The American Longbow

The American Longbow
How to make one, and its place in a good life 

by Stephen Graf

In this book you will find easy-to-follow instructions for making your own American Longbow from scratch, and advice on how to shoot it. It will take you through the entire process of building a bow, from design to construction. In addition, it explores both the philosophical and concrete reasons why making your own bow will add to the story of your good life. If you’ve ever thought about making your own bow, this book is a good place to start.


"Pope, Young, and the Thompson brothers were lonely voices when they began to write about bows and bowhunting in America, but we now enjoy a wealth of literature on these subjects. Some tell readers how to make a bow, while others focus on how to use one.  In this lucid volume, Stephen Graf takes the process one step further by addressing what may be the most important question of all: Why? Make no mistake, this book will provide both novice and experienced bowyers plenty of practical, perhaps even inspired, information about how to build an American Semi-Longbow, and he does this as well as I’ve ever seen it done.  But his ability to integrate the goal of his labor into the environment he inhabits—reminiscent of Aldo Leopold—makes this book stand out from all the rest. You heard it here first:  Graf has written a classic."

E. Donnall Thomas, Jr.
Co-editor of Traditional Bowhunter Magazine and author of many books including How Sportsmen Saved the World

"At last!  A real treasure for us who are enamored with the simple longbow. As a professional bowyer for over 50 years, I can happily testify that Steve’s book will give you a complete, accurate, thorough and pleasant examination of the hows and whys of the modern American Semi-Longbow." 

Fred Anderson
Maker of Skookum bows and author of several books including The Traditional Way

"I have built several wood bows, but the specialized skills required to craft a fiberglass-backed bow have always remained to me a mystery. Until now. Here, in The American Longbow: How to Make One and Its Place in A Good Life, former NASA space engineer Stephen Graf provides detailed building instructions that leave nothing to chance, further clarified by meaningful illustrations. And icing on the cake, in Stephen we find an exceptionally thoughtful outdoorsman, a devoted family man and self-reliance advocate with something worth saying and the skills to say it well. Even if, like me, you never plan to build a glass-backed bow, this book is surprisingly thought-provoking and a joy to read. Thank you, Mr. Graf."

David Petersen
Conservationist, founding member of Back Country Hunters and Anglers, and author of many books including On the Wild Edge and Hunting for the Natural Life

274 pages
6" x 9"