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Trying to make my first bow

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  • mviurilli
    I am attempting to make my first bow, and am looking for information on period specs. If this project actually comes out nice (or the next one if this doesnt),
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 21, 2013
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      I am attempting to make my first bow, and am looking for information on period specs. 

      If this project actually comes out nice (or the next one if this doesnt), I'd like to enter it in an A&S competition.  As such, I was wondering what kind of information I'd need for that.

       If anyone could point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.

    • lekervere
      There are some period examples of composite horn and sinew bows. These are very complex, and not a good beginner project. The are a few extant wood (self) bows
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 21, 2013
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        There are some period examples of composite horn and sinew bows. These are very complex, and not a good beginner project. The are a few extant wood (self) bows from our time period. The longbows from the Mary Rose are made of yew, which is not a good wood for beginners, its expensive too. Yew is the only wood that really works for a deep 'D' section longbow. There are some fragmented examples of Viking era and Saxon bows. Here's a neolithic bow from England
        http://digitaldigging.net/meare-heath-bow-reconstruction/
        Don't be discouraged by the following statement: You're probably going to break some of your first bow attempts, and others may mot shoot particularly well. To counter this, I found it was a good idea to start by making board bows. Look up board bows online. There's lots of information and help. for a board bow, you go to the lumber store and sort through the stacks of hardwoods. you find the straightest board you can and make a bow out of it. Your investment is $10-$15, and you won't feel so bad about breaking it. Every bow you break teaches you something, so its not a total loss. hickory is a good wood to start with.It makes a great flatbow, but usually a lousy deep 'D' section bow. Maple and cherry are possibilities.

        I think its a good idea to go through the process of tillering a bow a few times before you invest in expensive yew staves. I was given a yeww log some time ago, before I knew what I was doing. I managed to make a very disappointing 20 pound bow. I wish I had had more practice first.

        Do your research. Read the Traditional Boyer's Bible, and see what kinds of bows have been found in the archeology record. Every design has its reason for being. The density of the wood dictates a lot of what kind of bow you can make with it.

        You asked for specs. The problem with this is your piece of wood will be different from what the  ancient bowyer of your choice was using at the time. A single species varies from tree to tree. What you can control is the front view profile of your bow. After that, there is a process for tillering it to the proper curve and draw weight, which will dictate the thickness at any given point. you can't draft it and machine it, You have to go through the process. 

        Feel free to ask questions in the future.


        Good luck and happy hunting,

        Edward le Kervere




        ---In SCA-Archery@{{emailDomain}}, <mviurilli@...> wrote:

        I am attempting to make my first bow, and am looking for information on period specs. 

        If this project actually comes out nice (or the next one if this doesnt), I'd like to enter it in an A&S competition.  As such, I was wondering what kind of information I'd need for that.

         If anyone could point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.
      • Kevin Smith
        Start with a flatbow, that would have been a European short bow style. The BEST step by step directions I ve seen are in The Backyard Bowyer . If you want a
        Message 3 of 3 , Dec 21, 2013
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          Start with a flatbow, that would have been a European "short bow" style. The BEST step by step directions I've seen are in "The Backyard Bowyer". If you want a really ancient design you can do a Mollegebat bow, there is a series of videos on YouTube by BoarriorBows that works great (search for "making a high performance bow" it will come up). Either of these styles can be made from commonly available red oak, you just need straight grain with no runoffs. "the Backyard Bowyer" also has step by steps on making a longbow of red oak. My
          Only need with either if these is that they use drywall tape for a backing, which is a silly since linen is both cheaper and makes a better bow. Just substitute linen cloth (about any fabric store will have it) for the tape in their directions. 

          On Dec 21, 2013, at 7:41 PM, edwoodguy@... wrote:

           

          There are some period examples of composite horn and sinew bows. These are very complex, and not a good beginner project. The are a few extant wood (self) bows from our time period. The longbows from the Mary Rose are made of yew, which is not a good wood for beginners, its expensive too. Yew is the only wood that really works for a deep 'D' section longbow. There are some fragmented examples of Viking era and Saxon bows. Here's a neolithic bow from England
          http://digitaldigging.net/meare-heath-bow-reconstruction/
          Don't be discouraged by the following statement: You're probably going to break some of your first bow attempts, and others may mot shoot particularly well. To counter this, I found it was a good idea to start by making board bows. Look up board bows online. There's lots of information and help. for a board bow, you go to the lumber store and sort through the stacks of hardwoods. you find the straightest board you can and make a bow out of it. Your investment is $10-$15, and you won't feel so bad about breaking it. Every bow you break teaches you something, so its not a total loss. hickory is a good wood to start with.It makes a great flatbow, but usually a lousy deep 'D' section bow. Maple and cherry are possibilities.

          I think its a good idea to go through the process of tillering a bow a few times before you invest in expensive yew staves. I was given a yeww log some time ago, before I knew what I was doing. I managed to make a very disappointing 20 pound bow. I wish I had had more practice first.

          Do your research. Read the Traditional Boyer's Bible, and see what kinds of bows have been found in the archeology record. Every design has its reason for being. The density of the wood dictates a lot of what kind of bow you can make with it.

          You asked for specs. The problem with this is your piece of wood will be different from what the  ancient bowyer of your choice was using at the time. A single species varies from tree to tree. What you can control is the front view profile of your bow. After that, there is a process for tillering it to the proper curve and draw weight, which will dictate the thickness at any given point. you can't draft it and machine it, You have to go through the process. 

          Feel free to ask questions in the future.


          Good luck and happy hunting,

          Edward le Kervere




          ---In SCA-Archery@{{emailDomain}}, <mviurilli@...> wrote:

          I am attempting to make my first bow, and am looking for information on period specs. 

          If this project actually comes out nice (or the next one if this doesnt), I'd like to enter it in an A&S competition.  As such, I was wondering what kind of information I'd need for that.

           If anyone could point me in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.

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