How to make a Bow

Buffalo Hunt

Bows used during a Buffalo Hunt

Discover interesting facts and information about how to make a bow using the raw materials and techniques of the Native American Indians

  • How to make a bow
  • Materials required in the description of  ow to make a bow
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  • Interesting facts and information about ow to make a bow using the methods of the Native American Indian tribes
Bows and Arrows
Native Indian Weapons and Tools
Native Indian Tribes Index

How to make a bow
Native Americas worked with the raw materials and natural resources available to them and their task and knowledge of how to make a bow was critical to their lifestyle, both for hunting and when fighting enemies. One of the most important roles of the men was to make weapons and his skills in developing methods and techniques on how to make a bow. The Bow  provided long range, accurate weapon with the opportunity to shoot rapid shots on foot or on horseback. There were different types and sizes of bows depending on what they would be used for. A Bow shot from horseback was smaller than a bow used on foot allowing for maximum manoeuvrability. Each Native Indian would enhance his technique on how to make a bow, it was a time consuming but essential task in the daily life of a Native American.

How to make a bow
There were many stages to making a weapon and the different materials and techniques used would vary between tribes. However, every Native American knew how to make a bow. The weapons that he made almost always utilized stone in some way and wood when making a weapon. The stone arrowheads made the bow a deadly weapon. The stages and process of 'How to make a bow' is detailed in the following table. For additional information refer to Bows and Arrows.


 

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

Arrowheads
 

 
  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.

Cord
 

 
  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

Arrow Straightener

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

 

 

How to make a bow - Stone Age Culture
The Stone Age life style of Native Americans ranged from nomadic, semi-nomadic to static across the vast continent of North America and despite this many of them shared similar culture and tools and weapons and regardless of location and tribe every Native American knew how to make a bow.

 

How to make a bow

  • Pictures of Native American Indian  for kids
  • Description of How to make a bow
  • Materials required - How to make a bow stone tool
  • Making a How to make a bow - method of construction used by Native Americans
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Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
Discover the interesting facts and information which relate to the History of Native Americans and the tools and weapons they used. The pictures on this site show the weapons that were used by various Native Indian tribes that can be used as a really useful educational history resource for kids and children of all ages. We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic of this section - How to make a bow. The videos enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with information and many historical facts. A great educational resource for kids providing an unusual insight into their culture.

 

How to make a bow - Native American Indians - Weapon - Battle - Hunting - Fighting - Use - Materials - Description - Make - Making - Construction - Culture - Kids - Info - Information - Native American Weapon - Tribe - Tribes - People - Early - Children - Facts - History - Pics - Video - Native American Culture - American Indian - Indian - Native American - Life - Teaching resource - Teachers - Kids - Written By Linda Alchin