How To Make A Cross Bow Out Of Wood

By Andy Ryan


Updated at
handmade cross bow

Crossbows can be really expensive. If you’ve just gotten into the hobby of bowhunting, chances are you won’t be very keen on spending a lot of money on a bow, but rather taking things slow. One of the best ways of practicing archery without spending money on a sophisticated bow is making your own. There are a lot of ways of making your DIY bow, one of which you’ll learn about in this article.

Dealing with lack of budget, time, or expertise? Learn how to make a crossbow out of wood. This tutorial will guide you through the whole process.

How to Build a Crossbow out of Wood

Crossbow Body

The first thing you’d need to build is the homemade crossbow body. For this, you’d need a wooden stock measuring about 38 inches in length, 2 inches in width, and 2 inches in height. 

Step 1: Hold the stock in your arms like you would hold a rifle, and mark the spot where you want to cut the stock. Make sure the length is comfortable for you. Ideally, the stock should be long, but we would advise you to not cut it over 1 meter. This way, the PVC bow that you’d be attaching in the next step won’t get damaged.

Step 2: Use a saw and cut the wood from where you’ve made the marking.

Step 3: Now hold the stock again, the same way as you would a rifle, and see where you want the handle and the trigger of the bow to be. Again, choose a spot that is comfortably reachable to you. At the spot where you’ve marked the trigger, outline a rectangular shape (4 inches in length, and 1 inch in width) at the top of the wood. This is where your index finger would go. 

Step 4: Use a drill to carve out the wood inside the rectangle. Ensure that you don’t end up breaking the wood. Once the wood is popped out, smooth its insides using sandpaper. 

Step 5: Use a chisel to carve a bit of groove (1/8 inch) near the trigger. This is where the string of the homemade crossbow would go. 

Step 6: Extend the groove from the rectangular cavity to the end of the wooden stock along the center of the length. Now use the chisel to drill a ¼ inch deep ditch, and use the sandpaper to smoothen the insides.

Step 7: Cut an 8-inch long wood piece and attach it to the bottom of the wood using wood glue. This would be used as the crossbow’s grip. 

Your homemade crossbow body is now ready. Let’s move into making the bow. 

Making the Bow

For this step, you’d need a 36 inch PVC pipe. 

Step 1: Carve grooves on both ends of the PVC pipe. 

Step 2: Attach two pulleys on both ends using wood screws and wire ties.

Step 3: Now take a nylon thread and tie it to the wood screw of one end (left) of the pipe, before pulling it to the other end (right), and looping it around the pulley. Now pull the thread back to the first end (left) to secure the pulley of that end. To secure the whole structure, pull the thread back to the right end, and tie it with the wood screw. 

Step 4: Pull the string once to see if it appears to be accurate to you. Do a few test runs.

Finish Up the Bow Body

Now that you have made your DIY crossbow’s body, and its bow, it’s time to bring the two together and finish the structure. 

Step 1: On the wood stock, you’d have to create another groove to fit the PVC pipe. You can use a chisel for this, and use the Pipe’s circumference as a reference for the size of the groove. 

Step 2: Fit the PVC pipe into the groove and use duct tape to secure it in place. Place the pipe in such a way that the firing string is on the top of the wood, and the other two strings at the bottom. 

Step 3: Test the DIY crossbow by drawing the string tucking it on the rectangular hole’s string notch. Now all that’s left is to make a trigger system. 

Preparing the Trigger System

Step 1: Cut an L-shaped piece of wood for the trigger using a saw. Make the shorter part of the L smaller than the hole on the DIY crossbow.  

Step 2: Use a chisel to create a ⅛ inch depression across the smaller portion of the L-shaped wood.

Step 3: Drill a hole on the corner of the L and the center of the long wooden piece. Make it big enough so you could insert a nail through it.

Step 4: Fix the trigger onto the rectangular hole of the wooden stock. Place it in such a way that the L faces forward. 

Step 5: Secure the trigger by hammering a nail on the stock.

Butt and Handle

To hold the DIY crossbow, you’d also need to make a handle.

Step 1: Cut an 8-inch long wood.

Step 2: Fix the handle behind the trigger using wood glue, and nails.

Step 3: Place some padding on the butt for increased comfort while firing the bolts. You can use foam for this and secure the same using duct tape. 

Tada! Your DIY crossbow is all ready to be fired. You can now go out and test the crossbow if you have bolts of the right size. You can purchase the bolts from any e-commerce store at a cheap rate. You can also choose to make your own bolts using dowels. You’d also need targets. You can make one using cardboard. Simply draw target circles on the cardboard of the right size and you’d be good to go. Practice your shots using the DIY crossbow from a distance of 65-100 feet. (1, 2)

Different Bow Wood

There are several kinds of woods that can be used to make an archery bow. You can select the wood that you can get your hands on easily. Here are some wood species that can be used to make a DIY bow. 

  • Madagascar Rosewood
  • Muninga
  • European Yew
  • Osage Orange
  • Pacific Yew
  • Guajayvi
  • Tambootie
  • Chinaberry
  • Pear
  • Cebil
  • Mansonia
  • Turkey Oak
  • Makore
  • Movingui
  • Field Maple
  • African Blackwood
  • English Walnut
  • Alligator Juniper
  • Brazilwood

Check the video below;

You may want to check other learning and product guides below. Until our next article!

(1) e-commerce store –
(2) cardboard –