ALOR GAJAH: Two years ago, when Sufyan Mohd Salleh (pix) retired as a director from a marine engineering company, he never expected to become a bowyer.
Yet today, the 61-year-old Malaccan who studied mechanical engineering at Sekolah Vokasional Sungai Abong (now known as Kolej Vokasional Muar), is considered one of the best in the business locally.
He said he used his experience from a career spanning the aeronautical, marine and oil and gas industries, as well as travels to 40 countries, as inspiration for his archery bow, the Taming Sari.
“I use ciku (sapodilla) wood, buffalo horn and epoxy fibre in the making of the traditional bow because each has its own advantages.
“For instance, epoxy fibre is highly flexible, durable and can handle maximum draw weight, while the fine-grained ciku wood and buffalo horn lend themselves to carving.
“After the epoxy fibre is shaped, I make the grip and then the limb tip using either buffalo horn or ciku wood based on the customer’s specifications. After that comes the bowstring which is made from a special material,” he told Bernama when met at Taming Sari Archery in Kampung Pulau, Durian Tunggal where he originally hails from.
He said it would normally take one hour to finish a bow, but a special order would take at least two days.
He said that one of his proudest moments was when a Hungarian tourist acknowledged the quality of his bow.
“After putting it to the test, the tourist bought two bows because it was so skilfully made,” said Sufyan, who makes traditional, horse and children’s bows.
Sufyan’s bows cost between RM160 and RM450, while upgrades are free. He also holds free archery and bow-making classes at his home.- Bernama