Traditional Bowmaking 2 day course


Date: 24 July, 2021 – 25th July, 2021 

Learn the traditional art of bow making
Sheviock, SE Cornwall

Out of stock

Join John Fairhurst at our Horsepool Apiary to learn about the fascinating and heritage craft of bowmaking, creating your own traditional bow. This course takes place across two days, to ensure that there is plenty of time to learn how to work with varieties of wood and create an effective, comfortable bow using only simple hand tools, heat, and physical strength.

John Fairhurst’s bows are not only practical working tools but are beautiful artworks in themselves. They represent a variety of styles and types from across the globe and throughout the history of the bow.


Some time around 70 - 50,000 years ago humans developed the first bows. Evidence of them is to be found across the globe and in some communities they are still an essential part of life.

It has been said that only certain types of wood can be used for bow making but research and the rediscovery of nearly forgotten knowledge shows that they can, in fact, be made and have been made from a wide variety of materials. For example, the Inuit peoples of Eastern Canada had little wood and so used whalebone, the San people of the Namibian desert make small bows from the scrubby bushes growing in the desert and the famous English longbow was made from elm, ash and yew abundant in British forests.

Form and design followed function and the availability of materials, to encompass a wide variety of styles the world over. Whether it be a simple wooden self bow or a complex Korean horn and sinew bow of multiple parts and the highest work of the master craftsman, the principles of bow making remain the same.

John regularly works with laburnum, sycamore, yew, elm, hazel, blackthorn and hawthorn, which he harvests and seasons himself and which are all from sustainable sources within the UK. He has begun to work with bamboo, horn, animal sinew and rawhide, making his own glues from natural materials from sustainable sources.

John feels it is inappropriate to use increasingly rare tropical hardwoods from the ever-decreasing rainforests when there are perfectly good materials to hand nearby, which his research and work has shown to be true. 


Disclaimer: If a course is cancelled by the Family Foraging Kitchen, such as in the event of unsuitable weather conditions, alternative dates will be made available, as well as the option of a full refund. Customers are also welcome to swap their booking for another course (subject to availability) or request a refund until seven days before the course takes place. Following this time, we will be unable to offer a refund (except in certain cases) as it is unlikely we will be able to fill the course.