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Traditional Flatbow

American Flatbow

The American Flatbow has a long long history and the modern bow has evolved over time as knowledge is gained and materials and techniques improve. Native American Indians made and used bows with a flat or rectangular section (Instead of the D shaped English Longbow). As did many other tribal races all over the world. The flat section and wide limbs were the best design for the raw materials available at the time.

Early in by bow making apprenticeship I tried some of these old methods and made some real nice bows. A very early bow was made from Ash with a rawhide backing and glued up with rabbit bone glue. I also made a couple of bows with sinew as a backing, again applied with animal glue. These bows were a lot of fun to make and great fun to shoot.

Over time the Design of the American Flatbow has become more uniform and it has lost some of the width of its primitive pyramid bow ancestors. Modern materials such as Fibreglass and carbon fibre have added to the strength and durability of the American Flatbow. But still a flatbow falls into the traditional wing of archery as they are sill mainly timber


Hard Rock Maple and more recently Bamboo have become the favored limb material for the American Flatbow. And the limb design has evolved to get the very best performance from the materials used. The riser of the bow remains fairly simple, with a pistol grip and arrow shelf cut the the center of the bow.

The Flatbows I make fall into two categories, the hybrid and the traditional American Flatbow (or American Longbow ) design. It is only the length of the bow and the limb design that differ. The hybrid having a strong Refex/Deflex in the limb and the AMF having a more shallow curve. I make the Flatbows to 68inches and the hybrids 64 and 62inches. The smaller bows are great for field archery.

Although I use modern Fibreglass backings, carbon fibre core material and epoxy resins and lacquers, the majority of the bows are still very traditional with tapered Maple laminates in the limbs and exotic hardwoods for the riser and tips. And although I use power tools for the heavy lifting, the riser, overlay and tips are still rasped into shape by hand. Bow design has evolved and building techniques have evolved too, but there still remains in the modern bow much of its traditional heritage. I try to keep that same ethos in the bows which I build.


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