A celebration of all things British this month as we take a tour the length and breadth of the British mainland to visit the best the country has to offer. Technically Scotland is a different country so we became international jet setters as we got up super early to take a day trip to visit the two Sids and Border bows. We drop in to the North of England to speak to Yorkshire Longbow bowyer Aidy Hayes about his bows and archery, then take a trip to the Wirral to chat with Jason at thelongbow shop.com.
Geoff is in more sunny climes as he whisks us off to Spain to meet Pedro and the Black Prince. Steve and Andy end the trip in the South, Steve in Canterbury with the boys from the Company of Canterbury Longbowman and me in the South West at this years South West Challenge (although you will have to wait for my report on that until next month).
Jason operates thelongbowshop as an internet store, as a smaller operation than some of the giant dealers he doesn't look to stock every product under the sun but a selection of the best, the most interesting and some of those hard to find items that archers have trouble sourcing - We thought we would take a closer look at the dealership and the man behind it....
How long you been involved in archery?
I had my first taste of archery back in the mid 90's. I was recording with a Liverpool band in a North Wales studio and the owner had a target range set out in the field behind it with a few trainer bows and arrows. After a brief 'how to' I was off. Between takes you'd find me out there with no clue as to what I should be doing but loving every single second. I seem to remember having a very bruised forearm for weeks after due to not wearing a bracer! I didn't get involved again until my wife suggested we go to a 'longbow have a go' day in Tatton Park in about 2002. I went along with my wife and father-in-law and from the very first arrow I was totally and utterly hooked in fact all 3 of us were! We all joined Bebington Archers beginners course on the Wirral a few weeks later and used a club trainer bow while our first longbows were being made by Rod Lyons.
A little bit about your history with the longbow…or whatever bow (s) you have used in the past
I now own 4 longbows, a falco flatbow and a hun horsebow. My first ELB was a Rod Lyons 56lb 3 laminate bow (Hickory, Purpleheart, Lemonwood belly) which still gets an outing now and again although it's lost a little of it's punch. Second bow is a 55lb Keith Raynor 5 laminate (bamboo, wenge, Purpleheart, wenge, Osage belly) bought for me a couple of years ago for my 40th. This is my full-time bow that I use outdoors for target, field and clout and is a very fast sweet shooting bow. I have 2 indoor bows made for me by Lee Ankers of Heritage Longbows. Despite the low poundage these are very fast 4 laminate, thin profile target bows in 42lb and 35lb made from Hickory, Purpleheart, maple, Ipe belly. Now and again I'll shoot the 50lb Falco flatbow and 55lb horsebow but usually reserved for field courses. I had a play with a club members Falco bow a few years back and liked it so much that I had Siim the owner make me a signature model and took on the UK dealership for them 2 years ago.
Do you still shoot ?
Yes very much so. I shoot for Wirral Archers these days and you'll usually find me at some local comps and BLBS clouts. I'm super passionate about all things longbow and I'd shoot every day if I could but it's not practical at the moment with the business being as busy as it is. I manage to get out around 3 times a week for a few hours. It's only really been in the last 12 months I've started shooting in competitions but I've managed to pick up a few clout badges and some medals and trophies along the way so far including a rather fetching spoon for most whites at my second clout shoot (hey it was windy!). I really just enjoy shooting and meeting other archers no matter if it's a competition or club fun day. Is it more target, field, clout or roving? Primarily target at the moment with a few clout's here and there but when I get more time some field shooting at Cheshire County Bowmen's course in Mouldsworth is on the list for sure as I love it out there whatever the weather. Never had a go at roving despite being invited to a few but I think my next bow may have to be a warbow so you never know I might have to take it out roving for a play.
Tell us about your current bow.. and arrow set up
I mainly shoot my 56lb Keith Raynor 5 laminate bow (see spec above) with different arrows for different occasions. I have 5/16s barrelled to 9/32 and footed with 2 1/2" parabolics for clout and distance work and some 5/16 parallel's with 3" shields for mid target work up to 60 yards. I also have some chunky 11/32's with 5 1/2" parabolics for the indoor season. As you know arrows are the most important thing any archer can spend time on getting right. If they aren't matched to your bow and to you the rest doesn't matter. All my arrows are spined within 1lb and +/- 5 grains in weight. I know they are right and if something goes wrong these days I know it's me making the mistakes and not my kit! Having said that I never stop tinkering and looking at new ways to do things.
What inspired the longbowshop?
Well now there's a question! I started the shop initially making arrows on Ebay a good few years and a lot of arrows ago now. I noticed that at the time there was hardly anyone making arrows on there. I've been making them heavily since I got my first bow and now have a pretty big library full of books on the subject as well as my own thoughts on how to do things. I made them initially for myself and then expanded to local club members and word spread quickly. I was always being told that I should be selling them commercially so eventually dipped (excuse the pun) my toes in the Ebay waters. My wife is a photographer so all my arrows were photographed properly instead of the usual blurry images. If you look on Ebay now most of the layouts for the arrows were started by my wife! I was offered a bulk load of feathers by a fellow Ebayer that was ceasing to trade so expanded into feathers and arrows at that point. Most of the archery shops around now weren't on Ebay at the time so I decided that there was a market for good quality traditional archery equipment and expanded into shafts as well by becoming a dealer for Rose City Archery POC shafts. There was only one other shop I think on there selling shafts at the time. From that point I expanded into other areas but always with the ethos that if I wouldn't use it I wouldn't sell it. The shop outgrew Ebay and it was time to sort out a full online webshop. We now have over 400 products and we add new lines on a monthly basis. A bit of a jump from a dozen arrows and a pack of feathers :) I also try and source items from other archers. If I'm approached by a leatherworker, bowyer or stringmaker and the quality is there then I'll happily trial the products in the shop.
What is the ethos/philosophy behind it?
I have managed to create a specialist shop for the traditional archer by a traditional archer from the ground up. Product quality is key and I don't sell anything I wouldn't use myself. I try my best to find items nobody else has found and always try and innovate where I can. Eventually other retailers stock the products usually but I like to think we find most things first.
How long has it been going?
The Ebay shop took off properly around 2004 so from that point we have been out there for around 6 years now and still growing steadily.
Is it just you or do you employ?
It's a family business at the moment but we have gone through a large transitional period lately and have expanded quite rapidly - so much so I'm now getting outside help in.
Have you any plans for expansion or new stuff coming in?
Absolutely! We have new items added monthly at the moment and we are always out there searching for the next interesting product. We have just expanded into the bow side of things with custom builds and stock bows from a well known bowyer from Devon and will also be adding several ranges from Lee Ankers' Heritage Longbows in addition to our range of ash selfbows. Lee is working on a few prototypes of bows that nobody else out there is doing so watch the site for details. To keep updated we have a monthly newsletter you can subscribe to on the site and you can join us on Facebook and Twitter if you're so inclined.
Are you targeting English longbow archers, American Longbow archers or all the trad market?
We sell internationally and have customers from all corners of the world. Apart from advertising in The Glade and a few archery forums all our custom comes from word of mouth so we must be doing something right! The support out there from the traditional archers has been amazing and I can only say thank you all for your continued business through these tough times. If you're involved with a club I can offer you discount so please do get in touch (email is always quickest!). We aren't the biggest but we are certainly trying hard to be the best :)
After our latest few escapades with Warbows, namely the pig shoot, the visit to the Mary Rose Trust and our shoot with the folk from the Medieval Society, my affair with heavy bows has been rekindled. In years past when there were few shooting such monsters it was hard to find those of a like mind so you can only imagine my delight at finding a group of lads shooting big bows just 20 miles from me. The Company of Canterbury Longbowmen are based quite obviously around Canterbury and have managed to find themselves a landowner who acts as "patron" to the extent that they may shoot on Sundays over his land - "oh, how times have changed over the last 600 years" ( the smile you see on my lips is a wry one !)
There are few things apt in the archery world to elicit a double take than the mention of a one armed archer, I guess it would be nearer the truth to say that Chris has an arm and a half, in fact he puts it to good effect and can happily shoot a 50# Longbow. On order he has a 75# and over the next year intends to increase in weight until he can compete with some of the others in the club.
At present the group has just 5 archers, but they are looking to expand. The purpose of the club is to promote and preserve the Warbow and the traditions associated with it. Scott Young shoots the biggest bows and has several high altitude Italian self yew bows, at over 120# I can tell you that these babies really can kick out an arrow to tremendous distances.
I joined Scott, Dave Weller, Damien Halliday and Chris last Sunday to blast some arrows around their own very private shooting ground. Their 5th Member, John Burton was unable to make it.
With few wars to be had these days that let longbow archers join in, shooting the bigger bows is done for recreation. Any competitions are mostly shot in a spirit of camaraderie, which makes the whole experience of shooting so very enjoyable, it is often said that Golf is a good walk spoiled, by that same measure shooting a Longbow whilst out roving with friends is that same walk enhanced by an immeasurable factor as the conversation swings this way and that whilst deciding on marks at which to shoot. The watching too is as therapeutic as the shooting and there can be few things as graceful as a War arrow speeding it's way heavenward, forming a perfect parabola as it returns to mother earth several hundreds of yards away.
Edward 1st was not wrong when banning other much cruder sports and pastimes so that Men could shoot their bows on a Sunday, so here we are in a series of fields in Kent, on a glorious Sunday shooting our Warbows.
There are more and more such groups and clubs springing up all over the country as the fascination of the Warbow gains a foothold in not just the archery community but in the wider population. In my business I meet lots of folk wishing to have a try of archery and in particular the Longbow. Hopefully now that more people are shooting the heavier bows and it is a little more widely publicised that such clubs exist it's popularity will continue to increase.
The lads at Canterbury are holding an EWBS shoot ( English Warbow Society) on the 12th September at Chilham castle in Kent, it's a tremendously atmospheric venue and you can find out more info either by contacting them direct or through their facebook page. The Company of Canterbury Longbowmen are not re-enactors playing at bows and arrows, these guys can and do shoot the bows our forefathers shot - this is the real thing.
Contact details as follows - they are great guys who will be happy to introduce you to the bow, they don't mind if you just wanted to come to watch...
Scott Young 07737668724
On TV recently there have been some adverts for a well known Sofa store, you know the one, it's the place where you couldn't pay full price even if you wanted to as there seems to be a permanent half price sale... well this ad does my head in, you see, they show pictures of an old boy in a white coat with glasses and the smallest hammer in the world, he peers over the top of his glasses in a "craftsman like" manner whilst tapping ineffectually at the arm rest on a a sofa. Honestly, I ask you, is anyone going to be taken in by this nonsense ? and how the heck do they get away with such blatent rubbish - we all know they are probably nocked together by some convict in a far off land or some poor labourer being paid thruppence farthing a fortnight. In any case the colours are horrible and they all look like they have been beamed out of 1974.
OK, rant over, but what has this to do with Border bows you ask . Both Sid and Sid the younger welcome visitors to their workshops, in fact they positively encourage it, neither of them are shrinking violets and whereas some manufacturers might produce flashy websites and glossy photos, Border would rather put a bow in your hand and say " there, try that !".
We have had some friends pay a visit to Border whilst in the area and Andy and I were only too pleased to be invited to see where the fabled bows originate. As a day trip it is a little extravagant but as a fantasy day out it would be hard to beat.
A flight from Standstead, hire car at Edinburgh and by 10:30am we were driving through the beautiful green and verdant hills of the Scottish Border country. The second you walk into the workshops you know this is no ordinary "bow factory", machinery is running and the place smells of sawdust and glue - in fact the machinery that is making all the noise is the same as the tools in mine or any other workshop, nothing fancy, just bandsaws, linishers, sanders and a profusion of gauges, saws and large quantities of sandpaper - the guys doing all the work are wearing woodworkers aprons and they are filing out arrow shelves, sanding limbs and cutting risers from blocks that had been glued together - the very scene that the sofa manufacturers are trying to kid us happens in their factory !
The Sids are nothing less than welcoming and we are treated to a full tour - our treatment however isn't a one off. If you turn up there you will be shown the full works, right from the lumps of wood which are skilfully cut and glued to form those trademark Border risers through to where each bow is hand cut, hand finished and where every shelf has been filed and cut. Every single bow is tillered by hand and every limb tested by the expert craftsmen that created them. It's an astonishing experience. The place puts me in mind of the Indian railway system, if you have ever used it you will marvel at how you can book a seat in one small town for a train ride that commences in a different state in several weeks time. There won't be a computer in sight, just a chap with a pencil. When you turn up to board your train you will find a little piece of paper attached to your seat with your name and even what you have ordered for dinner. It's one of the biggest enterprises in the world in terms of logistics yet it functions superbly efficiently against all the odds. At Border there are little paper tickets with all the details of a particular customers order, right down to small custom changes that have been requested, we are shown a riser that was hand carved by one customer - he wanted it replicated for his bow. Because each bow is itself a custom order it is possible to do this.
Passion is something that Border have in abundance and you will find yourself swept along on a crazy archery ride by each of the Sid's as they can't wait to show you and tell you all about bows and the archery experience they are trying to achieve, the guys are committed, they love what they do and they want to share it with everyone, they are archery nutters..... !! .......and this from a couple of guys who got up at 3:30am to fly to Scotland for the day just to look at some bows !!
It is inevitable that you will find yourself wanting to be part of the Border Experience.
The passion shines through when you have finished the tour because they will want to show you their course and the woodland it occupies - there is a permanent course laid out with 80 3D's - you heard me right - I said 80. Their rules are simple, you shoot one arrow at each target, if you hit or kill it you claim the score, if you miss then you don't get a second chance - what a great woodland and a superbly laid course, as we are guided around you will see the same sparkle in Sids' ( the elder) eyes that he gets when he talks about Border bows - these guys love archery, if they were only interested in selling bows they wouldn't bother with all the other stuff, if they only wanted to make money there are easier ways. For these guys there is only archery and the chance to produce a truly special product that is beautiful, functional and that will deliver staggering performance - We will be looking forward to reviewing some of the great bows that Border produce.
Pedro who? You may well ask!
He is, however, not the hero of our story, that particular epithet belongs to Edward Woodstock.
He is though, most assuredly, its' villain. As vicious and murderous a blackguard ever to occupy the throne of Castile and Leon, or any throne, for that matter. He was, in fact, the cousin of Edward Woodstock, Prince of the blood of the house of Plantagenet, known to later history as the Black Prince. A man against whom it could be said, to have 'peaked' too early. Now 37 years old, Crecy and Poitier's both years in his illustrious past, weighing heavily on his mind. Now as he sat in his Bordeaux castle, ripe with luxury, he was bored. Damnably bored, bored with the interminable paperwork, bored bickering with his allies, the Gascons* and their idiotic ( to English eyes ) customs. Even bored with the tourneys at Angelomene, couldn't even kill anyone anymore (chivalrously, of course). Frankly, bored with just about everything except action and that was nowhere to be seen. Times were 'a piping', with a vengeance. Since the treaty of Bretigny ( 1360 ) between Edward 111 ( the prince's father ) and the French king all was quiet, quiet as a nunnery at Micklemas. But after the peace, many soldiers were reluctant to return home, action was their raisson de entre, as was the Prince's. They banded together and under charismatic leadership, became infamous ( or famous ) depending on your point of view, thereafter called ' Free companies' of which the most famous was the 'White Company' under Robert Knollye's. No matter how the Prince might have chaffed at the companies exploits and cash rich expeditions, he, as a son of the King of England could not join them in their jolly boys' outings around France. He had the dignity.
Re enter our story the erstwhile, deposed king of Castile and Leon, Don Pedro ( known to the Spanish, as the cruel ) who came to Aquitaine with his two daughters, ( Edwards chivalry, the target ) to appeal his monstrous treatment by the hand of his half brother, Enrique' ( Henry ) the Duke of Trastamara.
Edward, horrified apparently at the deposing of his cousin and promised by Pedro of shedloads of cash ( not aware of the nature of the beast before him ) and to boot a king with whom England had an alliance. With the usual (perfidy) the French were behind the deposing of Pedro and we can't have that, can we? Relishing the fast approach of action and all perfectly legal and all, Edward declared for Pedro and the re taking of Castile.
' You know,' you fight all your life in wars and nothing but the Truces, the Treaties and the 'Piping times of Peace' get in the way, just as you think that nothing is ever going to happen, another one comes along.
Ain't life grand!
An army was collected from Aquitaine, Gascony, Majorca. England under the banner of the Prince's younger brother, John of Gaunt, ( Earl of Lancaster ) sent 4000 archers and 500 men at arms. Last, but not least the free companies under Sir Hugh de Calvely ( Knolly'es had retired to Lincolnshire, a wealthy man ). At the beginning of February 1367 Edward set out with his army from Bordeaux and headed for the Pyrenees and the Pass of Roncesvalles * Passing through the mountains and over the Ebro river at Logrono on the 29th March. Edward rested his men at the fortified town of Nagarette and sent out scouting parties to acertain the whereabouts of Henry of Trastamara and his French allies. On the evening of the 2nd of April, Edward's scouts had reported that the enemy were only 3 leagues distant, camped outside the town of Najera, very strong and in battle order.
Before dawn on the 3rd April, the Black Prince and his allies moved in their marching formations through Aleson and onto the plain of Najera.
Henry of Trastamara had, as the scouts had correctly reported, a very strong army some 60,000 strong drawn up in battle formation, however, as Edward and his companions surveyed the scene before them, they saw that Henry had his back to a river ( Najarillo ) and only one small bridge crossing it*. The chief advisor to Henry was an experienced French knight called Bertrand Du Guesclin who had remonstrated with Henry about the disposition of the army, Du Guesclin was well versed in the power of the English war machine and it's capabilities. Having a river at your back with limited room to maneuver and no escape in the case of defeat was not a good idea, how right he was. Du Guesculin said nothing further and joined his men in the front rank.
But Henry with 60,000 against 24,000 was not thinking about retreat let alone defeat, 'Good God man', it's in the bag.
Du Guesculin's dispositions were as thus;
46,000 infantry and slingers ( of mixed quality) before the town and the bridge. In the centre Henry with his heavy cavalry ( the creme of the horsemen ) 2000 strong.
On his right flank ( centre ) under Don Carillo de Quinteina, a mixed force of light and heavy cavalry 2000 in number, on his left ( centre ) under Don Tello the same mixed force of heavy and light, again 2000 in number. In the front rank, comprising the French men at arms with Du Guesculin, 2000 of the creme de la creme of French chivalry( geezers to a man ). Flanked either side by 6,000 Castilian crossbowmen.
The Black Princes dispositions were as thus;
In the front rank opposing the French and Castilians, John of Gaunt with 3000 men at arms flanked right and left by 3000 of his archers.
The middle battle comprised The Black Prince with 2000 men at arms and 2000 archers, again flanked on both sides. Pedro was with the Prince. On his right was Sir Thomas Percy with 1000 men at arms and 3000 archers. The left, covered by the Captal de Busch with the same configuration and displacement.
The rearward division was given to Jonny foreigner, the counts Armanac and king of Majorca with 3000 foot stiffened with 3000 English archers( In case they legged it ).
The battle is joined when Du Guesclin and his vanguard charged the English front line under John of Gaunt ( He wasn't going to stand there and let the archers shoot him down at their leisure). Such was the press of men on both sides the archers could do little to effect the outcome, it was up to the men at arms to do their stuff and hack it out. The archers concentrated on the crossbowmen, whom they out shot six to one, overwhelming them. The Spanish flanking light cavalry then charged the middle battle commanded by the Prince, trying to probe for an opening or a weakness in the line. These were good tactics against infantry guarded by the slow cranking crossbow but absolutely no good at all against the fast shooting longbow, with little or no protection except the fleetness of their horses, there was only one outcome, they were massacred. Finding no shelter from death, all they could do was run. Seeing this the heavies under Don Carillo tried to intervene, bravely they charged, but to no avail, they could not pierce that fluttering, ghastly hail and were cut down 'a la Crecy'. Don Carillo made prisoner. Both the light and heavy cavalry of the Spanish flanks had now gone from the field, a major obstacle removed, so Sir Thomas Percy and the Captal de Busch advanced together, joined forces and moved behind the still battling Du Guesclin, a classic double envelopement from which the French despite their wonderfull fighting, could not hope to escape. Edward then moved his battle to comply with his flank commanders and further pressurise Du Guesclin. Henry, observing this move by the English, charged with his remaining heavy horsemen in an attempt to rescue his ally. Again the result was the same, the English bowmen cut them down. Three times they charged, three times they failed. ( no lack of grit there ) In utter desperation Henry ordered up his as yet uncommitted infantry 46,000 of them, but the archers with supreme professionalism and Saxon calm awaited the Spanish till within bowshot and dealt that infantry blows from which it never recovered. They never got close. They fled! Or tried to, through the town and down to that small bridge across the Najerilla. We will draw a veil across this unfolding tragedy and return to the main battle. Exhausted from hours of hand to hand fighting and having lost a third of his men, the remaining knights, none of whom were uninjured, Du Guesclin yielded. A brave show well recognised by Edward and his companions after the battle.
The butchers bill? 7000 Spanish
300 Anglo Gascons.
It would have been much more if that little rat Don Pedro had had his way. Wanting to kill all the prisoners in an act of bloody vengeance. Edward protected them against him. This did not stop him, once re gaining the throne from instigating a reign of terror on the unfortunate Castile. Edward never did get those shed loads of cash, there never was any, he'd been had. But mercifully, lots of the action he craved.
As for Pedro? Henry escaped the battle field. Went to France. Came back to Castile the following year, defeated Pedro and strangled him in hand to hand combat.
The Black Prince? Caught dysentery, was never the same man again and died the following year. Broke!
The soldiers? They just went away...........
* Roncesvalles....Roland ( according to the poem ) defeated the first Muslim invasion of the Frankish states at this place in 778. In fact it was a Basque force that did for him.
* Michaelmas; Autumn feastday
* Bridge across the Najerillo. This bridge is still there. When I walked the battlefield in 2002 it still looked medieval (as does much of the interior of Spain I may add). The ground the other side of the bridge rises very steeply, quickly, giving the impression of a cliff face. ( Du Guesclin was right )
The river is about 50 yds wide and quite strongly flowing, difficult to get across.
* Gascons, doughty fighters, allied to the English crown.
Located in Southern France and the border with Spain.
Najera is a pleasant little town well worth a visit. The battle field is disappointingly,mostly under factories.
Geoff Towers. Esq.
For some while we have heard whispers from "up north", it seems there are some extraordinary English Longbows being produced by one Aidy Hayes, national target records are starting to fall and the word "in the greenwood" is that these bows are startlingly fast. We have tracked down the bowyer responsible and in addition to a couple of bows we have on test right now we thought we should find out a little more about the man.
1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN ARCHERY AND HOW DID YOU GET STARTED ?
I have been involved in Archery for just over 35 years. I was introduced to archery at the tender age of eleven by my parents who also participated in the sport, along with my older brother. Ironically my father was involved in an accident which broke his fore arm and was advised to take up a sport to improve the muscle rehabilitation, hence Archery. My parents went on to start their own club (Whitcliffemount Archers) along with some of their friends. So from then on my brother and I were taken along and eventually I caught the archery bug and have never looked back since.
2. WHEN DID YOU MAKE YOUR FIRST BOW AND WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?
I am a qualified Joiner by trade, so have always had an interest in carpentry, which in turn lead me to making my first bow in the early part of 1990. I had shot recurves and compound bows for many years and now wanted to venture into the realm of the traditional longbows/stick men. I bought my first long bow from Ron Palmer for £70.00 and thought, “Just a minute, I could make one of these.” and so I did.
My very first bow that I made had a combination of three laminations, Hickory, Purple Heart and Lemonwood and the performance was excellent, even if I say so myself. Although it had a very basic style/cast, the first tournament I used it at was the Yorkshire Championships and I won.
3. WHAT’S THE ONE TOOL IN YOUR WORKSHOP WHICH YOU COULDN’T DO WITHOUT?
The one tool in my workshop which I probably use the most and which I would be lost without is the band saw. This basically cuts out everything I need, from the wood laminations, the basic bow shape after the laminations are glued together, the handle joints and cutting out the basic shape of the horn nocks. Without this piece of kit life would be much harder.
4. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT BIG INNOVATION IN BOW BUILDING WILL BE?
If you are referring to the next big innovation in longbow building, then my answer would be, none. The fact is that in no way can you improve on natural materials and the Traditional Longbow consists of natural materials. Yes, people will experiment with different woods from around the world and different lamination combinations, but at the end of the day, I am a firm believer in that not everything requires change.
5. WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU ENJOY USING THE MOST?
Wood of course! Only joking….. Bamboo every time, because when you purchase this material, you know there will be no hidden defects, unlike Hickory and Osage Orange which can have shakes throughout the wood staves. This can cause all sorts of problems from start to finish, but with Bamboo, what you see is what you get.
6. WHAT IS IT ABOUT YOUR BOWS OR THE WAY YOU MAKE BOWS THAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER BOWYERS?
The combinations of the woods which I use for the laminations are a key factor in the high performance of the bows which I produce. They also have a very smooth draw and numerous customers have commented on the fact that the poundage that they ordered for distance, when at full draw seems less, (which is always a bonus) showing that the bows have an excellent cast. I also have the Knowledge, patience and time, which are other key factors that are required when custom building bows, as every individual customer specification e.g. Draw length, poundage etc. is unique and if this is not taken into consideration when a bow is ordered then the outcome can be disastrous.
7. DO YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO SHOOT?
Oh yes! I can always find time to shoot. At the end of the day everyone needs a hobby, a time to relax, me time. My wife says I, “Eat, sleep and breathe Archery,” and she’s right for once! So my Mum went out and bought me the t-shirt.
I try to shoot at least two to three times during the week and I’m always travelling up and down the country to tournaments most weekends. I shoot my own bows, as this allows me to test the merchandise first hand and I am proud to say that I have achieved National Record status at Double and Single Fita Clout and I hold numerous County Records which must be a good advertisement for my bows.
8. WHATS THE BEST SHOT YOU EVER MADE?
In 1991 I won the Scorton Sliver Arrow, hitting the black spot at 100 yards, so I think that this must be one of the best shots I‘ve ever made and one of the proudest Archery moments. To be awarded Captain of the Arrow was a great achievement.
9. HOW MANY BOWS DO YOU MAKE A YEAR?
Due to popular demand and more archers becoming interested in trying the more traditional method of Archery, my bow production has increased to approximately 100 bows per year.
10. WHAT’S THE SPEC ON YOUR PERSONAL BOW OF THE MOMENT. ALSO, WHAT’S THE SPEC ON THE ARROWS YOU SHOOT? WOOD - (POC, SITKA, PINE OTHER?) CARBON/ALLY, TOTAL WEIGHT, FLETCH SIZE, POINT WEIGHT…ETC THE FULL SPEC.
The bow I am shooting at the moment is an Aidy Hayes original and consists of three laminations which are Bamboo back, Lemonwood core, Ipe belly. It stands 5”11 tall, weighs 56lb at 28“ draw lengh, has a Nylon braided handle and a 16 strand double Flemish looped - fast flight string. My arrows are from Little John Arrows and the shafts are 5/16th - parallel matched pine arrows, 28 ½ “ long with 63 grain piles, with 3” fletchings, plastinocks and the total weight of the arrow is 400 grains.
This months shot of the month comes from Samantha Moss, it's not often you see an Elk in the middle of a rugby field.
With such a big animal to aim at, all be it some 100 yards away, some people still can't keep their arrow out of the antlers
You can see more pictures and read Sam's excellent archery blog at http://samwisemoss.wordpress.com/
Archers Review is dedicated to carrying on the great tradition of sharing archery knowledge, in many ways we are still re-discovering the skills of our forefathers, unlike just about any other competitive sport, in archery the learning never stops, as we grow as archers the enjoyment increases, so we invite you to share with us all the skills, tips and hints that will help us all to be the best archer we can be.
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