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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not very long after building many longbows by hand-tools only, I was looking hard and thinking hard about all the woodworking power tools within my shop. Gradually, many steps that were taking me hours to do were thought out and replaced by a power tool.

Well, when mentor bowyer and friend, Tom Turgeon, put together a video titled Longbow with Power Tools DVD it really piqued my interest.

Tom graciously has sent me a copy, and I have to say that for anyone who is interested in building longbows, and if you have a shop of power woodworking tools or thinking of what power tool you can currently incorporate into your longbow building process, you might find Tom’s video a great resource.

He starts with the stave, the basics of building and tillering stay the same, but he demonstrates certain steps with certain sanders and/or grinders, with sometimes more than one option. This includes the trapping and beveling steps; whereas, one’s imagination is the only real limit to where power tools can fit in place of your hand work.

Of course, there’s still going to some fine tuning by spokeshave and wood file, but for the grunt of it, power tools can knock the job down by significant amount of time. As I told Tom, that's right up my alley.

Great video, Tom!!!
 

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Thank you, Sanford, for your feedback.

After years of using hand tools to craft long bows, (self bows, sinew/rawhide/snakeskin/bamboo backed bows, ELB's, and teaching folks to do the same), my guess was that there were probably a few archery enthusiasts who would enjoy building all-wood bows with power tools.

I have found that once the bow building principles are understood, its only a matter of the individual's confidence in their preferred tools to build bows. Regardless of the methods used, building and shooting a bow that you have built with your own hands can be one of the most rewarding experiences there is in archery.

Whether its intended use is for target shooting at the range or bow hunting in the field, building your own bow can be both relaxing and challenging.

Think back to your introduction to archery. Build your own bow and go shooting for the first time.... again.
Try it, you'll understand!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Tom, I will say that of all the operations, there's one that I still predominately do by hand, and that's the beveling of the bamboo. All my sanders seemed to aggressive to manage that line. But, with the strip sander you have in the video, I think one is worth my try. I would also say that some of us ain't that young. Working a plane or file for 2 hours, where 10 minutes will do with a side sander, just makes sense on preservation of body joints, standing feet, and eyes. I think if I were to cut a tree for a stave, the same would apply. Chainsaw the tool of choice before a double-bit axe :)
 

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Sanford, correctly beveling the bamboo backing is extremely important as without it, bamboo failure is nearly certain.
While a strip sander makes quick work of the beveling step, an inexperienced bowyer may be wise by choosing a rasp, file or even sandpaper on their first go-round. Afterall, hand tools allow more time to catch and fix mistakes.
Thank you for your input.
 
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