The knowledge gained through the experience of making your own bow makes this more than just a prideful accomplishment.
Sooner or later the enthusiastic archer gets a yern to make his own bow. His reasons may be economical or experimental, but whatever they are, his skill as a craftsman should be equal to his enthusiasm or his venture into bow-making could prove dismal and costly.
It's one thing to get a slat or stave of lemonwood and whittle out a simple bow that will perform to a fair degree of satisfaction, but the beginner who attempts to make a laminated recurve bow is tackling the most difficult project in the critical field of bow-making.
There are so many variables and pitfalls in the construction of a laminated bow that to turn out a successful job on the first try is an achievement in itself. Yet, the thrill of accomplishment and the knowledge gained through this experience make it a worthwhile venture, even if it takes two tries to succeed.
Today's modern bow is made up of laminations of wood and Fiberglass, the wood serving as a neutral core or spacer between two laminations of Fiberglas. Actually it is the Fiberglass that does the work of the bow, carrying 88 percent of the load while the wood core carries only 12 percent.
There are several woods that are suitable for bow-making, among them hickory, Osage orange, yew and lemonwood. However, maple is the most common core wood used in glass-faced and backed bows because it is a consistently hard dense wood, very straight-grained, and readily available in good clear grades. The beginner is wise to use maple rather than some of the other woods which are tricky to handle because of knots and twisty grain patterns.