How to Make a PVC Bow
As much as I hate to say it, most people in today’s generation know little to nothing about hunting and trapping wild game. I feel like just a few generations ago people knew this stuff. But today, it’s not common knowledge. While this is good news for trout and deer, it’s not good news for society. Today, I’m not going to bore you with how to hunt wild game or catch fish. There are thousands of articles on those topics. Instead, I want to show you something more interesting- how to make a PVC bow. In a survival situation, you might not have access to a gun or compound bow. If and when this happens, being able to build a PVC bow can definitely come in handy.
Why Make a PVC Bow?
One answer- money. There’s no doubt that today’s compound bows are pretty expensive (a few hundred dollars minimum). Unless you’re someone who’s going to shoot your bow every day, it probably doesn’t make much sense to spend that much money on one. Building a PVC bow capable of killing wild game will cost you around $30 (probably less). That’s 10x to 20x less than you’d pay for a store-bought model. Another reason is that PVC bows are pretty cool! As you’ll come to see, they’re very durable, and are great for hunting or protection. In this article, I’ll show you the exact materials that you’ll need to make one, as well as the steps to putting those materials together. Let’s get started.
Materials Needed for Building a PVC Bow
Here are the materials that you’ll need to build a PVC bow:
- 5-Foot Piece of Schedule 40 PVC Pipe (3/4” Thick) = $2.28
- 5-Foot Piece of Schedule 40 PVC Pipe (1/2” Thick) = $2.29
- 5-Foot Piece of Fiberglass Rod (3/8” Thick) = $3.99
- Electrical Tape = $4.79
- Duct Tape = $3.48
- Pipe Insulation $5.99
- WD-40 = $8.15
- 55-Inches of Bowstring = $6.99
You can also buy spray paint (for decorative purposes), but that’s completely optional. Considering that most people already own many of the above materials, the price should come to be much less than $30. For example, most households already have electrical tape, duct tape, and WD-40. That automatically deducts about $20 from the price tag. Now that you know what materials you’ll need to build a PVC bow, let’s look at the actual steps.
Steps for Making a PVC Bow
I’m going to start by showing written instructions for putting together your bow, followed by a video at the end that will show you how it’s done. Some people are better visual learners, so if that’s you, feel free to scroll down and watch the instructional video. Steps include:
- Step 1: Use a saw to cut a line down one side of your ½-inch thick PVC pipe.
- Step 2: Spray WD-40 on both ends of your ¾-inch thick PVC pipe.
- Step 3: Spray WD-40 on the outside of your ½-inch thick PVC pipe.
- Step 4: Take the ½-inch thick piece of PVC pipe and place it into the ¾-inch thick piece.
- Step 5: Mark off ¾-inches from either side of the pipe.
- Step 6: Drill a hole on either side of the pipe right on the mark using a 1/8-inch drill bit.
- Step 7: Cut through the end of the pipe using a hacksaw (stop at the holes).
- Step 8: Repeat step 7 on the opposite side of the bow.
- Step 9: Smooth down the rough edges using a metal file.
- Step 10: Use sandpaper to smooth down the area you just filed.
- Step 11: Create your handle using pipe insulation.
- Step 12: Wrap the fiberglass rod in duct tape and electrical tape.
- Step 13: Place the fiberglass rode into the PVC pipe (it adds power).
Once you’re finished, simply string your PVC bow as you would a regular longbow. Then you’re ready to begin shooting. Keep in mind that there are countless variations of this project. This is the one that I used and worked well for me. As promised, here’s a video that will walk you through the exact steps to making your PVC bow:
Note, you don’t need any of the following accessories to shoot your new bow. These are completely optional. The only reason I’m mentioning them is because having these accessories will make for a better shooting experience. But as you saw in the video above, you can shoot your PVC bow exactly how it is without accessories. Anyways, here they are (leave me a comment below if I missed something):
- Arm Guard: A quality arm guard will cost you approximately $20 (probably less). Not only do arm guards help protect your arm, but they also play a role in accuracy. The Tarantula Sleeve Wrap Armguard on Amazon is well-reviewed only costs $15.99.
- Bow Socks: No, these aren’t socks that you wear on your feet. A bow sock is something that will protect your PVC bow from scratches while in storage or during transport. You can make these if you have a sewing machine, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.
- Quiver: Quivers are used to carry spare arrows. They also help prevent accidental stabbings, as well as protect arrow feathers. The OMP No Spill Tube Quiver costs about $10.99, and is a quality option in my opinion.
- Targets: Finally, you’ll need some targets. Granted, you can always shoot at nothing in particular, but what fun is that? By having targets, you’ll be able to hone your skills for the real thing. You can usually by these for very cheap (less than $10).
Again, these accessories aren’t mandatory for PVC bows. They’re simply designed to make the experience better. The bow that you’ve learned how to make today may not be as powerful as some of the compound bows on the market today, but they do have the ability to kill smaller game. If and when SHTF, they’re an invaluable tool to have.
As you can see, building a PVC bow isn’t difficult or expensive. Considering that rising prices of compound bows today, they are an excellent choice for people who want to hone their archery skills without paying a lot of money. This is a fun project that you can do alone, or with a family member or friend. I recommend checking out my article 17 Bow Hunting Tips – Off Grid Survival for more information on how to increase your chances of killing wild game with a bow.