I started shooting an old bow at 13 with my Dad and we quickly got interested in longbows. They were expensive and hard to get back then, so we had a go at making our own. The first bow my dad made me was 56lbs and then I started to make my own and the first ‘real’ bow I made was a 72lbs hickory and lemonwood.
Of course this wasn’t enough, so we set out to make a 100lbs bow. This was a massive challenge at the time because there was so little information on making bows and none on making heavy ones at all. We had a few breakages, but finally made one that held together and I still remember the day I managed to shoot it at full draw and I was truly hooked. It has only been heavy draw weight bows since.
I shoot several times every week and by 16 was shooting 120lbs plus and joined the Towton Longbow Men, a small handful of people who could also shoot heavy bows and together we put on demonstrations. By 19 I was shooting 170lbs, by my early 20’s 180lbs and by my late 20’s, pushing the limits to get to the almost mythical 200lbs.
Throughout this whole time I have been making and experimenting as a bowyer and learning what makes a truly good war bow, basing much of my work on those of the Mary Rose. But I love making and shooting bows, any bows, as long as they are heavy, and that love extends to flat bows and recurves as well as longbows.
This experience of making and shooting heavy bows has given me an incredible understanding of how to make the best bows possible and it is this understanding that I put into every bow I make.