To make a wooden bow, cure straight-grained wood for about a week, measure and cut it, and gradually thin out the wood toward the ends of the bow so the limbs can flex. The bow length can vary depending on the draw weight and how far you want the limbs to bend; draw length is the arm span in inches divided by 2.5.
The best woods to use are hardwoods like oak, hickory, ash and elm. If making the bow from a cut branch, the natural curve of the branch is the form of the bow. Pick the straightest possible branch to avoid torque of the limbs. Next, split the branch in two; it should split in two relatively equal pieces. The outer side of the branch is the back of the bow and the inner heartwood is the belly.
Mark the center of the bow and place a weighted string along the length. Mark off the guidelines for the tips, keeping them equal on both ends of the bow. Gradually thin out the bow using a draw knife or chisel, going slowly to avoid cutting too much wood.
Sand when finished to remove splinters, which can weaken the bow. Use a tillering stick to find weaknesses or unevenness in the limbs. The limbs should bend evenly; if you see abrupt bending, thin the wood on either side.