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Thanks a lot for this great article. What ressources would you recommend to start the crafting of a first longbow ? Is there a good step by step guide you know of ?

Kris De Decker


Hi Camille,

Although it is not a step by step guide, the best source to start is for sure "The Traditional Bowyer's Bible", especially the first three volumes.



"The price for the most inventive bow-making method"

^ I think the word "price" is a typo, it should have been "prize"?

Anyway, thanks for the article; that is a lot of history tidbits that I've never known before.

P.S. This page is quite difficult to post a comment on. (Both Post and Preview button grayed out in my first try for some reason)



Very informartive and well-written article.
Thank you!

Ken Wee


Nicely researched and illustrated and written article. I wonder about the right five bows illustrated in the photo of African bows. They (bows #15, #16, #56, #21 and #12) look like Native American ones. #56 reminds of bows by California Indians - sinew backed yew "paddle" shaped bows. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing.



there is a source for ancient weapons,bow and arows,etc

brought to us curtisy of global warming
the edges of melting glaciers are proving to be reliable
hunting grounds for ancient artifacts
so much so that ,indiginous teachers are conducting field trips
for their youth,and the finding of artifacts creates a powerfull
bond with there ancestors



The best method of learning to make a bow and arrow is by doing. TBB (Traditional Bowyer's Bible, all volumes, not just 1-3) are a near-perfect source of information. Most regions of the world with trees have suitable "bow wood" with the understanding practice makes perfect. Likewise, a local hardware store selling lumber can provide countless stave material. There are countless tutorials on building bowstrings, too. When it comes to arrows, bamboo is a prime source, keeping in mind prospective arrow shafts should be cured beforehand. Additionally, the joints in bamboo, river cane, etc can be straightened using a candle, fire, etc- heat gently, bend straight, then wipe down with a damp rag. This also tempers the joint so the nodes and sections form a contiguous straight shaft. When affixing an arrowhead, I advise using "modern equivalents" such as cotton thread with cyanoacrylate or similar adhesive when starting out. Shooting "off the knuckles" with traditional selfbows also warrant similar treatment with thread and glue to ensure a smooth transition over glove or bare skin. I've made red oak and pine-board bows that surpass my "store bought" models in terms of fun and sustainability.

My "Parthian shot" aka parting thought: One can even fabricate powerful fast bows replicating the Holmegaard and horsebows using schedule 80 PVC and sections of broomstick. I have a 38# draw-weight bow made in such fashion and use it for small-game hunting (rabbit, etc) using scraps left over from my days working in construction. Once you understand the "how", the rest follows based on materials on hand.

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