If you’ve ever wanted to build a bow, but can’t afford to spend the time crafting a carved bow, you may appreciate this great tutorial video on how to build a bundle bow.
Bow building can be a bit daunting for a novice bowyer. Not only is there the art of tillering your bow, learning to shape the bow, and crafting a work of art, but the fact you need to let your wood season for months can be a deterrent in itself. Bow building is one of those things you sort of have to go all-in on. One alternative for someone just starting out, is to build a bundle bow.
Bundle bows are much simpler to construct than carved bows. With a carved bow you are using the strength of one piece of wood to store energy. That one piece of wood is generally large and you have to remove material to allow it to bend. With a bundle bow you work from the opposite end of the spectrum. Bundle bows use many small pieces of wood lashed together. By lashing small pieces of wood together you combine their strength to create a bow capable of storing adequate energy. These bows don’t require nearly the same skill or craftsmanship as a carved bow, and can still be effective.
If you are interested in bushcraft, archery, survival, or just like learning, you may benefit from learning how to build a bundle bow. Although it is a pretty straightforward process, there are a few tricks along the way. Fortunately Doug Hill from Gone Feral has put out a video tutorial demonstrating the building process. Doug has earned a solid reputation as an instructor in primitive skills and has dedicated himself to preserving knowledge of the past. If you have some time, you might benefit from his video.
The video is around 30 minutes long. If you don’t have the time to watch the entire tutorial, you can use the cheat sheet compiled below to skip to sections of interest.
Bundle Bow #1 @ 1:35
Doug demonstrates how to build a bundle bow using 3 pieces of wood all the same lengths. In this portion he uses common willow to construct an adequate bundle bow.
Bundle Bow #2 @ 10:35
Another willow bow. This portion of the video shows how to build a heavier drawing bow. Estimated draw weight of this bow is 35 pounds.
Bundle Bow #3 @ 17:49
“Raft” style. This style takes a little more effort, but produces what appears to be a nice bow. Estimated draw weight is above 40 pounds.
As you can tell from the video, learning how to build a bundle bow isn’t something that takes years to master. Odds are you can find adequate materials at a local hardware store, or have acceptable shrubs growing nearby. These bows may not have the top-end performance that a carved bow has, but as you can tell they could be serviceable hunting tools for small to mid-size game. They might be a great option for a new bowyer looking to craft their first bow. After that you may take the dive and begin learning the art of bow carving.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on bundle bows and bow building in general. Please comment in the space below.
Also, thanks for taking the time to read this article and watch this video on how to build a bundle bow.If you like the content, I’d encourage you to follow the blog by subscribing at the bottom of the page. You may also enjoy this article I wrote on another easily made projectile; The $5 Atlatl.
Follow the author through his Facebook page.