Jeremy Parnell

Making a PVC Short Bow

2 min read

July, 2014 —

It’s easy to create a bow out of a PVC pipe!

Recurve short bow made out of a PVC pipe

Some friends of mine at work heard about this guy, Nicholas Tomihama (The Backyard Bower), who makes bows out of PVC pipes, and we all decided to make a few and take them out to the archery range to see if they work. They do! With surprising accuracy and force.

We each made ours in different styles, using different methods to strengthen the weight of the draw. For mine, I had to make the recurve short bow. It looked awesome in Nicholas’ videos and, in my mind, the most ninja-like.

For a full tutorial, I mostly followed the instructions here. These are some summary photos of the steps involved.

Four basic steps

The first step is to get a PVC pipe and make some marks where you’d make your curves.

Mark the curves on the pipe

Next, you’ll need to flatten and curve the ends of the pipe. This is done with a heat gun, which are relatively inexpensive. In a pinch, you can heat up the PVC pipe over a stove by rotating the pipe often so it doesn’t burn.

Flatten and curve the ends of the pipe

It’s easiest if you press the warm pipe between boards, as described in the full tutorial.

Next, you add the interior curves and flatten the grip.

Add interior curves and flatten the grip

Finally, paint it black. It has to be black if you’re a ninja. Optionally, you can add a simple knob or rest for the arrow like I did here.

Spray paint it black

You’re all set, and ready with invaluable skills when the zombie apocalypse arrives!

Jeremy Parnell is a software developer, interactive designer, and entrepreneur based in Lexington, Kentucky.
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