I remember when I was in Jr. High we had archery as part of our PE class. I loved it. I got good enough to shoot a bulls eye more often than not. That was way before the compound bow was invented. It was during a time that nobody thought about it being a weapon...in fact there was a shooting team in many of the schools back then. Even now the kids don't throw a javelin, but a "turbo-javelin". What that? It's like a big Nerf football. Definitely not a spear. Anyway, back to archery.
Today I bought a bow and some arrows for the grand kids. Yes, I'm going to be hearing about it from everyone...You bought those kids what? Another way to harm people. Yes, they have their own knives, BB guns, pellet guns, sling shots, and now a bow. Our fun will just never end!
I didn't buy one of the new compound bows. I bought just the plain old ordinary bow. Why? Because after they use this and get good at it, I'm going to take them to the proper kind of tree, such as a cedar, birch, maple, or willow. The best would be from a tree near a good source of water. Cut a sapling or sucker if possible, although a branch will work. You just want to make sure that you don't have any knots in the wood. That means nothing with branches because branches are knots. The middle of your piece should be somewhere around an inch or 1 1/2 inches thick. If it's too thick it won't work right.
How big do you make it? Measure the distance between your armpit and the ground. That's ideal, although smaller is OK. Don't make it longer than that. Don't break the sapling, cut it. Otherwise you are going to split the wood.
After you cut your piece of wood you will want to take the bark off and let the wood dry. Peel it off, don't cut it off unless you are really good with your knife. You don't want to splinter your wood. Let it sit for at least a day or two. Then make notches on each end to hold the string. Don't notch the outside (the part that will face the target). If you do then the notch will break off when you pull on the string and you will smack yourself in the face (yes, I speak from experience!).
Before you string the bow you need to make the arrow rest/hand hold on the bow. Figure out where the center of the bow is and that is going to be where the arrow needs to go. The wide end of your piece of wood is the bottom of the bow! Make sure you don't accidentally put it on top. Wrap the hand hold with a strip of leather (old boot shoelace if you don't have a strip of leather) or maybe paracord. Make sure you wrap it several times and the top of the hold so the arrow has something to rest on.
To string the bow measure your paracord or other string (or sinew) about the same length as the bow. I wouldn't use the entire piece of paracord. I'd open it up and pull out the interior cord then braid them together. Otherwise your cord is a little too thick. Tie it onto the bottom then make a slip knot at the top and bend the bow and slip it on. Your finished string should be about six inches shorter than the bow, so if you want to start with the string a little longer than the bow just to give yourself some wiggle room then do that. When you pull if it doesn't spring enough then shorten your string. Then have fun. When you are done make sure to unstring the slip knot at the top. You don't want to keep the pressure on your bow.
What if you don't have sinew or paracord? No way, but what if anyway... You can use plants. I've heard that nettles will work. I never tried that though.