Over the years that I have been building longbows I have always been fascinated with the historical side of the sport and the effectiveness of the English longbow in battle. Some of the claims made of this weapon seemed to be just too good to be true, while others were very believable. Many people have had their own ideas, and many of these ideas have become accepted as “facts,” generally without any actual evidence to back them up.
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After much hard work, and some pretty dismal weather this winter, we have begun to develop some more work toward our understanding of the Tudor War Bow. The beautiful stave that Jim Fetrow so kindly sent to us is now a fully working replica of a Mary Rose Style bow! It is a truly gorgeous item with it’s own character and performance to match. I built it using the dimensions of the bows that we have studied at the Mary Rose Trust, it’s weight and performance should be comparable with the original bows, though we have yet to see how this compares with both English Yew and, hopefully, Italian Yew.
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We tend to think of life as an Indian or Native American (as we tend to call them these days) as an idyllic one. Living in peace and harmony with nature on perfect bluebird days, as long as the white man wasn’t around. Truth be told, life for an Indian was very difficult at best, fraught with danger and hardship. Rather than the perfect autumn weather we normally see in the paintings of the Indians, if you were from one of the Midwestern or northeastern tribes, the weather could have been very wet or very cold (or both) for many months of the year. If you’ve done any extended primitive camping you know just what a pain nature can be.
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A while back at a rendezvous or some other sort of show we ran into an old fellow who had some boar’s teeth for sale. Jaap immediately spotted them and snapped them up, like a kid grabbing a slice of ice-cold watermelon on a hot summer’s day. As I was watching him execute the snap transaction I found myself wondering just where I was gong to see those boar’s teeth next. Displayed on his chest as some sort of primordial necklace? Stuck in my silverware drawer? Only later when I popped into his workshop one day did I realize what he had in mind.
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Oct/Nov 2015 Edition in this issue:

Making the Comanche Bow
By Billy Berger

Show Me Some Skin
By Neal C. Ritter

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