How to make a Bow - NativeAmerican method
| ||How to make a bow - Task 1||Locating the Materials - the wood|
|The Native American would be aware of the natural resources in his area. The wood for the bow needed to be flexible, tough and hard. The best wood was obtained from ash, willow, hickory, juniper, oak, Osage orange, cedar, walnut and birch trees. |
The size of the length of wood would be about one yard
The best bows were thicker in the center which gave the bow strength and served as a good grip
| ||How to make a bow - Task 2||Locating the Materials - the bowstring|
|The bowstring was made from animal gut, sinew or rawhide. Plant fibers were also used for bowstrings including nettles, dogbane and milkweed or the inner bark of basswood or yukka.|
| ||How to make a bow - Task 3||Locating the Materials - the arrowhead|
|The Arrowhead was made of a hard stone such as Flint that was sharpened into a projectile point by the process of Flintknapping|
| ||How to make a bow - Task 4||Locating the Materials - the shafts for the arrows|
|Dry, hard, sticks of wood were selected for the arrows measuring about half the size in length of the bow|
| ||How to make a bow - Task 5||Locating the Materials - the feathers for the flight|
|Feathers were required to give arrows their 'spin' during flight and balanced the weight of the arrowhead to prevent the arrow from tumbling during flight. The feathers of the buzzard and turkey were easy to locate and to work with.|
| ||How to make a bow - Task 6||Making the Bow|
|A Hatchet Axe was used to cut away any wood not needed from the length of the stave of wood|
All the bark would be removed from the stave using a knife refer to Knife and Dagger
The stave would be thinned down to create the desired depth of the bow, following the grain of the wood.
A rough bow-shape was created sometimes using heat from a fire to assist the bended shape - the wood was selected for its flexibility.
Notches in both limb tips were cut about one inch from the tip.
| ||How to make a bow - Task 7|
Making the Bow - the grip
|The centre of the bow was the 'handle' or grip. Leather thongs were used to make a good grip when pulling the bow and shooting the arrows|
| ||How to make a bow - Task 8|
Making the Bow - the bowstring
|The bowstring was made of gut, sinew or plant fibers that were twisted to make a cord. The bowstring was attached via the notches at either end of the bow.|
| ||How to make a bow - Task 9||Making the arrows|
The arrows were then whittled to the required shape and sometimes straightened using heat from a fire. Some Native Americans used tools called arrow straighteners to help with this task
Notches were carved at either end of the arrows to accommodate the arrowhead and the arrow flight (feathers) that were attached using cord.
| ||How to make a bow - Task 10||Making the arrow flights|| ||Feathers were attached using sinew or a hide glue. The feathers gave arrows their 'spin' during flight and balanced the weight of the arrowhead to prevent the arrow from tumbling in flight|
How to make a Bow