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So I now have this Flatbow. I am new to traditional archery and don't understand the difference between the two. Which is better? What are the advantages of what versus the other?
thanks !!
 

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The flatbow is what is known in North America as a longbow. Where I come from, the UK, the term longbow really describes the ELB, English longbow.
There are some longbow experts on here who will pick this up but mainly it is the profile of the bow, having a riser and an arrow shelf that is different for a flatbow. Google 21st century bows or Fox bows to look at their flatbows then maybe Bickerstaff to look at the ELB, that will show you.
 

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The flatbow is what is known in North America as a longbow. Where I come from, the UK, the term longbow really describes the ELB, English longbow.
There are some longbow experts on here who will pick this up but mainly it is the profile of the bow, having a riser and an arrow shelf that is different for a flatbow. Google 21st century bows or Fox bows to look at their flatbows then maybe Bickerstaff to look at the ELB, that will show you.
its really olny the british that call them flatbows. Europe and US, all call them longbows.

We dot call them longbows with respect to the BLBS and the likes. (British LongBow Society) and the like of the Royal company or archers.

other than that its just a longbow.
 

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A flat bow, most commonly is a name for a bow-style in which the limbs are more or less rectangular in cross section for almost all of the limbs length. The front and back surfaces are pretty much parallel to each other except toward the riser where it tapers out into the grip area and on the very tips where the string nocks may be built it the edges may be also be flat or rounded and tapered in or out. In most cases the limbs are wider than they are thick through the main portion of the limbs length

This is in comparison to other old bows which had an oval or "D"-shaped cross section for almost all of the limb's length.

Both crossection types can be found in bows with limbs that are long or short, straight, recurved or any other number of variations. the actual limb criss section be it round oval d-shaped or a flattened rectangle frequently had its roots in the material available to the bow builder.

At one time long bows were commonly classified as "American flatbows" and "English longbows". Since many native american bows were considered "flat-bows" and many of the early american sporting bows of the late 19th and early 20th century were considered 'flat-bows".

Modern archery has more standardized and regularized terms for bow design and the use of older descriptive terms may be as much marketing and advertising names as anything.
 
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I love this question, how many 10's of thousands of years has Archery been around, the endless variations of Bow Design, no wonder there is confusion

In the past few Centuries due to English Colonies throughout the World English Archery and terminolgy took hold. Today it clashes with the dominance of American Archery and it's Marketing Power. There is also a mix of Terminology and wide misunderstanding [ read Dogma ] on both sides.

I have read elsewhere and been told several times that originally the term Crossbow was used as the Bow was held Crossway's and Longbow was used to describe how you held the Bow, longways. I'd lay odds it's not true but it sure makes things much simpler which is why I think it makes some sence

Im pretty much a lone voice in my neck of the Woods, I call Fibreglass Laminated Straight Limb Bows Flatbows, often American Flatbows and the common Deflex Reflex Limbed Bows, Deflex Reflex Flatbows.

I shoot Selfbows mostly. None fit the Society of Archer Antiquities definition of an ELB so I do not call them Longbows, just Selfbows. Trouble is all around the world for thousands of years different Cultures used D Section Bows so the English do not have Dominon over them, just Bragging Rights. If my Selfbows have a Flat Bow Design I often just call them Flatbows

Recurves is Recurves. If I had a Recurved Selfbow I would call it that.

I do know that in the 30's a team of Americans got together and designed what they said was the most efficient Selfbow design and dubbed it the American Flatbow. In the end it closely resembled the Sudbury Bow Artifact, a Native American Design. I wonder if some confusion reined here with the American Flatbow Tag in the 30's then the American Flatbow Tag of the 50's.

regards Jacko
 

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Well, the English think they invented the longbow and that their deep limbed Yew longbows are the only real longbows. Others disagree on both points. Many cultures around the world have used long bows around six feet in length, give or take six inches. Most showed the D shaped profile when strung and the lovely arc when drawn. There are cave paintings thousands of years old that show that instantly recognizable arc. The cross section of the limbs varied depending upon the wood they used. Yew is weak in compression so it needs a deep belly to hold the strain. The Welch ash and elm longbows were flatter in cross section. Some African and South American primitive longbows are fairly nearly round in cross section.

I think the word 'long' in longbow must have been selected to distinguish them from the shorter recurve bows of the Turks, the Eastern Europeans, Attila's huns and the Chinese. The Egyptian pharoahs and some ancient East Indians used longbows and the Persians had some lovely long recurves. For that matter some old English recurves were somewhat recurved. The Danes, the Gauls and the Vikings used longbows of various designs before there was such a creature as an Englishman.

The American archers mostly started with English longbows but gradually switched to local woods and then were able to make their bows flatter. Howard Hill's great laminated bamboo design is rather narrow and deep, but more rectangular than the English design. Most other modern American longbows are flatter still.

Now if a person specifies 'English longbow' we know that that will be long, narrow and deep, that the limbs will have both a D shaped profile and cross section, flat on the back but round on the belly, and probably with horn nocks of traditional design, and it will have a round handle. I once made myself a nice one of Pacific Yew. Other long bow designs mostly have the D profile, but flatter cross sections, and deeper handles but there are many variations called longbows, some very flat, curvey, multipiece, metal handled and short. Some I would not own, or prefer to call a longbow, but I would be happy to compete against all comers with my fine American longbows. - lbg
 
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I picked up an ELB while stationed in the UK. It's 90# @ 30.5", but is short in length compared to it's draw weight. I also have a Japanese Yumi. Talk about a "long" bow - it stands over 7 foot.
 

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All the replies so far have been pretty much spot on. One point I'd like to add, according to Hardy's books, the name long bow was derived because the bows of the English armies were longer than the bows of the Welsh archers. Hence Long Bow...
..and as Longbowguy said .. bows evolve and bowyers use the characteristics of the wood to give them the results they're looking for ..

...good thread by the way guys ..
 
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you also have to recognize that at the time the english long bow dominated the battlefields of Wales, England, Scotland, and what is now France and Belgium, there WERE other archers and bows (and not just crossbows). There are more or less contemporary paintings that show clearly recurved limbs in use both for sport and warfare. Allowing for un-archery-aware artists (ALWAYS a problem) it appears that at east some of them were clearly thinner than wide in terms of cross section.

One also has to consider the old "form follows function" dictum. The primary goal is to have a bow that will cast and arrow to meet the need. Some woods can meet the need with one shape or style, other woods work better in different configuration. the economics of need are also a big factor. with a big war machine feeding the archers bows were a disposable commodity. If it lost its cast or got broken the archer just got a different one. In order to produce bows on this scale a "simple" shaved scraped and tillered stave could be made into a militarily functional bow with minimal production effort. Especially when compared to the labor cost of creating a recurve on a military scale.

environmental conditions were a factor, not only in terms of potential bow wood availability but because of England's humidity, laminated bows and even the really heavy crossbows did not fare well due that the glues and sealers available in that era.
 
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