This is a three day course where you will build your own yew wood bow. Join bowyer Jamie MacDonald and learn the art of building a traditional wooden bow.
This is a 3 day workshop which includes:
If this isn't enough for you, check out our Bow Immersion for details on our eight day workshop.
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Maximum 7 participants.
We are mostly just running this workshop for private groups at this time - if you have a group that's interested, please get in touch.
We are not running workshops during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Select a yew wood stave
These staves are harvested with respect from local forests. Ideal trees split near the base and create multiple leaders. This allows a leader to be harvested without killing the whole tree. These often have one side that are clear from branches, which means less knots to work around. Branches are also harvested if the tree is large enough. Every stave offered in the workshops has solid bow potential. Teaching includes how to work around individual characteristics presented.
Processing starts with debarking the stave using knives and scrapers. Once through the outer bark and cambium the outer sapwood is revealed. On this you will draw the outline for your bow. Using a hatchet, wood is removed to the rough outline. The next step is using a ferrier`s rasp to work down until a long tillering string can be put on.
The tillering process is when the bow is being placed on a tillering stick - basically a piece of wood which holds the strung bow, where a pulley and weight are attached. You can pull the rope, stand back, look at the shape the bow is taking, see how heavy and at what length the pull is. This is a critical process where you will receive support in understanding specifically where to be working the bow further. Scrapers are also used in this process when the wood needs smaller adjustments.
Flemish twist bowstring
This is taught as you move from a long to a short tiller string. It uses a special jig with multiple strings spliced and cordaged together.
Once the bow has achieved its final pull/weight combination it can be sanded. Finishing options after this point include shellac, true oil, tongue oil, or a polyurethane depending on what you like or a looking to do with the bow (and what kind of maintenance you want to keep up with). At this point a handle may be put on as well (or you can leave the bow with a wood handle). Leather/suede is most common with perhaps some padding underneath.
Participants have ranged in age from 7 - 74.
If you are interested in hosting a workshop in your area or have any further questions about the workshops, please contact us.