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The Bowyer – Bow Making with just an Axe & Knife


As hunters, our ancestors used the bow and arrow for about 12,000 years. The oldest bow found on earth is a flat bow, discovered in the moor of Holmegaard in Denmark. This bow was made out of a single, young Elm tree and it showed perfect design and efficiency. It was a Stone Age flat bow, a very effective and relatively easy bow to make in the wild.

This course will begin with an overview of various bow designs from the world. We will then look at the various factors affecting bow design and look at principles of efficiency in bow making. You will then begin to shape your own seasoned Ash stave, slowly bringing your bow alive and liberating it from the wood. This course is a complete introduction to bow-making – from wood selection, through to arrow making and then how to treat and shoot your new bow.

“The course was well structured and varied. The content meant that both the quicker and slower students all had enough work to keep them busy. Also, having offered my blood (fortunately only a few drops), sweat and tears into the bow making process, it was very satisfying to not only to shoot the bows in such amazing scenery, but also to see how effective they were.” – Nick Linnell
You will need to bring a Gransfors Bruk Small Forest axe (or similar), and a knife. Tools may be borrowed if necessary (it would be best to have a small whittling knife in addition to a normal bush/training knife).
You will learn:

  • An overview of bows of the world
  • Design considerations and efficiency
  • Introduction to the Holmegaard bow (Danish Stone Age flat bow)
  • Rough shaping with an axe
  • Tillering
  • Sanding and Finishing Your Bow
  • Bow strings; considerations and making
  • Stringing & Fine Tillering
  • Arrow Making & Fletching
  • Shooting Techniques
  • Shooting competition
“Extremely happy with the course. I can now make as many bows as I like and have a great understanding of how both physics of the bows and arrows work. Thanks to the Woodsmoke team for a great weekend; can’t wait to get on my next course, got my eye on a few already.” – Steven Carey
“Great courseReally, really, well done. I came away with what I came for; a practical run-through of sticks to bow and arrows. Has really made the books more understandable and paved the way for further experimentation.” – Martin Price, 2013.
2018 DATES: 30 Aug – 2 Sept.
VENUE: Witherslack
PRICE: £295.00 per person (inc. All food, beverages, courses equipment, camping fees & VAT.)