Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get help in choosing Traditional Archery equipment and technique?

Before we can make suggestions, we will need to know some details about you and your goals:
1) Your physical characteristics - Height, general strength, etc?
2) Purpose for your archery - General target shooting vs Olympic style target vs Hunting?
3) Your budget limitations? (don't forget to plan for accessories such as armguard, glove, quiver and arrows)
4) Bow type - Fine wood vs laminate wood vs man made?
5) Where you will be shooting?
6) Shooting style - Instinctive vs sights?
7) Please see our general recommendations for equipment here.

We will be happy to help you to choose the best equipment for your needs when you phone us at
(781) 447-4520 or email.
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What are the costs and recommended equipment?

We can help you to find the best bow, arrows and accessories for your needs.

Please see details at Archery costs and recommended equipment
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Do you have a catalogue? (By far the most frequently asked question of all!)

No, we do not have a printed catalogue at this time. Our on-line inventory here at oldbow.com shows our current bow stock. Please email or phone (
781-447-4520) for unpublished updates or unlisted products.

We  have many fine quality used
Longbows and Recurves that may be seen here on our site. Our stock changes frequently, and so a printed catalogue is impractical at this time.

Stock arrows, custom arrows, custom Flemish bowstrings, pro shop services, and leather goods can be seen on the
Accessories page.

Please see our
"How to Order" page for ordering info and questions.
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What are your payment, return and shipping policies?

Please see Policies -Traditional Archery Supply
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I'm thinking of changing over from a Compound to a Traditional bow.

Ah! One of my favorite things to do is outfit compound guys with traditional gear when the bug hits them! I used to shoot Compound myself.

Think of the times you may have had a shot but couldn't take it because the time needed for "target acquisition" allowed the critter to walk away? Those are some of the traditional shots we enjoy.

I certainly don't fault anyone for their choice of hunting weapon or target bow - the bottom line, in my opinion being: do you have the time to practice and become proficient with a traditional bow? If not, then a well-tuned compound is the way to go. If you shoot fingers, you're halfway there anyway. I just can't compare the reward of hitting the mark by my own unassisted skill.

I hang with a bunch of good Traditional shooters and we often leave the compound guys scratching their heads as we stack arrow after arrow in the 10-ring at unknown distances. That's archery to me, and we welcome you aboard with open arms!

Figure that the muscle energy spent in a traditional shot equals about three times the energy used in a compound shot (because of let-off), AND that you can get three shots off in the same time it takes to execute one good compound shot. This equates to NINE times the energy spent with a traditional bow to a compound for a given time at the firing line. My 51# longbow shoots a heavy arrow at 190fps. Some of the recurves we offer exceed 200fps with a good hunting weight shaft. Some of us shoot carbons and graphites off recurves to the tune of 210 - 219fps.

Depending on your budget and degree of commitment, there are, of course, many choices. If spending a little dough is no problem - and you're the kind of guy or gal like me who likes to have "nice stuff" - I'd recommend one of the Navajo takedown bows. You can interchange recurve and longbow limbs on the same riser. Translation: enjoy comfortable lower poundage practice with the benefits of a longbow (smoothness and stability), and, throw on the  higher poundage recurve limbs to go in the woods with. Using the same riser for both keeps things consistent. Very cool setup. Please see our Longbows and Recurves pages for many more choices.

If you want to try it out in a more "affordable" price range, a good bow can be had for between $130 - $500. If "one bow" is the way for you to go, I'd boil it all down to a recurve that will give you your desired poundage @ 28". A longbow will run typically a little more for a good one.

I hunt with wooden arrows because they are quieter to shoot and if  you get clumsy in the woods, they sound like a stick instead of a pipe! That tends to not scare off game as quickly. The choice of arrow materials also gives a level of personal satisfaction, whether it's wood, aluminum, carbon, or graphite
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What can you tell me about "Traditional" arrows?

Real feathers should be used on arrows with traditional bows because they compress out of the way when they hit the shelf allowing clean & proper arrow flight. Plastic, or vinyl, vanes hit the shelf hard and upset the arrow flight. This can be overcome by raising the nock point on the string, or using an elevated arrow rest. These are not, however, the preferred methods with traditional archery in general.

The ONLY reason to use synthetic vanes is for wet weather hunting, but there are other ways to keep your feathers dry and functional in the wet by either treating them with one of the waterproofing applications available, or simply keeping them covered until time for use.

As far as shaft material goes, wood, aluminum, and carbon are all viable options with traditional bows. Most carbon shafting is either too light for traditional bows - causing a "dry-fire" effect on the limbs that is detrimental to them - or they are generally way too stiff for usual draw weights. Lightweight carbons with soft enough spine must often be loaded with extra weight to eliminate the dry-fire effect. Or, simply seek out carbons that are purpose-built for traditional bows that have sufficient weight & flex for correct arrow flight. The best carbon shafts for traditional bows are unquestionably the Arrow Dynamics Traditional & Traditional Lite shafts. I use them myself.

See Arrows details
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Do you make Custom bow strings?

Traditional Archery Supply provides standard Endless Loop and custom Flemish Twist bow strings for longbows and recurve bows. Endless Loop strings include nylon serving.  Flemish twist strings use high-durability braided serving.

Strings are measured either by AMO length or by actual string length.  To get the AMO length of your bow, check its listed length and compare it by running a tape measure along the back of the bow, following the curves, from string groove to string groove.  Many vintage bows are shorter than their printed length and often in odd increments.

- Endless Loop - B-50:  $11.95
- Flemish Twist - B-50:  $15.00
- Flemish Twist - B-50 + Reinforced Loops:  $20.00
- Flemish Twist - High Tension:  $17.00
- Flemish Twist - High Tension + B-50 Reinforced Loops:  $22.00

See more bow string details here
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How do I figure my Traditional “draw-weight” and "draw length"?

Draw weight refers to how many pounds of pressure that you can comfortably pull the bow string back. The inches thing (") refers to how many inches you actually pull the string away from the bow. This is generally a reflection of the arm length of the shooter.

So, a 5'4" female of not much athletic ability, might be able to pull about 25# to 30# @26" or 27", where a big, strong guy of 6'3" feet tall might pull 55# or even 60# at 28" or if he has long arms, might pull to 30" or 31" and vise-versa.

Draw weight will increase with time as muscle strength builds, but draw length will stay fairly constant, because the physical size does not grow in adults. Children's measurements will grow proportionally to their physical growth.

Just let us know how tall you are, what your build is in terms of "average", "heavy", or "slight", and what other sports you routinely participate in. We can surmise a good draw weight for you from that information. An other way to get a good idea of your strength is to test your lateral pull on gym weight pulleys. The most obvious way is to find an archery shop and try different strength bows. If hunting is in the picture at all, then you will need a minimum of a 40# bow for that.

See How to figure Draw Length here
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How to adjust a nock point?

See instructions and illustration HERE
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How do you "sight" a Traditional bow?

First and foremost, make sure you are "anchoring". The most common anchor point is the tip of the middle finger firmly tucked in the corner of the mouth, using the "split-finger" draw (one over/two under the arrow). Now you're sure the arrow is at least LEAVING from the same point every shot. And, KEEP BOTH EYES OPEN!

The quick answer to your problem is to start closer than you are already shooting. Called the "step-back" method, start at about 5 yards. First just be concerned with "grouping" your shots. They don't have to be in the bullseye to start. If you can hit within a 4" - 6" group consistently, Then concentrate on MOVING THE GROUP into the bullseye. Once your groups are consistently to center, move back a yard. Repeat this process all the way out to 30 yards - which is beyond the 20 yard "ethical" traditional shot. This yard-by-yard step-back approach is the best method to learn true instinctive shooting.

If you just can't do that, then you must try the "reference point" method. You need a big target for this. Start at about 7 yards and put a sticker about 18" below the bullseye. At full draw, close your left eye (if you're a righty), and - properly anchored - sight the tip of the arrow on the sticker. Shoot a volley of 4 - 6 arrows. They should all hit the same place on the target - bullseye does not matter. (Obviously, if you miss the target totally, then you must place the sticker at another starting spot.) If your shots do not hit the same spot, then you are NOT steady with your aim. With good luck you'll smash an arrow when you get the hang of this.

Now, measure the distance & angle of your "group" to the bullseye and move the sticker the same distance and angle to bring your shots to center. Once you have the hang of this, you should be able to use this method at any distance. The idea of this is to give your mind the picture of where the "sweet spot" is in relation to your bow hand. Once that "picture" is in your mind, you must STOP this method immediately and start shooting with both eyes open again. DO NOT rely on this as a method to be used in the field. It is only an exercise to bring your hand/eye coordination to center.

Last and least is "gap shooting". Many archers use this method whether or not they realize it. It is a variation of reference shooting, but requires a long outdoor range. Remembering the importance of anchoring, simply start at about 40 yards and again, sight the tip of the arrow this time RIGHT ON THE BULLSEYE. Be prepared to totally miss the target until you find the range at which this works. The distance it works at is totally up to the draw weight of your bow. Once you find the distance at which your arrows hit the bullseye consistently when you sight the point on the center, then open the other eye to bring in your depth perception. Your dominant eye (hopefully your right eye if you're a righty) will still do the aiming, but it's important to use your full depth perception granted by the use of both eyes.

Practice long and hard at this distance, whatever it is, until you are steady in the center. The key goal is consistancy.

This method inherently forces you to get your dominant eye right over the arrow, eliminating windage deviance.

Once you "have it down", move 5 yards closer and adjust the point of the arrow respectively lower to compensate. 5-yard increments are perfect for this method. More creates difficulty, and less is not enough to see variation in aim point effectively. To practice longer shots, obviously place your arrow tip above the bullseye. Stay at each change in distance until you are (you guessed it) CONSISTENT!

These are the best methods to experiment with. I like to push for "true instinctive" shooting with the "step-back" method. One of the above methods WILL work for you.
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Where can I get arrow making supplies?

We carry all the colors of the rainbow in solid color full length feathers. In barred colors we have two shades of gray (light & dark), red, brown, orange, yellow, green, purple, and sometimes blue. We have about 12 different feather cuts to choose from for the "personal" touch and feather splicing is available. See
feather shapes and colors.

Likewise we carry all colors of nocks in 5/16" & 11/32" Bohning classic nocks and black or white in snap nocks.

Contact us at
(781)  447-4520 or  email with your needs.
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What can you tell me about "Traditional" arrows?

The simple purpose of a quiver is to carry arrows. Storage of arrows is also the task of a quiver.

Safety is enhanced by a quiver, too, as the arrows are neatly tucked away until ready for shooting. Carrying loose arrows can be hazardous for anyone, but especially for children.
Quivers come in many shapes and materials. These handy arrow holders come in shoulder, hip and back and ground models. Bow quivers are useful for hunters or prolonged practice.

See Arrows details here
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How do you measure an arrow?

Correct arrow measurement
Traditional Archery Supply®
659 Bedford St.
(Rt. 18)
Whitman, MA
02382
USA
Hours:
Tues. / Fri. - 10am to 6pm
Saturday - 10am to 4pm
CLOSED Sunday and Monday

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