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Traditional Flatbow

English Longbow

English Longbow.

Early in my practice as a Bowyer I made some English Longbows.

This is one of the bows I made during that time. Using traditional methods and the now classic combination of Lemon Wood Belly, Purpleheart Core and Hickory Back I made these bows with very simple tools.

I got the wood yard where I bought the wood to slice it into thin strips and then sanded them down and glued them up on a flat form with clamps and rope.

It was then a matter of using the spokeshave to narrow the width towards the tips and do the tillering.

I made a thing called a shave horse to hold the bow while I tillered it. A shave horse is a very old implement, it is a bench with a foot operated clamp and is very good for tillering and shaping the bow.

The tillering process was one of testing the bend of the bow on the tillering stick and then taking a little wood off any stiff spots, testing again and taking a little more wood off. It was a very slow and patients building activity. But also very satisfying once the bow is bending correctly. These bows were finished with a traditional leather grip.

After making a number of English Longbows I moved on to making hickory backed flatbows with a slight reflex in the limbs.


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