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Traditional Bow Making L4

Course Content

Selection of suitable felled timber for specific bow designs, processing and preparing timber from round wood. Construction of a range of Longbows of different designs using a wide range of timbers. making repairs, exploration of design and techniques to improve efficiency, bows of varying draw weights, character bows, dealing with knots, twists lumps and bumps, arrow plates and horn nocks.

Whats it about

We have been planning this course for several years with the aim of providing a platform from which to explore the variety and craftsmanship to be found within this unique aspect of our social and woodland heritage. We focus on wooden bows which historically have informed so much of life in this temperate home of ours. Tracing back the designs to earliest bows of Europe’s mesolithic hunter gathers, through to the those great weapons of war and then on to explore the new, or at least rediscovered technologies and uses of materials that are available to the modern wooden bow maker. We anticipate that students will make several Longbows of a variety of designs and specification. These should culminate in a deep understanding of the archery heritage found across North West Europe. The course will run over several months with attendance required in three day blocks spread evenly across duration of the course. There will be some requirement for working on projects at home and for this reason a set of hand tools will also be needed by each participant.

Although not assessed, arrow making and string making will also be explored.

If you are unsure about entering the world of bow making you may be interested in our three day bow making course.

This course runs in modules of 3 days and totals 18 days in the field.

To make travel easier clients are welcome to arrive on the evening before each module starts

Course Dates 2022

  • 28th April – 1st May
  • 26th – 29th may
  • 23rd – 26th June
  • 25th – 28th August
  • 13th – 16th October
  • 10th – 13th November

Course Dates 2023

  • 11th – 14th of May
  • 15th – 18th June
  • 13th – 16th July
  • 3rd – 6th August
  • 7th – 10th September
  • 12th – 15th October

Course Dates

Traditional Bow Making L4

Please read the following information before booking:

Please note this is a self-catered course and camping is optional

You need to be over 18 years of age to attend this programme.

This course is written and quality assured by Woodcraft School and run under licence by Phil Brooke. The course location is near Heathfield, East Sussex


Traditional Bow Making

Course: Traditional Bow Making

Training: 11 May 2023 - 15 Oct 2023

Location: Nr Heathfield East Sussex

Start Time: 8.30 am

Completion Time: 4.00pm

Course Leader: Phil Brooke

Course Size: 12 (maximum)

Cost Per Person: £1,600 (Deposit £100)

Course Reviews

Joe Garnett

The Level 4 Traditional bow making course is a fantastic insight into the world of the bowyer. Phil is excellent at passing on his depth and breadth of knowledge to help you produce a range of bows, to a quality you never thought you could. The hands on nature along with the emphasis on self experimentation gives you the confidence to practice what’s been taught in-between sessions. In short, this course gives you all the opportunity you need to be able to produce bows that can be enjoyed for many years to come. Thank you Phil!

Stuart Barret

Having made a longbow on the Bushcraft Leadership course a few years ago I thought I would be well prepared for the Traditional Bow Making Level 4. However, be under no illusion this course was time consuming and hard work. At times I was frustrated, but the adage of ‘remove wood where the bow isn’t bending and leave it where it is’ eventually makes sense. Ultimately, the satisfaction of independently making bows from start to finish, bending to full compass is extremely gratifying.

I can’t imagine any other provider doing a better job than Phil Brooke. His knowledge, craftsmanship and personal interest in the subject is exceptional, this said, he won’t be making the bows for you! Please don’t start this as a certificated course if you don’t think you’ll have enough time to work on it independently at home.

Warren Frost

This is a fantastic course for anyone who wants to delve deeper into bow making than just the experience of making a single bow. From felling your own timber and splitting out multiple staves across several species, you’ll learn how to craft both functioning and beautiful bows. You will get a deeper understanding of the properties of wood and experiment (sometimes to the point of failure) how efficient a bow can be. Mastering not only the carpentry but also the skill of tillering along with fit and finish, by the end of the course you will have the skillsets to carry on making bows with a much deeper understanding of how to make them shoot well and last. This was a challenging course, which a level 4 should be, but very rewarding. Covering multiple styles of bow construction across varied woods I feel that I’ve not only got a new skill but am better connected to my ancestors and can appreciate just how knowledgeable and skilled they were.