Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Hunting After the Crash: How To Make Your Own Bow and F’n Arrow…

If the teetering economy collapses and food becomes scarce, how will you eat? Sure, you can farm. Sure, you can fish. But my oh my, those are so boring! You must be thinking that there’s got to be a more exciting way to feed your family. Well, what’s more badass than hunting for food using a bow and arrow you made yourself? Nothing. That’s what. So don’t wait for the collapse when good bow and arrow making materials may be at a premium. Prepare yourself now by following these instructions from Mat Stein, author of When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency. The following is an excerpt from When Technology Fails. It has been adapted for the web. The bow and arrow is probably the most effective of the traditional hunting weapons, and is not too difficult to make. Seasoned, resilient, long-grained woods are best for bow making. English longbows were traditionally made from yew trees, but fir, cedar, hickory, juniper, oak, white elm, birch, willow, hemlock, maple, and alder will usually do. “Green” wood bows tend to lose their strength or crack after a couple weeks, needing replacement. Traditional crafting of bows often extended for over a year, beginning with the careful selection and curing of wood for the stave. Bow

For the short-term, crude bows of many different green woods will suffice. For durable bows, select strong, straight, resilient, knot-free young saplings such as yew, greasewood, ironwood, hickory, or ash. For the bow stave, select one or two supple limbs, about 1½ to 2 inches thick in the middle, and free of knots and branches. Fire-killed standing wood has already been seasoned. Test the flex of your chosen wood and discard if it shows any signs of cracking. Depending on the stiffness and spring of the wood, either shave flats in the center section of each stave and fasten two curved staves together for a double bow (see Figure 6-35) or shape the stave so that it is about 2 inches thick at the handle, tapering uniformly to 5⁄8 inch thick at the ends (see Figure 6-36). Notch the ends for the bowstring. Repeatedly greasing and heating a carved bow in front of the fire over a period of several days will deter cracking and make it more durable. The best strings are made from sinew (see Chapter 10 on textiles) or rawhide, but you can use any strong string or make your own cordage from animal fur, hair, or plant fibers (see Chapter 4). Rather than twisting extra-thick clusters of plant fibers, stronger bowstrings are made by braiding or twisting together multiple strands of finer cordage to make thicker cordage. When not in use, loosen the bowstring to save the bow’s power. Once a bow has lost its power, throw it away and make another one. A cloth or piece of leather strapped to the inside of your forearm can help prevent chafing from the bowstring.

Arrows Any straight wood will do for arrows, but birch and willow sucker branches sprouting from the base of tree trunks work particularly well. Make arrows about ¼ inch in diameter and the length of your arm. Notch one end for the bowstring to catch on (the “nock”). Some type of fletching should be attached about 2 to 3 inches in front of the nock to stabilize the arrow and ensure a reasonably straight and long-distance flight. Split feathers work best for fletching, but paper, cloth, or even split leaves will do. Attach three or four feathers to the shaft. The simplest arrowhead is a sharpened and flame-hardened wooden point. For larger game and more durability, fashion arrowheads from sheet metal, stone, or bone (see Chapter 4 for basic flintknapping). Attach the arrowheads and fletching to the arrow shaft using fine cordage. Wet sinew works best, because it shrinks and sticks to itself as it dries. Seal the binding with boiled pine pitch to prevent unraveling.


Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you. Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and […] Read More

Hands-On Learning: School of The New American Farmstead

This summer, twelve of our authors (plus Chelsea Green’s own President and Publisher) will be leading hands-on intensive courses at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vermont.These workshops, classes, and certifications will inspire you, equip you with marketable skills, and provide you with new perspectives on integrated, community-centered farming and food production.Engage your SensesThe hands-on courses will […] Read More

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook Wins IACP Award

Chelsea Green is thrilled to have received the Food Matters Award for The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook, by the OAEC Collective and Olivia Rathbone.The International Association of Culinary Professionals announced its 2016 IACP Award winners on April 3 during a ceremony in Los Angeles.The awards recognize the best food writing of the year, […] Read More

Recipe: Pascal Baudar’s Basic Wild Kimchi

Experiment with what you have, anything from the mustard family will work extremely well. Read More

10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com