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Gabriele Becattini




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: English longbow, where to buy one in europe?         Reply with quote

i need an advice for a good archer shop in europe where to buy
a traditional english longbow, i'm still a beginner with my archery skill and for the moment i have used only
modern recurved flatbow with a draw of 45 pound for my practice. i have found a lot of shop online but considering that i'm new to the archery world and some of the price that i have seen are very high, i need an advice for a good value longbow constructed with traditional metod.

thanks for help
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Glennan Carnie




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 1:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't buy a longbow online; especially as you are a beginner archer. I've seen some shockingly bad rubbish sold as bows online; to be honest you could almost do better yourself.

Even if you don't buy from him (and I recommend that you do) talk first to Master Bowyer Steve Stratton, at www.diyarchery.co.uk.

He is, by far, one of the most knowledgeable medieval warbow bowyers in the UK; if not the world. He does extensive research with the Mary Rose trust and Westminster Abbey, amongst others and has worked with such notable researchers as Dr Anne Curry.

Personally, I wouldn't trust any other bowyer for my bows.
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Leo Todeschini




PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 4:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would agree with Glennan that Steve Stratton is a man knows his stuff and makes damn fine bows - I have one myself.

I would also say Chris Boynton of Boynton archery makes fantastic bows and also have one of his. Both are very approachable people so have a chat with them.

I would happily buy bows over the phone from them but very few others so I would say any maker you are absolutely not sure of look at his bows in person first.

A decent lamiated bow should cost you about 180-300 and a self yew bow about 400 upwards. If you are paying less than this there is a good chance it is not a decent bow.

Tod

www.todsstuff.co.uk
www.theenglishcutler.co.uk
www.todsfoundry.co.uk
www.todmedia.co.uk
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Allen Foster




PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While we're on the subject, where's the best place to get a self yew English longbow and/or warbow in North America?
"Rise up, O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face."
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Glennan Carnie




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 5:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Try Don Adams in Oregon or Marc St. Louis in Ontario. Both are fine bowyers.

English bowyers will ship to the US, but the carriage might be extortionate.
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Gabriele Becattini




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the answers and comment, i have taken a look to mr, Stratton website and his bow are truly very nice,

(Mr.Tod could provide me a link for Boynton Archery?, i have not been able to find it on google)

prices, broadly speaking, are much higher than i was expecting for a self bow,

could you tell me why a laminated bow is considerably less expensive than a self one? it is an historycal

construction metod?

from a shooting proiperties point of view there are many difference between a self and laminated bow?

thanks for your help
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Liam O'Malley




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 6:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those are really good guys, but they're also pretty high end. a friend of mine who is a blacksmith and carpenter by trade recently did a bunch of research and made himself a traditional longbow. shoots wonderfully, about as exact a copy of the mary tudor pieces as you can hope for, and he mostly makes weapons to make them, so he doesn't tend to charge a lot (he makes 4-5 grand on custom cabinetry, weapons are his hobby).

i can't promise it will be as nice as those, but if you're interested i can ask him about making another for you. PM me if you're interested.
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Glennan Carnie




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Liam O'Malley wrote:
Those are really good guys, but they're also pretty high end. a friend of mine who is a blacksmith and carpenter by trade recently did a bunch of research and made himself a traditional longbow. shoots wonderfully, about as exact a copy of the mary tudor pieces as you can hope for, and he mostly makes weapons to make them, so he doesn't tend to charge a lot (he makes 4-5 grand on custom cabinetry, weapons are his hobby).

i can't promise it will be as nice as those, but if you're interested i can ask him about making another for you. PM me if you're interested.


With all due respect, unless you have studied the MR bows in person and imported a nearly flawless stave of high-altitude European yew, then the bow your friend made will not be an exact copy. There is very little published information on the dimensions, cross-sections and profiles of the bows. There is also considerable speculation about various details of the bow, like the type of nocks and the string. At best it will be an MR approximation

A typical MR bow draws somewhere in the region of 140 - 150lb at 30". I know of only a dozen or so people in the world who can shoot that comfortably (and certainly well enough to say whether the bow is 'wonderful' or not).

Actually making a bow is somewhat easy; anyone with some basic knowledge and woodworking skills can do it. I have done it myself. It may even be a very nice bow. However, there is a world of difference between being able to make a bow and being a Bowyer. The difference is being able to produce a fine, performing bow, each time, every time. As your friend will no doubt attest, there's a reason why he can charge $4000 for a cabinet, when others only charge $200 (after all, it's just a box - how hard can it be?)

As to the question of why a laminate bow is cheaper: it is cheaper because it is easier.

A self-bow must be 'carved' out of the wood. Being a natural material it will not be homogeneous throughout the stave. The bowyer must find the strong and weak points in the stave, to produce a shape that, when bent round will form a good shape. This takes patience, skill and experience.

A laminate bow is made from strips of material glued together (to form a nice uniform stave) and is therefore much easier to shape and, if shaped evenly, should bend uniformly, so will be easier to tiller.
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Liam O'Malley




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 8:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glennan Carnie wrote:
[
With all due respect, unless you have studied the MR bows in person and imported a nearly flawless stave of high-altitude European yew, then the bow your friend made will not be an exact copy.

...

A typical MR bow draws somewhere in the region of 140 - 150lb at 30". I know of only a dozen or so people in the world who can shoot that comfortably (and certainly well enough to say whether the bow is 'wonderful' or not).


with respect, that is why i said "about as close as you can hope for" in the context of a budget alternative to the great makers mentioned above..

also, the guy uses a 15lb sledge on a 1 foot haft instead of a power hammer. i have no doubt he can draw that weight. i tried to draw his crossbow (he doesnt use a goats foot or winch) and it quite literally ate my hand, i still have a scar. i'm 6'2", 200+ pounds, and in fairly good shape, it gives him no troubles.
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Glennan Carnie




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 8:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Arguing about this is not productive: I have my opinion; you have yours. They are based on different expectations and experiences.

I'm sure Gabriele will spend his money wisely
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Leo Todeschini




PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe though am not certain that lamite bows were known of in the renaissance and perhaps before but would have to be considered rare.

Thery are cheaper because they are easier to make and because the very fine wood required for a decent self bow which comes at a cost is not required for a laminate and you can get as good if not better performance from a laminate as a self bow. If you want fun and performance there is no reason to avoid a laminate.

They are both high end makers but if you want confidence in buying the right thing on line from a guy you don't know I would again say they are good choices. If you want to go lower end, a very average maker can turn out a reasonable lemonwood/ash or lemonwood/hickory bow that will be fun to use and last well. Expect to pay about 120 for a decent enough weekend fun bow and in retrospect that is perhaps what I should have suggested first off.

As regards drawing big bows I will tell you my story; sorry if it is a little off track.

I have known shooters of 110-150lb bows for a few years and thought it was all about strength - I am not that strong so I didn't give it much thought, it was never going to be for me.

In the summer I started chatting to a lady friend who is I guess about 5'4 or 5'5 and certainly no blacksmith and she shot an 85lb bow. As I do physical work and I shoot a 55 I started thinking..........I know Steve Stratton and he weighs in at about 101/2 stone and he shoots a 120lb and certainly no bag of muscle (no offence Steve if you read this) and I concluded that as Glennan keeps banging on about, it is not all about strength it is about technique.

That evening I went down to the clout range used this ladies 85lb bow with a standard arrow and some coaching and shot 30 yds further with an arrow at least half as heavy again as I have ever shot. Only 170yds or so but it was no small arrow; 1/2" x 32" if remember right.

I am now the proud owner of an 85lb bow that I cannot draw - I need a few more coaching sessions, but I have no doubt that after a weekend of shooting in the very very different style required of this bow that I could contemplate a 100lb. There is no way I could draw a 75lb repeatedly using the straight Victorian draw I currently use let alone a 100lb.

From my view as a shooter of 34 years using one style, to try another style was utterly revolutionary, eye opening and personally I was running around with a huge grin after my revelation. In terms of archery it really was my 'road to damascus' moment - I suddenly got it.

Just because a man is strong it does not mean he can draw a 150lb bow and just because a man is small it does not mean he cannot. How many bench presses of how ever many pounds simply has very little relevance to the discussion of bow weights and did they didn't they. I bet many of you can not draw this ladies 85lb bow and I bet she cannot bench press half of what you can. Different things.

Roll on the summer!

Tod

www.todsstuff.co.uk
www.theenglishcutler.co.uk
www.todsfoundry.co.uk
www.todmedia.co.uk
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Gabriele Becattini




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a lot of good informations for a beginner, thanks for all your answers,

now i wish to add to the comments what is my point of view: as an almost complete beginner i think that it would be
useless for me to go with a bow of 100 lb draw, my archery instructor as pointed out at the end of my archery class that
going with an high poundage bow before to have learned the proper shooting technique would result in acquire a
lot of bad habits, also he has told me that the longbow especially the traditional model is considerably much more
difficult to master in respect to a modern recurve bow, for that reason he has given me the advice to start with a low
poundage 45 lb, i'm 32 years old and i'm a triathlon atlethe so for sure i would be able to draw much more poundage that
my actual bow, but as mr.Tod has pointed out i think that phisical strenght is not the main factor involved with archery, and my technique is still too bad.

said that, i don't like at all modern made recurve bow, i have bought mine just as a training tool but in my mind the longbow is the "one and only", what i'm looking for,actually, is a medium price range bow to use as a starting point
while i'm waiting to became proficient enough to acquire an high end, high poundage bow, that is my main goal.May be that a laminated longbow like the basic model offered by mr.Stratton would be a good choice for me, but if you have some other respectable seller based in the uk or mainland europe to raccomend i would be happy to receive some other imput.

(Mr. O'Malley, thanks for your kind offer, but buying somethig outside europe is out of questions for me, i have already
experimented with the dreadfull import taxes that my country ask for stuff coming from the united states, and i don't wish to repeat the experience)
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Leo Todeschini




PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 3:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would agree with your instructor that a 40 or 45 would be more than enough for a starter.

I would suggest you ask for a lemonwood/ash or lemonwood/hickory bow or a something/bamboo of 40-45

look to pay about 120.

Steve Stratton
Phil Fraser
Michael Eaton
Richard Head
Fairbow UK or Fairbow NL
Ron Palmer
Hilary Greenside

all make or supply good bows like this and there will be loads of makers in Europe and near to you also.

Why not ring up some of your local clubs and ask where they get theirs?

Tod

www.todsstuff.co.uk
www.theenglishcutler.co.uk
www.todsfoundry.co.uk
www.todmedia.co.uk
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Alain D.




PostPosted: Mon 08 Feb, 2010 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo Todeschini wrote:

...it is not all about strength it is about technique.

I bet many of you can not draw this ladies 85lb bow and I bet she cannot bench press half of what you can. Different things.
Tod


That may be true, but she probably can lift a decent amount with bent over rows.

I completely agree that technique is a major factor in drawing heavy bows, probably bigger than strength, but strength has it's role too, just a lot of people don't know which muscles are required in drawing a bow. It's mainly the upper back muscles (Trapezius and Rhomboids) and shoulders (deltoids) with a little help from the Latissimus Dorsi on the drawing arm side. These muscles are often neglected in workout routines and don't see much use in everyday activities and therefore are often weak. I've personally trained these muscles specifically for bow drawing and have found drawing much easier with well-conditioned muscles. The purpose of proper technique is to correctly put these muscles to use in order to push them to their highest potential (which standard Victorian draw doesn't do). As Tod mentioned, it's much more difficult to draw a bow with the Victorian style than with the warbow draw style.

Tod, I've experimented with drawing techniques and have found some that work better than others, but I'm not sure I'm actually drawing in the style you're talking about. I don't know of anybody nearby who does this or any clubs that would teach this. Are there any other resources (books, internet) that would illustrate this method?

Good luck Gabriele

Thanks
-Alain
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Glennan Carnie




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Feb, 2010 1:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Muscle strength is definitely a factor, but only one of many, including tendon strength, technique and even your physical proportions (wide shoulders and short arms is better than narrow shoulders and long arms).

Like Tod, I am not proportionately strong for my size. I was not raised in an environment of physical labour. In fact, I'm pretty sure Tod could arm-wrestle me to the floor with little effort (no, that's not a challenge, Tod!) This (and my long arms, narrow shoulders) will always limit my ability to shoot the really heavy bows (the bow in the image is a 'mere' 120lb at full draw; but I can shoot a roving marks shoot all day with it)

Alain,

There are no Internet resources available at the moment teaching 'medieval' technique; although YouTube has plenty of people actually shooting in this style (including me)

Without seeing your shooting it's difficult to give you tips. However, there are some common mistakes to look out for:

- Locking out the bow arm
- Not drawing the bow fully back so that it is in-line with the draw (what we call 'locking-in')
- Having the rear (right, if you shoot right-handed) hip too far forward
- Not pushing down with the rear (right) leg through the floor; a symptom of the above
- Anchoring to the jaw or eye
- Holding the draw-line too high (above the chin, or higher)
- 'Slashing' the loose, but using mere brute force and letting go at full draw (OKfor distance, lousy for everything else!)

Here is a picture of me at full draw with my bow. You can see the muscles at work very well in this photo. You can also see my bow arm in the 'locked-in' position. In this position all the weight of the bow is directed into my skeleton; the muscles provide stability only.

Final point (while I notice it): Note there is no arrow hanging off the end of my bow at full draw. Any arrow shaft projecting from the bow adds nothing to the shot. It is merely 'dead weight'. So cut it off. Many archers, not confident of their technique enjoy the 'comfort blanket' of some extra arrow shaft in case they draw the arrow inside the bow (or shoot themselves in the hand). If you understand the mechanics of the draw, this will not happen.

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Gabriele Becattini




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Feb, 2010 5:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

what about Fairbow products? they look incredibily good priced, they horsebow looks interesting too.
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Glennan Carnie




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Feb, 2010 5:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fairbow is a one-stop-shop for all things related to traditional archery.

They are a reasonable place for beginner's equipment, as they can supply you with everything you need to start archery, without breaking the bank.

Even so, i would definitely seek out and chat to specialist bowyers before you buy anything. It will cost you the price of a phone call; but could save you a fortune.
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Alain D.




PostPosted: Tue 09 Feb, 2010 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Glennan, that's very helpful.

Gabriele, I have no personal experience with Fairbows, but their products look very good to me. I'd trust them.
Good luck in finding a bow.

-Alain
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