Women Afield—The Art of Archery: How a Compound Bow is Made

Three young archers shooting Olympic recurve bows

Archery season is in full swing around the county. In my opinion, it is one of the most exciting ways to hunt whitetail. If you have not tried archery, I highly recommend it. There are many different bow manufactures and so many great models to choose from for every level of shooter. Even the beginning archer has a great bow option in the Mathews Genesis that grows with shooter thank to its unique draw system.

Blue Genesis bow in black case with arrows
The Genesis is a bow for the whole family. It has the unique ability to offer the proper draw weight and length for an eight-year-old or Dad.

Did you ever wonder what goes into making a compound bow? I had the rare opportunity to tour the Mathews factory where I witnessed how Mathews makes its bows. Located northwest of Madison, Wisconsin and southeast of St. Paul, Minnesota sets the sleepy little city of Sparta. Far from the world’s archery stage, in the small industrial section of town, is where the Mathews’ magic begins.

The Bow-Building Process

  1. Lasers cut the highest grade aluminum bars into various sizes and designs. The lathe operators act as skilled surgeons while carefully manipulating every detail including intricate design patterns in the riser (handle) as they shape the bows.
  2. The carefully-cut risers are sent to the polishing department within the factory where they are de-burred. This process is as interesting to watch as it was noisy. During the de-burring and polishing process, all rough edges, burrs, nicks and flaws are polished until they become smooth to the touch.
  3. Each and every part is carefully inspected.
  4. After inspection, the bows are attached to hooks that hang from a conveyor belt.
  5. Each bow is carefully dipped into a tank of water that has been heated to the precise temperature; a camo pattern film rests on the top of the water. As the bow dips into the water, the camo pattern adheres to the bow—this is the hydrographic process.
  6. The bow dries while hanging.
  7. Highly-skilled personnel assemble each bow and attach the cams by hand.
  8. During this time-consuming process, the bows are again analyzed and put through a series of tests by expert technicians.
  9. A precision laser engraver etches the famous Mathews name into the wooden grips.
  10. The technician attaches the grip to the bow.
  11. Behind closed doors, technicians string the bows with Mathews’ custom-designed Zebra strings.
  12. Inspectors do one final inspection before being packed and marked for shipping to the dealer.
Three young archers shooting Olympic recurve bows
Three young archers shooting Olympic recurve bows

Mathews, Inc., continues to make an impact within the world of archery. With innovative bows such as the Genesis bow (an easily adjustable, light-poundage shooting bow perfect for someone who is just starting out in archery), plus providing funding for programs such as the National Archery in the Schools Program, Mathews continues raise the bar on product development within the archery industry.

Have you ever shot a Genesis bow? Tell us about it in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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