Technical characteristics


The longbow

Yew needs to be seasoned and dried slowly. It needs to be split rather than sawn in order to follow the grain of the wood. The back of the bow is the part which is closest to the outside of the tree (ie. sapwood).

Other woods can be sawn, but care is still needed to follow the grain. Apart from the traditional Yew, bowyers now combine woods such as Hickory, Piquia, Greenheart, Osage, Lancewood/Dagame (Lemonwood), Elm, Ash, Mulberry, Maple, Snakewood, Juniper, Walnut, Oak and others.

  Cross-section of the Longbow

The cross-section width to depth ratio = 5/8 th. To be classified as a longbow, the bow must as tall as the archer with straight ends, wider at the arrow plate than any other spot on the top limb.

Its cross-section must be "D" shaped, with a minimum width to depth ratio of 5/8th. Arrow rests are not allowed, nor are sight marks of any kind. The arrow must lay over the top of the forefinger for shooting. As in the past, the longbow requires regular practice in order to remain proficient in its use.To ensure that the bow limbs are well balanced, the bow needs to be tillered (working the bow down evenly to reach the required draw weight at the required draw length). Longer bows are easier to shoot but have a slower/weaker cast.

The bracing height of a longbow is an inside measurement from the belly of the bow to the string.It should be the equivalent of 1/12th of the length of the bow, measured from stringnock to stringnock.

Therefore the bracing height of a 75 inch bow is 6 1/4 inch (right photo).
A rough measure given by the "fistmele" (left photo).


arrows3The three fingered or Mediterranean arrow loose.
The index finger rests on the arrow. The middle and ring finger are fractionally below the arrow to avoid squeezing it.
The arrow is placed and loosed over the hand /forefinger.
The hand is placed so that the arrow rests on/above the leather of the grip on the bow.