pvc kids bow

Discussion in 'Archery' started by churro, Jun 16, 2014.

  1. churro

    churro Scout

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    I made this pvc kids bow because I had a young friend visit recently, and though he was interested in archery, he couldn't pull any of my bows. I used the instructions in Nick's video here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oqZQ9ekOVQ

    I made it 48" instead of 50", adjusted the recurves to 5", but otherwise the same as Nick's.

    Here's the bow:
    IMG_4533.JPG

    It pulls 23# at 28", and yes, it will safely draw that far. I had made a few other pvc bows and had a consistent problem with string tracking- they would shed strings or string themselves backwards when shot. That's why I opted for this design- the static recurves and string bridge should help keep it safe and tracking neatly.

    The string is just a temporary paracord string, but I tried it out anyway- pretty zippy. It had a little hand kick, so I shaped the string bridge some to remove some weight from the tips- that helped, but it still kicks a little. Oh well. Here's a pick of the string bridge:
    IMG_4534.JPG
    I figure I'll paint it, make a better string or two then cut and straighten some shafts, but will wait to tune/finish the arrows for some kid to come along who's in need of free archery gear and some instruction. Might as well start them off by making and tuning some of their own gear, rather than struggling with some cheap toy that's not meant for accuracy.

    EDIT- I only have about an hour in this thing so far, so if it fails the next time I string it, I will only cry a little.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2014
  2. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    This is great, good on you! PVC makes a fine kids bow, and a decent shooter. With some good sharp arrows and a relatively non-stretch string it even makes a very serviceable hunting weapon. I would have no problem using PVC to take any game in my neck of the woods. Might have to go with 1" PVC to handle a bear, but I know that the materials and a good sharp arrow in the boiler room would do the trick. The question is (as always) "does the archer have the skill". PVC is a great way to gain that skill, it's cheap, plentiful, and will perform. Only issue I have seen with it is in real cold weather it can get brittle.
     
  3. churro

    churro Scout

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    I finished this bow up with textured, sand colored outdoor furniture paint in a spray can, then added a velcro strike plate, leather rest and paracord wrap. I also made a super-light string from b-50 dacron, but it actually seems to work better with a simple paracord string, at least with my arrows. I might replace the wrap with something heavy like wire to tame the hand-shock a little, but as-is it shoots quietly, accurately and with enough power to be fun. It's no speed demon, but definitely not a toy, either.
    IMG_4536.JPG
    IMG_4539.JPG
     
  4. churro

    churro Scout

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    I had an hour to kill so I made up another kids bow. I wanted to solve the hand shock problem, so I went with a different design, sort of like a mollegabet longbow. I started with a 48" piece of 1/2" schedule 40 pvc and flattened the limbs, then heated the last 6" of the limbs until they went back to their original shape (a tube), then flattened them perpendicular to the rest of the limb. I heated and squished the handle and gave it just a hint of deflex to offset string follow, trimmed the tips to a nice taper and cut nocks.
    IMG_4540.JPG
    IMG_4541.JPG
    It pulls 20# at 28#, though it is so smooth that it feels like less. Definitely less hand shock that the other one, but maybe a little slower, too. Also, the nocks are too shallow, so I will need to cut them deeper. There's absolutely no string follow, so I bet I could get away with making it even shorter (more to come on this...)

    I think a bow made the same way this one was, but with 9" non-working tips and made from 3/4" pipe would be a decent teen bow, maybe reaching 40-45# draw.
     
  5. churro

    churro Scout

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    I couldn't resist modifying this bow. I re-heated the tips and recurved them a little, then heated the center of the handle and reflexed the bow some. Here are pics, strung and unstrung:
    IMG_4543.JPG
    IMG_4542.JPG

    Now this bow shoots the way I wanted it to. I haven't measured the draw weight, but it seems close to 20#, but now it really zings an arrow! The first few shots were 1.5 feet high at 10 yards, owing to the enhanced performance. I will not be ashamed to give this bow to some needy kid, now! WOW- this is some little bow!

    EDIT- It used to be basically straight from tip to tip, viewed from the side. Forgot to take before pics.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  6. Tyranta

    Tyranta Guide Bushclass II

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    Nice work. It's amazing how much fun can be had with a simple PVC bow.
     
  7. churro

    churro Scout

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    So my hunch was correct- I made a bow the same as the last one, but from 3/4" sched. 40 pvc. It pulls 45# at 28", but that's brand new, not shot-in. I figure it might drop to 40# with a little shooting. A little string follow, but not too bad. It got dark before I could shoot it or take pics, but tomorrow, God willing, will be bright and sunny. I am a little concerned that I'm stretching the limits of this material, and I scorched one spot a little, so I may go with a full on face mask for the first few shots, and may back or wrap it with something for safety. Also, I might reheat the handle and take out some of the reflex, again, for safety. Seems shootable, though, and would be a great bow for someone with a shorter draw length than me.
     
  8. churro

    churro Scout

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    Here are some pics of the 3/4" pvc bow. 48" nock to nock, somewhere between 45 and 50# @ 28".
    IMG_4546.JPG
    IMG_4545.JPG
    IMG_4544.JPG
    I noticed a few places where the belly was buckling just a hint and discovered that I could tiller the bow by gently heating the belly side at the weak spot until it puffed slightly, strengthening the weak spot. It started out closer to 45#, but after tillering was a little closer to 50#. Tillering helped even out the bend enough that it really feels safe now.

    I have a temporary string of paracord on there, but it shoots really well with some aluminum arrows I use with my 55# bear Grizzly. This sucker is fast!

    It needs a better string, an arrow rest and I would like to build up the handle some (plumbers putty?). Then some paint to protect it from uv deterioration. Once it's all prettied-up Ill take it down to the archery pro shop and shoot it through a chrony to see if it will hunt.
     
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  9. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    Have you tried the Schedule 40 gray electrical conduit? It has slightly different properties (supposedly), and is apparently a little stiffer. I have some in my garage right now that I just haven't had the time to get around to yet, but I am considering making a little beater small game bow with it. When I do I will post some pics.
     
  10. churro

    churro Scout

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    Sidmand- I haven't tried the grey pipe yet, but I have 2 big pieces of 3/4" grey pipe with ends that are flared to join them together. The next "big boy" bow I plan to make will be a slight modification of the one above: I'll cut a short piece (maybe 4-5") and make the limbs from the flared pieces so that they are joined by the short piece. This will beef up the handle section, adding mass to limit hand shock and also opening up the possibility of a takedown bow. I might be able to get away with a center-cut riser this way, too. I think I will make it a little longer and extend the non-working portion of the tips a little, just to take some of the strain out of the limbs while also limiting the mass at the tip of the limbs.

    One thing I have heard about grey pipe is that it is safer in the cold than the white- big advantage here in the rockies.
     
  11. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    I heard the same about the cold. Not so much of an issue in Alabama, but certainly an issue in the Rockies. Would suck something awful to have a face full of plastic shrapnel on a frosty morn. I know it sucks to get smashed in the melon with a wooden bow when it lets loose, but at least it doesn't fracture into to many sharp pieces.
     
  12. churro

    churro Scout

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    I've been stuck near the house waiting for calls back: perfect chance to shoot out this latest bow.

    I've put maybe a couple hundred arrows through it now, and it shoots great, despite a too-narrow handle, a stretchy, heavy string and no rest or nocking point. I keep wanting to race ahead with the fine-tuning and finishing, but lack the materials to build up the handle, which is step one.

    I could go on and on, but will instead just say that this bow far exceeds the expectations I had for it. Rough comparison of penetration into a 1-ton hay bale has me convinced that this bow will hunt deer as well as any other I own- mission accomplished (almost).

    If you (like me) aspire to wood-bow building, but (like me) lack the time, experience, materials and guidance to undertake a wooden bow, try pvc. It's surprisingly easy to work with and performs well, when the design is right.
     
  13. sdc

    sdc Tracker

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    Nice job on your builds!

    If you want to bump poundage in a later build, one thing that works well is to sleeve a piece of smaller pipe inside, and or further using fiberglass marker rods as a core ;-).
     
  14. HEMLOCK79

    HEMLOCK79 Guide

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    Yeah I was at a local show last summer and met Nick. He wasn't selling bows, but some of his books. I'd highly recommend buying them to anyone interested in PVC bows. He's a really awesome guy with a young family. Definitely deserves more credit and due for all the work he's done in that area.
     
  15. churro

    churro Scout

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    guess I'm a dumbass. I saw some videos of lars andersen shooting really (really) fast and decided to try it- lost 2 arrows in 5 minutes:9:. New record for me. No doubt they will turn up when they clog up the baler at the height of haying season...

    Agreed on Nick- I watch his videos whenever the world seems oppressive, and it gets better. I've put the word out that his books would make an excellent birthday gift.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  16. Myr1ad

    Myr1ad Scout

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    Love the simple leather arrow rest.
     
  17. churro

    churro Scout

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    I added some paint, an arrow rest, better string and a nocking point to the 50# bow. Shot it some this morning, works great. Shot it this afternoon, and was having problems. It's probably just me- my mom broke her arm and my grandmother died this afternoon, and it's windy as heck. Conditions are unfavorable for clearheaded shooting. I'll post some pics soon, but I gotta grieve a little first. I think this bow will hunt, though (silver lining?).

    I can't say the above without acknowledging that my grandma was a truly great person, and though it is sad to lose her, she lived her life in such a way that no regrets are possible. Also, my mom is one tough lady- they set the bone with no pain killers, and she is excited to learn to write left-handed. I am blessed to have had them both in my life.
     
  18. churro

    churro Scout

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    Here are the latest 2 bows, painted. The one with a wrapped handle pulls about 48# now, and shoots sweetly. The other pulls 20# and shoots pretty well. IMG_4563.JPG
     
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  19. churro

    churro Scout

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    Here's a typical 15 yd group with the 50# bow above.
    IMG_4566.JPG
    I don't use targets, just pick an asprin-tablet sized bright spot, because I feel that promotes accuracy and helps train me to pick a spot on the animal while hunting. The above group is within about 3" of the spot I meant to hit, the uppermost arrow within 1/2 ". I have only been practicing with this bow for a day or two, so I need a little more work, but the bow performs well and will hunt. I still need to work up a force-draw curve and measure actual arrow speed to determine energy and efficiency, mostly to make sure hunting with this would be responsible, but I am confident. If I can confirm that speed is adequate, and can develop enough accuracy to confidently hunt out to 30 yds or so (and am confident to estimate distances), I will hunt deer with this bow this year or next. Stay tuned...
     
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  20. sidmand

    sidmand Bacon is food duct tape

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    If your shooting low with that group, raise your nock a touch and that will correct it, at least I think that's right. Sometimes I get the direction backwards. If your have a clamp on nock set, I can show you how to tie an adjustable nock with serving material that will allow you to screw the nock up or down for fine tuning
     
  21. churro

    churro Scout

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    Grand success. I had 2 nieces and 3 nephews here for a week over the 4th, and all of them wanted to shoot bows whenever there was down time (though there was precious little). Each had a favorite bow, and none of the bows went unused form more than a few hours at a time. Glad I put in the effort to make the bows and some arrows.
     
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  22. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    Tagging for future projects.
     
  23. babyishcare

    babyishcare Tinder Gatherer

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    Holy crap! I've made a PVC dry fire bow that I use for form practice...but I never thought PVC could be made into a bow that shape.
    Read more about Bow And Arrow....
     
  24. trentu

    trentu Guide

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    I've been building some in short bows in Nicks Gullwing style. Very fun. I have found that if you make the handle too narrow the bow will twist more and the string follow is poor. Short bows (48"-50") made from 1" are too short but they are super sweet in the 3/4".
     

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