Don Adams Archery


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“Master Bowyer”

 To be classified as a "Master" Craftsman, one must have made a living at their particular craft for a minimum of ten years.  Don has been making bows from Pacific Yew for over forty years - more than enough to qualify him for this title, as thousands of his customers around the world will attest.

Don started whittling bows with his pocket knife when he was still a child.  He used whatever was available and easy to cut in the forest, experimenting with woods such as Willow, Cherry, Hazelnut, Elder Berry and Vining Maple.  When he was twelve, an ‘Old Timer’ said “Why not use Yew wood for your Bows?   It is much better than these other woods.”  Don tested this advice and found that Yew was indeed much better.  He has made bows from Yew ever since.

In the 1950's Don met world famous bowyer and archer L.L. "Flight" Daily of Eugene, Oregon.  Don and Mr. Daily became fast friends and Don apprenticed in Mr. Daily's shop for over 5 years.  During this time Don was taught the art and craft of professional bow making.  When Mr. Daily died in the 1960's most of his operation was turned over to Don, and Don has held to the high standard he learned under Mr. Daily's tutelage.

As a native of Oregon, where the ‘Good Yew’ grows, Don became acquainted with many other fine Bowyers.  Of particular note was Gilman Keasy, 1935 & 1936 NAA Target Champion.  Mr. Keasy took great interest in Dons' obsession for the English Longbow, and was more than generous with expert advice.  Don also spent a period of time under Mr. Keasy’s tutelage.

When these two gentlemen died, Don did his best to carry on their tradition of uncompromising craftsmanship. He still cut his own Yew staves from the National Forests where he chose only the most select wood from elevations of 2500 feet and above.  These staves are then seasoned for a minimum of four years.  Unlike most things in today’s world, ‘Old World’ methods still prevail in this craft.  Don's bows are made of only the finest yew and he allowed no compromise in the quality of their construction.  Don’s customers include some of the most Discriminating Archers in the world.  Every bow is an investment that, with proper care, will last a lifetime.


Again, it is time to, as Don would say, "pass on the torch".  Don Adams has decided to retire from bow making. He has just been waiting for the right person to come along with the heart and love of the craft. That person has been found in David Tinsley. Dave has the love, talent and art for making yew long bows. David has been spending a lot of time with Don to make sure that his bows are up to Don's standards. When you purchase from Don Adams Archery, you will still get the same kind of precision craftsmanship that you found from Don. Don had this to say about his search.

"I have looked for some time for the RIGHT person to let me say, 'Hand the torch to'. This not only represents me, but also the men who so willingly helped me. Namely, LL 'Flight' Daily and Gilman Keasy. I feel confident that David is the right person to continue to 'carry this torch'. It will be a great pleasure for me to personally train him."

 David has been working with bows for years. He also works and volunteers at Camlann Village. For six weekends during the summer, people can come and among other things, try their hand at shooting a bow. David gives live demonstrations and talks about the history of the long bow. If you like, you can go to Camlann's website and visit for yourself the adventures of living in the year 1376. The website is and if you like, you can also visit to get more information about David


Don Adams, Master Bowyer


David Tinsley - Master Bowyer





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Last modified:  June 1, 2008