Beautiful bows his pride and joy

WARRICK Harvey of East London is the go-to person for custom-made bows, which have won him reached international acclaim.

A young Harvey fell in love with a plastic bow and arrow at the age of three and has never looked back, carving a niche in the bow-making market.

“I was obsessed with bows. I’d often steal my brother and sister’s shoelaces and use branches or whatever I could find to make bows,” Harvey said.

He started his own business, Harvey Archery, and since then has worked tirelessly and meticulously to create beautiful bows.

“I have been making laminated bows since grade 11 and it took a long process of trial and error to get the bows market-ready,” he said.

Having been a commercial diver for a number of years, he saved up his salary to buy equipment until his Thornpark-based workshop was filled with all necessities.

Harvey crafts three different models, the crowned eagle, the otter and the rock python. He also crafts standard bows ready for the market.

For a personal touch, he travels to Knysna to choose from a wide variety of exotic wood. “I make use of the horns of bushbuck, impala and even warthog tusks to make the bow.

“The limbs are made from laminated bamboo, wood, exotic veneer and a layer of composite glass,” Harvey explained.

About 50 hours is needed to make one bow, which includes glue-curing time, shaping of the handle, tillering the limbs, fine sanding, making the strings and oiling the bow, then leaving it to dry. A poundage test is then done on the strung bow.

“If I make even one mistake and miss measurements by a fraction, I start the process from scratch,” he said.

Most sales go to overseas customers, with archery arguably more popular in the US. For a plain bow, one can expect to pay about R6,300 and about R8,400 for a custom-made bow.

Harvey is not just a bow maker – he also competes in archery tournaments around the country.

“I’m currently one win away from getting my provincial colours. Thereafter I’d like to compete so I can hopefully get my Protea colours,” he said.

For more information, visit his Facebook page, Harvey Archery or phone 078-114-0002.

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