How to Make a Hungarian Horse Bow

Nov 1, 2023


Welcome to Classic Bow, your ultimate resource for all things archery and traditional bowmaking! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of crafting a Hungarian horse bow — a remarkable weapon rooted in a rich cultural heritage. Whether you're an experienced archer or a passionate craftsman, this article will provide you with the knowledge and techniques to create your very own Hungarian horse bow.

Understanding the Hungarian Horse Bow

Before we delve into the art of making a Hungarian horse bow, it's important to understand its unique features and historical significance. The Hungarian horse bow, also known as the Magyar bow, hails from Hungary and has been utilized by horse archers for centuries. Its design incorporates a distinctive recurve shape that imparts incredible power to the arrows.

Materials and Tools

To embark on this exciting bow-making journey, you will need a few essential materials and tools. Here's a list of items you'll require:

  1. High-quality wood (such as yew, ash, or maple) for the bow stave
  2. Bowstring material (such as B-50 Dacron or Fast Flight)
  3. Carpenter's drawknife and rasp for shaping the bow stave
  4. Sandpaper of various grits for refining the bow's surface
  5. Wood glue for securing the handle and reinforcing weak areas
  6. A tillering tree or tillering board for bending the bow stave
  7. Clamps or cordage for applying pressure during glue drying

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Selecting the Bow Stave

The first step in making a Hungarian horse bow is selecting the right piece of wood for your bow stave. Traditionally, yew wood has been favored due to its exceptional strength and flexibility. However, ash or maple can also be great alternatives. Choose a stave with minimal knots, straight grain, and a length suitable for your desired draw length.

2. Shaping the Bow Stave

Using a drawknife and rasp, begin shaping the bow stave into the characteristic recurve design of the Hungarian horse bow. Start by removing excess wood from the belly (inner curve) of the bow, gradually working towards the tips. Exercise caution and ensure symmetrical shaping to maintain balance and performance. Regularly check the tiller (bend) of the bow using a tillering tree or board to assess and adjust the tiller during the shaping process.

3. Sanding and Finishing

Once you're satisfied with the shape and tiller of your bow, it's time to refine its surface. Begin by using coarse-grit sandpaper and gradually progress to finer grits. Smooth out any rough areas and ensure a uniform finish. A well-sanded bow not only enhances its aesthetics but also reduces friction during the draw and release, improving overall performance.

4. Attaching the Handle

Next, carefully shape and attach the handle to your Hungarian horse bow using wood glue. Choose a sturdy hardwood for the handle, ensuring a comfortable grip and secure attachment. Reinforce the connection with additional layers of glue and securely clamp the handle in place until the glue has fully cured.

5. Applying the Bowstring

Select a suitable bowstring material, such as B-50 Dacron or Fast Flight, and carefully attach it to your horse bow. Stringing a recurve bow requires precise technique to prevent damage to the bow or injury to yourself. Utilize a bow stringer or learn the necessary steps for safe and correct stringing to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your bow.

6. Final Adjustments and Testing

Once your Hungarian horse bow is fully assembled, it's time to perform final adjustments and testing. Use a tillering tree or board to carefully check the tiller and make any required modifications. Ensure both limbs bend evenly and achieve the desired draw weight and draw length. Test the bow's performance by shooting a few arrows, adjusting as necessary for optimal accuracy and power.


Crafting a Hungarian horse bow is not only a testament to traditional archery but also a rewarding endeavor that allows you to connect with centuries of craftsmanship and tradition. With the guidance provided in this comprehensive guide, you now possess the knowledge and skills to embark on your own bow-making journey. Remember to always prioritize safety, precision, and respect for the art of bowmaking. Happy crafting and may your arrows fly true!

how to make a hungarian horse bow
Knut Ygardslia
This guide is a must-read for DIY enthusiasts! 🏹💪 Can't wait to start crafting my own Hungarian horse bow!
Nov 9, 2023
Gary Kilby
This guide is a great starting point for anyone interested in learning how to make a Hungarian horse bow. Very informative!
Nov 7, 2023