Several members of the club were lucky enough to be able to visit a workshop where they make this ancient weapon, this is Pete’s report of the visit:
Having recently got hold of my first longbow I jumped at the chance of going to see a master bowyer at work. As an enthusiastic band of five archers from the club we arrived at Marc Grady’s workshop at midday and were little aware of what to expect. We soon found out that Marc is not only an expert in his field but passionate about archery,wood and it’s relationship through history.
During the course of the afternoon we were given a basic understanding of types of wood, their properties and suitability for making longbows. Two of our party have started to make their first longbows and had brought them along for Marc’s reaction and advice. What impressed me most was the way he critiqued these bows, pointing out faults or rather inefficiencies in the construction but always at great pains to be encouraging and supportive.
All through our visit we were given historical anecdotes and examples of how archery has influenced the English language and how the longbow has been a pivotal part of our nation’s history.
From bow making we went to arrow making, another fascinating subject, covering the use of suitable woods such as Port Orford Cedar , types of arrow uses and appropriate fletchings and suitable varnishes and finishes.
I came away with my head buzzing with information and the equipment and confidence I need to make my first arrows.
What a day, and one I thoroughly recommend !
(Marc Grady can be found at www.longbowemporium.co.uk )