Grip size of a longbow

DSC 0256 150x150 Grip size of a longbowThe grip on a longbow is usually smaller and more refined than the grip on a hunting recurve, a target recurve, or even a compound bow. Obviously, the most comfortable grip size is determined by the size of your bow hand and your personal preference for the way the grip feels. Plus, we all know that men, women, and children have different hand sizes. In this post I will describe the best ways to measure a grip and suggest some measurements for small, medium, and large grip sizes. Continue reading

Interview with Ken Rohloff of WhippenStick Custom Bows

DSC 0143 3 150x150 Interview with Ken Rohloff of WhippenStick Custom BowsKen Rohloff is the founder of WhippenStick Custom Bows. Ken is a custom bowyer and creator of the bow he calls the “Whippen Stick” custom bow. I first met Ken at the Leatherwall traditional archery forum probably in the early 2000s when he posted a few longbow pics. Immediately, I noticed how his bows stood out from the rest, not just because of the beautiful wood choices, but because of their refined, balanced design features, and obvious superior craftsmanship he had used in their construction. I later got to know Ken better at the Pirates of Archery traditional archery forum where we both posted a lot and had a lot of interesting discussions about making bows. Continue reading

Five common styles of longbow grips

P1010014 150x150 Five common styles of longbow gripsIt might seem like there are a million different types of longbow grips/handles, but I think they can easily be classified in five categories of common styles: 1) straight or “Hill”-style, 2) dished, 3) humped, 4) locator, and 5) sculpted/recurve style. Although each has its own definitive shape, you can probably make about any longbow design with any of these grip styles depending on your preference. In this blog post, let’s look more closely at each of these styles.

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Interview with Bill Howland of Brackenbury Custom Bows

Bill Howland 150x150 Interview with Bill Howland of Brackenbury Custom BowsThis is the first of what I hope will be a series of interviews with custom bowyers. There is so much to learn from these bowyers who work full time doing the craft. I hope you find this information useful in your bow making!

Bill Howland is the owner and bowyer of Brackenbury Custom Bows, Nine Mile Falls, Washington. He has owned and operated the company since August, 2001. The company was started by the late Jim Brackenbury who died in 1991. Bill continues the production of several of Jim Brackenbury’s bow designs. I met Bill at the Pirates of Archery internet forum where we have often shared discussions about making bows. He always has about the best advice that comes from his extensive experience in making custom take-down recurves and longbows. Continue reading

Brent scores big with his Classic Take-down Recurve

Brents buck 150x150 Brent scores big with his Classic Take down RecurveMy friend Brent scored big on this nice 10 point buck this weekend (November 3) with a bow that I made for him. One of his Facebook friends said that “Brent scored on a nice buck with is “old school bow”…lol. As you and I both know, there is nothing old school about a fiberglass recurve, but in this age of high-tech metal compounds I guess that a traditional bow seems like something from the past. There is something really cool about “building your own bow” and killing a deer with it. It is even cooler when it is someone else kills a deer with a bow that you made. Continue reading

Is this the best rasp for making a longbow or a recurve bow?

P1010007 150x150 Is this the best rasp for making a longbow or a recurve bow?Probably the best rasp in my tool box for making bows is the “Universal Bowyer’s Rasp,” also called the “UBR10,” designed and sold by Dean Torges. It is really useful for making all types of bows: recurves, longbows, and self bows, but it is especially good for self bows and wood-backed bows where you tiller the bow by rasping and shaving the belly.

I just want to say right away that I am not trying to be a salesman for this rasp. I don’t sell it on this site, nor do I get a commission for selling it, or referring people to buy it. I just like it…a lot…and that’s good enough for me. Continue reading

Cool link in the build your own bow site stats

world wide link pic 150x150 Cool link in the build your own bow site statsI just had to share this photo of a cool link I saw in the site stats for buildyourownbow.com. Only in the internet era is it possible to share around the world like this with like-minded people of different cultures and different languages. One thing for sure is that we all love archery. Please feel free to make a comment below if you agree. Thanks to the folks at www.mitbbs.com for visiting www.buildyourownbow.com and sharing with your friends.–Jim

 Click the thumbnail to see a larger photo with the buildyourownbow.com link!

The truth about bow balance

P1010008 150x150 The truth about bow balanceI think that bow balance is one of the most interesting and important topics about making bows. What can be more important than building a balanced bow? I mean, this seems like possibly the most important thing we can get right. The crazy thing is that for something that seems so important to making a good bow, there doesn’t seem to be much useful information about it in books or magazines. The archery forums have plenty of discussions about tiller and balance, but many comments just seem to be “what so and so taught me to do” or opinions that are not based on experience or fact. I’ve read everything that I can find about bow balance and four popular myths seem to stand out… Continue reading

Applying the designer’s “rule of thirds” to tip design

tip proportion 224x300 Applying the designers rule of thirds to tip designAnyone can glue on some tip overlays and shape them into a suitable bow limb tip, but do they look good? As a graphic designer, I’m always interested in making my bows look good and have good proportions. This applies especially to the limb tips.

The designer’s “rule of thirds” goes something like this…a photo, painting, or design usually looks better when you put the focal point one third of the way from the edge than putting it in the center. The following quote from Wikipedia explains it like this… Continue reading

Splitting an osage log into bow staves

P10100141 150x150 Splitting an osage log into bow stavesA straight Osage Orange log is like a log of gold to a selfbow bowyer. As you probably know, Osage trees don’t usually grow very straight, so finding a clean, straight one is a rare find. My friend Brent brought one over to my house this weekend for us to split into staves. It was about eight-to-10 inches in diameter at the base and almost perfectly straight! He cut it down on his farm in northern Boone County, Missouri, and he wants to make a bow out of it since it grew on his property. That’s pretty neat. If he doesn’t get one made, then hopefully I can make one for him. I hope to make one or two out of it, too. icon wink Splitting an osage log into bow staves Continue reading



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