Vacation – Stretch band!

I’m just back from a couple weeks of vacation with my family. Prior to leaving ,the thought of bringing my bow, briefly crossed my mind, but it really wasn’t practical, and bringing it, would have very likely detracted from the memorable family adventure we ended up having.

I did have some concern about losing ground on the work I’d been putting towards my form though, so I packed a stretch band.

Stretch band in hand 2 (1)

This turned out to be a great solution, It took minimal space, was light and it allowed me time in front of a mirror in the early mornings to practice. I discovered that the mirror/stretch band combo gave me good feedback, and helped me identify posture issues and inconsistencies in my draw.

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Me, while on holiday, looking a bit serious for the camera.

On the travel end, we didn’t check any bags, and I carried it onboard in my backpack with no issues from the airport security folks, although halfway through the flight I did consider tying up one of my kids with it…

Kiddos aside, the stretch band worked well for me, I found it helpful and an easy peasy solution to a bit of archery in your bag, travelling or otherwise.

C.

 

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Removing glued in points from carbon arrows

I recently had to swap out glued in points from a set of carbon arrows. I was going from lighter points to heavier points to weaken the arrow spine. The arrows points were set in with hot melt glue, so I knew I would have to apply a heat source to the points in order to soften the glue enough to remove them. I checked the internet for options.

I found many suggestions on the web, torch, lighters, and others, but the two methods that caught my eye were offered by Dennis Lieu, archery coach at UC Berkeley, in this article. He suggests using hot water and or a hair dryer as the heat source. This appealed to me as these heat sources seemed more benign than a fire source and I didn’t want to over do it on my first time and risk ruining perfectly good arrows.

I don’t have a hair dryer so the water method came first while I put the word out to borrow a hair dryer. Dennis Lieu’s water method is to place a cup of water in the microwave, bring it to a boil, then dip the arrows in and pull the points, re-heating the water as necessary as it cooled down.

Water boils at 212 degrees and I wondered if I could do it with less temperature. I boiled water in a kettle, and in a sturdy glass put in 1/4 of room temperature water to 3/4 boiling water, then placed my wife’s candy thermometer to see what I had.

thermometer

About 154, 155 degrees

The thermometer was reading in the mid 150’s, I placed two arrows in the water, gave them what I felt was enough time (20 – 30 seconds) and tried pulling the points with a pair of linesman pliers.

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Linesman pliers w

I used an old pair of linesman pliers with adhesive cloth tape wrapped around jaws, so as to not mar arrow points.

The points pulled out fine, I flexed the arrows afterwards and visually inspected them, all seemed well.

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Meanwhile, a hair dryer had come through via a friend in town. The hair dryer was 1875 watts, which translates to plenty of heat. After getting the water temperature I was curious what temperature the hair dryer generated. I used the same thermometer and had it consistently top out at 165 to 170 degrees.

I set up out on deck for good light, and heated both the point and the first few inches of the arrow. I rotated the arrow while doing it and kept the dryer in motion to keep the heat even. I had the dryer about an inch from the shaft moving it quickly around the shaft.

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I had no issues pulling the points, as with the water method I flexed and inspected the shafts afterwards and could not detect any problems. Since then I’ve also shot these arrows and I can’t find any damage to the arrows using these methods.

The hot melt glue used in these shafts is Flitemate hot melt glue which is a low temp glue designed for carbon arrows, you may (or may not) need higher temps if you are using a regular temperature hot melt glue.

Dennis Lieu’s methods worked really well for me, it allowed me a lot of control and a mild approach to removing glued in points. In the same article he also describes his method for gluing points in with hot melt, worth a read. Find it here.

 

Summer Arrows

summer arrows

Hurricane Arthur is passing offshore of us and it is pouring, pouring, pouring. I am reminiscing of how sweet last weekend was, when I was nestled amongst the gardens, feeling the sun, in my world, letting go of arrow after arrow.

On days like those, archery feels like meditation. I think it is the intense, and single focus on target and or shot sequence, that allows the mind to push everything else aside. I feel centered, and with every arrow, I’m letting go.

There aren’t that many things that I do that allow me that “in the zone” sort of experience. Does archery ever make you feel that way? Let me know, leave me a comment if it does.

 

Archery and numb fingers

I first experienced numbness and tingling in my fingers while shooting barebow with a thin Damascus glove. The numbness didn’t go away, so after dealing with non-feeling fingers for a while I tried a bit of medical tape around the affected fingers in addition to the glove.

Med tape on fingers

The tape worked but was a chore because I had to apply it every time I picked up a bow. I also had to be precise with how much tape I put on, as varying amounts affected my shots differently. Suffice it to say that it didn’t take me long to make my way back to the land of tabs, and leave the Damascus glove behind.

Cavalier tab

A tab with two layers of leather was certainly better than my thin glove had been but after breaking it in, I found myself experiencing numb fingers again. This time, I did some research on the web and in the varying archery forums. I found that this wasn’t uncommon. I also learned that it wasn’t something to mess with as it could be a sign of amongst other things, tissue damage and or nerve damage. Yikes!

Should this be happening to you, stop. Take a break and give your fingers time to heal, you may also consider checking in with your doc. Nothing to mess with.

While searching the web for answers, the recommendations that made sense, and seemed to be voiced over and over were as follows:

  • Vittorio Frangilli, author of The Heretic Archer, coach, and father of champion archer, Michelle Frangilli, suggests 1mm of leather on your tab for every 10 pounds of weight being pulled.
  •  1 tab layer for every 10 pounds of weight.
  • Deep hook – Using proper deep finger hooking technique will help keep your fingers safe and numb free.
3 layer tab

Top to bottom layers – Cordovan leather, super leather and suede at the bottom.

I was already using a deep hook so I focused on rebuilding the leather layers of my tabs. I knew I wanted strong and smooth cordovan for the face or first layer. I wanted a good solid second layer but I wanted it to be less money than cordovan. Economical but tough Super leather fit that bill, as for the bottom layer or the area which rests against your fingers. I went with the comfortable, and traditionally used, suede.

Finger tab

One of the challenges of adding extra thickness is that the fasteners, for my AAE Elite finger tab, now had less reach. On my first tab which had a used cordovan face, the fasteners fit fine. I had to push while turning to get them to bite, but it worked.

screwdriver countersinking tab fastener holes

Using a number 2 Phillips screwdriver as a rough countersink so the fasteners will seat into the leather.

On my second tab which had newer layers and a whisper more thickness, I couldn’t get all the screws to catch. I happened to have a number 2 Phillips head screwdriver nearby, with it I worked the holes of the suede layer, rotating the screwdriver to and fro with a bit of pressure. This acted as a coarse countersink and allowed the remaining flat head machine screws to seat into the leather and thread into the aluminum face. I used blue Loctite on the threads, as I’ve had the screws work themselves loose in the past, and be lost forever.

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The next step in the process was to shoot the new tabs in. The additional layer, did in fact do it’s job, and eliminated the tingling and numbness in my fingers. I had also read an interesting comment by John Magera, (archer, olympian, coach and online mentor to many) that the additional thickness of the tab would help to smooth the release. I found this to be true. His exact comment in Archery talk’s FITA/JOAD forum is below:

“Another benefit of adding enough layers to your tab is that it promotes a more relaxed string hand and can lead to a smoother release. When both hands are comfortable and relaxed, you can focus on the tension in your back much easier.”

I had gone up one additional tab layer and replaced a bunch of my old leather with new leather. Now that it was all assembled I was curious as to what the thickness of the tab layers was so I used a simple caliper and measured 5 mm of thickness on my older tab and 5.5 mm of thickness on my newer tab which had all new leather.

My older tab, more broken in tab measured in at 5 mm.

My older tab,  2 new layers and 1  broken in layer, measured in at 5 mm.

My newer tab with newer layers measured in at 5.5 mm's.

My newer tab with all new layers measured in at 5.5 mm’s.

By Frangilli’s guideline (1mm for every 10 lbs) I should be able to pull up to 50 pounds with the 5 mm of leather in place, I achieved 5mm of thickness with 3 tab layers. The other guideline noted was, one tab layer for every 10 pounds, so the same 50 pounds would be 5 tab layers. A difference of two tab layers for the same theoretical weight.

Is somebody wrong? I think not. The thing to remember is that these are guidelines, places to start, both could be correct depending on the quality and thickness of materials used. Think cordovan vs a softer material, like suede.

I would say that every archer has to make the decision of what to use for a schedule of materials based on what they’re pulling for weight, feel, trial and error, money, and whatever else makes it right for them.

As for myself, the numbness is gone and my shot is improved. Life is good!

 

20 Reasons Archery is the Best Sport EVER – Archery 360

This excellent little article was posted in Archery 360, click on the picture below to go to Archery 360 to check it out.

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Bow and arrow practice video

Got a kick out of this one.. and a flip.

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AAE Elite Adjustable Finger Spacer

Some months ago I purchased AAE’s Elite Adjustable Finger Spacer for my AAE Cavalier tab.

AAE Elite spacer

This was prompted because after prolonged shooting I would have some soreness behind the first digit of my index finger where my finger was in contact with the hard outside edge of the standard spacer. Maybe a form issue however it made me check into spacer options.

The Adjustable Finger Spacer kit comes with an aluminum spacer, a soft rubber band that fits over the spacer, a fastener and a flexible, 3 x 3 inch, flat, plastic square.

Soft rubber band for Adjustable Spacer

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What the heck is this for? No instructions…

When I opened the package I was surprised that only a single screw was supplied as the standard spacer uses two. I wondered if this would make for a secure fit or if the spacer would roam on the tab surface.

I also had no idea what the flat plastic square was for. There were no instructions in my package that clarified this.

Off came the old spacer and I attached the new, as the name indicates the finger spacer is adjustable. It has 3 holes which allow you to move it forward or aft to fit your hand and get it snug or loose against the web between your index and middle finger, depending on your preference and comfort.

AAE Elite Adjustable Spacer

I tightened the spacer down and although it was a single screw it seated well into the leather and didn’t wander as I’d feared.

I then grabbed the soft rubber band and tried to get it over the spacer, it was seemingly impossible to stretch over the spacer, suddenly the use of the plastic square became clear. It had to be a grabber that gave you a better grip and allowed you to stretch the band over the spacer. I tried it and it worked!

The adjustable spacer fills the gap between your fingers and doesn’t leave hard edges for your fingers to rest upon, where they might become sore. The fit against the web between your index and middle finger is snug and solid. It makes hand and tab feel like one. In my estimation this is the spacer’s best feature.

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AAE Elite Adjustable Finger Spacer fills the spacer between your fingers and against the web of your fingers fore and aft, making tab and hand integrate better and feel more like a single unit.

Standard spacer.

Standard spacer.

It is also more comfortable than the standard spacer. It has a smooth anodized finish with nice, rounded edges,you can add the band for a soft rubber feel and extra girth between your fingers.

Spacer without the rubber band

Spacer without the rubber band, note smooth finish and rounded edges.

As far as cost, Lancaster Archery currently has the spacer listed for $17.99.

Archers shoot the Cavalier tab in all sorts of configurations. With spacer, without spacer, with shelf and without the shelf, with many or a few layers of leather, superleather, calfhair and or rubber. Some are filed down for a personal fit. Folks adapt these excellent tabs in all sorts of ways to make them feel right to their draw, anchor and release.

Our drawing hand is one of two places where we come in contact with the bow, making it our own, making it comfortable, making it accurate, seems worth the effort of experimentation. AAE’s Adjustable Finger Spacer is a good option towards that endeavor.

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