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How To Make An English Longbow – 6 Steps Guide

Making an English longbow does not require in-depth DIY knowledge. Instead, what you will need is some inspiration and proper steps that will guide you through the process of making a handmade English longbow.

In other words, anyone with the right tools and materials available is capable of making an English longbow.

But what tools will you need? Also, what steps do you need to follow? Well, you came to the right place to know all of that! All you need to do now is just continue reading!

When it comes to make a traditional English longbow, there is really no need for you to go through tons of intricate steps. In fact, you do not have to go through any complex steps at all! Take a look at the simple ones -

Step 1: Get the Right Materials and Tools

Before you start getting into the other steps of how to make an English longbow, you need to keep these ready - 

  • Angle Grinder
  • Sandpaper
  • Sanding attachment for the angle grinder
  • Hand file
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Twine for the string of the bow
  • Two pieces of wood that are 6 to 7 feet in length

But what were the English longbows made of? Well, they were from English yew tree. Making yew longbow might not be possible for you at the moment as these trees are not available everywhere. So, we are not going to focus on how to make a yew longbow.

Instead of making a yew longbow, this guide will rely on a pine tree and red oak tree wood. Now, while choosing the red oak wood to make an English longbow, make sure it is 2×1/4 inches.

For pine, 2×1-inch wood will be more than enough. Why a different dimension for the pine wood?

Well, the belly of the pine bow will handle the compression much better than the red oak wood. And pine is a less dense wood than red oak.

So, double-check the dimensions if you do not want to do much of a carving in the other steps of this how to make English low bow guide.

Step 2: Initial Cutting and Gluing

You will need to glue the pine wood piece to the red oak at this stage. The pine wood will be a little hard to work with among these two.

It will be a little rough, which is why you need to sand it a little. Otherwise, the wood pieces will not stick together.

After sanding, lather the glue on the surface and clamp both the pieces together. If you do not have any clamp with you, you can rely on a Gorilla tape. That will help keep both pieces together and let the glue dry properly.

When the glue dries up, you will need to do some cutting. If the wood pieces are around 7 feet, you would want to cut both of them. Cut them to around 6 feet 4 inches. However, if the pieces are 6 feet, there is no need for any cutting.

Step 3: Grinding

On the stave, you will need to first mark out the general shape of the bow. This marking will be on the red oak side.

You would want the bow to be about ¾ inches wide right around the tips and 1-1/2 inches wide near the handle. After marking the shape out, grind through those lines using the angle grinder.

If you do not have an angle grinder, you can rely on a table saw or bandsaw for this step.

However, the angler grinder would be the ideal tool for grinding the wood pieces. It is exceptionally fast at grinding these types of wood, and you will end up with better results.

Step 4: Tillering

By far, this is the most important step in the process of making an English longbow at home. It will take most of your time, and you will need to concentrate a lot. Ready?

So, you will need to use the angle grinder and sandpaper for this step. First, grind down the limbs up until the point they flex evenly.

The best way to test out the flex would be to hold one end of the bow by your feet and push the other end with one of your hands. Be a little gentle during the process because the bend needs to be on the natural curve of the wood.

If you find that some area of the wood is not flexing naturally, you will need to grind the specific spot properly.

That will lower the density and stiffness of the area and allow it to flex normally. Use sandpaper to get a proper finish.

Step 5: Add the Nocks

Mark a spot on both limbs. These spots will be about one or two inches away from the tips. And they should be angled towards the belly or towards the side that the bow faces when you draw the string.

Step 6: Work with the String

There are many options for choosing the string material in this process to make English longbow. However, if you want a fast and easy option, twine braided string material would be the right choice.

Ensure that you are using multiple strands of the string material. Otherwise, the string will not be strong enough.

Make loops on the string and attach them to the nocks that you have just made in the previous step. And with that, you will be all done.

Check whether the bow shoots properly or not by test-firing it. Make any adjustments to the string if you have to.

Final Words

It does not take a DIY hero to make an English longbow at home. You just need to work with suitable materials and follow the appropriate guideline properly.

So, what are you waiting for? Follow the steps we have gone through and get yourself the best homemade longbow ever!

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