Group courses (between 3 and 6 people) are run out in the open
The bow that we are going to make is the European flatbow, along the lines of the Meare Heath and Holmeguard bows. These bows predate the longbow by several thousand years and are actually more efficient and (in my opinion at least) more fun to shoot. Over the course of the weekend we will turn a stave of English Ash from my woodland (other native woods may also be on offer) into a beautiful working bow.
Saturday will be concerned with the rough shaping and primary tillering of the bow. We are going to be using handtools that haven't changed much in a very long time: axes, drawknives, rasps and scrapers. Then around the campfire in the evening we can make a couple of arrows and a layed in bowstring (both skills in their own right!).
On sunday we can finish the shaping and tillering to produce a bow that will shoot straight! We should have plenty of time to get a bit of practice in at the range and we may even get out into the field archery course.
This is a fantastic value for money course. Most other bowmaking courses I've looked at you make the usual boring longbow. Here you get to make a unique and more ancient type of bow, your own string and your own arrows! And you get to shoot around my field archery course for free! What more could you want?
Location: My Woodland workshop just outside Cheriton Bishop, Devon.
Max number of students: 6Price: Number of places left:
Most archers assemble their own arrows as it's a cheaper way of buying arrows and allows you to tune them to your specific requirements. Making arrows from shop bought parts is easy and only takes about 15 minutes per arrow, this course is different.
Starting with natural hazel sunshoots,we will scrape off the bark and straighten the shafts over a small fire. Then we can smooth the shafts down with abrasives to make them more uniform in size and shape, smoothing them down as we go. After carrefully cutting self nocks in one end we can begin the fletching. I will provide some feathers for fletching, these will need to be cut to shape and size and glued and/or whipped in place. Finally we can glue on a steel pile, these can be either store bought piles or one that I have made myself. I may even be able to conjure up some stone (slate rather than flint I'm afraid), bone and antler to tip our Primitive Arrows with this time! All materials are included in the price for this course.
Assuming that we all have at least one good arrow to shoot, we can then try out our handiwork at the range. Then off we go to the field archery course, if you are feeling confident in your skill as an archer and arrowsmith/fletcher!
Click on the images below for a better idea of what you could do. I've arranged them to show the whole process from chooseing a bowstave through tillering and the fletching of arrows. The second gallery is the rogues gallery, showing you a selection of former students and their finely crafted bows and arrows!
Here are some of the bows and arrows made over the last few years.