The bowyers classroom





Hello archery enthusiasts.  Maybe you have been an archer for a while and have found yourself wanting to build your own bow.  Or maybe you are interested in archery but the price tag to get started is more than you would like.  Either way you will find some useful knowledge in my videos posted here.


My reason for learning how to make my own bows started because I can not afford the price for new shiny bows hanging on the rack in department stores.  I started out making what people refer to as the red oak board bow.  After that I was hooked.  There is really nothing like shooting a proper home made bow for the first time.  What a feeling of achievement.  I have made plenty of bows since that first one and continue to smile every single time I shoot a bow for the first time.  I plan to share most of what I know.  Not all, but most.  My preferred way of sharing this knowledge is in video form.  I love to respond to comments on my videos as well.  So feel free to post comments on my videos in the youtube channel.  Many are answered in the same day.


The first bow I will share with you is the red oak board bow, or the hardware store bow as some people call it.  I have a complete video series that will take you from start to finish.  I feel this bow is a great start to making bows as it is the easiest to get the material and requires minimal tools.  Another plus is that you can make one of these bows to have a significant draw weight.  I have tillered bows to the mid 50#’s .   It is also a great introduction to basic concepts in building bows.  I often refer to it as the gateway bow.  If you decide to take up this hobby you will understand what I am talking about real quick.  Lets get started.

Please check out the 5th edition on how to make a red oak longbow.

Click here for the red oak board bow build along

You will also need to make a bow string with timber hitch for the tillering process.  Follow this next link to learn how to make one.

Click here for the tillering string tutorial

When you are all done with the bow you will want to make your own custom bow string. Check this next link out for that.

Click here for the flemish twist bow string tutorial


19 comments on “The bowyers classroom”

  1. Jason Casanova Reply

    Hello and thank you for the video series. I made my first Redoak Longbow with Fiberglass backing. After around 150 arrows my fiberglass delaminated on the lower limb. I attempted to glue it back down and then wrapped the limbs in leather. It lasted about another 25 arrows and then the limb broke completely through.

    Do you have any advise for getting the fiberglass layers to bond better? Is it ok to wrap in leather or did I add undue stress? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Jason C.

    • Admin Reply

      Hello Jason C. Did you use fiberglass cloth with a resin, or fiberglass strip laminations strip? In my red oak bow with fiberglass backing I use cloth and G’flex resin. It is a flexible resin that bends with the wood. I have not had any delaminate with this method. In fact I have not had any breaks. The only time I have had problems is when I tried using a 30 min epoxy instead of G-flex. For fiberglass to delaminate it sounds like you used a fiberglass lamination strip. I have only used this with fiberglass recurve bows but I do not see why it would not work as long as you use the correct resin and remember to scuff up both the fiberglass and the wood to be bonded before gluing. Acetone should also be used to remove any oils that can cause slippage. Then an even clamp should be put on and the instructions should be followed on the resin container for curing. This resin should also be a flexible resin. Smooth on, g-flex, and bow grip 100 are some examples. Let me know if you have any further questions and I will see if I can help.

  2. benlovjax Reply

    building one of your Red Oak Long Bows for my Grandson and have one question, I plan on doing a stain on the wood and then a sealer. Should I apply the stain before the fiberglass or after?

    Thanks for your help. I enjoy your videos

    • Admin Reply

      Good question. I generally do not use a stain on the back of the bow. I fiberglass it then paint it. If you want to stain the rest of the bow, I would wait until the fiberglass is put on. My fear with putting a stain on the back before fiber glassing is that it may affect the glue joint and cause a break.

  3. John apperti Reply

    Hi go geronimo, I was just watched you videos on YouTube on how to make your own red wood long bow. I was thinking of making my bow. I think I could Handel some of it but I don’t have some of the tools and saws as u do…. and I know I can’t make it look as good as yours do. Your bow in the video looked amazing! So I was wondering, have you ever made bows for other people or is it something you just do in your free time? You you be willing to make a bow for someone?

    • Admin Reply

      I tell you what Mr Apperti, this bow can be made with even less than I use on the video. You can take a piece of red oak 72″ by 1/2″ by 1 1/2″ and take it down to size with a 4 way rasp if you have the motivation to do so. Don’t get discouraged, because the worst thing you can do if you want to learn something is to not even give it a go. If you would like to make your own bow and you have the perseverance you can make one. It is much more satisfying to shoot one you made. That being said, I do make bows for people and am free’d up currently so if you want I can make one. Let me know what you have in mind. I have a new Etsy account and already have a bow up for listing. Here is a link to that one Bow on etsy. If you decide to make one I can answer any questions directly on the youtube channel. I answer those comments much faster (sometime within a few hours). If you want me to make you one I can put a private listing up when its done for you.

  4. Steven Reply

    Hello. I followed your instructions with a different piece of wood. I used Hickory. I finished with about 45 to 50
    pound draw. I was wanting around 80lb. Is it possible to add fiberglass to the glass that is already there. How much would be needed
    to get me up to 80lb.

    Thank you

    • Admin Reply

      Thats awesome that you made one with hickory. I only wish I had that wood at our local lumber yards. I think that 45 to 50 pounds is a great weight for a first bow. It is possible to add fiberglass to the back and it would increase the strength somewhat, but I doubt you would get it to 80#. If you are going to attempt this, it is very important to use a flexible epoxy. If you do not it will most likely crack over time. I am skeptical about this plan though. I would look into laminating a thin piece of Ipe and backing the Ipe with another strip of hickory to get the strength up on your next attempt. I made an English longbow replica this way with good results.

  5. Jerry Pendergrass Reply

    Where can I buy the flexible epoxy glue or a sub. for it Lows and home depot doesn’t have it.

    • Admin Reply

      Lows and Home Depot do not carry it. You would get this at West Marine. A sub would be bow grip 100. This can only be purchased online.

  6. Chad Reply

    My brother and I have been following your bow tutorials from the start. He has successfully completed his bow and it is working excellent; however, as I am nearing the completion of my own bow, he (my brother) misinformed me that I must shape the handle and arrow rest prior to tillering the bow.

    Is this going to be a major issue and if so, what should be done?


    • Jason Hensley Reply

      I tilreed my bow then shaped my handle and it worked fine its just easier in that order the bow will be fine regardless of the order it’s do in. It doesn’t bend through the handle like a war bow it will be fine.

      • Admin Reply

        Thanks man. I also answered on my youtube channel where he left the same question.

  7. cody Reply

    Hello, I have been working on making athe red oak bow and have had no issues until the end. I have made my string and served both ends, but no matter how much shorter I make the the string I can never get the right brace height. The string is always touching my handle. I started with it about two inches short and went past three almost to four inches.

    • Admin Reply

      It can be difficult to get the string right the first time. I would suggest if you have more b-50 Dacron or other bow string to try again. If not, I would suggest you make a timber hitch and just keep using it. The timber hitch is adjustable and since you seem to have too long of a bow string, This should work well for you.

  8. Chad Yost Reply

    My 12 yr old son was building a bow from your tutorials. He was in the tillering process and his older brother was trying it out and it broke. Does that mean a sure enough weak point or not enough training the wood on the tillering tree? Another question for the 2nd one is, is there a way to cut the draw weight down for a boy? Maybe start out with a 11/16″ or 5/8″ thick board instead of 3/4″?

    • Admin Reply

      Hello. I am sorry it took so long to respond. I reply to my youtube comments much faster (usually within the day) if you still have questions. I will answer this question as if it were just asked. It is hard to say why the limb broke. If it was not fully tillered it probably did have a week point such as stiff area causing a week point at the edge of the stiff area or an all together week point. The bow should be tillered all the way to the draw length before pulling it back all the way. I don’t “train my bows because the tillering process is the training in my mind. The amount of times I pull the bow down while tillering has the bow where it needs to be to use it in my opinion. I have posted some dimensions in another post that I used once to drop the weight for a smaller person. You might be able to find it, or I might remember to add it. I don’t have the time right now. I believe I took in the width to 1.25″ or 1.0” and dropped the limbs to a guestimated scale. Depending on the amount of weight you want to drop, you can also look for wood with smaller growth rings as they will be weaker and more bendable than thick late growth ringed wood. Too thin of growth rings are not good though because they are brittle.

  9. James Cargile Reply

    Hey man Im doing a red oak bow after seeing your videos and so far its looking pretty good for my first one. I still have alot to do to get it finished. Its 60 inches long with a 7 inch handle. So my question is how much do I need to take it down inorder to get by without backing the bow and will it hurt it to go down to 5/8 inch off the taper then down to 3/8 inch. If I end up having to back it then ok but if I can get away without it I would like to. Maybe tiller it in where it will bend and have a somewhat lighter draw weight of 40-45#.

    • Admin Reply

      Hello. I am sorry I took so long to respond. I answer my youtube comments much faster. Usually within the day. If you have further questions you might try that avenue. By now I imagine you have found out how your bow would come out trying what you mentioned in your message. I will answer you as if you were still working on it. you can go to 5/8 if you want but you might notice you have to take more out at the tip. Too much wood removal in this area might not be a good thing. Red oak bows can be made without backing but I would not recommend it. I Just dont trust red oak without a good backing. Its hard to find a piece without flaws, and I believe it would take either experience or luck to make it work. Even then I don’t think it would have a long life. 40-45 # draw weights are doable. Good luck with your bow.

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