Something to shoot with
This page is a subsection of SCA Without Breaking the Bank. It provides information about archery.
Submitted by anonymous benefactors
The Big College Clubs (A&M, UT, UCLA, Madison...) often throw away leftover bales after the coupounds have proven they are no longer stopping their arrows. By this time they are beaten in enough for most of the 30lb longbows and recurves so the arrows won't bounce back. There's lots of professional archers and collegiate archers in sca. Tell them what your looking for they might have it in a closet somewhere collecting dust.
A passing phase (that I'm not quite finished with) involved perusing the fecund aisles of ebay on a general search of "longbow." I've outfitted myself several times over with good success there and with quality bows for $20 or less. Oft-times people are simply looking to de-clutter their lives and closets of vintage bows of osage and yew, (Agincourt 1415, the reason I'm not now writing in French), and other bows that fall under the description of 'self bows.' It is interesting to note that the same search for 'longbow' in antiquities will sometimes turn up arrowheads for sale dug up on the fields of honor in France, etc. deposited there during the hundred years war. One look at the wickedly heavy vaned broadheads the 5,800 English were hurling at 24,000 French, and the slaughter comes a little better into focus.
I usually just buy wood dowels at walmart instead of actual arrow shafts. For combat they work just as well and are only about .40 each. I usually pull out the whole bundle and role each dowel on floor to find the straightest.
Submitted by Rich
For good hand crafted longbows check oldbow.com. They have a fine selection of handcrafted bows and are inexpensive as well.
Submitted by Ilaria de Fiori
Try finding and archery club. I belong to one sponsored by my barony, and they have lots of loaner equipment for you to borrow. That way, you won't invest your money in a bow that you will soon grow out of.
Ask around. People who get new (heavier) bows are often willing to sell their old ones at a discount.
Help out. If you volunteer at the club or on a range, people notice and usually have the urge to do a good turn for you, too. They might know a merchant and get you a dicount you wouldn't have otherwise gotten. It never hurts.
Barter. Making real arrows can be time consuming, and if you have an older person who is the one making the arrow, it is hard on the joints. Ask if they would consider making the arrows if you help, or if you buy the components. They might know places where you can get discounts.
Submitted by Cariadoc of the Bow
A longbow may not be all that hard to make, if you have access to a good lumber store. You need a 1x2 piece of oak, maple, ash, or some similar strong wood of suitable length, a spokeshave for shaping it, patience, and either a good book (The Primitive Bowyer's Bible) or someone who has done it. Make sure you find a piece of wood where the layers run parallel to the surface, which is hard but not impossible. I've done several child sized ones, and the adult shouldn't be much different, although I haven't yet done it.