Osage and Yew

Traditionally, osage and yew are considered to be premier bow woods and both are highly prized by bowyers. Osage is native to North America but is found mainly in the midwest and west with some exceptions. It derives its name from the Osage Indians of Oaklahoma. The first bow drawn in the illustration is a flat\bow with a slightly rounded belly. The bow is made from osage orange which was cut in Texas. The wood at first is a pale yellow color but gradually over time takes on a rich copper color. This bow is 65 inches long from tip to tip and draws 55 pounds at 26 inches. It is made in the Native American flatbow style. The second bow is an American longbow style made from yew cut in the Oregon Cascades at 2000 feet. English longbows have the handle area as the widest part of the bow, the belly is very rounded and are generally around the archer's height or slightly less. This one is 69 inches from to tip and draws 60 pounds at 26 inches.The wood was cut in 1991. The sides are rectangular and the belly is rounded. In the English longbow the belly is rounded but has no rectangular areas at all. The English longbow is also tillered to bend in the handle. Yew is an evergreen conifer. Yew for a bow wood is relatively soft. To protect the bow this one is backed with rawhide. The nocks are inlaid with cow horn and the arrow plate is also cow horn. The last photos show the horn arrow plate.

Copyright 1999 George C Tsoukalas

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