Walnut English Longbow

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Project by jayman7 posted 10-09-2012 06:00 PM 23636 views 20 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made a walnut longbow with a hard maple riser block that’s 40 lbs at 28” draw, and about 68” total length. I pretty much followed this build-along exactly:

The guy who made the tutorial lives in an apartment with extremely limited tools, such as a surform rasp for all wood removal. Instead, I used a bandsaw to remove the bulk wood and a block plane to clean it up, so it’s a relatively simple project with the right tools. I did use a rasp to carve out most of the handle though.

I backed it with fiberglass drywall tape and lots of wood glue. I finished it with a couple coats of Waterlox. In addition to the woodworking aspect of the project, I also learned to tie Flemish loops and serve the string. I also had to read a lot about bows and arrows in general so it was a good learning experience. I shot quite a bit of carbon arrows in my backyard and it works really well!! The picture shows one of the first few test shots so I wasn’t that accurate, but I’ve gotten a little better.

11 comments so far

View tremblas's profile


4 posts in 3303 days

#1 posted 10-09-2012 06:53 PM

Nicely done !

View JuniorJoiner's profile


497 posts in 4688 days

#2 posted 10-09-2012 08:26 PM

I haven’t made bows for years, but one thing I know is important is grain . by looking at the belly of that bow, it would be more accurate if you had chosen a straight grain flatsawn board. That way the bow tips bend straight.
what are you using for your serving? is it a bought string or something you made?
one thing about making bows, is the fun, you always want to make more.
good work and keep at it.
best regards

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4485 days

#3 posted 10-09-2012 08:55 PM

Good looking bow! Thanks for sharing! Is this the only one, or will you make others?

-- Hal, Tennessee

View jayman7's profile


219 posts in 4753 days

#4 posted 10-09-2012 09:54 PM

I used Dacron B-50 #1/4 for the string and actual serving string from I’ll definitely try to use better grain next time, but that was the only board long enough in my shop. I’ll try my hand at making more bows for sure!

View a1Jim's profile


118263 posts in 4825 days

#5 posted 10-09-2012 11:12 PM

View Jim55's profile


211 posts in 3314 days

#6 posted 10-10-2012 04:49 AM

Nice bow! I am starting to make bows myself. Gotta admit, I haven’t heard of using walnut for bow wood before but what the heck? That fellow at Poorfolksbows is pretty inspirational. I have looked his site over a number of times. I have a hickory bow that was made on the old English longbow D profile. Frankly, I am not too happy with it. It’s stiff and none too fast. I am working on a simple oak board bow now.

I have to make a comment on your bow which I hope you don’t take as criticism. I just offer it in the spirit of helpfulness. I may just be beginning to make bows but, I have been shooting them for many years.
What I want to suggest is that you may need more relief above your arrow rest, which incidentally, is usually flat. As you have it there, I think it will play hob with your arrows fletching. The arrow will want to ride down onto the inside fletch while the raised outer part of the rest will be pushing up on the outer, the combination trying to push the top fletch into the wood above it. Look at page 9 of the poorfolkbows Red oak board bow build along to see his cut out. Frankly, his is none too generous either. One thing is curious. I was looking over his site when I saw something familiar. Here it turns out we (Sam Harper & I) are nearly neighbors! I’d say we live within a hundred miles of each other and in rural East Texas that’s pretty much calling distance.

Anyway, nice work. I’ll be posting up my red oak bow when I get it done. I just have sooo many irons in the fire right now.

View Mike's profile


409 posts in 3935 days

#7 posted 10-10-2012 05:01 AM

Nice Job!

I also made a bow following his plans at the beginning of the summer. I did have a question for the author and got a reply to my email really quickly. I made mine completely from red oak and the thing is near impossible to draw back to my rest point. I am currently working on a recurved bow similar to his plans. Happy shooting!

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View cavemancarpenter's profile


55 posts in 4960 days

#8 posted 10-10-2012 12:42 PM

Very nice job. I have been making bows for over 15 years both long bows and recurves (lately even some horsebows) and can appreciate the amount of time invested. The comment above about the sight window above the arrow shelf is spot on. Making a bigger sight window not only helps with arrow flight but with your ability to focus on the target (a good rule of thumb is to make the site window as high from the arrow shelf as the bredth of your hand, or around 4”). Walnut is actually an excallent choice for a bow. It has a smooth draw curve and a good bit of snap. One more thing you may want to modify on your next one is the arrow shelf itself. Try crowning it so it has a high spot just forward of the riser center line. This will improve your arrow flight dramatically. Once again great job!

-- SATISFACTION = a large pile of sawdust and a great finish when the job is done

View jayman7's profile


219 posts in 4753 days

#9 posted 10-10-2012 12:51 PM

Great suggestions! I guess I was too conservative while cutting out the arrow rest since I was too scared to weaken the bow, haha. I’ll make the modifications to the bow this week. Thanks everyone!

View AUBrian's profile


86 posts in 3919 days

#10 posted 10-10-2012 04:45 PM

The other option, instead of cutting into the bow for your rest, would be to put a small rest on the side of the bow (Little drilling, put in a long dowel, level and cut to preference.) That’s how mine are set up and do a great job.

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4712 days

#11 posted 10-11-2012 01:17 AM

Really cool and useful project. Some would disagree but 40 lbs is enough to hunt with if thats your pursuit! Have fun!

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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