Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Bow of Doom

Behold the bow of Doom or Redemption, depending on perspective. This is my first successful Ash bow. My first Ash bow turned into a pile of firewood, but the hard-won lessons have been applied to my second project. It has taken a while to fashion this bow, about 3 months, due mainly to the lack of spare time for practical woodwork.

The bow is 66 inches long and has a draw weight of 30lbs, at my draw length. I was aiming for a weight of between 40-50lbs. Unfortunately, I made the bow limbs too thin and had to cut down the bow from its original length of 72 inches to its final length to gain extra poundage. This is not a mistake I intend to make with my second bow. The handle region is 10 inches and overlaid with a piece of Kwila. Kwila is a native NZ hardwood used for the construction of decking. I had a piece in my garage and decided to include it in the build. I managed to rasp down the handle to give an ergonomically functional profile. I used the same wood to reinforce the knocks.

I've backed the bow with rawhide. This material is relatively expensive to obtain from archery outlets and being a tight arse (arse) I decided to purchase a rawhide dog chew from the local pet shop. I soaked the chew in warm water for a couple of hours. Thereafter I unpicked the 'bone' and glued it to the back of the bow. The rawhide gives the bow a rustic, primitive look and helps to prevent the rise of splinters which could introduce weak spots and areas of potential failure. As far as I'm aware, the rawhide does not impart any additional poundage to the draw weight, for that I would require a backing of natural sinew or fibreglass. I finished off with a couple of applications of boiled linseed oil for protection.

The bow shoots well and appears to be reasonably well tillered. It does not sport an arrow shelf or sights- no bells, whistles or fripperies. I designed the bow to look unrefined and arrows are shot off the knuckle. Not the prettiest bow in New Zealand and way too light for my taste. I'd require at least an extra 20lbs for hunting deer or hog. This brings me neatly to my second Ash bow: I've already started the project. This bow will be of a similar pyramid design to the first. The handle, or riser, will consist of a laminate of three different kinds of wood, to achieve an aesthetic. Also, I intend to back the bow with strips of Lincoln green fibreglass. This time I'm aiming for a 50lb draw weight. This bow should be suitable for target shooting and hunting and although the overall design will not be sophisticated I'm hoping for a bow which will be pleasing to the eye.

I'll be moving to my retirement property next month. A four-bed single storey home with barn, nestling in 2.5 acres. Absolutely perfect for setting up a static archery range. The Tararua Mountains provide a majestic backdrop to my rural idyll; far from the unwashed crowds and common folk. And here I will wend out my dotage until my body is consigned to the flames and once more I will meld with the universe.


  1. And with those mountains as a backdrop, you could practise shooting an apple off your son's head - whilst Mrs Flax runs up and down the meadows warbling "The hills are alive...", etc.

    1. Bloody Sound of Muzak.....I'm hoping to be riding round the property, totally naked, on the ride on mower shooting arrows at passing proles.

  2. Passing proles? I suppose Nuzzyland does have a dearth of Frenchmen...

  3. Replies
    1. I know they were particularly nasty when they arrived a few centuries ago, but these days I thought they confined themselves to doodling on various parts of their bodies and just sticking their tongues out at you.

      I suppose it's possible I've missed something, being on the other side of the world...