Making a Laminated Reflex-Deflex Takedown Longbow

The first bows I ever made were selfbows whittled from a stave. They consumed my shooting practice time and there were several months where I did not shoot any of my commercially made laminated bows. Then one day I went shooting with my brother in law. With me shooting my self-fabricated stickbows alongside Bryan's recurve, I was shocked at how much I had been acclimatized to the poor performance of my bows. His bow was 10 lbs lighter than my lightest bow, yet arrow velocity from his bow was markedly higher. I wondered how difficult it would be to make a laminated bow such that I could enjoy both decent arrow velocity and the pleasure of knowing I had made the weapon used to cast those arrows at a decent velocity.

After much research, I finally mustered up enough courage to bite the bullet and try. I drew up a rough blueprint of my bow-to-be and ordered a shwack of materials from Bingham Projects ( Several weeks later they arrived, and I gleefully rushed off to the hardware store to acquire additional materials required to construct a laminating press and a heat box.

Building the heat box and laminating press was quite an surprising experience in the "know-thy-self" department. I was so excited to get going on the actual bow building process that I became seriously flustered and frustrated at my incompetent clumsyness attempting to rapidly build the tools I would use to make the bow. I was dropping and losing tools all over the place and the workroom quickly degenerated into an unorganized state of chaos. I had to physically stop myself, sit down, and regain some semblence of balance before I was able to continue!

Here are some photographs of the laminating press and heat box. In the future, I hope to post some more details on bow building and possibly post a story on the process from start to finish!  

Limb Laminating Press
This is the laminating press used to glue the limbs together.
Heat Box
Heat box used to bake laminations and cure epoxy.
Inside Heat Box
Two 200 watt light bulbs provide the heat energy.
Lining the inside of the box, tin foil is used to reflect radiant heat towards laminating press.
Heat Box in Action
A thermostat is used to maintain a box temperature of approx. 170 degrees F.