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Society for the Promotion of Traditional Archery

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BOW

SYLVAN ARCHERY
TRADITIONAL ARCHERY SPECIALISTS

TRADITIONAL BOWS ARROWS & ASSOCIATED EQUIPMENT FOR ARCHERS
MUSEUMS & QUALITY RE-ENACTMENT

STRINGING
Always use the double-looped cord stringer in order to avoid twisting the bow (Not a pad, or ‘saddle’, and pocket type). An additional ‘stringing’ notch is provided in the top nock for this purpose.
Always check that the string is correctly centred in each nock after stringing, and check the bracing height. When unstrung, I recommend that you use the string-keep provided in order to avoid the string becoming untwisted (thus affecting bracing height), damaged or lost.

SHOOTING
NEVER dry-loose a bow. Never use carbon, aluminium or plastic arrows: they are too light.
Do not ‘hold’ the bow at full draw, a pause at anchor of 2 seconds max. should be adequate for aiming when shooting in the longbow. Also, the longer you hold, the more you reduce the ‘cast’ of a self bow.
Do not overdraw. The bow will be tillered to the draw length marked on the bow.
Do not stringwalk. Maintain a consistent loose (preferably Mediterranean: i.e. one finger over, two fingers under).
Do rest the bow: unstring it if you are not shooting for a while. Rest it horizontally if possible.
Never draw up the bow without an arrow on it: not only is there the risk of dry-loosing, but also you may overdraw the bow.
Warm the bow limbs (particularly Yew) with friction on very cold days, and flex the bow a few times before coming to full draw.
GENERAL CARE
Bracing height: check this regularly, and most often if you are shooting in a new string. Bracing height may be marked on the bow, however it is generally between 6 & 6.5 inches. It is helpful to mark your arrows with the location of the string when nocked to ease regular checking while shooting.
Check the bow frequently for bruises, scratches, or any damage which you feel may weaken the bow, and have a word with me if you’re worried about such damage. The bow is provided with a tough polyurethane finish, so simple scratches can be repaired by yourself

Check the string frequently and wax it regularly. It is most likely to break under the serving, where you won’t notice it, so if in doubt, change it. Nocks which are too tight are a major cause of string breakage; a broken string can mean a broken or weakened bow. The string (and any spares supplied) have a temporary nocking point to show which way up they go. Make sure nocks fit correctly: too loose (ie they fall off) and you could easily dry-loose the bow.
Transport the bow in a cloth bag, not a waterproof one; don’t put a wet bow in its bag.
Do not use your bow as a prop, paddle, walking stick, arrow rake etc., etc. This may sound obvious, but I have seen some awful things being done to (and with!) a longbow.........

STORAGE
Avoid storing the bow by resting it on its bottom limb, which will cause it to take a set.
Either hang it by a loop from the top nock, or (the best method) as illustrated below, on a wall rack.
Heat will damage/weaken/warp the bow, so don’t store it in an overheated room, over a radiator or fireplace, or keep it in a hot car on a sunny day.

DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE BUT YOURSELF TO DRAW UP THE BOW.

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