Welcome to Bingham Projects and our First Time Bowyer page, where we have been teaching folks how to build bows for almost sixty years! We specialize in teaching folks just like you how to build your very own traditional bow. So let’s take a moment and give you a basic rundown of how this works.
Traditionally, bows were made from a single piece of wood, and shaped to the correct form through a painstaking and difficult process. But a stic bow will invariably lose its spring and power. It’s a matter of when, not if. But that is not the case with fiberglass-backed traditional bows. Our designs follow the same shapes, lines, and customs of traditional bows, but with the added benefit of strength, speed, and durability. A laminated bow is something you will likely hand down from generation to generation.
Your bow will consist of thin strips of wood, called laminations. This wood comprises the core of the bow, and the combinations of wood you choose will give the bow its beauty and custom touch. Two strips of thin Bo-Tuff fiberglass will be glued to the back and belly of the bow, giving your bow its strength and durability. If you wish to see the wood on the back and belly of your bow, clear fiberglass may be chosen. Otherwise, the fiberglass comes in several different colors.
To glue your bow together, it will be necessary to construct two items: The Laminating Heat Box and the Bow Press. Our detailed instructions walk you through the process of building both of these relatively simple items. The heat box is an insulated wood oven that will be heated by lightbulbs. The temperature will be controlled by our thermostat, keeping the heat box in the proper temperature range to cure your bow.
The Bow Press is what will give your bow its distinctive shape. In order to put the reflex/deflex shape to your bow, once you have applied the epoxy to your laminations and fiberglass, you will put your bow limbs into the press, then you place the press, with the bow limbs secured inside, inside the heat box. In essence, you will cook your bow for three or four hours, which will set the epoxy, creating an incredibly strong bond.
Once your bow is out of the Heat Box and cooled down, you’re now ready to cut, shape, sand and finish your bow. The entire process is covered in detail in our instruction material, but this is where you’re personal touch will be applied to the bow. Your specific brand of craftsmanship and eye for detail in sanding the bow and shaping your riser (handle) will bring the bow to life.
Now that you have an idea of how the process works, lets keep moving.
Maybe you already have an idea of which style of bow you would like to build. If not, clicke HERE and you will be able to see each of the available bow styles to choose from. We offer detailed plans and blueprints to build each style of bow. Additionally, we offer a DVD that walks you through the entire process, step-by-step.
To keep things simple, we offer All-In-One Starter Kits to get you started. These kits include almost everything you will need to complete your first bow.
For the first time kit on the one piece bows we use Hard Rock Maple for the wood laminations, and for the take-down bows we use Superaction Natural laminations. These kits come standard with black fiberglass and you get to choose your riser (handle) from the following hardwoods: Maple, Ash, Jatoba, Bubinga, Padauk, or Ebiara.
When ordering, you will need to specify how heavy you want the bow (draw weight), how far you comfortably pull back the string when you shoot (draw length), and whether you are building your bow for a right handed or left handed shooter, and we will have enough information to put your kit together and ship it to you. Check out our FAQ section for help with draw weight, draw length and right/left hand questions.
We are going to send you all the material for your limbs and tips, for the riser (handle), the epoxy to glue it all together, the instruction materials, blueprints and build-along DVD, the equipment needed to build your press, thermostat for your oven, two strings that match your bow, and all the other little odds and ends you will need to get going.
The ONLY things that we are not sending you in the First Time Kit that you will need to build your first bow are as follows: the plywood to build your press, the plywood to build your heatbox, the screws and glue to put the press and heatbox together, the light fixtures and bulbs for the heat box, and some electrical wire to wire the thermostat up in your heatbox. The reason these things are not included in the First Time Kit are two fold: 1- Most folks often already have this stuff sitting around the shop somewhere, and 2- it would be ludicrous for us to charge you shipping on a piece of plywood that you could pick up for a few bucks at your local hardware store. So please keep in mind you will need these few additional commonplace materials to build your bow, but we have everything else covered in the First Time Kit.
Now you may be asking what kinds of tools you need to build your bow. Obviously a fully outfitted woodshop comes in handy, but we promise there is no need to worry if you don’t have access to a woodshop. We have had plenty of customers that live in small apartments build very beautiful bows. The only two power tools that we recommend you have access to are a drum sander and a bandsaw (and for a take-down bow a drill press is pretty darn handy).
So now you know where to get started on your path to becoming a full-fledged bowyer. If, after watching the DVD, you still have any questions at all we want you to understand that we are dedicated to helping you build this bow. We have an FAQ section here on the website that answers the most commonly asked questions and may be informative to you. Additionally, please know that you can call or email us anytime and we will do our best to help you out.
There is something about building bows that is incredibly addicting. It is very rare that a customer of ours stops at just one bow. For many people this becomes a lifelong hobby. So once you have built your first bow and have become familiar with the process come on back and head over to our Bow of the Month page, where you can look at other bows built by our loyal customers and get some ideas for your next build. Who knows, your next bow might be featured on our Bow of the Month page.
Thanks for spending some time with the Bingham Projects family. We are dedicated to helping you build quality bows. It’s just what we do. If you have any questions, make sure to call or email and we will do our best to help you build a professional quality bow.