Now you can shoot
American FLAT BOW w
The completed bow bends perfectly, shoots far, and hits hard. Robin Hood himself never had so scientific a weapon. This illustration shows the bow drawn back almost to the "full draw"
Bows are among the oldest weapons in the world, yet an amazing thing was only recently discovered about them. Through mathematical analysis,laboratory investigation, high-speed photography, and painstaking field tests, it was found that the famous English long bow, after which practically all target bows are patterned, does not have the most efficient shape. Its beautifully rounded limbs are a delight to the eye, but the best cross section for a bow is something much simpler—just a plain rectangle. This discovery led to the development ofthe modern American flat bow, one easily made variety of which is described here.
HEN the white man provided the American Indian with a cheap trade musket in place of his native bow and arrow, he saved himself a good deal of grief, for had the red man developed his weapon along a logical path he might have arrived at an approximation of the bow we now know as the "semiIndian," "flat," or"American" bow. With such a bow he could have shot with accuracy at a hundred yards (about the extreme accurate range of the long rifle), and could have delivered arrows faster than any frontier scout could load his rifle. Any home workman, equipped with ordinary tools, can readily build the most modern and most efficient bow yet designed. The best material for the amateur is the imported wood known as"lemonwood." It can be worked almost entirely by measurement, without much regard to the grain. California yew and Osage orange probably make a better bow, but not for the inexperienced builder. Lemonwood can be had from most dealers in archery supplies, either in the rough stave or cut to approximate outline. The price ranges from about $1.75 to $3. In ordering you should be careful to say youneed a wide stave for a flat bow. The dimensions given are for a bow 5 ft. 8 in. long with a weight (the archer's term for the strength of a bow) of from 45 to 50 lb. at a draw of from 27 to 28 in. This combination is suitable for the average man. When new the bow will draw 5 lb. or more above these figures. For clearness, only the upper limb of the bow is shown on the drawings. The lower limb issimilar but slightly stronger. It should be 7/16 by 1½ in. at a point 14¼ in. below the center line; 3/8 by ¾ in. at a point 24¾ in. below the center; and 3/8 by 9/16 in. (instead of 3/8 by ½ in.) at a point 1 in. from the very end. The stave, as it comes from the dealer, has been shellacked or varnished to prevent checking. Remove this coating from the back—the side away from the archer as the bowis held in position to shoot. Plane and sandpaper the wood just enough to provide a smooth surface. Stretch a fine piece of unkinked copper wire tightly down the center line of the stave, mark dots at regular intervals, and connect the dots, using a long T-square or other straightedge and a sharp, hard pencil. Lay out cross lines as shown on the drawing and mark the widths by dots. Connect thesedots with straight lines, giving a rough idea of the back of the bow. Since the sharp shoulders and angles are unsightly, change them free-hand to graceful curves along one side, then trace paper templates in order to reproduce the curves on the opposite side. With drawknife, spokeshave, and finally a pocketknife or scraper and garnet paper, work to the lines marked on the back, keeping the cutsat right angles to the surface of the back. Run straight lines along the edges of the stave from the center 49
out to the tips to mark the thickness of the bow, following the dimensions on the drawing. Both edges of the stave should be marked. Now mark the profile of the riser at the grip, dipping it boldly into the run of the belly at each side of the handle. If the stave...