Market Square => Arms and Armor => Topic started by: Orphena on August 06, 2014, 11:19:11 AM

Title: Custom LongBow - what to consider?
Post by: Orphena on August 06, 2014, 11:19:11 AM
Good Day to one and all!

I have recently discovered a local merchant who has begun to make long bows, and am interested in having one made for m'lord as a Christmas Surprise. I am wondering if anyone can help me determine the things I should consider.

M'lord has shot a few bows, but I have shot less. We are both 6 feet tall.

I have no idea what else to consider - type of wood, style of longbow.... would someone help me out with what I should be looking for?

Title: Re: Custom LongBow - what to consider?
Post by: Tripletap on August 06, 2014, 07:44:18 PM
I personally like a bow with a "Shelf", as for woods, there is all kinds, some of the best is Osage, and Yew, you will want to find out your "draw length" at 6 foot I would guess about 28" I am 6'2" and pull at 28 & 1/2", you will want to know how many pounds you will pull, here in Texas the minimum to hunt by law is 45# that is a good weight in my opinion at least for a starter. But there is nothing wrong with starting lighter, I have a 25# for the back yard, and a 45, and a 50 also.
Those are a couple things to think about, I have more advice, I am not an expert, but I do shoot often.
Any other questions, please feel free to ask,i will help all I can, I am sure there are many more Archers on this board.
Title: Re: Custom LongBow - what to consider?
Post by: Hoowil on August 10, 2014, 12:08:23 AM
Yes, most definitely find his draw length. A bow that is made for a shorter draw can be damaged if overdrawn. Earlier this summer I watched a beautiful yew bow get over drawn and shatter the upper limb. If he's shot before he should know his rough draw length, but most equipment made commercially now is designed for a 28" draw. Or, but and its not totally 100% accurate, but close,
have him put one end of a yard stick against his breastbone, and stretch both hands as far forward as he can, pressing the yardstick between his palms. Where the tips of his fingers are should be close. Doing this puts my draw about half an inch shorter than it really is, but I have short stumpy sausage fingers.
If you are looking into a long bow, there are a few different styles. Are you looking for and English style, which would have a very narrow, D shaped cross section? Or a flat bow, sometime called a board bow? That would have wider, flat limbs that would be fairly thin in comparison. The flat bows are going to be able to have a shelf cut in to rest the arrow on, otherwise he would have to fire off the knuckle. There are even what I've heard refereed to as a Victorian D, which is a similar shape to the English, but is a multi-wood laminate, and generally a bit smaller and lighter draw weight. If you intend to do period archery, the English relied heavily on what we now call the English longbow, with the D shape.
If this bow is going to be custom made for him, have the bowyer work with him, get the length right (about the height of the archer with his fist standing on his head), and to his draw. I would ruin the surprise, unless you can figure a way to go out to get the measurements, then 'rethink the purchase due to price' or some such, and make him think you'd changed your mind.
Wood wise, there are many different woods. Yew can be found in American or European varieties, but tends to be a bit pricey. A large part of this is that European yew in particular, is considered an endangered tree, and only very few are allowed to be harvested each year. I have heard good things about Osage, or Osage Orange, but have not worked with it personally. I have worked with hickory both as an archer and beginning bowyer, but it doesn't seem to hold up quite so well over the years, but that may just be because I tend to over draw my older bow (it was made for a 28" draw, and mine is closer to 29 1/2"). I have also heard about crepe myrtle being used, and even intend to make my next bow out of such.
And a nice longbow will of course need nice, wooden, self nocked arrows with real feather fletches to go with. Along that note, if you do go for the off the knuckle shooting, the fletchings will need to be bound unless he uses a glove while shooting, or the end of the quills will cause some pretty nasty cuts along the back of hand when they hit.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I have been doing archery off and on most of my life, and have been doing period archery for about a year and a half, demonstrating at local faires. I have also done some research on period arrows and have been working with a local bowyer on learning to make longbows myself (2 done, and a third just beginning). Needless to say, if I can't answer your question, I can probably find an answer.