Ash/Black Walnut Longbow



New member
I found the piece of Black Walnut in a off cut box and got it for nothing.
I had it for a couple of months and keep looking at it as the grain was not quite right

It ran off But I had some time off over Christmas so thought I would have a go
at making a laminated longbow
I backed it with some 4mm thick straight grain ash

I glued it up with 2 inch of back set and left it alone for 5 days

To play safe I left it a bit wider in the handle a inch and a quarter wide
and 76 inch long I have a draw length of just over 30 inches so tend to make my bows a bit on the long side for safety
You may also be able to see that I have a bit of sap wood on the left limb (it is lighter)
I have been please with the way it shoots having shot about 500 arrows so far with he bow
The bow is 55lb at 30 inch Its self nocked at the moment but I have the horn nocks made and ready to put on if the bow show now problem over the next few weeks

If every thing goes well I will shorten it by 2 inch and put the nocks on
I have not seen a long bow made out of Black Walnut it is easy to work with and looks really good when finished
I think I will try and find a better piece of timber next time
But then again If this piece holds up I may not need to

Full draw

Flying Whale

New member
Looks nice. I have just got (not making them myself yet) a quad laminate. Black walnut, maple, purple heart, ash.

Will give it a first try this week.

Hope yours lasts well.

Black Walnut is one of my favourite woods for furniture, but I hadn't seen it used in a bow before either

Del the Cat

Well-known member
Nice :).
We have a good hardwood merchant in Harlow, I've had an Ash work top (the keyboard is resting on it now right now :) ) and green oak off 'em before.
I've not tried 'em for bow wood but I know they have an off cut pile.
I shall have to go and have a shufti, as that bow of yours looks real nice.
(PS That Terracotta lion looks like he's a bit worried by it and is keeping his head down ;)
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Del the Cat

Well-known member
I'll wait until I've check out his offcut stock...and I can't remember the exact name either!
Hmmm 'Eastern hardwoods' I think, they do all hardwoods anyway not just Eastern, I'll check it out.


New member

Just thought I should update you on the bow

After shooting it now for 8 weeks the bow is shooting relay well it has not lost any of it poundage. Even after a long day shooting it has no string follow it all
I have been pleasantly surprised with the Ash backing and Black Walnut belly it has made a crisp shooting bow

I have shoot it at a few NASF field shoots even taking a medal the second time
I used it.
There has been a lot of interest in the bow as no one seem to have seen a bow made out of Black Walnut
It seems to be a over look wood for bow making even though it is mention in TBB as a good wood for bow making

I am now going to try and find a nice piece to make a one piece primitive bow out of

Flying Whale

New member
I will be taking mine to its first tournament on Sunday. In fact this will be my first ever round with a longbow....nothing like jumping in with both feet. Bit of a change from my usual Compound Unlimited!

I will try and post up some pictures at some point for comparison.

Nice to know your bow is doing well.


Del the Cat

Well-known member
Good stuff, nice to know it's settled in and shooting fast & sweet, it's amazing how much variability in cast there is, can't tell by looking at the bow. One of the Women at our club has a lovely slim bow that punches well above it's weight.
I've collected a fair bit of Ash this year, some that won't be any good for bows (one half of the log has split out too thin) but might make decent backings...I'll keep my eyes open for some of that Black Walnut.
I've got a dead Laburnum in the garden, not enough decent timber for a full sized bow, but maybe enough to make a miniature with an Ash backing...(in the unlikely event I find myself running out of projects sometime).
Better get back to rasping those bow limbs down...nearly done :) .