Society for the Promotion of Traditional Archery
1. Ensure your supplier/bowyer has your interests at heart -go on recommendation. Preferably get to know the craftsman/bowyer; buying from those who are the most advertised may not be the best thing -mass production does not necessarily mean quality or suitability. A good bowyer will look after you and advise you how best to look after your bow, and if you are relatively new to the sport, will give you sound advice on a suitable bow.
2. The best bow for you is one made to suit your physique and shooting style -if you can't wait to order a bespoke bow, don't rush into buying something unsuitable. If it is too heavy a draw-weight it may cause bad shooting habits (raised elbow, short draw etc) or at worst it can cause injury -particularly neck/shoulder problems. Make sure you know the draw-weight you can handle, and your draw length. Buy a bow to these specifications.
3. If you fancy making your own bow, there are a number of books available to guide you -however, it does help to have a basic understanding of the mechanics of shooting and the various options available. SPTA does run occasional bowmaking courses; it is best to obtain guidance from experienced archers and bowmakers. Some of the more commercial 'survival courses' do not do the traditional bow justice!
...questions maybe you should ask yourself:
a)What type of shooting will I enjoy? Will my bow choice be suitable?
Most traditional bows are suitable for field, flight, roving etc.-but different organisations promote different styles of bowand types of shooting event (see LINKS page). If you are joining a local Club-preferably one which encourages traditional archery- find out what events they like to attend.
b)Am I getting advice from an experienced traditional archer?
The recent increase in interest in traditionalarchery means that the quality of advice can vary greatly. Some new clubs don't have experienced traditional archers and some guidance can be suspect. Do a fair amount of research (preferably not on the 'net, although you are here, of course!). You should soon find out what is sense through consistent advice from good sources.