this is way old thread... and i'm new, but i've got a bit of experience making "primitive" style bows.
first off, wild harvesting of woodenstaves is really difficult, the wood needs to dry/cure for a long ass time, like a year.
the first bows i played around with were made from cheap one by twos from lumber joints.
back in georgia, red oak is cheap, i don't know about here.
the next biggest fattest tip i can give you is BACKING MATERIAL!!!!
the indians use sineu, the chinese use horn, some civs used linen or silk. the easiest bang for your buck is some double layered drywall tape. it's like this grid looking fiberglass tape.
also, i'd like to stress, the bow is the ultimate waste of time in any survival situation. it requires alot of time and effort and expertice. i would first master creation of the atlata and dart, and the sling, and the throwing stick before i wasted any more time on bows...
ironwood... lol how'd that work out for you?
i broke about 15 homade bow-like creations before i got one that was even close. investing anymore than 10$ in the whole project is folly.
also, fun filled fact, drop by a local meat departmnt, or butcher shop and ask you buy their cut "Silverskin" as most meat cutters don't identify it as sinew.
they'll prolly just give it too you, or charge dirt cheap, because they normally throw it out. it makes the best bowstring.