Looking for a longbow

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J.A.A
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Looking for a longbow

Postby J.A.A » Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:54 pm

Hi there! Since I'm new here I'll start by introducing myself. I’m a uni student up in Scotland and a member of a re-enactment group specializing in the period 1135-1215 and currently looking to buy equipment for myself, and was referred to these forums by a friend.

I want to buy a 25lb warbow and a set of blunt arrows to start practicing with. Can anyone here recommend a website where I can buy that from? I’ve tried Arbalist Armoury (http://store.arbalistarmoury.co.uk/) and this other website (http://www.apieceofhistory.co.uk/) but neither of them have responded to my attempts to contact them. Does anyone have any suggestions?
As a final note: I’m also looking to buy a set of blunt crossbow bolts for a friend of mine who has a crossbow but no arrows to shoot with, so I would also appreciate it if a website to buy from could be recommended.
I am looking to have this equipment ASAP too, like if possible before April ASAP.

Thanks in advance!



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Phil the Grips » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:34 pm

Zauberdachs has a bow of a decent pedigree for sale in the "Buy and sell" section.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:30 pm

Also try:

Phil Fraser www.PhilFraser.com
Fairbow: www.fairbow.co.uk


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:31 am

Make your own x-bow blunts. Dead easy. A 2.4m length of dowel from your local diy store will give you 8 shafts. Couple of packets of fletchings and some fletching glue and some redheads = job done. You can probably even get away with not using a fletching jig. Cost less than half the price of bought ones. Arbalest's are £3.50 each . Make your own for less that half that.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:58 am

That's good advice from John.

The same is true with arrows; they are a consumable item - you WILL destroy and lose them. It can get very expensive to keep replacing arrows from a vendor. Learning to make your own arrows can save you a shed-load of cash. And there is the added satisfaction of making your own equipment.

Basic tools for making arrows are a fletching jig, a junior hacksaw, two-part epoxy and fletching adhesive. If you are using plastic nocks (Uugh!) a taper tool is handy. A small craft vice is also useful for holding stuff while you work.

Total cost for all the tools is about £40 - £50. You'll probably save that on your first two or three dozen arrows.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Hinny Annie » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:24 am

hi ya, we have been away at the living history fair, but I have responded to you, I will contact you again incase it went somewhere else


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Langley » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:38 pm

I can reccommend Annie's bows. I bought a beautiful 25Kg yew stick off the stall at ILHF on Sunday. Annie - did you notice Robert Hardy watching the testing?



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Hinny Annie » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:21 pm

Langley wrote:I can reccommend Annie's bows. I bought a beautiful 25Kg yew stick off the stall at ILHF on Sunday. Annie - did you notice Robert Hardy watching the testing?


thanks for the recommendation Langley, Its not the 1st time we have had Robert Hardy so to speak he just likes to stand and watch and no one bothers him, he tends to go if people start fawning round him, he is a nice chap though


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby J.A.A » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:50 pm

Thank you for the help given so far, but as to making my own arrows and bolts, that's not happening anytime soon, for a number of reasons.

A - I'm working on my end-of-uni dissertation, and to be perfectly frank it's not like I have all that much free time, or motivation, to do DIY with a 12,000-plus-word essay on my schedule.
B - I'm useless, and I mean UTTERLY useless and making things (Seriously, I cannot overstate this enough. I wouldn't know what to do even if I had a 'How To' manual in front of me). I can modify things well enough but I am absolutely no good at creating anything. I'm sure it gets easier the more you do it and that it's not really all that hard to begin with and all that, and to be sure in time I'll learn how to make my own arrows but right now, because of this and the first reason, it just isn't an option right now.
C - I'm taking baby steps at the moment. I've only really started getting all my own equipment recently so right now what I want is to buy what I need so I can get started on practicing with it ASAP. As I said, I'll learn how to do the DIY in my own time, just not right now.

Thank you for the suggestions, but I'm not changing my mind on this matter. However if anyone could recommend a place where I can get crossbow bolts I would be very grateful. I've found quite a few places that do longbow arrows, but not that many that do bolts.



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Brendan C » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:04 pm

J.A.A wrote:Hi there! Since I'm new here I'll start by introducing myself. I’m a uni student up in Scotland and a member of a re-enactment group specializing in the period 1135-1215 and currently looking to buy equipment for myself, and was referred to these forums by a friend.

I want to buy a 25lb warbow and a set of blunt arrows to start practicing with. Can anyone here recommend a website where I can buy that from? I’ve tried Arbalist Armoury (http://store.arbalistarmoury.co.uk/) and this other website (http://www.apieceofhistory.co.uk/) but neither of them have responded to my attempts to contact them. Does anyone have any suggestions?
As a final note: I’m also looking to buy a set of blunt crossbow bolts for a friend of mine who has a crossbow but no arrows to shoot with, so I would also appreciate it if a website to buy from could be recommended.
I am looking to have this equipment ASAP too, like if possible before April ASAP.

Thanks in advance!


Just out of interest, which group are you with?

Regards

Brendan C
Last edited by Brendan C on Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Fri Mar 05, 2010 2:38 pm

J.A.A wrote:Thank you for the suggestions, but I'm not changing my mind on this matter. However if anyone could recommend a place where I can get crossbow bolts I would be very grateful. I've found quite a few places that do longbow arrows, but not that many that do bolts.


Apart from Arbalest I can only think of http://replicacrossbowworld.com/accessories.html and Tod's Stuff that are making re-enactment crossbows and accessories in the UK. I got my cheap-and-nasty bow from Ancient Battlecrafts but Steve did not have any suitable bolts at the time. But anyone who makes arrows should be able to make you up some bolts (I made a couple last night for a shoot this weekend). You just need to spec the shaft length and diameter, type and size of fletchings and type of blunt.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Hinny Annie » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:33 pm

J.A.A wrote: Thank you for the suggestions, but I'm not changing my mind on this matter. However if anyone could recommend a place where I can get crossbow bolts I would be very grateful. I've found quite a few places that do longbow arrows, but not that many that do bolts.


Hi, I have sent you email and a private pm on here do you still wants them ?, if you have got them elsewhere no problem, but I can't help you if you wont respond


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby J.A.A » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:13 pm

Brendan C wrote:
Just out of interest, which group are you with?

Regards

Brendan C


I'm belong to Historia Normannis, and am a member of the only Scottish cell of that group, currently in Stirling. What about yourself?



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Tod » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:44 am

I can recommend a Piece of History as well. I've had a 20lb bow, a 45lb, and am looking at getting a 60lb or more from them. Plus I've had loads of arrows.
Good service, happy people, good prices.



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:33 am

Word of warning when buying arrows - ask the trader what glue they use to fix the heads.
A mate bought half a dozen from ILHF in the spring and lost one head at a clout shoot first shot. Another came off in his hand. These arrows were retired and he borrowed some of mine.
Points were later removed and re-fixed with a two-part epoxy. He bought another half dozen matching arrows at the last ILHF from the same trader and lost four points at last weekend's MSS clout shoot.
So he lost five modbods out of 12 after only one or two shots. Needless to say he is going to seek out the trader (I don't know who it is) and ask for replacements.

The glue used looked like that from a hot melt glue gun - I have tried this in tha past with similar poor results. I now always use araldite rapid two-part epoxy, which hardly ever fails.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Richard Scott » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:56 am

John Waller wrote:The glue used looked like that from a hot melt glue gun - I have tried this in tha past with similar poor results. I now always use araldite rapid two-part epoxy, which hardly ever fails.


I'd second the recommendation of Araldite Rapid (or similar 2-part epoxy). Our field archery club gave up on hot-melt adhesive some years ago due to such poor results.



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Langley » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:01 pm

If you are going to make your own one tip. A tile saw is just the right size to make cuts to put horn slivers in for reinforcement of arrows and also for cutting the nock itself. If you are looking at dowel be careful. Most reputable suppliers of shafts for arrow making check that the grain runs stright up and down the shaft. Discard anything which has the grain runnign accross IT WILL BREAK and probably leave you with a sharp stick stuck in your hand. I actually buy the ready fletched shafts from Richard Head Longbows, cut to length and araldite (I second the commetns about needing to use something strong too!) the piles on. I make my own for higher quality and put horn inserts in etc but those ones are great for "mujition" arrows. Fletched in white goose, bound or unbound (you can do your own binding). They stand up to my 58lb bow without breaking and the spine is good enough for that too.



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:17 pm

Yep, tile saw is what I use for horn nocks with a couple of small files and the trusty dremel for shaping and tidying up.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Hinny Annie » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:22 pm

Horn inserts are a bit difficult for a beginner, I remember when we started making them it was hard enough without an added complication and to be perfectly honest even though we do sell them unless you have a heavy bow they are not neccesary very pretty though they are, and we have never used hot glue to stick arrowheads on we use Araldite


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:17 pm

Langley wrote:If you are going to make your own one tip. A tile saw is just the right size to make cuts to put horn slivers in for reinforcement of arrows and also for cutting the nock itself. If you are looking at dowel be careful. Most reputable suppliers of shafts for arrow making check that the grain runs stright up and down the shaft. Discard anything which has the grain runnign accross IT WILL BREAK and probably leave you with a sharp stick stuck in your hand. I actually buy the ready fletched shafts from Richard Head Longbows, cut to length and araldite (I second the commetns about needing to use something strong too!) the piles on. I make my own for higher quality and put horn inserts in etc but those ones are great for "mujition" arrows. Fletched in white goose, bound or unbound (you can do your own binding). They stand up to my 58lb bow without breaking and the spine is good enough for that too.


A tile saw is WAY too big for making the cuts for horn slivers. The horn sliver in the MR arrows and Westminster arrow are no more than 1/16" (approx 1mm) at their thickest; and about 2" long. A tile saw makes a 1/8" cut, typically.

I know most vendors sell horn slivers in 1/8" slices, but that's probably more to do with (their) cost and time than accuracy.

Oh, and they should be cow horn, too. As far as I remember England wasn't known for its herds of majestic buffalo.

To be honest, nothing looks as crass and cack-handed as a 11/32" shaft with a great wedge of buffalo shoved in its rear, plumed with 1" high feathers and whipped with what appears to be string rather than fine silk.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Hinny Annie » Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:04 pm

EnglishArcher wrote:
Langley wrote:I know most vendors sell horn slivers in 1/8" slices, but that's probably more to do with (their) cost and time than accuracy.


That's because that's the size they come in, unless we buy big pieces and I have to sit and cut them up. You are absolutley correct in that Its a compromise between what people will pay and accuracy, because believe me if I have to sit and cut them up they will be expensive, they also stink when you cut them


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Brendan C » Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:53 pm

J.A.A wrote:
Brendan C wrote:
Just out of interest, which group are you with?

Regards

Brendan C


I'm belong to Historia Normannis, and am a member of the only Scottish cell of that group, currently in Stirling. What about yourself?


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Thu Mar 11, 2010 11:01 am

[quote="EnglishArcher]

A tile saw is WAY too big for making the cuts for horn slivers. The horn sliver in the MR arrows and Westminster arrow are no more than 1/16" (approx 1mm) at their thickest; and about 2" long. A tile saw makes a 1/8" cut, typically.

I know most vendors sell horn slivers in 1/8" slices, but that's probably more to do with (their) cost and time than accuracy.

Oh, and they should be cow horn, too. As far as I remember England wasn't known for its herds of majestic buffalo.

To be honest, nothing looks as crass and cack-handed as a 11/32" shaft with a great wedge of buffalo shoved in its rear, plumed with 1" high feathers and whipped with what appears to be string rather than fine silk.[/quote]

Crass and cack handed is probably a bit strong but 'tis all true. I confess I aimed for medieval-stylee arrows for field shooting rather than a L/H or museum quality replica. If I made more now I would probably do it differently. You live and learn.

I don't doubt that silk was used to whip on fletchings but would be interested in your provenance.

NB Horn was imported.
Last edited by John Waller on Thu Mar 11, 2010 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Alan E » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:40 pm

EnglishArcher wrote:...
To be honest, nothing looks as crass and cack-handed as a 11/32" shaft with a great wedge of buffalo shoved in its rear, plumed with 1" high feathers and whipped with what appears to be string rather than fine silk.

As "crass and cack-handed" as the replicas placed next to the MR arrows in the MR museum in Portsmouth then? These are significantly different (horn thickness and nock size) from the arrow remains they are placed beside, but they still approximate the appearance for those looking at them. Probably as "crass and cack-handed" as the riveted mail we buy from India which isn't authentic in its construction nor its material, but is (as Hinny Annie said for the arrows) the best approximation we can get for the time and money most can afford to put in, given available resources.

For that matter, how do you make a string the size of the MR nocks, that is strong enough for the estimated weight of the MR bows (genuine question if anyone knows the answer, as it has puzzled me since I saw them)?

What is the actual evidence that all medieval arrows were whipped with silk a.o.t. linen BTW?


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:34 pm

As "crass and cack-handed" as the replicas placed next to the MR arrows in the MR museum in Portsmouth then? These are significantly different (horn thickness and nock size) from the arrow remains they are placed beside, but they still approximate the appearance for those looking at them. Probably as "crass and cack-handed" as the riveted mail we buy from India which isn't authentic in its construction nor its material, but is (as Hinny Annie said for the arrows) the best approximation we can get for the time and money most can afford to put in, given available resources.

For that matter, how do you make a string the size of the MR nocks, that is strong enough for the estimated weight of the MR bows (genuine question if anyone knows the answer, as it has puzzled me since I saw them)?

What is the actual evidence that all medieval arrows were whipped with silk a.o.t. linen BTW?


My wife warned me the 'crass and cack-handed' comment would raise peoples' heckles. I really should learn to listen to her! :D

The 'replica' arrows in the MR museum are a source of frustration to me. Given access to the original arrows how did the craftsman manage to produce artefacts that differ so significantly?

What you find acceptable (and what you find 'crass and cack-handed'!) alls comes down to preference, experience and personal standards.


The English Warbow Society (EWBS) uses a replica of an MR arrow as its 'Livery' arrow. The Livery Arrow is used for flight shooting and is a measure of the performance of the bow, the arrow and the archer. This page explains the rationale behind the arrow (and the use of silk for whipping):

http://www.englishwarbowsociety.com/tud ... arrow.html

This page gives specifications for the EWBS arrows:

http://www.englishwarbowsociety.com/EWB ... TIONS.html

As to the subject of cow horn versus buffalo horn: The MR arrows were reinforced with cow horn. Several cow horn slivers were recovered but until recently nobody at the museum knew what they were for. They are a perfect fit for the arrow slots.

Strings are the subject of much ongoing work. At least one author has claimed the bows could be no more than 100lbs draw-weight because a 1/8" linen string cannot take a load of more than 100lb for more than a few arrows. I would like to see this author's research findings because I have a linen string 1/8" diameter which has been used on a 120lb bow for many dozens of arrows without failure. Other archers have had similar results.

Secondly, the draw-weight of the MR bows has been validated from several independent sources, including mathematical modelling and building identical replicas.The average draw-weight of the MR bows is currently estimated around 150lb @ 32".

With modern synthetic fibres producing a bow string to support the weight of an MR replica bow is straightforward. Materials like FastFlight only require about 18 strands for a 140 - 150lb bow; for a flight bow as few as 14 strands may be used!

There are two concurrent threads (no pun intended) of research: The string material itself and the oft-recorded string 'glue'. At present the work is ongoing and nothing has been published on the subject.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby John Waller » Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:13 pm

Interesting stuff EA. I confess that I have not seen anything published by the Mary Rose Trust stating silk was used but I expect that will appear in Weapons of Warre if it ever gets published :roll: I have seen reference to 'fibres' but no further identification was given.

Ascham does mention silk bow strings and I have seen an unreferenced editor's comment about silk bindings in an edition of a C15th French work.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:50 pm

John Waller wrote:Interesting stuff EA. I confess that I have not seen anything published by the Mary Rose Trust stating silk was used but I expect that will appear in Weapons of Warre if it ever gets published :roll: I have seen reference to 'fibres' but no further identification was given.

Ascham does mention silk bow strings and I have seen an unreferenced editor's comment about silk bindings in an edition of a C15th French work.


I'm not going to hold my breath for 'Weapons of Warre'...

As with many museums, the MR trust can't be experts on everything. Often a trained eye spots the blatantly obvious which had been missed for years (the arrow slivers being a good example)

I'll check my sources and see if the Westminster arrow was whipped with silk (I think so)


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby J.A.A » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:54 pm

Hinny Annie wrote:Hi, I have sent you email and a private pm on here do you still wants them ?, if you have got them elsewhere no problem, but I can't help you if you wont respond


I sent you a private message during the week asking if you'd gotten my e-mail on the bow I was interested in. Did you get my pm or my mail? I am still interested in buying a bow and arrows.



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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:28 pm

Further to my previous post: My sources tell me all the MR arrows, and the Westminster arrow, are whipped with silk.

It is possible the arrows are whipped with a very (very!) fine linen; certainly far thinner than the 'bailing twine' used by most re-enactors. For recreation purposes I would use a single-ply silk thread.


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Re: Looking for a longbow

Postby Langley » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:47 pm

I did say I was talking about "munition" quality arrows for use at shows which look good enough to do a demo with but get put away when it comes to show and tell time with the MOPs - they have modern steel bullet piles for one thing! I used a linen string for a very long time. It finally broke at the loop and unfortunately Alan Andrews (Beaufort Foresters) who made it for me has departed this mortal coil. I really must get round to making myself a new one. I seem to recall that the Royal archers used red silk for binding mostly for bling purposes. Not sure of the provenance but again, linen is fine for the sort or arrows I treat as expendable. A lot of my others have Hector Cole heads and I would be rather upset at breaking/losing any of them!




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