I’ve always enjoyed both making things and primitive skills. Three years ago it occurred to me I could marry these two interests and try to hand-make a bow from a tree. That’s bow as in a bow-and-arrow.
Bow-making is an ancient skill dating back well before recorded history. It once helped re-shape empires but knowledge of how to hand-make bows from raw materials dwindled with the advent of guns and modern materials like fiberglass.
At first I embarked on this hobby alone, but then discovered hundreds of people from all around the world who have preserved and passed on the knowledge of primitive bow-making. People of many ages and walks of life, even some people I had known for years, turned out to be bow-makers.
I’ve found bow-making to be a rich and varied past time that allows one to work with their hands and which teaches lessons in history, archeology, botany, mechanics, wood-working, primitive-skills and tools-use, to name a few.
Earlier this year I helped to start the Bay Area Bowyers. An informal group based in the San Fran bay area that promotes and preserves the skill of bow-making.