Tyler Benner teaches Archery Physics

I ran into this video some time ago, it shows Tyler Benner, co-author of Total Archery, explaining archery physics to High School students, very interesting.

 

 

Tuning cheat sheet

Do you have a hard time remembering tuning rules?

I do.

To help myself out I made a reference card that hangs on my quiver. It is helpful when I can’t remember if tightening the spring on my plunger moves the arrow left or right, or if bareshafts left of the fletched group indicate stiff spine or weak spine, etc.

tuning cheat sheet

I am right handed so the stuff on this sheet is of course for right handed shooters. There are plenty of rules missing, I just jot the rules I can’t easily remember.

Not all the rules are on this sheet just the stuff I sometimes have to scratch my head a bit to remember.  It saves me having to stop what I’m doing, go inside and look it up. It is also helpful at the range where I don’t want to carry a reference book around or to help somebody out who is tuning their rig.

I find having one useful. If you decide to make one up, customize it with the info you need.

C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

P1010699

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!

 

I’m back

Some weeks ago I shot in the Maine State indoor Championship and did terrible. Shot one of my lowest scores in competition ever. I had all sorts of things go wrong. I couldn’t pull through the clicker consistently, I ran out of time with an arrow to shoot, I shot through the clicker, I dropped an arrow on the floor ahead of me and forgot to re-shoot it, you name it I did it.

Pro-shooter, Dave Cousins who was shooting a couple lanes from me was probably wondering “who let this guy in..”

Dave Cousins

Dave Cousins who shot a clean 300 – 60 x’s

I mean it really all went wrong, and it sounds bad but actually it was perfect. I was beaming and proud of having entered and shot the championship.

Archers on the line at Lakeside Archery

Archers on the line at Lakeside Archery

You see, I hadn’t shot a bow for nearly 6 months, because I’d hurt my shoulder, specifically my rotator cuff, I didn’t tear it but as the physical therapist put it I “impinged it”.

A few weeks prior I had picked my bow back up along with a new pair of ultra-light 14 pound limbs (16 lbs at my draw) and half a dozen skinny 2000 spine arrows (Carbon Express Medallion-XR’s).

The state championship was conveniently 3 weeks away so it gave me an ideal goal. I didn’t pre-register, I just made a deal with myself that If I felt I was up for it I’d shoot it as a walk-in, If I didn’t think I could handle it I’d go as a spectator.

I spent two weeks re-learning correct and safe form at a bale to prevent re-injuring myself. I also spent time with a physical therapist, a Formaster and a new daily routine strengthening my shoulder and back with stretch bands and 5 pound weights.

Scoring

One week before the tournament I switched to practicing on target. My bow was out of tune, as I really needed to crank it up an extra pound to get my arrows flying right but I didn’t dare go up in weight, so with my setup untuned I practiced on. Practiced every chance I got, by the end of the week I was feeling confident that I might have a chance against some of the eight year olds so with that bit of confidence I entered.

As already mentioned my score was poor but my heart and pride are full. Stepping up to the line had far more to do with creating a new beginning for myself than it did my performance, because, this is just a start, I now have an opportunity for a lot more archery and a strong and secure feeling that I’m back.

C.

 

Spigarelli Explorer II – a review

Last spring I purchased a Spigarelli Explorer II. Previously I had been shooting a Spigarelli Barebow which, by the way, is an excellent riser for those who delve into the mysteries of barebow archery, barebow risers tend to be heavy though and I wanted a
lighter riser where I could customize the balance of the bow by apportioning weight where I wanted on the riser body and still not end up with too heavy a bow.

Spig Explorer in snow

The Spigarelli Explorer II has been a good solution for me. It is thoughtfully designed and a versatile platform for shooting either FITA or barebow archery.

The 25 inch Spig Explorer II riser weighs in at 2 pounds 10 oz (1.194 kg) with the grip mounted. Making it a comfortable mid weight riser.

What makes this riser so flexible are the many options for distributing weight. There are 3 stabilizer bushings on the back of the riser (the side that faces the target), and two additional bushings to add counterweight on the belly of the riser.

Bottom and middle stabilizer bushings

Bottom and middle stabilizer bushings

P1010406

Top bushing

Spig mid counterweight

Mid counterweight

Lower belly bushing

Bottom counterweight

Lastly there are two slots for internal handle weights. These teardrop slots take 7.4 oz (210 grams) Spigarelli weights which can be inserted into either the top, bottom or both slots. Should you choose to add both weights you’re adding nearly a pound of additional weight to the bottom half of the riser body.

P1010375

Weight in top teardrop slot of handle

P1010372

Fastener holds the weight firmly, no vibrations/noise

P1010368

Weight in bottom teardrop slot.

One of the things that attracts me to this riser is the design, it is well thought out, functional and attractive. Take the teardrop slots for example, they reduce the weight of the overall riser, play a part in the appearance of the riser and double as receptacles for the internal weights.

Other interesting design niceties are the recessed sight window, which gives you a clean view eliminating or minimizing screw heads that protrude into the sight picture. Smart clicker design, which has a formed drop/indentation at the tip, allowing for a visual cue by the inward movement of the clicker as you draw the last couple millimeters of the arrow. There are also clicker reference marks machined into the riser. Spigarelli has gone a long way to account for the details enhancing an archer’s experience.

Recessed sight window

Recessed sight window also see clicker fold  which gives visual cue, when arrow is a couple of mm’s from end and machined clicker reference lines.

Included with the riser comes a clicker, an adjustable clicker plate, a stick on magnetic rest, tools and a handsome riser pouch (The arrow rest that is shown is not the provided rest it is a Spigarelli ZT rest, which I like because of it’s adjustability).

Clicker plate

Clicker plate

Adjustable clicker plate

Clicker plate can be adjusted out or in with a machine screw.

Limbs can be aligned by removing the two locking set screws on the outside of the riser and then adjusting the limb by tightening/loosening the inner set screws on either side of the riser.

LImb aligment screws

Adjusting the weight and tiller of the bow is also possible by tightening/loosening the limb bolts. The limb bolts can then be locked down by a machine screw on the belly of the riser.

Limb bolt

Limb bolt

Locking machine screws for limb bolts

Locking machine screws for limb bolts

The wooden grip that is provided with this riser, didn’t do it for me, so I purchased an aftermarket Jager grip. When I decided I wanted to try a higher wrist grip, I modified the wooden grip that came included. If you plan to purchase a Spigarelli riser be aware that you may want to modify the grip or purchase an aftermarket grip.

Modified Spig grip

Modified Spigarelli grip

The polished anodized finish on the riser is good. I did however find a couple of places (not obvious) where if I looked closely I saw  machining marks. See pic below:

Machine mark on Spig

This is not a big deal to me, as the rest of the riser outweighs the couple marks on it but it may be for you, as I mentioned they are not obvious.

The Spigarelli Explorer II is a nicely designed mid-weight riser, it has many options for stabilizers and weight that will work well with a FITA setup or barebow, it also has many design details which may enhance your archery experience, it is nicely finished, and comes with some extras like a clicker, clicker plate and magnetic rest. The grip isn’t great but there are options for after market grips and or you can modify the existing grip. I did find some machining marks on my riser, I don’t know if this is true of all Explorer II’s, the marks I found were not obvious and do not detract from the overall look and feel of this gear.  As of this writing a Spigarelli Explorer II can be had for $375.00 to $400.00 dollars.

For those that are looking for a solid mid-level riser, the Explorer II is a good choice and worthy of consideration. If barebow is your thing but you want a riser that can also be used for a FITA setup, the flexibility of this riser fits the bill perfectly.

Geena Davis Archery Video

In case you haven’t seen it yet:

Below is a link to behind the scenes with Geena of the same video.

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/5c8bad86df/behind-the-scenes-geena-davis-archery-tricks

Clickers – My progress with the Olympic bow

I recently decided to try out Olympic style archery, having come from the barebow world.

I had been using a heavy barebow riser so I purchased an appropriate riser and the gear involved.

One of the items I purchased is a clicker. For those that don’t know, it is a metal strip that rides against the outside edge of your arrow as it is drawn, when the arrow is pulled beyond the clicker, the clicker springs to the riser, striking it and making a sound, which indicates to the archer that they’ve reached their pre-determined draw and can release the arrow.

Clicker - front view

Sounds simple but for it to work well means that your draw and form have to be consistent.

What I’ve found is that this little strip of metal is quite the taskmaster and if you’re paying attention it will point out your form errors.

Getting your errors pointed out to you is often two sided. When I’m struggling to pull through the clicker and I’m feeling frustrated it can very much be a pain in the patookie.

When I take the time to analyze why I’m struggling, allow it to sink through, figure out what the issues are and then see arrows striking gold, I feel uplifted and happy about the challenge.  What have the issues been, you ask?

The easy one to catch for me was not locking my bow shoulder down and letting it ride up which makes going through the clicker near impossible.

Clicker - side view

I also caught inconsistent finger grip on the string. This one has absolutely forced me to pay close attention at how I hook the string and what happens to this hook once under tension at full draw.

More insidious though are things like stance and I am now suspecting head position.

I realize now that all these little problems have existed all along but I was mostly unaware of them. I’ve had my suspicions but nothing like the clicker to make you stop and figure it out.

One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate about this little strip of metal is that aside from it’s intended function it is a good training aid, a bit of the yellow canary of archery, it gives a warning that something is not as it should.

I’m excited about learning the ways of Olympic archery and although frustrating at times the knowledge that I’m improving pushes me along. More to come..