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Meet the Bowyer: Q&A with Dave Mead

Dave Mead is the founder of Mead Longbows, a renowned bowyer, author and illustrator. We love Dave’s high-performance, beautiful bows and it’s the bows we make in all of our 1-day and 2-day bow workshops. In addition to being insanely talented, Dave is a great person. Hopefully you can get to know a little bit about him and if you attend our upcoming class in NW Arkansas – you can even make a bow with him!

How did you become a renowned bowyer?

 I started in Archery and played with bow making as a child..I trained in Martial Arts and Natural Archery was an easy transition for me..then later in life wanting to live a self sufficient life and be prepared for whatever may happen I decided to try my hand at making my own hunting/survival equipment, and I started with bows. I never looked back, and quickly honed in on the efficiency of a simple designed bow that had excellent performance.

Why did you choose this path and what do you enjoy most about it?
I am on the journey to make the perfect bow. What I enjoy most about it is being able to be innovative, creative and challenge myself with each new endeavor. I never enjoyed trying to replicate/copy what others have already done. It is more fun to be unique.
Have you ever made a custom bow that you just didn’t want to part with? Explain 
Actually no. If they are too “pretty” I find it easier to let them go..I favor a bows actual performance as a useful tool over it’s looks.
Can you describe the process from receiving an order to sending out that custom bow?

I try my best to make the bow an extension of the person. The more in tune they are with instinctive archery and a primitive bow the better their experience will be. I then choose the raw materials needed to craft the custom bow, and the process begins. There are many stages to a composite bow. I will usually handle/shape/train a given bow dozens of times over a course of several weeks as it makes it’s way through the creation process.

What would you tell someone who is considering learning archery but has no experience?

Start with the most simple tackle you can and soak up all the rewards we as humans contain when functioning in tune with a primitive tool made from nature. Don’t go out and get the latest greatest modern bow with all the gizmos to make the job of sending an arrow down range easier. All this does is remove YOU the human from the task. A machine can aim a sight, and pull a trigger. Might as well just pick up your rifle.

What is unique about your bows and/or company, that no one else offers?

A very small powerful bow that can be comfortably and accurately shot while accommodating long draw lengths made from natural materials. They are affordable, and I offer them in many different options allowing people an easier way to enter the world of primitive and traditional archery.

Aside from bows, what are your other great passions?

My family, and supporting my children’s passions. I enjoy building a sustainable homestead tucked away in nature where we as a family will be prepared for whatever life throws at us. I enjoy Martial Arts, and engineering/tinkering.

What or who inspires you?

My kids, nature.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Keep moving forward with your passion/gift.=

Sign up for an American Survival Co. Bow Making Class

August 25 – 1-Day Bamboo Horse Bow – Jacksonville, FL

Oct 6-7 – Build a Bamboo Recurve Bow from Raw Materials – Jacksonville, FL

Oct 20 – 1-Day Bamboo Horse Bow – NW Arkansas


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