When laying out a bow it is very important to follow the vertical or lateral grain. Failing to do so may result in the bow breaking.
Note how the vertical or lateral grain on this stave is somewhat snaky. I drew a pencil line down the middle of this stave following this grain .
Then, I measured half the distance on either side of the center line to get the desired width. So for a 1.5 inch bow I measured 0.75 in. on either side of the line.
The bow I am laying out here has pyramid shaped limbs so I adjusted my measurements accordingly. To facilitate this process I measured out the limb in 6 in. increments. Using outside calipers I decreased the measurement at each of those 6 inch spots to obtain my pyramid shape.
In addition to the pyramid shape, There are several other options for limb shape. For example, the bowyer may prefer to leave the limbs full width to just past mid limb.
Often, I let the stave dictate the design. The other limb took on in a pyramid shape when I split this stave so I followed that design with this limb.
Copyright by George C Tsoukalas