I need to repair my longbow



New member
Can anyone suggest the most reliable way to attempt to repair a split forming on the belly of my beloved longbow. The longbow is well out of any kind of warranty and i would like to repair it my self.
The belly is Yew and it is a tri laminate 55# @28'' carridge bow, the split/crack is not wide enough to get glue right in to the damaged part.
I origionally thought about binding/whipping the damaged section but before i attempt anything i would like some oppinions from any one out there that has any good advice. If binding the bow is a good option what materials would i use, how far above and bellow the damage should i go etc.


Hi Steve,
Just browsing and saw your post....One bowyer local to me that may be able to advise amongst others on here is Del the cat, he may have already seen this or will do later?

Hope you don't mind putting your name forward.



Staff member
Fonz Awardee
American Shoot
I'll move it to the correct forum, which may help as well :) :beer:

Del the Cat

Well-known member
A pic would help a lot.
Binding with thread soaked in epoxy is a reasonable and easy fix.
Anything else is likely to removing a shallow scallop of wood and clueing on a thin overlay.
I've never patched a belly, but I've seen Osage bows with belly patches. I've patched a Yew back where there was a knot which was more cavernous than it appeared.
Here's a link to my Bowyers Diary entry which shows the repair
(PS. No objection at all to being nominated to reply!)


New member
Here goes i'll try to add pictures of the damaged bow.

If you need more i'll have to add 1 per post

Cheers Steve


New member
I must say it brought a tear to my eye when it started to go. the bow is aprox 10 years old and is a 2 piece (carridge bow) this bow is the last one the famous bowyer made, don't know if i can mention names but P B is a clue to the bowyer the bow has always performed well and even after all this time has no stacking or string follow. wonder if this is due to the two piece joint in the handle.

Bald Eagle

New member
The handle joint won't affect the limbs, there are loads of Bill Serle carriage bows in our area still shooting well. I'd give Mr B a bell and ask his opinion

Del the Cat

Well-known member
My honest opinion is that it looks so bad, I'd pencil it in as a write off. The good side off doing that is that you can then attempt an audacious repair without trepidation.
I'd say you need to remove wood until the crack is no longer there. The area where wood has been removed then nees shaping to a smooth gentle regular shape so that a piece of Yew can be let in. A tricky repair but worth a go if it's treated as a no loose attempt.
Maybe another pic from the side would give an idea of the extent.


New member
Speaking as a woodworker rather than a bowyer I'd say it looks pretty bad.
I have repaired a dining chair leg that had split at a similar angle but had broken off completely. The owner is 18st and had leaned back onto the 2 back legs when it collapsed under him.
I repaired it by gluing it with gorilla glue and when that had set drilled three countersunk 3/16" holes through the leg at 90deg to the split. I then took 3 lengths of 3/16 aluminium rod and peened over one end. These were then coated with epoxy glue, inserted in the holes and the other end peened over to make rivets out of the rod. A small bit of woodfiller covered the rivets which just left some cosmetic work to complete the job. The chair is still in use 10 years on.
Does the split open up at all if you stress the bow the wrong way? If so maybe you could trickle some warm (it makes it runnier) 24hr epoxy into the split. Don't use 5min epoxy as it is brittle and wouldn't stand up to the shock of a bow.
If the split won't open up then you could try drilling some very small, 1mm or less, holes into the split and injecting the resin into the holes until the wood is saturated. The hardest part is getting hold of a srynge. I know the chemist won't supply them, I've tried.
Instead of aluminium rivets you could use hardwood dowels covered in glue before insertion.
Even if you can do any of the above I would still wrap the bow with some sort of natural cord and saturate that with epoxy glue once in place.
The bow looks like a total loss as it is so what have you got to lose. The only bit of caution I advise is use some sort of draw board or pulley system the first few times you test it otherwise you risk a bang on the noggin if it doesn't work.
PS. If all else fails just hang it on the wall where you can see it from your favourite easy chair and every time you look at it remember the good time you had with that bow.

Del the Cat

Well-known member
If the bowyer is still alive you should seek his opinion first.
The problem with trying to open a split and get glue into it is that you never get right down into the root of the split, if you open the split wider, you will get deeper, but still not down to the root, and will risk straining the back if you flex it the wrong way. For small splinters and lifts glue and binding is ok.
Cutting out the damaged area and leting in a piece is effectively just creating your own controlled split which you know the extent of and can glue over its complete surface.
In it's present state it is dangerous, the crack is too deep to try and get glue into. As Del says what's needed here is to cut out the damaged chunk and replace it with another piece of yew. It is perfectly possible and plausable! Experience and a steady hand will get your bow shooting like new again.


New member
Pretty late into this thread but the native Americans used to use rawhide to bind their bows.
I f you buy one of those large rawhide dog bones and soak it in water, it will easily flatten out.
You can then cut strips from it and bind the bow tightly with a very wet strip, stretching as tight as possible and whipping the end.
As the rawhide dries it will shrink further and tighten up even more.

Good luck.


AIUK Saviour

Just read this thread after posting a thread asking almost the same question! Must look before I leap. In answer to Philhoneys question re Hypodermics - they are nearly always supplied with inkjet printer cartridge refill kits. They dont have the sharp tips of the medical kind, so they are no use to chemical abusers.