While you can make your own bow from wood, you can fashion a functional bow from a length of polyvinyl chloride pipe in a fraction of the time. Whether you want to shoot targets or hunt game, you can customize your PVC bow in innumerable ways to suit your desired purpose. Because PVC is rather inexpensive, and requires few additional materials, you can experiment extensively with different designs without breaking the bank.
Things You'll Need
- Tape measure
- Permanent marker
- 3/4-inch PVC pipe
- Medium-grit sandpaper
- Cordless drill
- Drill bits
- 6d nail
- Duct tape
- Parachute cord
Measure, mark and cut a 5-foot-long section of 3/4-inch PVC pipe with the tape measure, marker and hacksaw.
Cut a large, deep slot in each end of the bow. The slots should pass through the pipe from left to right, rather than front to back. Use the sandpaper to smooth the ends and newly formed slots.
Measure and mark the middle of the bow to establish where you should place the arrow rest. Use the cordless drill and drill bits to make a hole through both sides of the PVC pipe, from left to right. Insert the nail into the pipe, leaving about 1/2 inch exposed to form your arrow rest. Using the pliers, grip the pointed tip of the nail, which should emerge from the side opposite the arrow rest, and bend it down flat against the pipe to keep it in place. Wrap several layers of duct tape around the PVC and bent nail tip to protect your hands.
Measure and cut about 6 feet of parachute cord using the measuring tape and scissors. Tie a loop in each end of the cord, and insert one loop into one of the bow’s slots. Gently bend the bow and insert the second loop into the slot at the opposite end of the bow -- if the length of the cord is correct, the tension will keep the PVC bent. You may need to adjust the length of your parachute cord several times so that it is long enough to reach both ends, yet short enough to pull the bow into an arched shape.
Locate the center of the string using the measuring tape, which will form the nocking point, and mark the area with the permanent marker.
Tips & Warnings
- To increase the draw weight of your bow, tape two 5-foot-long, 1/4-inch-thick fiberglass rods together. After cutting the PVC pipe to length, insert the rods into the pipe. Create a notch in each end of the bow, as before, but when attaching the string, tie each end to the fiberglass rods, rather than the PVC pipe.
- You can make the ends of the bow more resilient by inserting a 2-inch-long section of 1/2-inch-diameter PVC pipe into each end of the bow before making the notches. Use a rubber mallet to pound the smaller pipe gently, forcing it inside the larger pipe until the edges are flush. Use care to avoid shattering the pipe.
- If you like, you can flatten the ends and middle of the bow, which will provide better surfaces for holding the string and gripping the bow. Heat the pipe uniformly with a heat gun or blow dryer, until it flattens with moderate pressure. Flatten the ends of the bow so that they have a forward and backward face, but flatten the middle of the bow so that it has a right and left face. After shaping the middle and ends as you wish, let the bow cool completely so that it will retain its new shape, before applying any coverings or wraps.
- Photo Credit Akhararat Wathanasing/iStock/Getty Images
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