Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Bittersweet » Mon May 21, 2012 3:53 am

But all re-enactment is "cheating". We arrive at a site in modern (ish) vehicles, set up a less than likely (as an archer I wouldn't be staying in a dirty great big comfortable tent like I and many others do) camp. We dress up in clothes that are realistic to a greater or lesser extent (but in my case feel warmer and more practical than modern ones) and are subject to H&S.

A "battle" may well be re-enacted. People are not supposed to actually maim, kill, dismember, etc. other re-enactors (fun idea though that may be :wink: ). Presumably this is why we use "blunts" for ammunition.

Also remembering that to facillitate this fun many of us have to go back to work after the event having come from work beforehand, preferrably in a fit state to work.

If shooting from one side of a field less than "220 yds" to the other, without actually damaging your opposition, you don't need a heavy bow.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby EnglishArcher » Mon May 21, 2012 10:43 am

Fox wrote:
EnglishArcher wrote:
Matt Easton wrote:Potentially, no.

But I -suspect- that there was some form of test for archers before major campaigns - there is a reference in one of Curry or Barker's Agincourt books that two archers are recorded as having been sent home from Harfleur because they could not shoot well enough.


Actually, it was Barker's book. She writes that two archers were sent home for not being able to pass muster; which she states (without reference) is because they couldn't shoot the regulated 12 arrows per minute.

(Sigh...)

And they were sent home from Southampton....

But she does quote the required rate of fire on two seperate occasions, once in the Agincourt book and once in Conquest; the reference she gives is that it's from Strickland and Hardy.


As far as I'm aware, Strickland and Hardy isn't a primary source.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Matt Easton » Mon May 21, 2012 11:31 am

I think that is the point Fox was making :).

Despite the re-enactment style of plopping arrows onto the ‘enemy’ from 60 yards away with 30lb bows, the biggest problem I see in recreating even the image of a 15thC English army is that archers should outnumber men-at-arms AT LEAST by a factor of 3 to 1 and at some battles 5 to 1 or more! The public get a completely false vision of what a medieval English army looked like, in my humble opinion.

I think it is great though that now there are various groups of warbow people doing real archery displays, so that the public get a better idea of what a real weight bow looks like being drawn and what it can do to a target. I suspect that if you got 100 warbow guys all together shooting at a target at various ranges it would probably leave a bigger impression on the public than an average wars of the roses battle recreation.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon May 21, 2012 12:27 pm

I'm no archer, but as I understand it from those who are, you don't gain much range between 80lb and 180lb draw weights (though presumably you can throw a heavier arrow over that distance). AFAIK, 220 yards should be possible with an 80lb bow, if you know what you're doing. Technique and a properly spined arrow seem to make more difference than draw weight for range. Certainly I've seen 1 60lb bow make 200 yards (ish).


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Colin Middleton » Mon May 21, 2012 12:35 pm

Matt, why do you think that there would be that many archers in an army? I know that the HYW had rations of 5:1 and greater, but you can pick and choose more there. I've seen no evidence at all for the ratio of archers to MAA in a WotR force (not that I've tried looking for any). I'm not saying that you're wrong, I'd just like to know of the evidence if it's out there.

That said, I do agree that the number of archers on a WotR re-enactment battlefield is a tiny fraction of what they should be.

chidokan, don't underestimate the protective value of quilted armours and mail. I'm sure that I recall stories of knights riding out of battle 'peppered' with arrorws, but relatively unharmed.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Matt Easton » Mon May 21, 2012 1:13 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:I'm no archer, but as I understand it from those who are, you don't gain much range between 80lb and 180lb draw weights


Not exactly – that may be true of modern field archery style arrows because they are relatively light and can only contain a certain amount of energy. Medieval style livery arrows with fat old shafts, a type 16 arrowhead at the front and long fletchings at the back are very different beasts. With a medieval/Mary Rose style arrow it seems that around 120lbs reaches the optimal and over that weight the distance isn’t much improved. Most people can send a modern target arrow 200 yards with a 60lb longbow, but lobbing a medieval war arrow that far is a very different matter.
Of course the most important factor is the energy that the bow puts out, not what you put into the bow – some bows are far more efficient than others (recurve bows being generally far more efficient than longbows), but in this kind of discussion we have to compare like with like, so I’m assuming that we’re only talking about bows made of the same piece of good yew.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Matt Easton » Mon May 21, 2012 1:19 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:Matt, why do you think that there would be that many archers in an army? I know that the HYW had rations of 5:1 and greater, but you can pick and choose more there. I've seen no evidence at all for the ratio of archers to MAA in a WotR force (not that I've tried looking for any). I'm not saying that you're wrong, I'd just like to know of the evidence if it's out there.


Colin, muster rolls are fairly abundant and ratios of men-at-arms to archers are given in plenty of books covering the period. Generally the proportion of archers actually went up in the late stages of the HYW and the WotR. Presumably at least partly because archers were a lot cheaper to employ and easier to recruit, and after they had used up their arrows they could still function as light infantry.
The fact is that any reenactments of this period should have AT LEAST 50% (and in many cases far higher) of the people playing archers to look anything like a medieval English army.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Adam R » Mon May 21, 2012 5:03 pm

Matt Easton wrote:The fact is that any reenactments of this period should have AT LEAST 50% (and in many cases far higher) of the people playing archers to look anything like a medieval English army.

And by archers, that is the term for English Infantry - ie bow armed and with the capability and expectation of coming to blows with the enemy with other secondary weapons. A lot ow what is written about English dispositions isn't specific enough to last the test of time, but archers is the main troop type - along with men at arms. Billmen are not mentioned in WotR AFAIK. Lances are mentioned - no idea what they are, often read it doesn't mean the same as any of the continental lance units, but I have no idea why that conclusion was reached, it seems very odd to me. If it did it would give a clearer insight into the 1475 muster, which would in turn give us an idea of an optimum army. Probably.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby gregory23b » Mon May 21, 2012 7:33 pm

"Modern man is obviously weaker than his ancestors... there again we do sit on our backsides all day, have cranes and forklifts to pick up anything heavy, and have health and safety limits on how much you are allowed to pick up, even if you have a manual labour type of job... and then stick it in the boot of the car, rather than carry it home. You would have to be fit/strong, there is very little in the way of automated/mechanical help, so no reason why a well fed healthy man could not pull these weights. 220 yards is a LONG way, I have yet to attain this with a 'modern' longbow, as I am just up to 85lbs now, but like everything else you train up to it..."

Which means that modern man is not actually weaker than in the 'olden dayes' but simply that fewer need to use or develop their muscles.


"I am fairly sure there is a raising of bow weights as time passes, stopping around the WOTR. Why would I need a bow of 200lbs just to kill an unprotected horse or someone wearing chainmail? As the armour vs weapons race goes on, bow/armour goes up, same as guns and armour does now."

Where is the primary source material for draw weights? Draw weights are not the only indicator of performance, it can be misleading simply raising a notional draw weight.


"I quite like Pip Bickerstaffe's idea of reverse engineering from the size of the nocks in the MR shafts...the gap would dictate a bow of 100lbs or so. "

You might also consider the amount of strings to bows bought, my suspicion is that the strings were changed with great frequency, if you look at the knock widths the strings cannot have been too thick, has anyone done sample tests with the higher poundage bows?

"So re-enactors should really carry and use bows of at least this size, otherwise they are cheating. In my book that's like wearing modern shoes... ""

Either carry a bow that looks like it pulls heavier - fine.

Or
They are simply carrying lighter bows for game ;-)


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby chidokan » Mon May 21, 2012 9:05 pm

The fact is that any reenactments of this period should have AT LEAST 50% (and in many cases far higher) of the people playing archers to look anything like a medieval English army.

Is the problem most people want to be in full armour and be a 'knight', rather than 'poor Tommy'.... or because it is what joe public expects to see and we live up to that?? Modern armour is fairly cheap and easy to make, so people buy it...and as it is a hobby for individuals you can buy what you like. No doubt when people try to recreate the 20th century the re-enactors will all turn up in ferraris. (That is the equivalent cost of a full suit of decent armour back then I guess!!)

Longbows and strings break,(I had a longbow break on me that nearly had my eye out) so for me the MR bows are spares to cover breakages or loss of power due to old age. They are all different in section, length and size, as per charts in the MR book. We do not see old bows because once they lose their power they are only good as firewood... which is where most of them would have ended up. Arrows are a one use item (Towton is a rareity!)and would get trampled anyway, so not a lot of them about either...so MR has to be our guide until someone can find a medieval sunken ship of a previous century to help back up the evidence, you can only go off what is in there. Macho showing off aside, I would want to fling as big a missile as I could at the other guy before he sends one back. If I throw a small stone at you it might bounce off and annoy you, but a house brick is a different matter...
There are records of barrels of strings being supplied. However.... if you think about it, if you were asked to make a load of bow strings, you are going to make them all the same. Hand made bows are not like that, you get what you get within a given tolerance range. If you are asked to make the strings, and you make them all for say 100lbs, they will snap pretty quickly on a bow of say 150lbs. The question is will they last long enough for the battle, and will you carry spares... I carry them for my japanese bow, which uses hemp strings, and breaks them fairly regularly.



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Fox » Mon May 21, 2012 9:49 pm

EnglishArcher wrote:As far as I'm aware, Strickland and Hardy isn't a primary source.

Don't be like that. I was just saying where she gets it from.

I don't own the Strickland and Hardy, so I wasn't able to look up exactly what they say, or if they reference a primary source.

But I have been intrigued by the Barker quote about the men who did not pass muster, and I had considered writing to her to ask for the details of the source.



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Fox » Mon May 21, 2012 9:53 pm

chidokan wrote:So re-enactors should really carry and use bows of at least this size, otherwise they are cheating. In my book that's like wearing modern shoes...

We don't carry sharp swords; is that like wearing modern shoes too?



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Langley » Tue May 22, 2012 1:49 pm

I am told by my good friend Tony who organises the shoots at Badminton that at a recent field archery competition the winner shot over 360 yards using a bow of less than 40lb draw weight. That would have been a light "flight" arrow with small flights and low weight of course but Tony says it is simply because the man has perfect technique. You really do need to use a pretty big bow for the bigger arrows but technique and practice as well as strength is a lot of the secret there too. there does indeed seem to have been a disticntion between heavy war bows and lighter 50-60 lb hunting bows according to tony who has a very extensive library on the subject and relies on quotes from original sources for that comment.



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby EnglishArcher » Tue May 22, 2012 3:32 pm

Fox wrote:
EnglishArcher wrote:As far as I'm aware, Strickland and Hardy isn't a primary source.

Don't be like that. I was just saying where she gets it from.

I don't own the Strickland and Hardy, so I wasn't able to look up exactly what they say, or if they reference a primary source.

But I have been intrigued by the Barker quote about the men who did not pass muster, and I had considered writing to her to ask for the details of the source.


Sorry. Not intended as a dig against you.

And to be fair (as I'm in a less offensive mood this afternoon, for a change) it's perfectly reasonable for Barker to quote 'experts' in a field she may have little knowledge of.

I'd be intrigued to know where Strickland / Hardy got this information from, though. I don't have my copy at the moment, so I can't check. Can anyone check 'The Great Warbow' to see if there's a primary reference for '12 arrows a minute'?

Thanks in advance.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Matt Easton » Tue May 22, 2012 4:40 pm

The "12 arrows a minute" quote is one that just gets regurgitated by every person writing a book about medieval archers. This thread on the primitive archer forum has got closest to pinning it down:
http://www.primitivearcher.com/smf/inde ... c=29547.45

It seems that there *may* be a document in the National Archive from which Barker etc have drawn the statement about 4 archers being sent back to England for not being able to shoot fast enough, however the exact nature of the wording and the source itself remain unexamined by independent researchers.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Fox » Wed May 23, 2012 9:33 am

Fox wrote:And they were sent home from Southampton....

Sorry.
I've just reread the Baker text and it implies they were dismissed at sometime between muster at Southampton and two days before the departure from Harfleur.
The assumption and recollection that it was sooner rather than later was mine, but it is not what the text says.
[That'll teach me to recall it off the top of my head.]

Following Matt's link: We could chase the source document again.



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Colin Middleton » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:01 pm

Matt Easton wrote:
Colin Middleton wrote:Matt, why do you think that there would be that many archers in an army? I know that the HYW had rations of 5:1 and greater, but you can pick and choose more there. I've seen no evidence at all for the ratio of archers to MAA in a WotR force (not that I've tried looking for any). I'm not saying that you're wrong, I'd just like to know of the evidence if it's out there.


Colin, muster rolls are fairly abundant and ratios of men-at-arms to archers are given in plenty of books covering the period. Generally the proportion of archers actually went up in the late stages of the HYW and the WotR. Presumably at least partly because archers were a lot cheaper to employ and easier to recruit, and after they had used up their arrows they could still function as light infantry.
The fact is that any reenactments of this period should have AT LEAST 50% (and in many cases far higher) of the people playing archers to look anything like a medieval English army.


Thanks for that Matt (sorry for not replying sooner, I've been away). Could you point me toward any good sources of musters as the only one's that I'm aware of are a couple in the Medieval Soldier book and the famous 'Bridgeport Muster' (which isn't a muster, etc. but...)?

I'm certainly with you on the 'at least 50%' idea, though I'm starting to think that there were more MAA on the field than people used to tell me (which could be as little as 2% from some).


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Adam R » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:52 am

One piece of evidence for musters I would LOVE to find is whatever prompted the 1475 troop type list in the Osprey WotR book. Does anyone know what evidence led to that list? It would be a fine example for Colin and a pivotal bit of info for me at the moment.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Man from Coventry » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:18 pm

Colin - Muster details and composition of Forces

The Coventry Leet Book - Has several entries detailing the contingents the city supplied. Typically 100% archers. Though the contingent for Barnet has a mixture of horse foot and guns, entries are abit vague on exact role and equipment in some cases.


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:49 pm

Thanks for that. That should keep my buisy for a year or two... :D


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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby chidokan » Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:09 am

We don't carry sharp swords; is that like wearing modern shoes too?


It all depends on how seriously you take the word reenactment.... :D
I use a sharp sword for iaido,(japanese swordsmanship) some of which involves partner work.It makes you more ....careful... I have done this for thirty+ years though, and wouldnt let a junior student use one like that however...they use blunts/wood.
So if you did 'choreographed/set piece' work and were at it for a long while, I would expect you to use one, yes. For just posing around, no fencing, also yes. For a random swing at your first event at someone who is just as useless... use a foam slapstick and wear lots of armour... :lol:
Swords are like bows, you work up to the correct type by hard training. I just changed to an 85lb bow and interestingly it has improved my accuracy and general shooting style, as I have to work harder to use it correctly... going back to the 55lb one straight after using it has a good effect on my distance accuracy also.

I was going through some references on purchases of bows, strings, arrows, etc, and the ratios are interesting... there seem to be a lot less arrows bought than you would expect, and more strings than we would buy now. I guess it depends what was built up in armouries as a stock, but the ratios seem low....in most of the orders sent out, you would be lucky to get a few minutes worth of arrows per bow... I use hemp strings on my japanese bow and these do break fairly regularly. The bow doesnt break, although my bowyer mate says if that happened with my longbow, it would break as well....and I dont want to risk trying that. Which raises the question, why would you buy so many spare strings if the bows break? Perhaps as a change out if the one on the bow starts to fray perhaps? I can see the hemp ones going so usually change them before they snap, so maybe early strings are similar to my hemp ones...



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:49 pm

hmm using sharps for choreographed work sounds like a very expensive game to play seeing as edge to edge tends to destroy blades think about how much thicker a "safe reenactment" blade is and they chew up pretty quickly :/

as for putting newbies in tonnes of armour and letting them bash away with sticks my group has always found that if you give a new person a nice metal blunt and get them to slowly build up skill and speed with that against someone in a t shirt they tend to learn how to control their weapon better. and not hammer some poor chaps arm to a pulp because "I've been hitting that hard with everyone else" but that might just be us :)

on carrying sharps if you're purely living history and no fighting then it seams reasonable but at the same time if you fight then carrying about a sharp for a couple of hours on the weekend only to put it away and grab your blunt of almost exactly the same looks and weight and price. its easy to explain to a mop that the weight is slightly more or it looks different and yes it is nice to have real ones the group bought a few sharps to show what the real thing was like sharp rapier and cavalry sabre ect. but its seems abit over the top for everyone to carry one seeing as most people only carry them on the field anyway

onto carry lots of strings you can probably see them starting to wear out and spares for damp weather ect :)



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Colin Middleton » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:07 pm

cloudy-cola-corp wrote:hmm using sharps for choreographed work sounds like a very expensive game to play seeing as edge to edge tends to destroy blades think about how much thicker a "safe reenactment" blade is and they chew up pretty quickly :/


If you fight properly, you don't slam the sharp edges of the swords into each other so much, so you won't cause that much damage. Re-enactment swords suffer so much because the technique that we use isn't designed to care for the blade or even to kill the enemy. It's purpose is to be safe to use, easily taught and make impressive, big clanging sounds (and it does pretty well at that).

I agree that everyone carrying sharps is asking for trouble.

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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby chidokan » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:31 pm

I agree, never go edge to edge, just looking for trouble! I dont think you would get everyone carrying sharp blades, as 'proper ones' are expensive. It all depends how you want to put your ideas across to joe public. Anyone who asks me if mine is sharp automatically puts me on my guard and they dont get to handle it... Not suggesting everyone should have one, but perhaps the senior guys in the group who know what they are doing and feel safe carrying it.

Over the last few months, I have been watching quite a few 'sword shows' at local events, and skill levels vary wildly from absolutely dire to quite good. For martial arts, there is a path to follow, and it is obvious that some people in HEMA etc type groups have been around a while and work hard at it in a similar manner to what I do. What also seems to be obvious is that a lot of people seem to think that it is ok just to dress the part and hack away without any formal study, and this is not regulated in any manner.... Am I correct or is there some kind of internal system that stops this type of thing going on???? We do get some idiot who proclaims himself a 'master' from time to time in the japanese sword community, but we jump in and stop these guys before they hurt someone...



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Colin Middleton » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:10 pm

There are some agreed 'standards' between groups that are generally descended from a stage-fighting technique. Each group is responsible for checking the safety of it's members against standard like this, and you can get yourself excluded from events if your group goes around hurting people. But, it's not what you would call 'regulated' or structured.

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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:13 pm

most big battles that are dark age or medieval tend to be quite well regulated as most groups have tests to make sure someone is capable and safe.
they also mostly train at least once a week. i saw some vikings at midfest do something they called a freeman of the field or something to that meaning test where they pitted one person and had 8 others attack him not to show weapon skill (that had been done in tests before this one i was told) but simply to understand how they would react to a situation that they might get on the field and see if they panicked ect. took my quite a while to understand the point but it makes sense. although you do get a few people that squeeze through the gaps and are a tad unstafe.

The problems arise in later periods I have found although my only real experience is with the SK is that people pass their sword test and then are never kept up with. and as its not their "primary weapon" and (remembering that I am generalising and there are some very very good swordsmen out there who train very hard) but allot of them do only pick it up for a couple of hours a month or too at an event and that's where i think the issues stem from i have found that carrying a dummy musket in a similar fashion to a pole and being young but being able to use it against a sword means that once the swordsman works out I know what I'm doing (to a reasonable degree away I'm no master at arms) they tend to get a bit edgy as they might not do enough work with it other than the odd few hours bashing it basic 5's around the clock against another sword to know what to do as they are fairly used to winning so they either back off or just run at you bear hug style.

I do agree its nice to have sharps about I do quite allot of one - one demonstrations of personal combat and sometimes using a "safe" blade can be a bit of a downer I would love to be able to go into the arena and fight away with a semi sharp rapier (but the insurance company has kittens) as the movement of the blade ect is totally different.

arena demonstrations can often be misleading as there are many extra factors I can't say for choreographed work but we fight freely so matching up skills is important as one person might be able to make a fantastic show with one person but no another because they aren't used to fighting them or they may not of learnt how to adapt to fight someone who is less skilled than them or sometimes it's just happens that the fight doesn't go how you plan.
we have a path to follow just some people stop a different step some learn how to do it safely with a big society to fight a massed battle and be safe some groups work to only follow manuals to the letter as they can best interpret them and some groups learn first the big society safe way and then use the manuals to adapt those old skills and the new safe styles to something that is in between reality and uniformity
carrying sharps: i think that if you feel comfortable having a sharp and follow the proper regulations on having it not to fight with but as a demonstration piece to do your best to give a mop a real feel into how a sword should be . then i support it whole heartedly, I just personally would be a bit edgy fighting with it in the way that my group fights.

(These are my personal opinions derived from my personal experiences and anybody reading them has every right to disagree should they feel their opinion differs from mine )



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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby cloudy-cola-corp » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:21 pm

would anyone mind If i shuffled the posts relating to sharp's onto its own thread into Costumes (seeing as our weaponry is often a very important piece of our costume) so that we don't clog up this thread with other stuff?

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chidokan
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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby chidokan » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:37 pm

my fault, thread drift! :D but related I guess... reason being I can relate to swords a lot easier than bows, and the logic of use and skill progression seems similar in my experience of both weapons.
As an engineer working in a mass production environment, I drive my local bowyer mad with ideas to speed up/ease his production. I appreciate the skill of making a bow, and have made a few myself, but it got me thinking about the large orders required by the army of the time and how to get these quantities from effectively a cotttage industry... (arrows are even worse given volumes needed perhaps?). I remember from my youth in the air cadets that all guns were the same, (one size fits all), and you adapted to suit. With a piece of wood, given variation in quality/ring size, etc, you get what you get to a fairly large tolerance band. So not all bows are identical, but could be within a set size, say plus minus ten pounds or so. I have yet to come across any reference to draw weights on any of these 'military orders', string thickness, or arrow spine/size, but you do find reference to a clothyard shaft.... understanding what draw lengths the people in my club use, this length does not really change that much and you can adapt to shoot any of these arrows with a bit of care. I did at one time work out a spine chart going up to one inch shafts, and around about half inch you have a flattening out of bow weight where really the shaft could be used with a large range of weights..
So....you could set a 'tolerance band' for draw weights based on getting these standard shafts. Bowyers then aim to hit the middle of this band and you have a good chance of a match for independently made shafts and bows. Reverse engineering the strings from the shafts gives a maximum size, but nowadays we use safety margins to ensure we dont snap the string, and given the number of strings ordered, I get the impression they were closer to breaking than we allow now. Although linen/silk/hemp has a lower breaking strain than the modern stuff, you could still use 100lb bows given the size of the nocks. The challenge would be to replicate a string and see how much it takes before snapping. If we can work that out, we may have a truer idea of how heavy these bows really were....



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EnglishArcher
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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby EnglishArcher » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:30 am

Things we have good information on:

There are a large number of Tudor arrows and we can be fairly confident in the average nock size, which must limit the size of the bow string.

We have a reasonable sample of Tudor bows. Computer models and replicas made to MR dimensions and with comparable materials yield similar results: The MR bows have an average draw weight around (approximately) 150lb, with maximum weights going beyond 180lb.

There are young, strong archers capable of shooting this bow weight effectively.

The MR bows show evidence of being made to a standard pattern; if not necessarily a standard weight.

There are no extant bow strings from the period.


The pertinent question seems to be: What do we not know about period bowstrings that allows them to support the draw-weight of these bows?


English Warbow: When you absolutely, positively have to kill every muthaf**king Frenchman on the field. Accept no substitutes.

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Fox
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Re: Medieval Longbow Draw Weights

Postby Fox » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:59 am

Sorry for the thread hijack; it's run on for a while and it seems capable of reasserting itself when it has something to say.

chidokan wrote:
We don't carry sharp swords; is that like wearing modern shoes too?


It all depends on how seriously you take the word reenactment.... :D
So if you did 'choreographed/set piece' work and were at it for a long while, I would expect you to use one, yes. For just posing around, no fencing, also yes.

Quite.
I don't actually see the need to keeping an edge on a sword, unless your involved in actual cutting (either for demonstation or HEMA).

I think one might have difficulty justifying a genuine sharp on a risk assessment, or to an insurance company, or even the police, if it was just for costume.

But I have some "semi-sharp" weapons, swords, poleaxs and so on, which I will use in particular types of demonstration [usually HEMA] and for showing the public (another reason for not keeping a real edge).

I'd still rather that all re-enactors had blunt swords on battlefields.

In the same way, I would encourage the accurate adoption of the warbow for archery enthusiasts, but not usually appropriate on the battlefield. Nor do I think it neccessary for everyone who would like to represent an archer in a battle to own and use a warbow.

We make many compromises for all sorts of reasons.
Occasionally, people even wear modern shoes for safety.




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