Constructing a PVC Bow
A PVC Bow is a quick and cheap way to create a serviceable Belegarth legal bow. You can make it out of 3/4" PVC or 1/2" PVC. I would suggest you use 3/4 PVC. It tends to last longer plus you can make the bow longer and keep the poundage.
- Cut the PVC to 3.5' - 4.5' long. The length determines the poundage. 3.5' is 30-35#, 4' is about 28-32#, and 4.5' is 24-28#. The longer you make the PVC, the longer it will last but the less poundage you will have. I make mine between 4' and 4.5'. You can increase the poundage later but you can not decrease it.
- Get some strapping tape and diagonally wrap the whole pole. (There is no need to bend it.)
- Wrap it again in a diagonal pattern that is opposite the one you just made.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have four layers of strapping tape.
- Now cover it in some sort of cloth tape. This is purely aesthetic.
- In both ends of the pipe, drill a hole 3/16" - 1/4" make sure that these holes go through both walls of the PVC, and are pointed in the same direction.
- I use 3/16 nylon cord for mine. But find something that (a) Does not stretch and (b) Fits the nock that you use. Be aware that the cord may stretch a bit and become noticeably skinnier once it's strung and under tension. Cut the cord to be 1' longer then your bow.
- Put one end of the cord through one end of the bow and tie a Bowstring Knot.
- Now put the other end of the string through the other end of the bow.
- Tie a standard knot in the end of that cord so that it won't slide back through the hole.
- Now bend your bow until you have 4"-6" between the PVC and the cord. Have someone else hold the bend in the bow and tie another Bowstring Knot in that end. Voila, a bow.
- Mark the center of the string and the center of the bow so you know where to put the nock and the rest.
- Build a grip. Sometimes I just wrap tape around it and on some I wrap leather on to it. Just put the top of the grip just under the center mark on the bow so that the top of the grip is your rest.
Now, it is PVC so over time it will break down and keep its bind. This will make it lose some of its strength. I recommend that when you are not using it, tack off the last knot that you made and leave the string in the hole but untied. This will help it last longer and work better.
This whole process takes me 10-15 minutes and costs about $5 a bow. This is a nice bow. It works well. But it still is not as good as a real bow. It is cheap and good for someone getting into archery but in the end I decided to get the real thing for $40 on Ebay. I use these as loaners.