How To Make A Recurve Bow from Scratch [Step By Step Guide]

We all love archery, and it is a highly accessible sport all around the world. The primitive nature of this sport brings us all back to medieval times.

And to be honest, there are a ton of people who still enjoy target shooting and hunting with bows and arrows.

Nevertheless, as avid archers, we all, at a point, feel to make our own bow and shoot with it, and if that sounded like you! Then we have something in common.

Speaking of bows, Recurve bows are resurging in popularity due to their versatility and ability to propel arrows at a further distance.

However, making a recurve bow from scratch is easier said than done as you will need some commitment and energy as well as time.

You see, an Olympic archer has a similar incredible feeling when shooting than a fledgling with his handmade bow. The only difference here is that the rookie is prouder of his equipment than the archer as he made it himself.

So there is this great feeling that you get when you make your own recurve bow from scratch.  Plus, the proud feeling you get once you’ve accomplished the task is an add-on.

However, the caveat here is that you will need some materials, time, dedication, energy, and some vexation to deal with.

Creating a bow can be complicated, daunting, and a challenging task, but in a fun way.

And if you’re wondering how to make one yourself. Try not to stress.

You happen to be in just the right place as we have given everything you need to know to build a bow from scratch. Our guide will provide you with the required headstart.

A recurve bow comprises a riser or handler, limbs, string, and arrow rest.

So without wasting more time, let’s get into it, shall we?

What is a Recurve Bow?

Recurve Bow

Before we get into the semantics of making a bow from scratch, let’s understand what a recurve bow is.

A recurve bow is a simpler version of a traditional compound bow. Since the bow curves away from the shooter while holding it, it is named “Recurve bow.”

Due to this unique design, the bow can propel the arrow with more strength and energy than you can typically do with a compound bow.

As a result, the arrow goes farther. With this bow’s help, you can reduce the bow’s overall length yet shoot the arrow with the same energy and power.

What’s the Prime Stuff that You will Need To make the Bow from Scratch?

Archery is a satisfying sport, but you will still need some crucial materials to make the bow.

Since recurve bows are famous for versatility, you will need some very basic materials and tools to make one.

That said, we will require some patience, a tiny bit of time, and proclivity to do some hard work from your end.

Rest assured, you can easily make one, so here is the list of tools and materials you will need.

Tools that You will Need To create a Recurve Bow

  • A long knife, flat knife, or cylindrical knife
  • Axe or Hatchet and a vice grip
  • A Saw
  • Screw Clamps (Recommended large ones)
  • Draw Knife
  • A-frame to shape the Bow/ Bow shaping frame
  • A Pencil and Ruler or Measure Tape
  • A Rasp and Sandpaper
  • Tillering Stick
  • A file

Materials that You will Need to Make the Recurve Bow

  • Wood like lemonwood, yew, oak, black locust, hickory, ash, osage orange, or maple. Make sure you are avoiding bamboo, birch, and similar woods as they don’t work.
  • A string such as a parachute cord or nylon string. You can take any string given that it is thick enough.
  • Wood laminate and Bow stave.
  • A 2 by four wooden board.
  • Wax or oil for finishing.

Where Can You Get These Materials?

Now that you know what materials and tools you’ll need, you can easily find these materials at your local hardware shops or home improvement store.

Don’t worry, you will get these materials at an affordable rate, and you can easily make your recurve bow without the need of splurging a ton of money.

Out of all the materials, you will find it challenging to gather wood, and it depends on which part of the globe you are residing in.

If possible, you can visit a wood mill shop to gather the necessary wood.

Besides that, you can still go to the forest and chop down a tree, but that is necessarily not the case, and a feasible option as you can get in trouble if cutting trees is illegal in your area.

Rest assured, all the other materials are easily accessible.

How to Make a Recurve Bow Step By Step Guide

How to Make a Recurve Bow Step By Step Guide

Now that you are ready with all the necessary materials and tools, it’s time to start making your recurve bow.

However, remember that the bow is your personal weapon or equipment, and thus you can construct it according to your body’s size and length. For this, you will need to be closely intimate with your arm’s length, draw size, and the size of the bow.

For instance, if you have long arms, you’d need the bow’s limbs to be longer so that you can fully draw the bow and easily move it.

So do keep that in mind; that said, let’s get on with the construction part.

Choose the Correct Wood and Make it Your Bow Stave

As we have mentioned the woods above, you can start with any one of them.

Just make sure that you are starting with a straight sapling or branch without knots, twits, and side branches.

Also, ensure that the tree or branch is 6 feet or 2m long and 2 inches or 5 cm in diameter. In addition to this, it should be dry and not have any sign of rotting.

Next, meticulously cut the tree, forestalling any crack in the wood and simultaneously not harm your hand.

Cut the tree to 1.6 m and then split it into quarters.

Make sure that you are applying glue to the edges to prevent any cracking. You can leave the wood dry for about one month.

If you don’t want to go through this hard work, you can buy yourself a premade stave. However, ensure that your stave has the same length you wish for the bow.

Now you have your bow stave ready. This bow stave will be used to shape your bow, so ensure that it is malleable, durable, and flexible.

Figure out the Belly and Back of your Stave

The next part is to find out the belly and back of your stave. You can do this by keeping the stave stand upright on the ground and holding it loosely with one hand.

Now, slightly push the bow downwards till the middle part of your bow get outward. During the process, it might swivel to show you which side is more naturally bendable or curved.

The curved outside bend you’ll get is called “Back,” and the inside one is called the “Belly.”

Ensure that you are not holding the back or touching it cause it is prone to damage and may lead to the bow breaking.

Now, mark 3 inches or 7.5 cm from the center out in both directions with the pencil. This will be your handhold area which is in the middle of the bow.

Once you get your handhold area, the above portion is the upper limbs, and the area below the handhold area is your lower limb.

Give the Necessary Shape to Your Bow

With the help of a drawknife, file, and rasp, shape your bow with the design that suits you the best.

However, make sure that you shape the bow in the correct dimensions, specifically ½ inches thick limbs and ½ inches wide on both ends.

In addition to this, ensure that your grip area is at least one inch thick and ⅝ inches wide. Also, keep the limbs equal.

Observe how your limbs are bending, and then carefully use a knife to cut the belly’s stiff part.

Ensure that you are cutting only the belly side to get the limbs in an even curve.

Arrow Rest/Notch and String

As for this part, you’ll be carving small notches on the tip; make sure that you are not cutting in the back of the bow.

Cut deep enough so the bowstring can snugly fit in. Now use your string to tie the loops; you’d want to have at least 5 to 6 inches of space between the handhold area and your string.

Once you’ve tied it, don’t draw the bow at full length, it might break it.


Now, hand your bow horizontally on a branch of a tree and pull the string downwards. Make sure that you are gentle while doing so.

You’d want to observe that your limbs should bend symmetrically and evenly. This shaping process is called “Tillering.”

If the bending is not even, shape, crave, or scrap the belly till you get both the limbs bend equally.

Repeat gently, pulling down the string a little further each time till you get both the limbs flexible and evenly bendable.

Once you get it evenly, the process is finished. Your draw weight should be according to your desired pressure.

In case you don’t know what draw weight is, it is simply the pressure your bow requires to pull the string back for a full draw. Generally, you’ll need an 11 to 16 kg draw for hunting small games or things.

Otherwise, for large animals, 18 to 27 kg draw weight will work wonders.


Felicitations, you’ve completed all the complex parts of creating the bow; you can now use this bow right in action. However, before doing so, we would suggest applying wax or oil to prevent overdrying and keep the bow shining.

Many individuals use tung oil, linseed, or animal fat. Make sure that you are frequently oiling and shooting the bow to ensure a better lifespan.

Now, your quick bow is ready for use, but it will not shoot as great as a fine bow and might break after prolonged use.

But that’s a story for another day, toast yourself eggnog for this hard work and do some hunting. You can also use this bow for showcase in your house, but make sure to oil it frequently.

Messed Up?

Be that as it may, it is natural to mess things up along the way. And if your bow is not working, you can always return to our guide to make it from scratch..

It’s okay to mess up, as not every DIY project is going to be easy and simple.

To Conclude

Now that you have made your recurve bow unleash your hunter spirit. If you have not been able to build it, try not to stress, remember patience is the essential quality of a hunter, and it is definitely required to create a bow from scratch.

That’s it for this guide, folks. If you managed to pull that out, congrats, and if not, keep trying. If you enjoyed this article, make sure to share them with your friends who are interested in hunting and have a lot of leisure time in their hands.

With that said, if you have any problems or concerns, shoot them in the comment section; come on, it should not be that hard — you’re a HUNTER XD.