Thursday, October 11, 2012

Longbow making course in Gloucestershire

My Mum recently booked myself and Dad onto this 4 day bow making course. We made a home guard style flat bow from a large ash tree that we felled on the first day, but you could have made traditional a longbow too (a little more tricky for the beginner).

The course (more details here) is held over 2 weekends which roughly breaks down as follows:

Day one:

  • Knife and axe techniques
  • Making simple wood tools such as wedges and pegs
  • Choosing and felling a large tree with axes
Day two:
  • Splitting the trunk
  • Marking and measuring the your split section with the bow dimensions
  • Rough shaping to end with a bow 'blank' which will now dry ready for the second weekend
Day three:
  • Making and using a draw knife type tool
  • Removing the bark layer
  • Carving and shaping the bow and starting to flex it by hand
Day four
  • Cutting the notches for the string
  • Fine tuning the bows shape and strength with tilling 
  • Making arrows
  • Making the string
  • Firing the bow and trying to hit a target!

Here's Dad busy carving away with the kettle boiling ready for a tea break

The instructor Nick Showing how to do the tilling

Overall it was a very enjoyable 4 days and very highly recommended at a cost of £360 (food included) and it books up very fast. I learned a lot of techniques that can be used to for lots of other projects and you come away with a great looking usable bow too, see mine below. Some people camped in the wood too and cooked dinner together on the fire etc, if you could do this I think it would really add to the experience too.