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Re: [SCA-Archery] What constitutes a period bow?

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  • Co and Barbara tenBroek
    Well now I have built now 3 bows, all are wood all are Hickory. 1 is an ELB design I entered in an A&S contest, it has horn nocks, is slightly longer than six
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
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      Well now I have built now 3 bows, all are wood all are Hickory. 1 is an ELB
      design I entered in an A&S contest, it has horn nocks, is slightly longer
      than six feet from tip to tip, and draws about 145LBS @31 inches when braced
      at 6 inches. A friend of mine who saw the bows in the Mary Rose Museum
      could not tell the difference. I have 2 flat bows from hickory, and am
      currently working on an Andaman style bow.

      What makes a bow period? Is it made from natural materials? Is it based on
      a pre 1600 design? If non natural materials are used can an oberserver tell
      the difference? As long as the answers to the first 2 are yes and the
      second is no, I would say you have a period style bow, and depending on how
      accurate you were you should shoot it every chance you get, and maybe enter
      it into an A&S contest.


      Best of luck,
      Jean-Michel
    • eulenhorst@juno.com
      I don t have my sources readily to hand but I seem to recall reading that the Vikings used a short, flat bow made of oak to great effect. As their primary
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
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        I don't have my sources readily to hand but I seem to recall reading that
        the Vikings used a short, flat bow made of oak to great effect. As their
        primary period of raiding was roughly 7th to 11th century it would
        certainly be period.

        In service to the dream,
        Carolus von Eulenhorst
        eulenhorst@...

        On Wed, 02 Jan 2002 16:20:00 -0500 "Bruce R. Gordon" <obsidian@...>
        writes:
        > Greetings
        > I haven't done detailed research in the area, but I have
        > wandered through
        > some sources. Nothing that I've seen suggests that flatbows were
        > common
        > in Europe within period. I agree that the technology precedes period
        >
        > (vide Holmegaard, etc.), but it seems not to have had much influence
        >
        > overall.
        > I've never heard of a period ELB as a composite, except
        > perhaps in the
        > riser. Composites were known, of course; Huns, Mongols, Turks, they
        > all
        > built composite bows - you find that sort of thing wherever archery
        > is
        > regarded as useful, but ready sources of wood are scarce. And in any
        >
        > event, hickory is a New World wood.
        > All of which tends to beg the question, of course. If you
        > are trying to
        > build a bow for an Arts-and-Sciences competition, you will need to
        > hit
        > the books very thoroughly, and then build a classic yew or ash
        > longbow
        > with a "D" section (if you are doing a Western bow - an Eastern
        > horse-bow can use all sorts of materials, of course). But for use in
        >
        > Period Division shoots, you will be held to a less rigorous
        > standard.
        >
        > Cordially;
        > Forester Nigel FitzMaurice (Mid)
        >
        > snip <
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      • eulenhorst@juno.com
        My reading indicates that Italian yew was the preferred wood in period because of its consistent fine grained growth. Some of the best documentation is
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
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          My reading indicates that Italian yew was the preferred wood in period
          because of its consistent fine grained growth. Some of the best
          documentation is indirect and can be obtained from the statutes
          regulating bowyers and the customs records for imports. Merchants were
          required to bring with them certain numbers of bow staves of specified
          proportions of woods for the King's armories whenever they docked in an
          English port.

          In service to the dream,
          Carolus von Eulenhorst
          eulenhorst@...

          On Wed, 02 Jan 2002 22:15:33 +0000 "john moore" <iaenmor@...>
          writes:
          > Nigel, on this I would have to disagree with you on this. In general
          > most
          > European bows were based on a flatbow design. The long bow that we
          > know of
          > is pretty much limited to the welsh and english. Most good sources
          > in
          > england will even go so far as to say that they are one and the
          > same. The
          > thing to remember is that there are only two good sources of yew in
          > Europe,
          > England and Spain, the spanish being considered the better. The
          > lack of
          > good wood on the European mainland was one of the contributing
          > factors to
          > the rise of the crossbows prominence. Ash is a good substitute but
          > one must
          > remember that the dearth of material about ELB are from the Mary
          > Rose.
          > There is not enough documentation as the bows did not survive the
          > years. So
          > one could not say, that a ELB has to be just Yew or Ash. I do agree
          > that no
          > matter what you build it should have excellent documentation, but do
          > not
          > limit it to only the ELB. Flatbows, Hornbows and Sinew-backed bows
          > were
          > common in period.(Check out some of the Scandinavian traditional
          > websites)
          >
          > Iaen Mor
          > Ansteorra
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        • Evian Blackthorn
          Greetings list, In 1188, a half Welsh - half Norman living in England knew of and wrote about at least four different materials being used for bows. They were:
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
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            Greetings list,

            In 1188, a half Welsh - half Norman living in England
            knew of and wrote about at least four different materials
            being used for bows. They were: horn, ivory, yew, and elm.
            This person was named Giraldus, and wrote about the bows of
            elm used by the 'Venta' of Wales, as opposed to bows of
            horn, ivory or yew. There are no details given in relation
            to the shape of these or other bows. There is no information
            given about whether the materials were used individually, or
            were used as a composite material. But this is only a small
            area of the known world of that time, although Giraldus was
            familiar with sizable areas of England, France and Italy,
            having lived in all three countries, as well as having been
            raised in Wales and having visited Ireland. He gives no
            details about where the other three materials other than the
            elm of the Welsh was used for bows.

            I don't know if Carolus is right about Italian yew being
            the prefered yew in period England, but I do know that there
            were extensive yew growths around the shores of Lake Geneva,
            in what is now the Haut-Savoie departement of France,
            formerly part of the Duchy of Savoy, so at least yew grew in
            Italy in period, as well as Spain and England. I sure won't
            argue about it with him, as he is normally right in his
            statements and can back them up with documentation. However,
            Carolus failed to make the distinctintion I did about period
            ENGLAND, though he does refer us indirectly to English
            records and statutes. Or at least I assume he was referring
            to English records, as he directly referred to English
            ports. Other areas of Europe used other woods, and had bows
            other than the 'classic' English long bow in 'period'. Plus,
            several areas of South, Central and Southern North America
            were known and extensively explored before 1600 by the
            Spanish. So even some 'native' american bows can be
            'period'. Most asiatic bows in use before 1600 can also be
            included as 'period' in the SCA.

            I have no information on hickory being used for bows
            before 1600, but hickory is not just a native American wood.
            It is also native to Eastern Asia, and fossil remains have
            been found in Greenland, Iceland and even in Europe. But
            basically, what Baron Ben said is correct.
            >if you show up on the range with a bow without center
            >cut arrow shelf and with proper arrows, you may shoot
            >in the period division in the outlands (or most any other
            >Kingdom). If you enter a bow in an A&S competition,
            >be well prepared for many challenges on minutiae.
            The only things I might want to add is that the bow should
            be mostly wood, and you might run into a few people who
            think that the ONLY truely 'period' bow is an ELB. They are
            wrong, so don't let them buffalo you.

            YIS
            Evian Blackthorn of THE WEB
            http://www.spider-strands.com
            Editor, Bodkin and Bolt Magazine
            http://www.dskonline.net/bodkin
          • eulenhorst@juno.com
            Thank you, Evian. Yes, I was referring to English references of the period. In service to the dream, Carolus von Eulenhorst eulenhorst@juno.com On Wed, 2 Jan
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 2, 2002
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              Thank you, Evian. Yes, I was referring to English references of the
              period.

              In service to the dream,
              Carolus von Eulenhorst
              eulenhorst@...

              On Wed, 2 Jan 2002 19:17:10 -0600 "Evian Blackthorn" <theweb@...>
              writes:
              > Greetings list,
              >
              > In 1188, a half Welsh - half Norman living in England
              > knew of and wrote about at least four different materials
              > being used for bows. They were: horn, ivory, yew, and elm.
              > This person was named Giraldus, and wrote about the bows of
              > elm used by the 'Venta' of Wales, as opposed to bows of
              > horn, ivory or yew. There are no details given in relation
              > to the shape of these or other bows. There is no information
              > given about whether the materials were used individually, or
              > were used as a composite material. But this is only a small
              > area of the known world of that time, although Giraldus was
              > familiar with sizable areas of England, France and Italy,
              > having lived in all three countries, as well as having been
              > raised in Wales and having visited Ireland. He gives no
              > details about where the other three materials other than the
              > elm of the Welsh was used for bows.
              >
              > I don't know if Carolus is right about Italian yew being
              > the preferred yew in period England, but I do know that there
              > were extensive yew growths around the shores of Lake Geneva,
              > in what is now the Haut-Savoie departement of France,
              > formerly part of the Duchy of Savoy, so at least yew grew in
              > Italy in period, as well as Spain and England. I sure won't
              > argue about it with him, as he is normally right in his
              > statements and can back them up with documentation. However,
              > Carolus failed to make the distinctintion I did about period
              > ENGLAND, though he does refer us indirectly to English
              > records and statutes. Or at least I assume he was referring
              > to English records, as he directly referred to English
              > ports. Other areas of Europe used other woods, and had bows
              > other than the 'classic' English long bow in 'period'. Plus,
              > several areas of South, Central and Southern North America
              > were known and extensively explored before 1600 by the
              > Spanish. So even some 'native' american bows can be
              > 'period'. Most asiatic bows in use before 1600 can also be
              > included as 'period' in the SCA.
              >
              > I have no information on hickory being used for bows
              > before 1600, but hickory is not just a native American wood.
              > It is also native to Eastern Asia, and fossil remains have
              > been found in Greenland, Iceland and even in Europe. But
              > basically, what Baron Ben said is correct.
              > >if you show up on the range with a bow without center
              > >cut arrow shelf and with proper arrows, you may shoot
              > >in the period division in the outlands (or most any other
              > >Kingdom). If you enter a bow in an A&S competition,
              > >be well prepared for many challenges on minutiae.
              > The only things I might want to add is that the bow should
              > be mostly wood, and you might run into a few people who
              > think that the ONLY truly 'period' bow is an ELB. They are
              > wrong, so don't let them buffalo you.
              >
              > YIS
              > Evian Blackthorn of THE WEB
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