with string alignment, bending tips and designing recurves. In today’s article let’s take a look at the process of recurving a bow.
Tips for successful recurve bow build.
First of all the bowyer should pick a proper wood species for this kind of build. Not all of them can be bent to such a shape – some woods just can take more than others. Suitable species for recurving basing on my experience are:
- Osage orange
- Black locust
- Red oak
Sure there are many more good species. Make short research before starting a work and fit the bend to wood properties.
There are 2 approaches at recurving a bow. It can be done after tillering or before this process. Usually I’m a fan of the second path. Here are a few tips that you have to remember recurving your bow:
- Prepare source of heat, the pot, towels, jig and clamps. Make sure all is ready before starting. The bow should be roughed out and fitting the jig.
- Use steam to heat the limb before putting into jig. Steam it for 45 minutes. Keep the bow above water surface. Make sure there is enough water to provide steam for this time.
- Put the bow in the pot before it’s fully heated. It’s good for the wood to be heated slowly.
- Leave the tips wider. After recurving there might some slight corrections be needed and wider tips will let you apply them.
- Work down tips to single growth ring on the belly to avoid grain delamination.
- Keep the bent bow in the jig for at least a few hours.
Recurving a bow is often coming with string alignment and twisting issues. To correct string alignment the easiest way out is to heat the bow at the handle (with steam or heat gun) and then clamping it there to line the whole thing up. Also when recurves are twisting try to use heat gun there for minor corrections. After making several recurve bows I noticed that hollowing a recurve a bit carving string grooves makes the bow more stable and keeps the string in the right place.
Here is my video about this topic:
All the best guys!