Bow-making with PVC

Tre spartanske drenge (Three Spartan Boys Practicing Archery), Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg (oil on canvas, 1812)

Yet I will have mercy on the house of Judah, will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by the sword or battle, by horses or horsemen.  (Hosea 1:7)

In my younger days, big guns and powerful bows were all the rage in my circle of friends.  The older I get, the more I realize that while ‘magnum-itis’ is a fun hobby, it is not always the required level of energy I need.  I still enjoy big bore firearms but find myself focusing more and more on putting the right bullet in the right spot, and not necessarily from the most powerful weapon I can hold.

With guns and bows, we achieve our aim (no pun intended) in the hunting field and on the target range.  While we want to be properly armed for the task at hand, it is our skill that determines the extent of our success and enjoyment.  Ultimately, the arm is just an extension of our physical and mental exercise.  There is no spiritual element to the shooting experience.  It’s all earthly, not necessarily worldly, and it sure won’t get us to heaven.

Think about your favorite firearm or bow.  On a scale of 1-10 (ten being best), how would your rate your skill with it?  What is your effective range with it?  And what will you do to make yourself better with it?  Now, think about your Bible reading.  On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your regularity?  What will you do to make yourself a more effective Bible reader?  And, how will you use God’s Word to tell your outdoor friends about Jesus?

FUN TIP:  There’s a thing called hitting with authority in the hunting field.  This means using the right cartridge from the right firearm with the right bullet placed in the right spot.  Change any of these factors and disaster may follow.  The same can be said for being properly equipped with a bow.

A friend and I made our own PVC bows following the excellent instructions in the video above.  Here are my own notes from the experience:

Smashed completely in a vise over days of bitter cold temperature – no failures.

  1. Before starting the project, I cut off a small section to test for flexibility and potential failure.  It was placed in a vise and smashed over a period of days.  The air temp was in the single digits.  The schedule 40 PVC test sample showed no signs of cracking, splitting, or work hardening.
  2. After pretty much following the instructions in the video, I added my own improvements, including:
  • inserting heavy foam strips (cut from a foam sleeping mat used for camping) in each end to keep the fiberglass rods from shifting
  • gluing on end caps
  • lightly “sanding” the surface to give a wood grain appearance, then painting, staining, and polishing
  • using a large zip-tie strategically placed to serve as an arrow rest
  • wrapping the grip with bat tape (used on baseball bats)
  • placing rubber tips on the ends so the bow could be used as a walking stick or handheld weapon (tips are like those on the end of a crutch, not shown in picture below)


At 12 yards a three-shot group printed fairly tight.  I just need to make some instinctive aiming adjustments for moving the point of impact.





The final product

PVC bow, 5

A little more practice at 12 yards, plus using better arrows, makes this bow a formidable close range weapon.

12 yards with carbon arrows, and a light breeze right to left.