[Warbow] where the mary rose warbows stiff or bendy handle?

ok for those guys here who have seen the real bows or the replicas, did they have a stiff handle or bend in the handle making one big limb??

have been doing a lot of research on my own and I see they bows had no built up handle area or anything but did they actually bend in the handle. Thing is I have made my bow to these dimensions and it is bending really well, and has come in over 100 pounds of pull, but it is still not done.

it has a stiff handle and does not bend in the handle.

all and any help on this is really apprecietated
 

WillS

New member
Hard to say. Very few of the MR bows have been on a tiller so we can't tell for sure.

The general opinion of a medieval warbow is that it comes "full compass" i.e. bends through the handle, to form an arc of a circle. Some bows do it quite a lot, some do it less. Some you can barely see/feel the movement at all.

A Victorian target bow would usually have a stiff handle though, which is one way of differentiating them. The stiff handle allows for stability and increased accuracy, whereas a bow that bends through the handle allows a longer draw length, utilising more of the arrow.

If your bow is tillered well, and draws back to around 32" without exploding or gaining unusual amounts of set and chrysalling then you've done your job. Whether it bends in the handle or not is kind of irrelevant. You might get people telling you it's not a real warbow if it has a stiff handle, but if it's 100lbs at 32" and throws a heavy military arrow efficiently then it's a warbow.

Aesthetics is different - I personally much prefer a bow that bends right through the handle, and I make all of mine work that way. I think a big heavy self-yew bow that comes full compass at 32" is about as perfect as it gets. Look at some of Celestino Poletti's Mary Rose replicas however, and he keeps the middle quite stiff. Not my cup of tea, and I know a lot of people get them re-tillered after buying them, but it's still clearly a warbow.

Have you got any photos of the tiller at full draw? You can have a stiff handle to an extent, but if all the work is being done mid-limb and tips then it won't be a very good bow.
 
Thanks for sharing info, will get up a picas soon as I can but my phone is done right now need to pick upa new one.


what do chrysalis look like on yew and how much set is acceptable for a yew mary rose warbow? Mines set about 2 inches through all the tillering stage.
 

WillS

New member
Chrysals are rare on yew as the two types of wood complement each other well, but they can occur in areas around knots, or in bad hinges that don't break. They look like thin diagonal lines across the belly, almost like tool marks or scratches but they go incredibly deep.

Couple of inches of set is pretty good. Around 3" is about maximum for a bow over 100#. With careful tillering and even stress, a well made yew Warbow can come out with almost no set at all, but it's hard to achieve.
 
so I measured how much the ends of the limbs set and it is about 4 inches. Why did it happen and hoe can I stop it happening in future bows? Wood was all seasoned and really dry when I started it. Had been left to dry for 2 years so I don't think the wetness of the wood caused 4 inches of set but when I read about set, I read it was due to wood not bring dry. Not true with this wood.
 

blakey

Active member
ok for those guys here who have seen the real bows or the replicas, did they have a stiff handle or bend in the handle making one big limb??

have been doing a lot of research on my own and I see they bows had no built up handle area or anything but did they actually bend in the handle. Thing is I have made my bow to these dimensions and it is bending really well, and has come in over 100 pounds of pull, but it is still not done.

it has a stiff handle and does not bend in the handle.

all and any help on this is really apprecietated
I believe Ascham said they come full compass. I seem to remember Lee Anker of Heritage Longbows saying that the full compass bows present a lot less problems, especially at the heavier poundages.
 

Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
I believe Ascham said they come full compass. I seem to remember Lee Anker of Heritage Longbows saying that the full compass bows present a lot less problems, especially at the heavier poundages.
I'm not sure where I heard this from, but I recall someone saying that bending full compass makes it more difficult to shoot accurately. You get more power but less accuracy, anyone know this to be true? I suppose though it doesn't really matter for strong warbows as they weren't designed for accuracy but for power.
 

blakey

Active member
I'm not sure where I heard this from, but I recall someone saying that bending full compass makes it more difficult to shoot accurately. You get more power but less accuracy, anyone know this to be true? I suppose though it doesn't really matter for strong warbows as they weren't designed for accuracy but for power.
I think Horace Ford was pretty scathing about full compass bows, and clout in general.
 

WillS

New member
so I measured how much the ends of the limbs set and it is about 4 inches. Why did it happen and hoe can I stop it happening in future bows? Wood was all seasoned and really dry when I started it. Had been left to dry for 2 years so I don't think the wetness of the wood caused 4 inches of set but when I read about set, I read it was due to wood not bring dry. Not true with this wood.
It's not surprising for a first try. Just by missing the odd hinge, stiff spot, pulling too hard too early, spending too much time on the long string, using a tillering stick instead of a smooth pulley system, keeping the bow bent while trying to see problem areas, over-stressing the limbs, not getting the cross section quite right... All of these things cause set.

Bear in mind that the very best bowyers will only take about 40 minutes to tiller a bow from rough stave to finished and shooting. If you're taking days to get it done like all beginners do (we're all guilty of taking too long) then the bow is constantly being slowly tortured instead of efficiently tillered.

4" of set for a 100# bow isn't great - it will shoot fine (as long as the tiller is actually ok - need to get some pics up) but you'll be lacking in cast and power. It will get worse as you shoot it in as well - you'll probably get another 1 or 2 inches as it settles. With that much set, I'd be inclined to say there's something wrong with the tiller, but I'd need to see it first.

Don't be disappointed though - you've just made a yew Warbow that has a 100# draw weight. Most people won't achieve that in their lifetime! Each one will get better.
 

ghound

New member
I'm not sure where I heard this from, but I recall someone saying that bending full compass makes it more difficult to shoot accurately. You get more power but less accuracy, anyone know this to be true? I suppose though it doesn't really matter for strong warbows as they weren't designed for accuracy but for power.
Raven, I've 2 full compass bows and I dont find much difference, im shooting 450+fita18 indoors with one of them, little to no hand shock.
 

WillS

New member
Ghound, are they full compass at 28"? I ask, because usually with a medieval style bow it only really comes fully round at about 32". Would be interesting to know if yours form a perfect arc of circle at a shorter draw, or whether they're advertised as "full compass" but when drawn to 28" they're actually still somewhat stiff in the handle.
 

Del the Cat

Well-known member
I tend to make my bows full compass, certainly the warbows. No shock, no problem with innacuracy.
Of course a heavy weight bow will kick more that a light weight bow if it is shooting the same weight arrow. If it is shooting the appropriate weight arrow ir will be smooth.
If you want to make a heavy weight bow it makes sense to spread the strain over as much limb as possible, thus all the bow should work. The flexing in the handle isn't very obvious until you watch it being flexed, but even then if you look at any small area on a limb it is hard to see the bend.
Del
 

ghound

New member
Ghound, are they full compass at 28"? I ask, because usually with a medieval style bow it only really comes fully round at about 32". Would be interesting to know if yours form a perfect arc of circle at a shorter draw, or whether they're advertised as "full compass" but when drawn to 28" they're actually still somewhat stiff in the handle.
They bend through the handel at my 28.5 draw Will, I can feel the wood bend in my hand which was a bit weird at first, and they make a smooth arc. There only about 67-68 inch long bows so at full draw they look like there about to break!
 

WillS

New member
They bend through the handel at my 28.5 draw Will, I can feel the wood bend in my hand which was a bit weird at first, and they make a smooth arc. There only about 67-68 inch long bows so at full draw they look like there about to break!
That's really interesting, thanks. That takes some serious skill on the bowyer's part.
 

Del the Cat

Well-known member
The "40 minutes to tiller a bow" is missleading at best and b0ll0cks at worst.
Sure you can tiller a bow in 40 minutes if it's already roughed out from a clean even stave or a laminate.(Also if you are doing it regularly) but it shouldn't be your aim.
You can tiller a bow in zero minutes if you just tie two hazel or bamboo wands with their thick ends together.
I've seen holly shot with just a string tied on a bare stick.
It's very easy to make a bow...it's hard to make a good bow.
be happy that you have made a shootable bow, enjoy it, and in a few weeks or moths, look at it again with a critical eye.
Del
 

Raven's_Eye

Active member
Ironman
Raven, I've 2 full compass bows and I dont find much difference, im shooting 450+fita18 indoors with one of them, little to no hand shock.
Good to know. It's that I'd read it somewhere/someone told me (which I mentioned), having not shot one I wouldn't know.
 

ghound

New member
That's really interesting, thanks. That takes some serious skill on the bowyer's part.
Yes the limbs take some curve at full draw, I've seen some very long, longbows on the shooting line and there limbs barely move.
Just as a side thought, the laminations in the bow are full length, and im guessing if they were jointed behind the handel they may be be prone to cracking compaired to a victorian type bow where the handel hardly moves? Don't know im not a bowyer?
 

ghound

New member
The "40 minutes to tiller a bow" is missleading at best and b0ll0cks at worst.
Sure you can tiller a bow in 40 minutes if it's already roughed out from a clean even stave or a laminate.(Also if you are doing it regularly) but it shouldn't be your aim.
You can tiller a bow in zero minutes if you just tie two hazel or bamboo wands with their thick ends together.
I've seen holly shot with just a string tied on a bare stick.
It's very easy to make a bow...it's hard to make a good bow.
be happy that you have made a shootable bow, enjoy it, and in a few weeks or moths, look at it again with a critical eye.
Del
Chris Boyton told me he spends far more time tillering than most, think he said it could work into about a days worth on most bows just going back and forth to it, the bow I have from him 2 years ago has had a heck of a lot of shooting but has held it's shape and reflex perfect.
 
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