Advice on shooting a new longbow

A new Longbow deserves respect. It has been tillered very carefully to draw in an optimum bend to suit the required draw length and draw weight.

Before use it is a good idea to rub a beeswax-based polish into the bow, to both protect it from damp and to warm the wood.

Next you need to "teach" it to shoot. To do this, brace the bow at a low brace height and allow the bow to settle for about an hour, then slowly part draw the bow several times and come down again.

Continue this until you have reached full draw after 10 - 15 part draws.

Now brace the bow fully and start to shoot arrows into a close target from a part-drawn position working back to full draw, again after 10 - 15 shots.

NEVER draw a bow back too quickly, to do so is to treat it like firewood you are trying to break, you just might succeed.

This is a common problem when people used to compound and recurve bows first pick up a Longbow.

Another potential problem is temperature: the colder a piece of wood the stiffer and more brittle it becomes. Conversely, as the weather gets hotter, the limper it will get and therefore you can expect less cast. In practice the extremes are not often encountered in this country but are common in other countries.

Avoid using a bow in either sub-zero (centigrade) temperatures, or in extreme heat as in the one instance it might break and in the other it will suffer long-term damage and future loss of performance.

Once the bow has shot around 2 - 3 dozen arrows from full draw it will begin to bed in and should start to feel sweeter to draw. If you always warm up the bow you will extend its useful life and performance, and it is much less likely to break.

In time all wooden bows "follow the string" this varies from one wood to another and one bow to another. Never try to straighten a bow by bending it the "wrong" way as in many cases they can break.

The above is a summary of many little bits of advice which we have come across over many years of Longbow shooting.

The more respect that you can give your equipment the better it will serve you.

When we, as a nation, had need to depend on the bow for defence (and offence) and for hunting I doubt that these bows would be treated badly in any way.

Care of your bow

Check the bracing height after stringing the bow and before shooting: do not overbrace the bow. A slightly low bracing height is not a worry.
ALWAYS keep within the stated draw-limit: never overdraw or dry loose a longbow.
NEVER bend the bow the wrong way as this will cause damage, even breakage.
Check the string regularly for signs of wear, particularly at the nocks. If the string has got dirty or muddy it may have also got grit into the fibres, which will cause rapid wear.
Keep the string well waxed: this will both improve performance and help to keep out both dirt and moisture. It is always a good idea to "have a second string to your bow": call us and we will make you one.

REMEMBER:

  • An overbraced bow
  • An overdrawn bow
  • A broken string
  • A dry loose
  • A carelessly braced bow
  • A bow drawn too quickly
  • A broken arrow nock
  • A lift in the bow backing
  • A bow bent the wrong way

CAN and PROBABLY WILL all contribute towards a broken bow. With regular use, over time a wooden bow can lose a little weight and cast: this is normal and should not be "rectified" by increasing the bracing height as this will simply over stress the wood and further shorten the life of the bow, with no benefit. Natural materials deserve to be treated with care and will reward you if you do.

Disclaimer

Longbows should only be used by experienced archers or with appropriate training by a suitably qualified instructor or coach. We are not responsible for return carriage cost or any other consequential loss, damage or injury which might occur when using our bows, as we have no control over the situations or circumstances under which equipment is kept, treated and used. We trust that, by following the above advice and by using the recommended method of bracing your bow, you will enjoy shooting your new bow for many years to come