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Discussion Starter #1
My oldest son has picked up deer hunting the past couple of years, and I've given some thought to making a compound bow for him that's suitable for hunting. Have any of you made one, know someone who's made one, have plans, ideas, or general comments about it? I don't hunt, and have never used one, so I have no idea what the critical details might be. I do plan to check with a friend who's a serious hunter....

TIA for any info....
 

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I think the issue you'll have is most compound bow limbs today are built of incredibly strong synthetics. I doubt wood limbs would even come close in performance.

I like the idea....just am unsure of its practicality.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good point. I was thinking about making only the main body from wood, then buying or making the limbs out of more modern materials.
 

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I could see that working potentially. The strength at the limb mounting points Is going to be your big challenge. Most of those risers today are aluminum...compound bows create an incredible amount of force...
 

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So just a thought. Most of us that are bow hunters upgrade every few years as technology changes and bows get lighter and stronger. What about building your son a kick ass bow case that he can use even when he does upgrade his bow?
 

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To be honest, when you look at the compound bows made today, I can't even fathom building the riser (the handle). The engineering that goes into the cam design, resistance of the limbs, and the other factors in their construction it strikes me as more than a hobbyist project. The earliest ones (back in the late 60') had a lot of stuff that looked more like a hobbyist could do it with wooden risers, cams that would hang on the limbs with brackets, etc. but they weren't near the caliber of today's bows. Ryan's thoughts about building accessories makes sense; bow racks, storage boxes, arrow racks, etc. Even building a conventional bow takes considerable care...though it is at least doable. I serioulsy doubt a serviceable compound bow would be. (just my opinion, a bow hunter but not a bow builder).
 
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It could be doable

Browning used to make a compound bow with a wooden riser so it can be done.

http://www.emeryloiselle.com/2008_photos/bill-stewart-special-4.jpg

New bows are very fast and the risers are very different from the early days of modern bows. As far as hunting goes tens of thousands of deer have been taken with bows that only pull 40lb to 50lb draw weight. Here in Minnesota 40 pounds is the minimum.

So if you son is good with a slow feet per second, fsp, bow then it could be done. I would venture down the route of purchasing everything but the riser which you would make.

There are many kits and plans to make a recurve bow if that interests your son. Takes bow hunting to another level.

Good luck and have fun.
 

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I've never made a compound bow, but I do shoot one. The one I have uses parallel limb technology (which just means the limbs are essentially parallel to each other to reduce felt shock). The limbs move about 1/8" in total going from knocking the arrow to full draw. The vast majority of the work is done by the two cams, not the limbs bending. About 2" into the draw, the draw weight is up to about 65 pounds and it peaks around 72 pounds. It has about an 85% let-off so it's extremely easy to hold at full draw for a long time waiting on the perfect shot. I can't even imagine the amount of stress in those limbs and cams. I'm 99% certain that the same kind of bow made of any wood product would fall apart on use. The last thing I'd want to do is find out that your son spent 2 weeks in the hospital trying to remove a million splinters from his arm from when the bow failed.

Long ago, back in the stone age when I was in high school, I had a different bow. It was a Browning Accelerator I think. It had wheels, not cams. Most of the work with this bow was done by the limbs bending, not the cams. It was one of the early "high let-off" bows with an amazing 60% let-off. If I remember correctly, it was wooden. I was good enough with that bow to hit the vital zone of a white tail deer at 60 yards so there's nothing wrong with a wooden bow. The limbs were nowhere near parallel so it had a nasty jump forward when you'd shoot it. A compound bow like that certainly can be made of wood and it can be just as accurate as the new modern compounds. It won't be as comfortable to shoot when compared to a modern bow though. I also don't know what materials or construction methods would be required for building such a bow, but I know it's possible.
 

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Personally, I'd laminate the whole thing, risers and limbs, with alternating layers of wood, fiberglass, and kevlar or carbon fiber. For the fabrics, I'd bias the layers against each other (45 or 90 degree angles between layers). I think it's completely doable as a hobbyist, though I'd probably reach back a bit to maybe some mid-80s or early 90s bow designs as reference, rather than modern bows.

A good longbow has just as much pull strength as a many modern compound bows, it just releases that strength differently.
 

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serious technology here

This may sound flippant, but I would purchase a good brand name bow and just replace the riser with one of your own making. Use the arms, cams, string, everything else and it will still have a personal look and feel for your son. It may lead to making the entire one, but for now it's a start. :yes:
 
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Discussion Starter #14
I don't think your idea sounds flippant at all Bill....worth some consideration. Great website jpr. Thanks to everyone for the ideas.
 

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I think it sounds cool, but I'd hate for you to spend a ton of time on it only for it to not perform like modern high tech bows, or worse, someone to get hurt.
 

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knotscott

If you go to some of these rein fairs or medieval historic recreation events. There are Bowers there, from time to time that use all period materials to make their bows. I bought a long bow from a Canadian called UMI and it was a piece of art. He was working on a mongol bow which is a recurve of compounded layers for strength in a bow.

Floyd
 

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Let me just echo what others have said concerning the force that is present at the limb pockets. If you have ever seen a compound bow blow up you don't want to take any chances.

My brother used to work for High Country Archery he started out sanding limbs (fiberglass) and ended up being the assistant to the engineer. It was basically his job to shoot a bow and test its durability. This was in the 90's during the days of the first one cam bows. They were chasing Matthews success with a solo cam. He brought home a "promising prospect" to shoot because they were needing more shots on it than they could put in during the working day. After several days of shooting that thing, it came apart. It gave me a profound amount of respect for the amount of force in the limbs and the riser. The riser was a high grade aluminum. It looked like someone tore a drink can apart. The nearly 3/8ths inch thick fiberglass limbs were nothing more that threads and resin dust. Thankfully it came apart on a release rather than a draw so we didn't get hurt. He was shooting, I was standing right beside him watching certain things for him.

So my advice if you want to build a bow make a recurve or long bow. Leave the compound stuff to the machinist.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yeah....I agree. Don't want to hurt someone, don't want to waste my time and money. This project is just sort of an impulse that I thought might be cool, but it's a ways off if I even do it, so I've got plenty of time to research. A friend of mine is a pretty serious hunter, and I"m sure he'll have more than one bow for me to look at, as well as some insights. I've also got a neighbor who teaches archery, so I'll definitely be in touch with him. Thanks for the input everyone. I've got some decisions ahead.
 

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Modern compounds start at around 500 bucks and go upwards of 1500. If you want to take one apart for parts, Id definately suggest used. Then again, Im with Ryan. Theres a safety factor involved. These bows have a ton of power in the limbs and if they come apart, bad things can happen.

That said, it takes 42 pounds of kinetic energy to pass an arrow through a deer with a properly placed shot. That means you dont need a ton of power. Many other factors play into that as well but....most modern bows are built for speed. The faster they are, the less forgiving they are to shooting mistakes.

Have you considered a recurve? I dunno that I would ever get into traditional archery hunting as I like my sights and my release and all my other gadgets but I would love to have a custom recurve to play around with at the range and 3D shoots. If your son is interested in archery, maybe he would like to dabble in traditional archery as well.:thumbsup:
 

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BassBlaster said:
most modern bows are built for speed. The faster they are, the less forgiving they are to shooting mistakes.:
I would say the opposite is true. The faster a bow is the flatter it's trajectory will be (all else remaining the same). This is important because a huge part of archery is being able to estimate distance. A faster flatter trajectory means you get a larger margin of error on your range estimation. Also the faster a bow is the less time it spends on contact with the string and rest which means less human interaction with the arrow after the release.


I agree with the safety issue brought up I also think if I was an adolescent and was going to be shooting with friends I might not think my homemade compound bow was as cool as my dad thought it was.

Long bow or recurve is a completely different thing though. That would be cool.
 
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