Primitive Bow Making Intensive, Lodge-Based

Course Info
· Lodge-Based
· Length: 5 days
· Max. Size: 4
· Tuition: $800 + Stave

Build Your Own Primitive Bow Using Hand Tools

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We’ve been making bows since the 1990’s on the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester using simple hand tools, with great results. Based on this experience we offer a stand alone bow-making course for those interested in making their own self bow with hand tools. We take a maximum of four people at a time.

We have developed a teaching method on bow making around building three separate bows: the two-minute bow, the two-hour bow and the two-day bow. As you progress through the different bows, the principles of crafting a bow are learned. The two-minute and two-hour bows are built in the field. The two-day bow is made in our workshop.

The tool kit we use for building bows is the same as the one used on the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester: draw knife, farrier’s rasp, cabinet scraper, knife and axe.

Using a traditional shave horse, the back of the bow is exposed and the sides and belly taken down to a manageable thickness. The outline of the bow is penciled onto the stave, then the excess wood is removed. Tillering is where a piece of wood becomes a bow, and students complete the tillering process under the watchful eye of the instructor, checking draw weights as they go.

Upon finishing the tillering process, each participant will make a bow string and we’ll discuss various methods of sealing and finishing the new bows.

The focus of the workshop is on the process, not the product. Participants take home their finished bow, but more importantly they bring with them the knowledge of how to find and harvest good bow staves, how to choose,use, and sharpen hand tools, how to make a simple and inexpensive tillering system and how to make bows out of a variety of materials. Using the knowledge and experience gained in this course, participants will be able to make many more bows of various styles.

The course usually takes four days, but sometimes it takes more or less time.

Included in Tuition – Instruction, lodging, use of hand tools
Not Included in Tuition – Cured bow staves, meals. We can arrange to have bow staves for students, or they can be acquired separately. There are numerous restaurants, two grocery stores and a health food store in town, 3 miles away.

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