Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Visit to Turkish hornbow bowyer Cem Donmez Sept. 2010

In September 2010 I visited Turkey's famous bowyer Cem Donmez, who lives in Izmir. We planned this shoot all year so I was really excited to shoot his bows and try my flight arrows. When you enter his workshop you see loads of buffalo horn, wood cut or uncut, sinew and hornbows finished or unfinished in various stages, hung to dry for example.

We talked, brainstormed and shot the whole day. It is such a pleasure to be under enthusiasts with the same/similar interest. The day is not enough and at the end you think ''but there was so much more we wanted to talk about..''
Below you will see some pictures from the shoot, also a picture from 2 flight arrows, one tarzı has, one şem endam. The şem endam's flight was very good, very straight and fast. Cem also made a copy of his own historical flight arrow, this one had a perfect flight as well. This time I didnt use a typical mushamma but used the cloth I use to wax my arrows. I could 'sculpt' it better around the grip and in my palm. Cem has prepared a new puta bow, he measured it a week before and it was more than 100 lbs at 28''. He also had another bow at around 75lbs. Note that these arent flight bows.

We made similar experiences as last year. Correct arrows are very important. We have seen that 3 arrows out of 8 go straight without the slightest visible fishtailing, other arrows' flight were not stable. Also sometimes I didnt raise the arrow/bow high enough it seems. Also on some shots I didnt pull the arrow far enough in the siper. What I did though was this 'English longbow style' pushing the bow forward while shooting. I am not sure if it helps that much or if it is historically correct in the Ottoman style of flight shooting. I couldnt find any sources for this in the literature. (more information on the Turkish overdraw ''siper'')

Cem strung the strong bow a week beforehand and when I arrived it lost already power. I guess the hot weather contributed to that as well. In the end the strong bow was only about 75 pounds. Regarding the distance we could not exceed 310m even with the siper. Still it was very valuable for both of us, as I could shoot hornbows with siper and flight arrows and Cem could see the performance and characteristics of his bows when used.

Gokmen Altinkulp

 Cem Donmez's workshop
Hornbow with 'tepelik' getting ready to be strung
Turkish flight arrows replica
 Checking the position of the overdraw with the Turkish bow


  1. Bu çok güzel! Bu iyi bir çekim oldu? kaç gram ok?

  2. Hello, is it possible that you make some pictures of thumb lock that you use while doing flight shooting? I suppose that it has to be different than target shooting due to delicate fletching of flight arrows.

    PS: great site with lot a helpful information about turkish style archery.