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bow-making-msg - 1/10/08


Making archery bows. Medieval bows.


NOTE: See also the files: crossbows-msg, p-archery-msg, quivers-msg, arrows-msg, bowstrings-msg, arch-supplies-msg, arrow-making-FAQ.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



TO: Robert Fitzmorgan

FROM: Stormbringer

SUBJECT: Re: Longbows


RF-:         Does anyone have information on the

RF-: construction of longbows or

RF-: know where to find it?  Any help would be greatly

RF-: appreciated.  Thanks.


You might write and ask Bear Archery (they make the things...or at least

they used to).  There are a few bowyers around still, though the really

good ones have orders stacked up for a few years.

The choice wood is Yew (grows in the Pacific Northwest from what I've

heard).  You need well cured, straight-grained staves to start with.

You need to carve them to just the right shape so that they curve

properly without breaking and don't twist or give too much.  You also

have to get them to move smoothly back to the starting position when you

release them.  Can you say "very tricky"?  I knew you could!

It is not an easy craft to master.  It takes a lot of time, but since

you will have to wait 7 to 10 years for the staves to cure properly you

should have time to practice the carving part... ;^)

It is *much* easier if you are willing to make a laminated bow and use

things like fiberglass.  A Yew self-bow is historically correct and

would make a fine weapon (ask anyone in midieval Europe!) but it is not

easy to make properly and takes a bit of maintenance to keep it in shape

(don't let the wood dry out or get too wet, store it so it doesn't

develop twisted limbs, etc.).

Even if you get the bow made, you still need arrows! Can't buy good

fletching-quality goose feathers anymore.  Everyone sells turkey these

days (or <shudder!> *plastic*.  Horn nocks aren't available commercially

either.  Hardwood shafts?  Ask around at Pensic, but expect to pay over

$100 a dozen...

Good luck!

                         ((( STORMBRINGER )))


* Origin: >> The Ophiuchi Hotline << Forward! Into the past! (1:109/508)



TO: Robert Fitzmorgan

FROM: Par Garou

SUBJECT: Re: Longbows


RF>         Does anyone have information on the construction of longbows or

RF> know where to find it?  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

RF>                                         Robert.


Greetings Robert.

        I am currently in the process of crafting a bow. The difficulty isn't

in the process, but in the time involved.  I've been working on this bow (a

short bow, measured from fingertips to opposite shoulder) since early April

(not including curing time) and it's still quite rough.  I figure I have about

4-6 months of work left to it.  It is quite a rewarding experience if you have

the patience to allow the tree/bow to become a part of you.  

        There are many ways to craft bows, the best methods (and the easiest)

I've seen can be found in Tom Brown's survival series, specifically

"Wilderness Survival" and "Living with the Earth".  Living with the Earth is

quite good for not only bow craftsmanship but also shelter construction, hide

tanning, etc.  Quite useful series of books for anyone.

        Also, don't be too disappointed if you make a bow and somewhere during

the process it snaps.  It happens and even though it can be disheartening

experience, the best bet is to grab another staff and start again....


* Origin: Cat House - What century is this? (703) 525-1731 (1:109/155)



From: BETHS at ksuvm.ksu.EDU

Date: 20 May 91 20:26:00 GMT


Honorable archers may be interested in:


McEwen, Edward, Robert L. Miller and Christopher A. Bergman, Early Bow Design a

nd Construction.  Scientific American, June 1991, (264:6) pp. 76-83.


Asked to name the most crucial discoveries of early humans, most people would

quickly come up with fire and the wheel.  A third may well be the bow.  It served as the principal weapon for hunting and warfare until the use of firearms be

came widespread in the 16th century.  Bows were developed in virtually all cult

ures, and some achieved high levels of technological sophistication.



From: haslock at rust.zso.dec.com (Nigel Haslock)

Date: 22 Jul 91 21:09:31 GMT

Organization: DECwest, Digital Equipment Corp., Bellevue WA


Ioseph.of.Locksley at f29.n114.z1.fidonet.org (Ioseph of Locksley) said:


> The English (Welsh) longbow has two rather glaring characteristics:


> 1) it is a "self" bow, i.e. not laminated, but made from one pice of wood,

>    sometimes with the knots left in....


> 2) and most important, it is -not- flat on both sides, but rather flat

>    on the inside of the bow, and -rounded- on the outside.....


I beg to differ. Since the outer face of the bow is carved to follow a growth

ring, it too is curved. The outer face is the one away from the string. The

inner face, or belly, is where the deeply curved face is.




                |     -

               |       \

              |         |           0 <-string

               |       /

                |   __-



Making a bow that included a significant knot would be a bad idea as the knot

constitutes a magor weakness. A yew bow is almost guaranteed to include pins,

i.e. knots a sixteenth of an inch across, because that is the way it grows.



        Aquaterra, AnTir



From: kuijt at topgun.UUCP (kuijt)

Date: 22 Jul 91 20:33:12 GMT

Organization: Los Alamos Nation Labratory, MEE-10


Ioseph of Locksley speaks of the Longbow:

I> The English (Welsh) longbow has two rather glaring characteristics:


I>1) it is a "self" bow, i.e. not laminated, but made from one pice of wood,

I>   sometimes with the knots left in....


        This is certainly true... Yew and Elm were favorite woods...


I>2) and most important, it is -not- flat on both sides, but rather flat

I>   on the inside of the bow, and -rounded- on the outside.....


        I am afraid that you are misinformed.  A "fully stacked" bow is

one that is rounded on the belly of the bow, and flat (not totally flat,

but flat in comparison) on the back of the bow.  The belly of the bow is

the string side, which would seem to me to be what you mean by the

"inside".  All medieval English and Welsh longbows seem to have been

fully stacked bows.  This statement is based upon illustrations (in

which it is not always clear), and the one surviving medieval English

bow that was NOT found in the Mary Rose, and all of the hundred odd bows

that were found in the Mary Rose (sunk 1547).


Sir Dafydd ap Gwystl                            kuijt at agps.lanl.gov

Spending the Summer in the Outlandish Mountains, where the Ladies are

fair, kind, and my Countess will demand an accounting of every hand I

kiss when I get back to Atlantia...



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: vader at meryl.csd.uu.se (]ke Eldberg)

Subject: Re: Traditional Archery Tackle (Was: Archery Rankings in Kingdoms?)

Organization: Indiana Jones University

Date: Sat, 2 Oct 1993 19:18:47 GMT


William de Corbie greets all.


Here are a few bowyers who make traditional English longbows:


Don Adams, 17 Granta Tce., Gt Shelford, Cambridge CB2 5DJ


Rex Baddeley, Bow Cottage, 19 Cefn Rd., Cefn Cribwr, Mid Glam CF32 0AR


John Bennett, 5  Denis Road, Burbage, Hinckley, Leics.


Chris Boyton, 32 Frays Close, Money Lane, W.Drayton, Middx. UB7 7PF


John Cave, 15+17 Broad Street Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 1NG


Hector Cole (arrowsmith), The Mead, Gt Somerford, Chippenham SN15 5JB


David Edwards, 9 Hanover Terrace, Whitby, N Yorks. UO21 1QQ


Lou Friend, Slindon Post Office, Slindon, Arundel, W Sussex BN18 0RR


Dudley Garrett, The Oast, Bellwood Farm, Hurst Green, Etchingham, Sussex


Hilary Greenland, 14 Upton Road, Southville, Bristol BS3 1LP


Richard Head, 9 Kingsfield Grange Road, Bradford on Avon, Wilts BA15 1BE


Stuart Homer, 131 Tennyson Drive, Great Malvern, Worcs WR14 2 UL


Roy King, St Nicholas Road, Blackpool, Lancs


Edward McEwen, 10 Richmond Way, Wanstead, London E11 3QT


Rick O'Ruark, O'Ruark Clan Trust, Main St. Dromahair, Co.Leitrim, Eire


(I have more...)





From: jct at reed.EDU (Jack Thompson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: bows/arrows

Date: 30 Sep 1993 04:25:46 -0400


Hari Heath has been seasoning a stock of yew for a time now; I have a bow

on order from him and it will appear in the fullness of time.  His bows

have a good look and feel.  He hunts with them (using arrows of his own

manufacture) and has put meat on the table thereby.  He also manufactures

a bowyer's vise for those who like to roll their own.  His address is:


Hari Heath

Box 126

Santa, ID  83866


I don't know what he charges for arrows; I make my own, so the question

never came up.


Another source (who's work I have not seen) is:


Robert Parks

Bitterroot Bows and Replication

Rt. 1, Box 138

Troy, ID  83871


On his card, he indicates that he provides "Custom sinew backed bows;

spine matched indian/asian style arrows; flintknapping; authentic replica



I make my arrows from Western Red Cedar; from the leftovers after

splitting out 10 foot-long shakes.  The debris makes awfully good fire



Jack C. Thompson

who has to decide whether or not the charcoal from the fire pit goes to

the outhouse or the forge; 'course, when the mosquitoes/flies are not

buzzing about, there's no question.



From: jcaldwll at oregon.uoregon.edu (Jim Caldwell)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: More Trad Archery Stuff

Date: 7 Oct 1993 00:00:14 GMT

Organization: UOregon


In response to Galen Woodwalker:

>In any case, *where* did you get your longbows?


I was lucky in that my lady (now my wife) had found a yew bow at a garage

sale (!) with a broken nock. In order to repair it, she and her best friend

tracked down a local bowyer by following hints and rumours they picked up

at a bow shop.  Later she built a bow (lemonwood (dagame -sp?- outside

U.S.)) with some instruction from the bowyer.  I therefore had both her

experience and the bowyers wisdom to draw from when I built my bow (yew).

Since then we have also built an ash bow (I don't recommend this wood as a

result) and re-worked 4 bows we picked up used at various places.  I _do

not_ consider myself an expert by any means, but perhaps I've learned

enough to be of help.  We are not interested at this time in making bows

for people, however, as mundane time limitations (me) and harp-making (my

wife) get in the way.


While looking for bow-making materials in magazines (our bowyer no longer

carries staves or billets), I recently found a magazine I hadn't seen

before called _Traditional Bowhunter_ that seems to have tons of ads for

finished equipment and even some bow-making supplies!  See if you can order

an issue from a good magazine stand or bookseller if it's not easily

available in your area.  Info is: _Traditional Bowhunter Magazine_, P.O.

Box 15583, Boise ID 83715, Ph (208) 888-4710 after 6 pm MST.  I couldn't

find an ISBN # in it.


Galen writes:


>should this pressure to get traditional equipment be made part of an archery

>ranking or awards system?


I certainly agree not.  If an area gets to the point were a large number of

people have traditional equipment, set up a seperate catagory if you feel

the need, but don't regulate people out of playing.  IMO I consider ranking

systems unnecessary, but that's neither here nor there. I'm a poor archer

and know it, but rankings could someday be used to prevent entry into

competitions and therefore take some of the fun away for us perpetual low

score dwellers.


The 'Traditional Bowyer's Bible' that Galen mentioned is a great book that

I need to get for my own library, and should be a welcome addition to any

Baronial/Shire libraries out there.


Thanks for listening, Jehan



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: John, R., Edgerton <sirjon at waffle.sns.com>

Subject: Re: Archery info needed!!

Keywords: archery, bows,arrows

Organization: Systems'n'Software, Fremont, CA  94539-6669

Date: Sun, 20 Feb 94 20:03:03 PST


ni-ten at wship.nullnet.fi (Esa Kivel{) writes:

> Unto all gentles does Lord Kimura no Esashi, Kinght-Marshal of

> Aarnimetsa does greetings.


> Well we have some memberes in our shie here who are interested in

> archery. Where we get some info how to build bows and arrows etc? All

> info are welcomed.


> If somebody knows something about it, he/she can also send private email

> to me, thank you.


> Lord Kimura no Esashi

> ni-ten at wship.nullnet.fi


> Esa Kivela

> Kaskitie 6

> 04400 Jarvenpaa



        There are two excellent books currently in print that

would be a good reference to the begining bowyer.  They are:

Tfhe traditional Bowyer's Bible vol. 1 and vol.2.  They can be

ordered through Bois dArc Press. (817) 237-0829.  Or you might

find some of the larger book stores and through a book search

through your local libary.  I would also reconmend the FAQs on

the Alt.Archery board here on Internet.

        There are two good magizines on the stands that would

be of help too. The Traditional Bowhunter which has a few articles

on bow making (208)888-4710.  The other is the Primitive Archer,

this is the better of the two for the bowyer interested in making

their own self(all wood) bows or arrows. (409)632-8746.


        Good luck with your bow making


Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf               John R. Edgerton

Esfenn,Mists,West               Newark, California


sirjon at waffle.sns.com  (John, R., Edgerton)


Free Public Access Internet BBS




From: jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Bow making

Date: 18 Apr 94 11:37:31

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.


>I am trying to make a working bow and not having much luck. For the moment I'm

>trying the standard longbow but am open to the Meare Heath flat bow. I'm in

>school so not much money for materials (there is a place in TX that sells  

>billets for bows but they start at $60.00. If I can even make one out of

>rattan, I will sacrifice my glaive.


Do you have access to any supplies of wood at all? My boyfriend made a

boughstave bow from hazel, it wasn't the best bow in the world, but it

was shootable and quite fun to make. Where I live the trees in the

hedgerows and parks get trimmed fairly regularly, and sometimes whole

branches are hacked off, the gardeners are overjoyed when someone

wants to take away one of the branches because it's less for them to

move. Also every time there's a gale it's possible to get large

branches that have fallen off trees.


for bough stave bows, green wood is easier to work and O.K. to use, so

you don't need to spend ages seasoning as you wood for a heartwood



Many hardwoods will work as bow wood, the boughs tend to be more

springy than the trunk, so after a while your bow will start to follow

the string, i.e. it will become permanently curved and will be weaker.

The good news is that this is offset by the fact that the bow gets

stronger as the wood seasons, so if you don't leave the bow strung for

a long time you should end up with something as strong as when you

started or better.


I'm a great fan of bough stave bows, they are good for a beginning

bowyer as you don't have to risk wasting expensive sapwood. They are

also an authentic medieval bow that isn't seen a lot today. I've got a

little booklet on them with details of how to make them which is

published by an archeological trust, it only costs about $3 email me

if you want any more details, and I can post you a summary of what's

involved in making one.



Vanaheim Vikings



From: jimle at autodesk.com (Jim Lester)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Bow making

Date: 18 Apr 1994 20:33:44 GMT

Organization: Autodesk, Inc.


jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray) writes:

>I am trying to make a working bow and not having much luck. For the moment I'm

>trying the standard longbow but am open to the Meare Heath flat bow. I'm in school

>so not much money for materials (there is a place in TX that sells billets for bows

>but they

>start at $60.00. If I can even make one out of rattan, I will

>sacrifice my glaive.


Try rattan ( but don't sacrifice your glaive a 6ft length should only cost ~$12

).  I read an article in Primitive Archer that said that rattan was a pretty

good bow wood: Easy to work With, and Shoots fairly fast. If you want I can

dig up the article and get the contact person or any details that you want.

Also Bittercreek Bow Works ( Is this the place that you are talking about )

will sell practice staves for $10,  these are smaller than the good staves, but

most of them will produce usable bows ( I have two practice staves and a good

stave sitting on my back porch waiting for my drawknife an spokeshave ).


BTW  I have often thought about making a rattan bow backed with duct tape for

     use in light-fighting ;-)


Chrodegang der Zaunschlager

Caldarium, Mists, West



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: n9010999 at honeydew.cc.wwu.edu (David Balbirona)

Subject: Re: Bow making

Organization: Western Washington University

Date: Tue, 19 Apr 1994 22:26:09 GMT


Greetings to all who read this missive,


The construction of period bows can be made from a variety of modern woods

at a great deal less than most people would guess.  An excellent book on

the topic is "The Traditional Bowyer's Bible". I would highly recommend

it to any and all gentles who have an interest in the construction of

bows.  The book covers all aspects of the construction from searching for

the right tree to making arrows for the bow.


One suprising thing you might find is that extremely good quality bows can

be made using kiln-dried lumber from the hardware store. That makes the

price of learning go down dramatically since the beginning bowyer will

typically break his or her first few bows.  It becomes easy to understand

that one might learn a great deal more from the construction process of

several bows (made inexpensively) than worrying continually in hopes that

one of the last few passes of the draw knife over your $60+ yew stave is

going to cause it to self destruct the first time it is fully drawn.


There is also a surprising number of wood species that make wonderful bow

woods.  In addition to yew, osage orange, and lemon wood, here is a brief

list of some other acceptible bow woods:

      elm, ash, oak, birch, hickory, black locust,walnut,cedar,juniper,

      mulberry, maple( hard rock or sugar(same thing)),vine maple (often

      called the new yew), purpleheart, goncalo alves.

Some of these are hard woods and some are white woods. Bear in mind that

the properties of some of the woods make them naturally suitable to either

english longbow or flatbow (another period style bow). Basically that

means that you should know what type of bow you want to make and then pick

a wood suitable to the bow type you want to make.


Another good source of information is a magazine called "The Primitive

Archer".  This is published quarterly and worth its weight in bowstaves.


I hope this has been of some  help to those interested in the art and

science of Bowyering.


--Yeoman Alisdair MacEwan

Kingdom Protector of AnTir (light combat champion)

David Balbirona

n9010999 at henson.cc.wwu.edu



From: jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Bow making

Date: 21 Apr 94 15:10:14

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.


>Would you be so kind as to post the source of your booklet.  

>I would like to obtain one of these.  My thanks.


The title of the booklet is "MAKING THE BOUGHSTAVE LONGBOW" by Don



The front page gives the following information:


Published 1988 by Friends of Lincoln

Archaeological research and Excavation

Sessions House

Lindum Road

Lincoln LN2 1PB


ISBN 0 946853 05 3


copyright Don Adams 1988


The address given is in the U.K. so it may be difficult for people in

the U.S.A. to obtain.


If anyone really wants a copy and can't get one where they are send

me some private email and I'll see about doing a swap for a U.S.

magazine or something else that's easy to get there and awkward to get




Vanaheim Vikings



From: jearley at aol.com (J EARLEY)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Yew Bows (was Re: Composite Bows (was Water Buffalo Horn))

Date: 23 Nov 1994 19:40:12 -0500


millsbn at mcmail.cis.mcmaster.ca (Bruce Mills) writes:


Yew is an extremely slow growing tree, and the yews in front of your house

are probably ornimental yews.  Pacific yew works just fine for bows.  In

the Middle ages, they liked yew from spain and italy.  Yew is sometimes

available as a by product in logging, but has become difficult to obtain

because of its use in cancer treatment has made the bark valuable, and

over harvesting has occurred.  It is a fairly substantial tree when old.

James Greyhelm



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: maclure at eos.arc.nasa.gov (IanMaclure)

Subject: Re: Composite Bows (was Water Buffalo Horn)

Organization: NASA Ames Research Center

Date: Thu, 24 Nov 1994 00:12:43 GMT


jearley at aol.com (J EARLEY) writes:


> SPADGET at ssf4.jsc.nasa.GOV (Padget, Scott) writes:


>Well, he asks about substitutes for water buffalo horn. There is a bow

>maker in Berkeley names Tim, not in the SCA, who makes recurve sinew, horn

>and wood composites.  He is a master worker. ( I have a yew long bow from

>him.) He would know if there was anything that would work. James Greyhelm


That would be Tim Baker.


He is recognized as an authority on the design and construction of traditional

bows of the North American persuasion and probably knows a good deal about

ancient archery worldwide. I took a class from him one weekend at the range

in Pacifica.

About a year ago, he was at the "Maya" shoot in Roseville with a

gentleman from Bosnia who had constructed a Turkish style composite bow.

As luck would have it an unrecontructed Turk ( in period ) happened to

wander by and shot the bow as it would have been done in period.

Most interesting.

The price I heard being discussed was around $800 for the bow.




################ No Times Like The Maritimes, Eh! ######################

# IBM   aka      #    Ian_Maclure at QMGATE.arc.nasa.gov           (desk) #

# Ian B MacLure  #    maclure at (remulak/eos).arc.nasa.gov   (currently) #

########## Opinions expressed here are mine, mine, mine. ###############



From: jearley at aol.com (J EARLEY)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Composite Bows (was Water Buffalo Horn)

Date: 24 Nov 1994 15:05:10 -0500


maclure at eos.arc.nasa.gov (IanMaclure) writes:


'Tim would be Tim Baker'  Yeah, that is the guy.  He is an amazing bowyer.

I watched him make a bow for my daughter from an untrimed stave in 20

minutes!  It was a good bow, too.  Tim was working on turkish bows about

four years ago when I moved from Berkeley.  I haven't seen him since.




From: IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu (I. Marc Carlson)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Osage Orange for Bows

Date: 29 May 1995 17:43:09 -0500

Organization: UTexas Mail-to-News Gateway


>From: "-Otto,M.R." <motto at usgp4.ih.att.com>

>I am putting out the word to all serious bowyers.

>I have in my new backyard a very large, very old, and dying Osage Orange

>tree.  I have heard that wood of this type is highly prized for bow making.

>I am interested in assuring that the wood, if usable for bows, is not

>wasted.  Thus, I am seeking contact with SERIOUS bowyers who have the means

>for harvesting the tree for the wood.  Please respond via email.  Thank you.


Greetings, Madam.  I appreciate that you asked to be replied to via

e-mail, but then again although I have worked with Bois d'Arc (aka

Osage Orage) I'm not what you would ever call a SERIOUS bowyer :)


Since the few serious bowyers I *do* know of don't have email access,

I will pass the word onto them and get back to you.  I wish you luck

on your response.  If I may suggest, though, should no one get in touch

with you, when you cut the tree down seal the ends of the logs.  As it

dries, Bois d'Arc tends to "fray" very badly, and simply smearing

some glue on each end and letting it dry can slow this down until

you can find someone to take the log(s) off your hands.


"Mihi Satis Apparet Propter     Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn

  Se Ipsum Appetenda Sapientia"    University of Northkeep

-- St. Dunstan                  Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

                        (I. Marc Carlson/IMC at vax2.utulsa.edu)



From: kay at unx.dec.com (Paul Kay)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,rec.games.frp.misc,alt.magnus.and.ketil

Subject: Re: The Making of a Longbow

Date: 7 Jun 1995 20:47:42 GMT

Organization: UNIX Software Group, Digital Equipment Corp.


djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt) writes:

> [Hal posting from Dorothy's account....]

> In article <KETIL.95May21051505 at jotun.vestnett.no>,

> Ketil Z <ketil at vestnett.no> wrote:

> >

> >I've always wanted to make a longbow, if only to see if it really

> >*can* penetrate armor, and I think I might get hold of some nice

> >and straight six feet of yew - all I need is the recipe.


> It's a bit more complex than *that*.  Find any decent archery

> book (especially if written before about 1950) and it'll have

> full directions for making longbows.


I gotta second Hal here.  I had a book from the Michigan State Library on

the history and making of Engish bows (and arrows).  It was publishe early

this century.  I remember this because the book had the impreture of the

Michigan Agriculture College Library.  I am not sure it is still in the

stacks, it wasn't in the last catalogue search I did. They probably moved

it to the rare book section.


(NB: Micigan State University went from Micigan Agricultural College to

Micigan State College in the 20's or 30's).


It is a good book, written by a boyer.  It goes into detais of woods, tools

and finishes used for a modern longbow.  It includes a digression into his

making a balista as an apprentice and the making of cedar and oak arrows.


As well as the making of "modern" bows, he claimed that the modern bows have

a different limb.  Before about 250 years ago, the limb had a uniform D

cross-section that led in a straight taper from the grip to the limb tip,

as opposed to the modern style that has a sharp taper near the grip and

then a gradual taper to the  limb tips.  He also claimed that the

inovation of limb shape added cast to the bow so that a modern 80 pounder

had the cast of an old style 100 pound bow.


Sorry to be so vague.  I guess I always thought I'd be in college back when

I read the book.  If any one knows of this book, please let me know.  (Gavin

Kilkenny heard a mundane friend and I discussing this book and offered my

friend money if he could find his uncle's copy.  I did, too. :-))


On the otherhand, I am not sure how much good Toxophilia would do, but is is

in many rare book collections. :*)


      Bart the Bewildered

      Carillion, East


      Paul Kay                       kay at unx.dec.com

      Digital Equipment Corporation            sysv::kay

      Manalapan, NJ (UNX)              (908) 577-6076 (DTN 462)



From: gdwgames at aol.com (GDW GAMES)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,rec.games.frp.misc,alt.magnus.and.ketil

Subject: Re: The Making of a Longbow

Date: 11 Jun 1995 12:31:07 -0400


Robert Hardy's book "The Longbow" contains a chapter on how to select

woods, what tools are needed, and how to go about making a more or less

traditional English longbow. The latest edition contains a chapter on the

bows recovered from the wreck of the Mary Rose.



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: DDFr at Midway.UChicago.edu (David Friedman)

Subject: Re: Crossbows and a Question

Organization: University of Chicago Law School

Date: Mon, 26 Jun 1995 05:24:20 GMT


> b:  What sort of glue may be used that is flexible enough to use for

> compound bows?


> "Mihi Satis Apparet Propter     Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn


My memory of the literature on hand bows of the same general construction

is that they used a fish glue. You might check Paterson and Lathem's

translation of Taybugha (I think it is called _Mameluke Archery_ but I

might be misremembering).



DDFr at Midway.UChicago.Edu



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: eadengle at jeeves.uwaterloo.ca (Edmund "Cynwrig" Dengler)

Subject: Re: Crossbows and a question

Organization: University of Waterloo

Date: Tue, 27 Jun 1995 20:41:46 GMT


I am 90 percent certain that Yumi uses modern glues in the manufacture of

his longbows, however I wouldn't be too surprised to find out that he

knew of sources for hide glue or fish glue.  As an archery marshal, I

would recommend you use a modern equivalent if you are going to shoot the

weapon regularly as opposed to having it as a display piece.  The problem

with the period glues is that they were hydroscopic, they absorb water

easily and weaken.  So especially in the case of a crossbow which is

under constant tension, the glue may fail after a time. If you do go

with the period glue on a laminated limb, you might want to wrap it in

leather or sinew in case it does give way.  

Remember, bow failure was also quite period.


Rufus of Stamford

(posted through Ed Dengler)



From: derek.broughton at onlinesys.com (DEREK BROUGHTON)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: re: Crossbows and a question

Date: Sat, 01 Jul 95 10:38:00 -300

Organization: Online Systems Of Canada


imc at vax2.utulsa.edu (i. marc carlson) wrote:


IM>A fish glue, eh?  Ah well, more delightful aromas with which to entice

IM>the neighborhood.  Can you (or anyone) suggest a source for such a

IM>thing, as I would prefer to try it and see what it's supposed to do

IM>before I try and make it myself.  Barring that, have you (or anyone

IM>else) a source for a decent Hide glue?


   Lee Valley Tools                Phone: (613)596-0350

   P.O. Box 6295, Station J               (800)668-1807

   Ottawa, ON, Canada                Fax: (800)267-8767

   K2A 1T4


Sells Hide glue, I don't know about fish glues.  I don't know if

the 800 numbers will work from the states.  They have absolutely

the best money-back guarantees I've ever had the chance to take

advantage of.


Coryn llith Rheged                 |  Canton of Wessex Mere

mka Derek Broughton                |  Barony of Ramshaven

derek.broughton at onlinesys.com      |  Principality of Ealdormere

                                   |  Middle Kingdom



From: Richard Smiley <rsmiley at quiknet.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Bowmaking

Date: 6 Sep 1995 18:44:23 GMT


Stephen Fraser <sunfire at muskoka.com> wrote:

>Excuse my ignorance, but I'm wondering if some of the more experienced

>bowyers could answer a few questions for me.  I'm just starting out in

>the craft and would like to confirm a few suspicions.


>1) Is vine maple aalso called soft maple?


>2) Though poplar is technically a hardwood, I gather it cannot be used

>for making bows ... am I right?


>3) Can anyone suggest the _best_ method to split staves from a tree?


>Stephen of Two Falls,

>St. Nicholas, Ealdormere, MK


You are going to want to use one of the tried and true woods for making

bows and that would be yew or osage orange.  They are a little hard to

find depending on where you live.  Other bowyers may be using other

woods but these are the ones that keep coming up.  Ideally you want the

stave to be half heartwood and half sapwood which, I think, works like

laminations would in modern bows.


To split staves from a tree the best tool is called a froe.  It would be

easier for you to look it up in a library than for me to describe it or

do some ASCII art.  With this tool you can get a very controled split by

starting it with a mallet and then using it as a lever to continue the

split.  If the split starts to "run-out" on you you can bend one half

or the other to get it to straighten out again.  I can't remember which

side you would bend.  Woodcraft supply has froes for about $40 but a

perfectly good one can be made from the leaf spring of a car.


Malcolm MacPherson, OL

West Kingdom



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,rec.games.frp.misc,alt.magnus.and.ketil

From: sirjon at netcom.com (John Edgerton)

Subject: Re: The Making of a Longbow

Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 19:35:18 GMT


Ketil Z (ketil at vestnett.no) wrote:

: I've always wanted to make a longbow, if only to see if it really

: *can* penetrate armor, and I think I might get hold of some nice

: and straight six feet of yew - all I need is the recipe.


: I *know* there was an article in Scietific American a few years ago,

: describing the construction of a thing like this, does anybody have

: a reference, either to


: o this article (issue of SciAm)

: o an index or home page for SciAm where I can search

: o the name/email adress of the author(s) (Yep, I'll even pester

:   them electronically if all other roads appear closed :-)

: o other good sources


: I've tried to look for the SCA home page at quasar.unm.edu, but I can't

: seem to get through.  I promise to share all my experiences with this

: project with you, the Net.  Thanks in advance,


: -kZ



Other good sources.





compiled from

Traditional Bowhunter & Primitive Archer Magazines

June 1994


Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf

Cherokee Bows and Arrows, by Al Herrin. 160 pages, 94 illustrations.

$14.95. White Bear Publishing, Dept TB, Rt 3, Box 172, Tahlequah OK, 74464

The Art of Making Primitive Bows, by D.C. Waldorf.  $9.00 plus $2.00

shipping.  Free list of other archery books available. Sylvan

Publications, P.O. Box 1315, Hamilton, MT 59840.  

Traditional Bowyers Bible, vol. 1 $19.95, vol 2 $22.95, vol 3 $24.95.  

$3.50 shipping per order.  Bois dArc Press, P.O. Box 233, Azle TX,

76098.  (817) 237-0829.

Primitive Archer. Magazine with many excellent articles on self bow and

arrow making. 1 year for $14.00. P.O. Box 209, Lufkin, TX, 75902-0209.

(409) 632-8746.

Traditional Bowhunter.  Magazine with longbow and recurve information,

hunting and some how to articles. 1 year for $16.00. P.O Box 15583, Bosie

Idaho, 83715.  (208) 888-4710.

The Bent Stick.  By Paul Comstock.  40,000 word manual on making self

bows from common trees. $11.00.  Paula Comstock, P.O.Box 1102, OH, 43105.

Creative Media.  Video and manual on how to make a laminated longbow.  

Free info., 11358 Aurora, Des Monies, Iowa, 50322.  (515) 278-8213.

For the First Time Bowyer.  Information on self bow construction. $8.95

plus $2.00 shipping.  Bitter Creek Bow Works, P.O. Box 203, Lufkin, TX,


The Art of Making Indian Bows & Arrows.  By Phil Walking Elk. Covers the

construction of Indian self bows and Dogwood arrows. $14.95 plus $2.00

shipping. Wolf Vision Publications, Box 6575, Norman  OK, 73070-6575.

Arrow Making by Paul Brunner.  Video covers construction of custom wood

and aluminum arrows, feather splicing.  $14.95 and $2.00 shipping.  

Stoney-Wolf Video Productions, P.O.BOX 459, Lolo, MT, 59847.  1- 800-


Traditional Bowhunters Crafts.  Video.  Covers creating quality wood

arrows, footing wood arrows, and crafting strings.  $25.95 plus $4.00

shipping.  Butlers Field Sports, 100 8th st., Evanston, WY, 82930. (309)


The Primitive Bow & Arrow.   Video and book.  By John and Gerri

McPherson. Covers construction of self bows and dogwood arrows using only

simple tools.  Information on use of green wood in bow construction.  

$29.95 Ppd. Prairie Wolf, P.O. Box 96, Dept. TB, Randolph, KS 66554.




The updatedlist of arrow, billet and stave and bowyers for this year

should be complete in about a week.


Sir Jon Fitz-Rauf, Keeper of the IKAC And IKCAC

Esfenn, Mists, West  

John R. Edgerton, Newark, California



From: "Dana J. Tweedy" <tweedyd at emh1.pa.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Basic archery question

Date: Sat, 01 Jun 1996 23:31:50 -0700


yacko wrote:

> OK Archers... whats the difference between billets and staves, or is there..


> i.e. what do I need to get my first 'close to period' or period bow/ long

> bow????


> There's a long list of people who sell billets and staves off of the SCA WWW

> page (Current middle ages Server) but not much on explanation of parts etc...


> What are the differences?


> TIA,

> yacko

> yacko at mint.net


The difference is mostly technical.  Staves are used to make a self-bow

i.e. a bow in one piece, billets are usually two shorter pieces that are

spliced together, usually at the handle in order to make a bow.   If you

are interested in bow  making, try the series "The Traditional Bowyer's

Bible" Vol.s 1-3, published by Bois de Arc press.  


   Karl Rasmussen of Tvede AOA CSC

      OPA(Out of Practice Archer)



From: dervish at ogre.demon.co.uk (Pip Sullivan)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: archery assistance, please...

Date: Fri, 05 Jul 1996 08:34:37 GMT


ailith at cannet.com at cannet.com wrote:

>Is there a special varnish that is used on bows? I should think that regular

>varnish would craze and crack as soon as one strings and pulls the bow.


I've always used yacht varnish on new bows, but have no idea if this

would be appropriate for an old bow...


Pip Sullivan

Somerset, UK



From: kebail at pop.uky.edu (kelvin bailey)

To: markh at risc.sps.mot.com

Date: Sat, 2 Nov 1996 22:11:41 -0500 (EST)

Subject: Bow making


Found your site on the web while browsing. I'm not a commercial bowyer but

have built about a dozen bows of various types. I've broken a few and gave

away a few and kept a couple.


I really recomend two books for beginning

bowyers, The Bent Stick by Paul Comstock and Cherokee bows by Al Herrin

they helped me the most. I'm currently shooting an Osage flat bow that I

built about 5 years ago. It's unbacked and oiled and shoots like a dream. I

also built a short hickory flat bow that was fast as greased lightning but

stacked like hell. I truely believe that there are a miriad of woods that

make great bows and would never spend a large amount of money to build one.

I had a Black Locust bow that was blindingly fast to shoot until I allowed

a compound shooter to over draw it (after about 25-30 hours of work it's

sort of sickening to hear one break)(sounded like a gun shot going off).


Flat bows are much more forgiving to build and I'd put a good cherokee flat

bow up against an equivilent weight english long bow any day(I really don't

think one is particularly better but I've got as much conection to my

Cherokee and Chocktaw heritage as my English). Until you can handle a draw

knife well stay away from yew. Hickory and ash are pretty much available

anywhere and you can even use a hickory board if you must (elm is supposed

to be less likely to split also). In response to the person saying to use a

mixture of heart wood and sapwood... while that is true of yew, if you do

that with osage you will waste your time. Most hardwood bows are made of

heartwood esp Osage, sasafrass, persimon, walnut, mulberry etc. By the way

osage and mulberry are close relatives. Any way you just work down the

sapwood to one of the early heart wood growth rings and that is your back.


I also recomend that after you season the wood rough out the stave that you

oil the wood with something (Cherokee bowyers use Bear grease) Bacon fat

and lard works well as does most vegetable oil. I've not broken a bow since

I started oiling them (yes I have broken backed bows).


Hope this helps someone.



Walton Sumner

Univ of KY

Dept of Family Practice

wsumner at pop.uky.edu



From: DDFr at Best.com (David Friedman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: recurve bows

Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 22:48:31 -0800

Organization: School of Law, Santa Clara University


I don't know how early the first recurves are or whether the Homeric greeks

used any form of recurve, although my guess would be not. But they are

period by a very large margin. I am reasonably certain the Parthians used

recurves, and recurves are shown in lots of medieval illustrations.

Taybugha, writing in (I think) the 14th century, gives fairly detailed

information on how they are constructed.





From: "Dana J. Tweedy" <tweedyd at emh1.pa.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: recurve bows

Date: Fri, 29 Nov 1996 19:01:45 -0800


Courtney/Jacob wrote:

> oops the first part of my recurve post was lost.  It just asked when

> Recurve bows were first used and mentioned Homer's Oddesey.

> Jacob


      The origin of the Asiatic Composite bow (which is a recurve

design) is probably lost to history.  There is some indication that they

originated in the near east, in an area where trees were not abundant.  

In area where trees were plentiful, people made do with the  less

powerful, but much cheaper and easier to produce longbow. The composite

bow is made of wood, horn and sinew and takes a skilled bowyer a year or

more to produce one.  It's great advantage is it is shorter, easier to

handle from horseback, and more powerful, pound for pound of pull than

the longbow.

       In period the recurve bow was used by most Asian cultures that

used a bow, as well as some that were in contact with them, such as

Russian, and Byzantine.  Most Europeans used the longbow, for above

stated reasons, or the crossbow.  Illustrations in peroid sometimes show

the recurve bows, probably because they were copying ancient Greek art

styles.  It is not inconcievable that some Europeans learned to make

composite bows, or aquired them in trade, or warfare. Composite bows are

also notoriously finicky about weather conditions, and in the cool, damp

of northern Europe the water based glues used would have probably broken

down.  Longbows could be made much faster, and if kept properly, lasted

longer in the climate.   Therefore it is unlikely the Recurve bow ever

made much inroads in military or sporting bows in Europe

      In current times, the Recurve bow, with it's composite made up of

fairly impervious Fiberglass pretty much replaced the longbow for sport

hunting in the 1940's and 50's.  In much the same way, the Compound bow

replaced the Recurve in the 1970's and 80's.


         Karl Rasmussen of Tvede



From: Rebekah and Chip <rinman at ucsd.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: recurve bows

Date: Sat, 30 Nov 1996 21:50:27 -0800

Organization: University of California, San Diego


Jacob wrote:


> If the Greeks didn't use them, then when and where were

> the first used and would recurves be period?


Can't say when and where they were first used, but according to Kolias in

_Byzantinische Waffen_, the Byzantines used reflexed composite bows which

were introduced to them by the Huns in the fourth century AD/CE.


I have a footnote in another book which suggests "Roman Archery

Equipment," by J.C. Coulston in _The Production and Distribution of Roman

Military Equipment_, ed. M.C. Bishop, BAR International Series 275

(Oxford, 1985) 220-366 for information on the evolution and construction

of the late Roman bow.  I haven't read the article or the series, so I

can't comment further on that source.


I don't know when that type of bow was first used in the west, but if

they didn't get them from the Huns around the same time as they came into

use in the east, surely the westerners would have come into contact with

them during the first crusade.





From: "Mike Underwood" <morgandracos at theshop.net>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG

Date: Sun, 24 Aug 1997 22:34:40 -0500

Subject: Re: ANST - Measuring Bows


> or


> 2. I am shown that I can shoot just as far and accurately with a 28

> inch arrow and draw as with a 19 inch arrow and draw, both at 30

> lbs.


> M. Doré

      Well, in refrence to the second comment you hit a wierd area involving

a often unheard of term called "bow stack", it is sometime refered as

how hard a bow is to draw.


      A 30# bow (in modern standards) simply means that when pulled to 28"

the bow requires 30# to hold the string where it is. If you draw the bow

to 29" or more then there is no longer 30# required to hold the string

in place, it requires more. how much more depends in the "stack of the

bow". The same is true if you draw less.


      A good example is the bow I shoot with everyday is a 50#bow  at 28", but

at 30"(my standard draw) if to 60#. But the long bow I just purchased is

45# at 28" and 75# at 30". This is because of the different "stack" of the



      Since the maximum range of the bow can be achieved by shooting at a

45degree angle (on flat land with no wind) the only that that can change

the range is the force that is pushing the arrow.


      So if you shoot a bow that is rated 30# at 28" and draw it to 28" then the

arrow will fly a certian number of yards. If you take the same bow and

only draw it to 19" then the arrow will fly less yards, how much less it

determined by the stack.


                                    Morgan Dracos



Date: Tue, 02 Sep 1997 13:12:19 -0700

From: Peter Dallman <Dallmanp at svg.com>

To: markh at risc.sps.mot.com

Subject: Midieval Archery


To Stephan le' Rous

From: The Black Rose


I have recently logged onto the internet.  I found the conversations

regarding archery most enlightening.  As a Master Bowyer specializing

in the longbow I have some insights into the area.


What is a Master Bowyer.  Well, anyone who makes a few bows for

themselves or friends, say 4-5 is a bow maker.  To become a bowyer

you must apprentice under a master.  The apprentice will, fell trees,

split staves, wax the ends for curing, clean the shop. The journey man

will be taught which tree will make a good bow, how to select a stave,

how to repair a broken bow, sharpen then makr the tools and special

benches and start finnish bows.  A modern bowyer must make at least

150 bows and "sell" them (usually per year), apprenticed under a

master, and submit a bow to the review of the societty of English

bowyers.  I am an American master.  I did not appreantice under an

English master, yet I frequently get e-mail from England with questions

about the art stargely enough.  Most of the wood for making yew bows

comes from the West coast.  The best American yewis Oregon

Cascade that comes from the 10,000 level.  Thsi will yeild wood of .37

density, English yew is .54 and is by far superior to Amercan.  I have a

small supply of real English yew suitable for bow making. I have made

3-4 of these real yew bows froma patterns I have obtained from the

Mary Rose Trust.  Several English master bowyers were loaned bows

and ask to recreate these bows.  They had just enough to make 2-3

bows from the real stuff. (My tree was 400 yrs old when it died and

was cut, I have 2/3rds of thsi lovely tree from Sherwood). When they

made the bows from Oregon yew to the same dimensions they were

30# under those same sized from the E-yew.  Let me tell you nothing in

this world shoots like this wood---nothing.  It is the best, and a joy to

carve.  To make bows from this wood is an experience unmatched,

then to shoot them!!!!!!!!!!!!  The color the richness of texture is

undescribable.  But I digress.   I am submitting work to the society this

fall in hopes of admission.   Read the fisrt issue of Instinttive Archer

where in Roy King (Bowyer to the Mary Rose Trust) describes the

making of these bows and the worlds strongest archer, Simon Stanley

and his  bow the Leopard -165# at  draw/30" best distance 370yds  and

shoots a  1,500 grain arrow!  


Much of what was lost is regained when you start to make bows and

arrows yourself.  There are also arrow makers and Fletchers.  Arrow

makers buy shafts and glue precut feathers and points and assemble

them.  A Master Fletcher (also part of being a master bowyer is being a

master fletcher) carves his own shafts by hand, can foot them, trim

feathers (not so easy) mount and tie as well as make his own points.  I

made a set of walnut shafts footed with yew, Ivory inserted knocks,

goose feather, silk tied, with 6" bodkins and matching bow for the new

Disneyland Midieval display.


As to the quiver and leather disc.  The 24 hole leather dis is only a part

of a larger quiver.  The quiver is cone shaped with the top the size of

the disc circumference tapering to a point at the bottom 31' long.  It had

a drwastring at both end. The bottom 3' was leather with threst of the

bag heavy canvass or linen.  You draw the bottom tight and the palce

the knocks into the leather disc.  The arrows and disc were then palce

in the bag and a woven disc the size of the leather one was palced on

top and then the drawstring pulled tight.  This protected the knock ends,

kept the arrows seperated protecting the feathers and they didn't rattle

aorund when stalking.  The bag wasn't all leather because it it dried

faster than soggy leather and did't warp your arrows.  The same held

tru fro the matching cloth leather bottomed bow case. Longbows

didn't ahve leather handles on them beacuse this would get wet, stay

wet, and damage the bow!  To draw and arrow, loosen the bottom

drawstring and pull it out by the tip.  It is a very fast draw case as it is

worn tip up at the waist.  I make these and sell them complete for 35$,

with matching bowcase 55$.  English longbows, all wood, any

poundage 110$.  Authentic arrow with hand ground period points, tied

feathers, matched---55$.   No waiting at the moment.  I carry complete

sets of everything, authentic cowhorn tipped English yew longbows to

the Mary Rose pattern.


About fish glue.  It is made from the bladder of cetain asiatic fishes.

You boil down the bladders.  The Koreans have been shooting this

style of bow fro 2000 yrs and it id the No. 1 natinal sport to thsi day.

The targets are set at 158 yds.  45 arrow rounds/ 5 per group/ 25

arrows out of 45 is 1 degree black belt, 45/45 is 9th dan. There are

two out of 750,000 practicing archers.  I am the Vice-President of the

Society of Hwarang Archers in the US.  I can award rank. I have 3

tapes that will show you step-by-step in real time how to make an

asiatic horn bow and arrows by a Korean Master.  You better like bow

making to watch these tapes.  


Peter Dallman

(714) 557-6621



Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 16:35:18 -0400

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

Organization: Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia, and the GDH

To: markh at risc.sps.mot.com

Subject: You may combine this if you wish with your Florilegium


Volume 5, Issue 4 of Primitive Archer, which I just received in the

mail, is to be on sale until January l998. Inside it contains an

analysis and well illustrated construction details of a six

generation old Mongolian Bow and arrows. There are over 50 individual

drawings and photographs which in any event make this article quite



Primitive Archer may be reached:


(409) 632-8746


As always this magazine far outpaces its competition in any kind of

how to articles and is the best buy on the market in that regard.

If you combine this article with my postings below on sources

you should be able to come up with everything but yak bone which

you can substitute for.


M. Magnus Malleus, Elvegast, Windmasters' Hill, Atlantia



Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 00:24:40 -0500

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG, sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

From: Gunnora Hallakarva <gunnora at bga.com>

Subject: ANST - Viking Bows


The following website belongs to a fellow who is making traditional bows in

Viking Age fashion.  I have no other information available about this

gentleman, but I thought I'd pass the info along for those who may be





Gunnora Hallakarva




Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 09:40:30 -0500

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

Organization: Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia, and the GDH

To: markh at risc.sps.mot.com

Subject: Oriental Bows for Sale Site


Bows by Kassai

Sold out of Madison, Wisc. by SCA members.



You might also check DLDRURY at aol.com for similar bows here in NC.

That would be Zada, an old member of our Barony of Windmasters'



M. Magnus Malleus



Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 18:06:47 -0500

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

Organization: Windmaster's Hill, Atlantia, and the GDH

To: whitebard at mayo-ireland.ie, markh at risc.sps.mot.com, ddfr at best.com

Subject: Please use this one II, having one of those days here / Updated a bit.


Permission granted to republish_within_the SCA, or Great Dark Horde,

But OFF the Rialto. Copyright 1997 by R.M.Howe. Specifically sent for

use by Stephan's Florilegium, Cariadoc, or Ioseph of Locksley if they

so desire it. SCA lists only, thank you. Magnus.



Asiatic Bows, Books and Resources


For those looking for information on Oriental Composite Bows:


On checking Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com

if you enter the search area under archery you will find the

most recent printing of Turkish Archery by Paul Klopsteg,

Hardcover 1993 This was a rare book until this reprinting and

it will show you how to shoot your asiatic bow with the thumb

ring technique. It is ISBN# 1564160939 and the price is $39.95

plus shipping at 1-800-The-Book. Note: this is a very limited

edition from Derrydale Press - I think it was about 1200 copies.

Prior to this the book was very hard to come by and expensive.                    


Klopsteg was no lightweight. He was a genius who engineered a

great  deal for the U.S. Govt in Both World Wars and after.

He discovered  and wrote about much of the dynamics of archery

as we know it today. He died at the age of 104 about 3 years ago.


For those of you who may wish to have a similar bow but cannnot

find one there are some similarities in a western style

construction but mongolian shape. Try Alaska Frontier Archery,

P.O.Box 92089, Dept TB, Anchorage, AK  99509. (907)349-7249.

They have a very good looking Siberian Wolf Model that is a take-

down (it comes apart at the handle). 66" and  35 to 75 pounds.


Saxon Archery Manufacturing, P.O.Box 587, Potlatch, ID 83855,

(208) 875-0408 has a very pretty similar bow. They are well

noted for their high quality.


A little of making and shooting the asiatic recurve is touched

on in Archery - It's History and Techiniques, VHS tape from

Barnes and Noble.  


Green Man Archery, 195 Buzzard Lagoon, Corralitos, CA 95076,  

(408) 763-1976 has put out a VHS on the CHIVALRY OF ARCHERY,

The  History, Techniques, and Spirituality of the Archer Knights,

Vol 1, An Introduction to the Masters of the East. $19.95

including shipping. Haven't seen it. Attractive address though.


Prairie Wolf, P.O.Box 96, Randolph, KS 66554 put out a video

in l993 called "How to" Construct the Asiatic Composite Bow by

Jeffrey Schmidt and John McPherson. 2 hrs. $39.95. Got excellent

trade reviews. Also another called The Primitive Bow and Arrow,

same authors, 2 hrs. $39.95 Then a book "Makin' Meat-1",

The Sinew Backed Bow & Arrow. A how to by  the same authors.

48 pages, jammed with phlotos and information. No Secrets,

Just Physics.l $5.00


Oryx horns for those of you who are just dying to try this are  

available from I.T.S. Cutlery 5900 Cassandra Smith Road, Hixson,

TX, 37343   (800) 548-9412  Average Length 32", 2' Diameter at

base, tapering to a point. Paired a closely as possible on



There are many sources for sinew but a good one for Elk and

Buffalo sinew would be: Autumn Archery, 10151 Asbury Ave.,

Lakewood, CO 80227  (303) 980-9434.


Primitive Archer Magazine in volume 1, issue 2, had an

excellent  article on How to Construct a Turkish Horn Bow by

Curtis Byrd.


Primiitive Archer Magazine Volume 5, issue 4, had an excellent

article on the Mongolian Bow by Tom Rodgers. The author does

an excellent job of analyzing and replicating a 300 year old

Mongolian bow with at least 50 measured and detailed drawings

and photos.


In November 1997 All back issues were still available

for $4.00 ea ($5 Canadian) from Primitive Archer,

P.O.Box 209, Lufkin, TX 75902-0209 (409) 632-8746  This is a

really excellent magazine for beginning  and advanced bowyers.

The best there is.


Traditional Bowhunter Magazine had articles:  A Shot From the

Past: Asiatic Recurve Models by Joe St. Charles in its

June/July '96 issue. It included the subarticle (long) called

Making Asiatic and Oriental Model Bows by Thomas H.Shorely who

has made about 75 of them, some out of aluminum, some out of

natural materials. Archers of the East by Jonathan Kessler in

the Oct/Nov '95 issue is an historical overview of a number

of cultures but also contains a verbal description of the

construction techniques. These may be obtained from:

Traditional Bowhunter Magazine. P.O.Box 15583, Boise, Idaho

83715  (208) 362-0325 $4 each, $4.50 Canadian.


Two excellent articles on Asiatic bows are contained in the

still obtainable Islamic Arms and Armour book edited by

Robert Elgood, London 1979. Scolar Press ISBN 0-85967-470-3,

About $100. The first is the chahar-kham or 'four-curved' bow

of India by Edward McEwen. First rate constructional depictions

of bow and arrow, photos, and description of materials and

construction. The second is Archery in the Lands of Eastern

Islam. (many mongols are now Islamic, depends on tribe and

country) By J.D.Latham and W.F. Paterson. This is primarily

history and shooting technique, including from horseback.


       Master Magnus Malleus

       Windmasters' Hill, Atlantia and the Great Dark Horde              



From: RJ Bachner <ragiwarmbear at sympatico.ca>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Re: bowyer

Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 08:07:39 -0400

Organization: Bell Sympatico


On Fri, 17 Oct 2003 13:41:11 +0100, Andy Dingley <dingbat at codesmiths.com> stated with reckless abandon:


>> Oak and ash do OK for flatbows,


IN fact they do very well for flat bows in my experience. of course the difference between Europe and Canada probably affects this outcome.


They cannot be used for the typical English style longbow so it would have to be a flat bow.


>Ash, but not oak (IMHO)


>Oak is too stiff. You can make a drawable bow from it, just by making

>it thinner, but you then find that the bending forces on a drawn bow

>of typical form approach the breakage limit.  It works for siege

>engine springbows, but not hand bows.    IMHO.


I am not sure what you mean by this statement but what is a typical form? I make oak bows, 2 inches

wide near the handles and about 68 inches long. they work fine with minimal hand shock or set.

almost your standard, generic flatbow design.


A well designed bow has been said to be 9/10ths broken anyways so your statement can be seen as accurate but still misleading. I find they work well and though the first 7 bows I made failed in the making, the ones I have made since have all worked well and are shooting still.


>Ash is highly variable, and bow making from it requires you to find

>quick-grown straight-grained ash, and split it into staves whilst

>green. You won't buy a usable bowstave from a timber merchant.


This is again an almost truth, ash is a variable wood as is many woods but if you choose white ash, well the american white anyways, there may be others called white ash. then it makes a quite nice and pretty bow.


as for not getting a good bow stave from a dealer, well if you spend some time in his stacks, well you will I am sure find a board that has grain running the length of the piece that will make a nice'n. this is how I get all my bow wood.


as for the old rumor that kiln dried wood is inferior, well ignore it. this may have been the case in days of old when kiln drying was new, mistakes might have been more common but the quality of the product now a days is much better and if it has been over dried for the area you live in, let it set out of the rain for a couple of weeks. the wood will come to a local equilibrium and will be about

right for making a bow. make sure it is not on the ground or in the rain is all.


>AIUI, osage orange is just about the perfect bow making timber.


perfect???? hard and seriously expensive to get yer hands on unless you live near where it grows, it is almost never straight or free of pin knots.


Yes it makes a nice bow and has the physical properties a bow needs at its best but ash, oak or any of the other hardest woods will make a good bow if you adjust the design to it, and at a greatly reduced cost.



From: mikea at mikea.ath.cx (Mike Andrews)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: History of the Bow

Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 17:04:17 +0000 (UTC)


DEBernardo <debernardo at aol.comnospam> wrote:

> There is an excellent history of the English longbow entitled (simply)

> "Longbow."  Can't recall the author as I sit at the keyboard, but if you're

> really interested e-mail me and I'll actually get off my lazy butt and grab it

> off the shelf and provide more info.  I believe I found it in a Borders.


Robert Hardy (yes, "Siegfried Farnon, the veterinarian") wrote a quite

particularly good book on the English longbow. I wonder if you're

thinking of that book.


And, of course, there are the three volumes of _The Traditional

Bowyer's Bible_, which, while more how-to and why-to, have a good deal

of history in them.


Mike Andrews  /     Michael Fenwick      Barony of Namron, Ansteorra

mikea at mikea.ath.cx

Tired old music Laurel


<the end>

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