- Wood selection
Wood selection is the most important step. You'll want a hard wood, but one that will bend well and adsorb shock well. I like to use hickory (any species), or Osage orange. They are ideal! These are what sledge hammer handles are made of for a reason.
- Peeling the wood
Ok you are going to want a manageable piece. Find a piece that is around 4 to 6 inches in diameter and about 72 inches long. I should be as knot free as possible, and as straight as possible. The dryer the better too. Ok peel the bark with a knife, or a draw knife, so you can see what you are working with.
- Shaping to wood
Start at the thick end and plane the thickness to make the bow one uniform thickness. So now you have a stave that is around 3'' thick throughout. Now shave the sides until the bow is 2'' wide. Remove material from both sides evenly. Now find the middle of your 3x2 and mark it. This is where your arrow rest and grip will go. Measure 18'' from both ends and make a mark. this is where the limb taper will stop.
- Shaping the limbs
Ok now you have your 3x2x72 with mark 18'' from the ends. Make another mark on the tips at 7/16'' on the 3'' thickness side. Do this on both ends! On the same side at your 18'' mark take a measurement of 1/2'' and make a mark. Now 3'' from your center mark measure 3/4'' thickness and make a mark. Now connect all three marks with a line. This is your limb thickness taper. Shave the wood down to this line. On the belly (the side you just shaved) make a mark at 18'' again. At the tips of the belly find the center of the stick and mark the ends centering a 1/2'' on the center of the stick. So you have a 1/4'' on each side of the center of the width. Do this on both ends. Now from those marks draw a straight line to the edge of the stick at the 18'' marks. Now shave the sides to the lines. You should have removed two wedges from each end when your done.
- Tillering and string knocks
Cut string knocks 1'' from each end. String the bow. Get ready to tiller. If the bow bends evenly great you're ready to shoot, but if not you need to remove material on the end with less bend until it bends evenly.
Good job now you have the simplest form of a bow. Go shoot it!