Lately, I've been wanting to make my own bow. It seems like something that would be tons of fun, and just the thought of showing up to the range with something built with your own two hands sounds extremely satisfying. If possible, I want to make everything myself; bow, bowstring, arrows, the whole 9 yards.
I have done some research into how exactly to go about everything. However, as I am fairly new to archery in general, and have never attempted something like this before, I figured it would be best to talk to real people and get some answers before I delve into it.
First off, my background/limitations. I'm a college kid, and therefore don't have a whole ton of money or tools. The only tool I currently have is a good knife. I'll probably go out and get at least a small c-saw and a set of wood rasps before I begin, but I don't have the money to get expensive tools and jigs. I figure it might take it bit longer, but people have been making this stuff for thousands of years without any fancy equipment.
Now for the questions...
How important is it to get the right kind of wood? I would much prefer to go out to the woods somewhere and find a good log to work on, than buy a plank of wood from a hardware store. However, I don't think I could recognize which trees are which, and as I live in Arizona, selection of good bow wood may be limited.
Is it possible to make a bow without a draw knife? Apparently they are somewhat difficult to find, and are expensive when you do. Could the same work be done with careful whittling instead?
How vital is it not to "violate the growth ring"? All of the videos that I've seen say this. However, I've also seen tutorials of people making 50-60lb bows out of hardwood boards(which obviously don;t follow a single ring) that work just fine. I'm going to do my best to follow a single ring, but do I have to throw out the stave and start over if I accidentally cut too deep?
What about backing/finishing? Due to my inexperience, and the above mentioned problem it seems like a good idea to back the bow somehow. Sinew backing seems a bit complicated, and the materials are not easily acquired. Anyone ever backed a bow with rawhide from dog treats? How well does a cloth backing work?
How helpful is it to have a tillering jig? I've seen it done with and without one. Do i need to make one?
What material would you suggest for the bowstring? I am willing to use more modern materials, however i have no idea where to get Dacron, Fastflight, etc or how much it costs. Maybe look for waxed linen at a craft store? Also, how many strands for each material? My target draw weight is 40-45 lb.
Serving the string... If I were to go with a less modern string, with what would I serve it? should I even worry about serving the string? Should I attempt to serve the ends, like store bought strings? And can I get away without a serving jig?
For the arrows, I was planning on using a dowel as the shaft, and making my own fletchings out of feathers from a craft store.
What can i use as arrow heads? These arrows will not be used for hunting, so I don't want a broad head. Modern arrowheads/points go inside the shaft, which is a problem, and traditional arrow heads sell for $5-$10 each online, which seems a bit pricey. Any ideas?
How do you suggest going about fletching without a jig? it must be possible...
Sorry for all the questions, and thanks in advance.