John's interest in bows started when he was a teenager. He was frequently whittling on a twig of some kind with and without
much success and spent hours in his grandpa's shop.
He went on to college at Oregon State University where he majored in Industrial Education with an aim toward teaching shop skills to
young people. He taught for two years in the Bend school system and then moved to Tillamook Junior High where he finished his public
school teaching after 30 years.
In the mid 1970's John became interested in bowmaking. He started out making fiberglass laminated recurves and longbows
but soon discovered that he was highly allergic to epoxy. That ended the use of fiberglass when bowmaking in 1979. John did take an elk
with one of his longbows... he was hooked. He fell in love with self bows and progressed from there.
Since 1979, John has taken Roosevelt elk, Rocky mountain elk, both mule deer and blacktail deer, plus caribou, a feral pig and lots of small game.
He finds hunting with the bows both a passion and a satisfying challenge. To harvest with a bow that he has crafted remains a true blessing..,. a goal fulfilled.
One evening, John and a friend were in Portland, Oregon, at an archery shop. A gentleman there asked if John could make him a longbow. John's answer was "Yes!"
That was when John and Pat started the Spirit Longbow business. Since 1980, when the business was founded, they have been making custom bows. There are clients all over
Canada and the United States plus overseas. He is currently making all-wood bows and has developed many different "models" of self bows that include using yew and
osage and other local woods. In addition to self bows, he makes bamboo-backed laminated bows with cores of yew, osage, Ipe and bloodwood. These are both
straight-limbed and reflex/deflex types. His finishing techniques are hand done and are beautiful. When you see the grip of a bow, you can easily tell
it is one of John's bows.
John and Pat have been involved with Traditional Bowhunters of Oregon (TAO) and have attended the North American Longbow Society for many years (NALS).
John never gave up his love of teaching; it is just part of his DNA. He moved from junior high students to adult students. He has been teaching
"on the road" in various states and Canada for 28 years. These classes usually are held with ten students. When students come to Tillamook, they
work one-on-one in John's shop. He is very meticulous with his students showing them how to create a quality product.
He has been featured twice on "Grant's Getaways" on the Portland KGW television station. He is also highlighted in Grant's first book,
Grant's Getaways 101 Oregon Adventures. He was also featured on "Northwest Hunters," a local television program back in the day.
John also contributed chapters in the first volume of the "Traditional Bowyer's Bible". In addition, he has an English longbow
featured in the Department of History at West Point Military Academy. The cadets use it to realize how well trained English yeomen were.
Personalization is the calligraphy written on the bow by Pat's (the wife) handiwork. She took a class many years ago in calligraphy
and has been using her skill ever since. She was a business teacher at Tillamook High School so she puts her ability to work by
keeping the books, doing computer work, personalizing bows etc... for Spirit Longbow. They have worked together for 39 years
each contributing their expertise to the success of the company.
The Spirit Longbow's company goals are to put out a product that meets the customer's wishes. They pride themselves in workmanship
and customer satisfaction. That motto started from the beginning and will always remain the reason for doing business.
John's work is quality like an old world craftsman. He pays careful attention to detail, the customer's specifications
and the final product.