Long bow #1: Long bow build - MaFe Hood is back in the forest…

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by mafe posted 06-18-2019 01:42 PM 2365 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Long bow series Part 2: Bow tiller - for long bow building »

Long bow build
MaFe Hood is back in the forest…

Ok, I don’t even think I would hit a sitting elephant, but at least I can put a long bow, on my list of things I build in this life. ;-)

Since I was a boy, I always wanted to build my own bow, not just a bow, but a long bow like Robin Hood. Remember dreaming I was Robin Hood, that I was shooting arrows, flying through the room and of course kissing Lady Marian.
Wake up MaFe!!!

Last year when I turned 50, I put a bow building class on my wish list and on the big day, my father came with a arrow and a gift card on a long bow class, one class was cancelled and time went on, but finally it happened.

So I packed some tools, coffe, water and headed of to the place, whish is only an hours drive away, from where I life.

At arrival, there were a introduction, to the day, we were three who were going to build bows and then they were a whole bunch, who were taking the blacksmithing class, I took some time back.

Here some of the tools our host Jonas had made.

But for me the day were, making a long bow, so I saddled the shaving horse, packed up with tools, beer, tobacco and started rough shaping the bow.

Here dear Line our teacher (wife of Jonas the blacksmith), is keeping a strict eye at the two other guys at the class.

But she was not the only one, keeping an eye, this fellow was also checking me out, once in a while.

The roughing was done with draw knifes.

Here one of the guys, who really needed a shave…

After some hours of working, it was wonderful to come inside and have pulled pork, in the company of all the other people.

One of Jonas’ display models, of how to forge a knife.

Once I had the rough shape, I continued with a sharp spokeshave, to make sure there would be no damage to the wood and finally I cut nocks (where you attach the string).
Then the bow was mounted in the tiller (the stick under it), to slowly tension it and see where, you need to take off more wood, aiming for a perfect symmetrical curve.

At this point my bow was still much to stiff.
So back on the horse.

This is how a happy bow monkey looks.
Also how you tension the string on the tiller.

Line was a wonderful teacher, teaching as little as possible and letting us look at other bows for inspiration.
Here she is discussing the curve on one of the other guys bow.
You can see that mine behind, is starting to look more right.
The one leg is still too stiff and the need to be taken more off at the ends and towards the center, before you have a fine curce.

This is Jonas, he was just checking out from time to time, he build loads of these bows.

Finding the spots.

Finally after a long day, I had a bow, as you can see on the picture, I was happy, tired and proud.

But I had to see if I could hit that elephant…

Back home, I brought my love and the kids, flowers and shavings.

Some of the flowers for tea, with lemon on honey.

Back in the shop next day, it was time to finish up the bow.
There had only been time to rough out a handle and the surface was still quite rough, especially on the back.
So first I cleaned up the back, with Japanese plane and scraper plane.

With card scrapers the handle got it’s final shape and finish.

I am happy with the surface, no sandpaper, just scrapers.
(I’m a big fan of scraper finish).

Danish oil as finish.

I also made a tiller, so I could keep working on the curve, as I made the finish. Also I plan to build a few more bows…

I think my branding mark looks fine here on the ash. ;-)

The bow in the tiller, first it need to be stringed.
You do that by standing with broad feet and then put the bow behind you, so the handle touch your ass, one end stands on your foot and then you tension it with the other hand and put on the string, like this you don’t put too much pressure on one side.

And under tension.
I’ll say it looks quite fine
Once I get time to shoot it in, I will see how it is under full tension and if the curve needs more work.

To break it in, you need to shoot 25 arrows a day, for five days, you start by half tension on day one and work your way up.
(I don’t have time or place for that now).

That’s it, I finally got to make a long bow, an old dream has come through.
Thank you to Line for being an excellent instructor and to my father for the gift.

Hope it can be to some inspiration, but please don’t shoot elephants.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

7 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

20441 posts in 4063 days

#1 posted 06-18-2019 01:58 PM

that’s on my to-do list. I made a couple many years ago. Nice job Mads.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

10513 posts in 2078 days

#2 posted 06-18-2019 01:58 PM

Nice! Do we need to start calling you Mads Bowyer? ;-)

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View lew's profile


13547 posts in 5251 days

#3 posted 06-18-2019 02:00 PM

Wonderful story MaFe Hood!

Your bow turned out beautifully! Thanks for taking us along on such an enjoyable adventure.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View pottz's profile


26585 posts in 2480 days

#4 posted 06-18-2019 02:48 PM

beautiful bow and another great adventure.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

27824 posts in 4601 days

#5 posted 06-18-2019 08:03 PM

Very nice story on the process, Mads. I like the idea of the tiller to see how it bends and compare each side to get it perfect!! Thanks, Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1392 posts in 3209 days

#6 posted 06-19-2019 09:23 AM

Looks like days spent with a joyfull crowd and a great teacher. Lovely place as well. Looking forward to see it irl!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4585 days

#7 posted 06-21-2019 11:14 AM

Hi guys,
Ty, yes that was a wonderful day, hope you can make it, if we manage to make a part two. Look forward to show you the bow.
Jim, thank you, happy you enjoyed the story.
pottz, big smile thank you.
lew, big smile here, it was such a fine day, this must be what you read. ;-)
Dave, laughs thanks.
Don, it is really worth the time. Loved every second. Thanks.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics