This was enough weight to start bending the bow. The goal is to have a very even bend across the length of the bow. You don't want any flat spots or sharp bends. You can see that the left arm was slightly more bent than right.
I continued shaving off more wood and adding more weight. Until I got to this point:
Oops! Look how much the left arm is bending. I took off too much wood. And this was with thirty-five pounds instead of the forty I was hoping for. In order to even out the arms I had to take more wood off, resulting in a bow that only drew thirty pounds.
Here is the bow after tillering and sanding. Now it was ready for the final finishing process. I did take it out for a few shots at this point in time and was very pleased.
And here is the final bow (In the hands of my lovely assistant, Amelia)! It still need a proper string and arrows, but I am very happy with how it came out.
A detail of the handle. I pained the back (the part facing away from the archer) black and then added a swirling yellow design to it. The back was covered in glue-soaked paper to prevent splinters and cracks from developing when the bow was drawn. The paint job was to improve the brown-paper look. The handle is wrapped in glue-soaked hemp twine. You'll see a notch right above the handle. This is called the arrow rest. Not all bows have them, but American longbows usually have them, so I put on on.
The final product "braced" with some nylon cord. Now to get some arrows and put it into action!
69" (nock to nock) Red Oak "American" longbow backed with paper.
30# draw weight at 28" draw
Making this bow was loads of fun and I will definitely be making another ASAP!