VIDEO: Making A Primitive Bow

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Video - Making A Primitive BowVIDEO: Making A Primitive Bow
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This really informative video by Primitive Pathways is the first in a series of four that will set you up to make your very own primitive bow, starting with how to choose the right wood and begin to shape it. The presenter, Billy, gives such a detailed, clear presentation and his enthusiasm is contagious – watching him you feel like you’re learning something you’ve always wanted to know!

I can remember making a basic bow from a branch and string when I was a kid – it was a lot of fun but more often than not my efforts resulted in something that didn’t last very long. If you follow the lessons in this video you’re sure to end up with a bow to be proud of and that could last many years. Archery is a great skill to learn, it will teach you patience and could prove very useful if you end up in a survival situation.

The bow is made from a piece of wood that combines heartwood on the inside and sapwood on the outside – the reason for this is simple if you consider how a tree moves with the forces of a strong wind. The heartwood can withstand compression and the sapwood is good at taking a force of extension.

Related: Building A Primitive Oven From Scratch

The earliest archery artefacts date back around 10,000 years in Europe and bows can be seen in rock paintings from around 50,000 years in North America so it’s not surprising that many of us feel that making a bow is such a natural thing to do – we’re simply picking up where our ancestors left off!

In medieval times, before guns were in use, the longbow was the weapon of choice for its speed, accuracy and power – in England and Wales many men were trained in its use as they grew up during this time. At its height, the longbow was a truly fearsome weapon. It’s terrifying to imagine what it must have been like facing the “storm” of arrows shot by thousands of archers, with the average archer able to shoot an arrow every ten seconds. Not many people know that the cutting of yew trees for longbows in the late medieval period was so extensive that most of the yew forests of Northern Europe were virtually stripped entirely of yew trees – it was an environmental disaster that has been forgotten.

Although it is remembered mostly for its effectiveness in battle, the longbow was also used for hunting and many tribal peoples still use bows to hunt because they are light to carry and quick to use. Making a good quality bow, like this video shows, is very different from putting together a makeshift one in a real survival setting but learning to work with natural materials in any way can give you great satisfaction – the manual skills you practice will stay with you and be useful for all kinds of other things too!

Further Tips:

If you want to learn more and see a variety of bow-making techniques based on native technology, please try this:

Or for a simpler, survival bow:

Okay, here is the video:

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