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Chistof C.





Joined: 12 Mar 2008

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec, 2008 2:20 pm    Post subject: English Longbow         Reply with quote

Ok, so I have been wanting to make an authentic english longbow for quite some time now, and now I finally have the time and the chance to do it, so, can anyone walk me through the steps that go into making said bow? Such as what part of the tree to use and what kind of wood I could reasonably use to make it (I don't have access to more traditional resources so I am wondering if Oak wood will suffice) and about how tall and thick around to make it. Any and all comments will be appreciated.
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
Joined: 07 Oct 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec, 2008 2:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yew is ofcourse the preferable wood to use, I have seen ash used as well
I would suggest getting a copy of the bowers bible which tells you anything and everything you need to know about making any kind of bow. Most prefer a sapling trunk or a primary branch.
Check out www.primitaveways.com and most bowers sell yew or other wood staves to make bows a google search will help you with that Happy also do NOT put on a grip of any kind historically medieval bows did not have bow grips, oh you could also look up the Mary rose bows for ideas on style
Z
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Zach Gordon




Location: Vermont. USA
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec, 2008 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Google for primitiveways the site is good but for some reason my link is bad
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Martin Erben




Location: Germany, Düsseldorf
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec, 2008 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

good evening
I'm making bows sice a few years now and I think I can tell you, that it's nearly impossible for a beginner to built an english longbow with an acceptable and authentic draw weight (around 80 pounds).
But if you really want to try it, here are some suggestions:
-English longbows were nearly always made of yew or elm.
-They had a draw weight between 60(for hunting etc.) and 120 pounds(for war).
But if you seriously want to built a good one, I could recommend the book "the bowyers Bible, volume one" to you.

(Please excuse spelling mistakes, I'm from germany...)
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Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
Joined: 23 Aug 2006

Posts: 289

PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec, 2008 4:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I presume you don't want a Victorian target bow and would prefer something closer to the medieval / Tudor war bow.

Yew - pacific, or high-altitude european - is preferred but if you've never made a bow before I'd stay well clear or you're going to end up wasting a very nice and rather expensive piece of wood.

A Victorian target bow will have a draw weight between 45 and 70lb measured at 28" draw. The bow has a central riser in the handle which stiffens the centre of the bow making it nicer to shoot. The bow tends to work from the mid-limb out, so is generally a less efficient design.

A warbow comes full compass - that is, it bends through the handle at full draw. This makes it far more efficient but much less comfortable to shoot (many novices complain of hand-shock). Draw weights, for a period-accurate bow, should be somewhere between 90 - 180lb; this time measured at 32".

If you're a reasonably fit, average adult male you should be able to shoot a 100lb bow with practice. To shoot over 120lb requires a lot of training, technique and practice. To be honest, I wouldn't bother about making a bow above about 70lb, unless you seriously want to get into medieval archery. If you do, the best first step is to contact the English Warbow Society (EWBS) at www.englishwarbowsociety.co.uk

Probably the best way to get into making longbows is to make a laminate bow. Check out http://sasmedia.co.uk/. They produce a series of DVDs on medieval bow and arrow construction by Master Bowyer Steve Stratton and Master Fletcher Mark Stretton

You may also want to read Alan Blackham's article "The backstreet bowyer" (http://www.alanesq.com/The-Back-Street-Bowyer.pdf). a very useful getting started guide
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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec, 2008 6:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Go to http://www.vintageprojects.com/. They have plans for a lemonwood longbow with detailed instructions. Lemonwood is hard to come by and very expensive, I pay around $150.00 to $175.00 US for a 7ft x 3' x 4' piece of archery grade. Red or white oak will serve, but make a very underpowered bow . Try hickory for your first attempt, it makes a good bow and is very forgiving of errors.

Rudderbows and several other websites offer "you finish bows" for a very reasonable price. This might be a good place to start, if you don't have too many hand tools.

I got started by buying a copy of "the Tradtitonal Bowyers Bible Vol. 1" and following the John Strunk section on the yew longbow, but I used hickory as it was readily available at a local lumberyard. The TBB also has a section on board bows and how to select the boards.

The Bent Stick is another good starter book for beginning bowyers.

Good Luck,

Curt

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec, 2008 10:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I shot a 160 lb longbow once...it HURTS. Not just my arm either, my whole body hurt after just one shot. I have no idea how that 60 year old man shoots it all day long. 100 lb draw I think is too much for most modern shooters as well. Most shooters complain that my 70 lb longbow is too much around here. I think 50 is a good start for a first bow (and a lot less painful is something goes catastrophically wrong Wink ). Considering my first bow attempt broke in two and a piece bopped me in the head, It's not a bad idea to start off low.
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Harold R.





Joined: 02 Feb 2006

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Fri 26 Dec, 2008 11:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Never shot a longbow but I do have a recurve that I picked up pretty cheap.
It's a 55 pound bow and truth be told, it's about as heavy as I'd want to start with. I don't have any trouble with a 75 lb compound bow that my neighbor owns but my recurve is a stout little beast to draw. Even the archery guys at the local sporting goods store have remarked "man, that old bow is pretty tough!".
I suspect that unlike the archers of old, we're all just a bunch of weenies anymore.

Like I said, just conjecture based on very limited experience, but still...
Something to consider.
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec, 2008 2:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, it's true. Most modern archers are a bunch of weenies Wink . I mean honestly 70 lb longbow is not that bad. And some are even so ignorant to think that because they use a 120lb draw compound bow, that drawing my 70 lb longbow will be much easier when in fact it's harder. Then they try a REAL longbow at 160 lb draw and they cry and complain and make excuses. I'm just glad we have some old timer archers around here to smack down those young whipper snapper archers with their fancy smansy compound bows hehe.
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Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
Joined: 23 Aug 2006

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PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec, 2008 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

70lb is the minimum bow weight for entry into the English Warbow Society!

On the other hand, I know only about 3 or 4 people in the world who can comfortably shoot a 160lb bow - by comfortably I mean full draw (32"), to the ear, on every arrow. (I'm sorry, but leaving 6 inches of a 32" arrow stuck out the front of the bow constitutes 'plinking' to me, not shooting! Big Grin )

Don't get hung up on bow draw-weights. I've shot 125lb bows I could shoot all day; and others I've struggled with. The difference is in the performance of the bow. The easy bow could cast a military arrow (1/2" shaft, 8/5" fletchings, 75g) about 220 yards; the hard bow adds about another 30 - 40 yards to that!

You have to find the heaviest bow you can comfortably shoot, with the most performance. There's no point have a bow you're not the master of - you'll never get any performance out of it.

As an example, my wife shoots an 80lb warbow. She can shoot a military arrow about 100 yards. When I shoot the same bow and arrow I can get 170 yards; simply because I'm so much more 'on top of' the bow.
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Mon 29 Dec, 2008 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Christof C
Ok, so I have been wanting to make an authentic english longbow for quite some time now, and now I finally have the time and the chance to do it, so, can anyone walk me through the steps that go into making said bow? Such as what part of the tree to use and what kind of wood I could reasonably use to make it (I don't have access to more traditional resources so I am wondering if Oak wood will suffice) and about how tall and thick around to make it. Any and all comments will be appreciated.


In a nutshell a reply would be as long as a book and not as good, so as mentioned before, buy a book. I started with one by Hilary Greensides (I think) printed by The Society for the preservation of traditional archery and I found it great and not too heavy, but it is based more on American flat bow styles.

To be authentic yew is the favourite, but to be honest you are pretty sure to mess up the first couple, or at least not be happy with them, so American white ash makes a perfectly good if not great bow and is dirt cheap, as does hickory so I would make a couple at no more than 60lb with either. After that decide if you want to invest the $200 minimum in a piece of yew good enough to make a bow from.

Lower weights and flatter bows make for lower stressed wood and so easier bows to make and survive the early shooting in.

I would also say that if you already shoot then you will know what kind of weight is good for you otherwise go for lower weights at say 50lb as then you can concentrate on technique and learning to shoot rather than working out why your shoulders hurt. It must also be said that a knock on the head from a 50lb bow breaking is better than one from a 100lb which is an expectation from a novice bowyer.

Regards

Tod

www.todsworkshop.com
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Tue 30 Dec, 2008 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:


I would also say that if you already shoot then you will know what kind of weight is good for you otherwise go for lower weights at say 50lb as then you can concentrate on technique and learning to shoot rather than working out why your shoulders hurt. It must also be said that a knock on the head from a 50lb bow breaking is better than one from a 100lb which is an expectation from a novice bowyer.

Regards

Tod


It was said...because my first bow DID break in half and bop me in the head Happy .
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Chistof C.





Joined: 12 Mar 2008

Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun 04 Jan, 2009 7:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much for all the help. I think I might just start out with a hickory bow and maybe one with about a 50-60 lbs draw weight. Does anyone know of any diagrams on how to make this bow?
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Harold R.





Joined: 02 Feb 2006

Posts: 76

PostPosted: Sun 04 Jan, 2009 11:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chistof C. wrote:
Thank you very much for all the help. I think I might just start out with a hickory bow and maybe one with about a 50-60 lbs draw weight. Does anyone know of any diagrams on how to make this bow?


Gotta hit up amazon and see what books they have. I've never tried building a bow but it doesn't seem like something you could very readily learn from just a couple diagrams on the internet.
Also, check out Rudder bows - they have some info about bowmaking.
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Mon 05 Jan, 2009 7:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Great Warbow is great reading for both history and technical discussion.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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