Twisted Stave Blog

Home > Twisted Stave Blog
Twisted Stave Blog 2017-11-06T12:34:20+00:00

Setting up a Recurve or Long Bow

Before heading out to shoot some arrows, there are a few things you'll need to do when setting up a recurve or long bow. In this post we'll discuss brace height, arrow shelf set up, and nock set.  In this video I use a Werewolf ILF bow for demonstration but these techniques will work for all longbows, recurces or selfbows. Most bows will have a recommended brace height from the bowyer or bow manufacturer. This is the first consideration when deciding on a brace height but it's not the only thing that you'll need to think about. Bow noise, wrist contact, and arrow flight are other important reasons that you might need to raise or lower your bow's brace height. Excessive bow noise, especially on a recurve, can be caused by a too low brace. Since the string comes in contact with the bows belly on a recurve, having the brace set to low causes the string to slap the bow's belly creating noise. Wrist slap is another reason [...]

By | April 25th, 2018|Categories: Traditional Archery|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Hickory Self Bow

I get a lot of questions from beginning bowyers looking for an osage stave for their first bow. Although I'm happy to point them in the right direction, I always try to direct beginners toward wood that they have locally and that they can harvest themselves. In the eastern US, there are many species of white woods that will make excellent primitive bows. This video is part of an online bow building course I've been working on. It will take you thorough the process of removing the bark and cambium to prepare the back for this hickory self bow. Once the back is prepared, I'll show you how I lay out a bow with straight grain, which is a little different from how I normally do it. A hickory self bow is a great place to start the bow building journey. Hickory is readily available, nearly indestructible, and very forgiving as a bow wood. Although this stave is well seasoned, hickory is one species that will allow you to [...]

By | April 11th, 2018|Categories: Primitive Archery, Traditional Archery|5 Comments

Splitting Osage Bow Staves

While in Oklahoma for the 2018 Oklahoma Selfbow Jamboree we took a day to harvest a big load of osage orange trees for bow staves. Over the next two days we split over a hundred staves from the load. This video shows the process for splitting bow staves from large logs, starting with a discription of the different types of wedges you'll need. I usually start the split at the small end of the log, looking for any splits that are already starting. The most important thing is splitting the logs in half while keeping both sides roughly equal in size. Once they're split in half, split them into quarters. With osage and most bow wood I keep splitting like this until I've got a bunch of staves of manageable size. I say split them in half, as opposed to thirds, because if you try to split a small piece off of a larger one the split will often run off toward the smaller side before it reaches the [...]

By | March 28th, 2018|Categories: Primitive Archery|Tags: |0 Comments

Travel Case for Bow and Arrows

The last time I traveled with a bow I didn't have a travel case for bow and arrows so I just put it in a rifle case and called it good. Although that worked just fine, the airline treated my two piece longbow like it was a rifle! I had to wait around for it for nearly an hour after everyone else had their checked bags and was long gone. Not wanting to do that again, I started working on a travel case for my bow and arrows. This video covers the first part, the arrow tube. It's made from a 4 inch PVC pipe that you can pick up at any hardware store. I've seen designs that use a threaded cap and they work well but this tube will eventually be leather covered and part of a two part case. So, I'm making custom caps that will fit over the leather. I'll cover the rest of the build in a future video. Leave a comment if you have [...]

By | March 7th, 2018|Categories: Traditional Archery|0 Comments

Self nocks for wood arrows

If you're going to make a primitive arrow, you've just got to have a self nock on the thing! This video will take you through the process that I use to make snap on style self nocks. I like the snap on feature because it ensures the arrow isn't going to fall off the string when an animal is coming in.  It also gives you the option of shooting with different styles like a fixed crawl which I've been experimenting with lately. All you'll need is a hacksaw, some 100 grit sand paper and a small rat tail file or carbide tile saw blade like the one shown in the video. I like to cut my nocks very thin and open them up with sand paper. this allows me to get a very good fit to the string.

By | February 28th, 2018|Categories: Primitive Archery, Traditional Archery|2 Comments

Building a Take down Selfbow Part 1

Thanks for signing up on Patreon! As part of perks you'll get access to some pretty awesome bow building videos. This is part of an online course I'm developing that'll cover everything I know about building bows. This series of videos on a take down is rather advanced and a little out of place to start off with but the more fundamental videos are coming. There are several methods for making a two piece take down bow. Metal sleeves are popular and they’re a viable option for selfbows. But the method I’m about to describe is, in my opinion, the all-around best way to make a two piece bow. I first saw this method described for laminated bows by Jim Babcock of Big Jim’s Bow Company. It’s relatively inexpensive, pretty easy, durable, and works very well. The materials we’ll need consist only of some fiberglass resin and cloth tape. The resin and cloth can be picked up at any hardware or automotive shop. This video series will take you [...]

By | February 19th, 2018|Categories: Primitive Archery|2 Comments

Arrow FOC

Extreme front of center (EFOC) arrows aren’t a new concept. They’ve been talked about in traditional archery forums extensively for the past 10 years or so. But understanding what’s happening and why higher FOC influences and arrows flight and penetrating ability can be a little confusing to folks, especially those new to archery. In this video I explain what FOC is, why it’s important, and how to measure it. Once you have two measurements, the formula to determine FOC is simple. You’ll need a total arrow length, from the throat of the nock to the base of the tip, as well as a measurement from the nock throat to the balance point. Plug that into the following equation and voila - %FOC! ((Balance Point/Arrow Length)- 0.5)x100=%FOC All of this comes directly from Dr. Ed Ashby’s research into arrow lethality and penetration. There is a great discussion board dedicated to the topic at so be sure to check that out. You’ll find tons of great info on EFOC arrows [...]

By | February 7th, 2018|Categories: Traditional Archery|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Bow Building Tools

The bow building tools you select to build a selfbow or other primitive bow will depend on your own preference and the type of wood you’re working with. For instance, when working with Eastern redcedar or whitewood boards, I’ll use a small block plane extensively for shaping and tillering but I never use one when working on Osage. The soft, straight grained cedar reacts to a block plane very well, but the hard knotty Osage does much better with a scraper. My tool selection is very simple. You’ll need a tape measure for laying the bow out. A compass and fine tip sharpie is useful for scribing the lines for limb thickness. For Osage and any of the white woods, about 90% of the work will be done with a draw knife with an 8 to 10” blade. I’ll use that for everything from removing the bark and sapwood, and getting the stave to one ring (for Osage) on the back, to shaping and tillering the limbs. I’ll even [...]

By | January 31st, 2018|Categories: Primitive Archery|2 Comments

Archery Tips 4 – Back Tension, Form, Accuracy

Back tension and proper alignment is the foundation of good repeatable form and consistent shooting. But, unless you already know what it is, it can be a difficult thing to grasp. What is it exactly? What does it feel like? How do I know if I'm using back tension in my shot? These are all great questions and ones' that you'll need to answer. Hopefully this video will help a little. In this video I explain the mechanics behind back tension and how it helps you develop a consistent and repeatable shot. You can think of it as a kind of structural support, helping to keep your bow at full draw, rather than using muscles alone which can vary tremendously from shot to shot. Toward the end of the video, I show how I made a “form master” to demonstrate how I use my back to draw the bow rather than my forearm and bicep. You can make one yourself or pick one up at 3 Rivers. Good shooting, [...]

By | January 24th, 2018|Categories: Traditional Archery|1 Comment

Casting Animal Tracks

Casting animal tracks with kids is a great way to get them outdoors and excited to learn about the wildlife that surrounds us. We live out in the country where we can just walk out our back door and find a variety of animal tracks, from mule deer to coyote and raccoon. But, even if you live in a neighborhood or large city, you won't have to go far to find tracks. Vacant lots, field edges, and stream banks are a great place to look. Young kids need something to keep them engaged; something they can get their hands into. Casting a few of the tracks they find on a days outing gives them some thing tangible that they can take home and show their friends. My two boys spent several hours out looking around our place the other day. They were wading the creek and looking under bushes for deer tracks or whatever they might find. All you need is a few strips of cardboard to make rings [...]

By | January 17th, 2018|Categories: Animal Tracks, Woodsmanship|Tags: , |0 Comments

Bow Design – Performance vs Safety

This video will wrap up the board bow series where we make a primitive long bow from a maple board we picked up at Home Depot. At the end of part 3 we shot the bow through the chronograph and were shooting around 136-138 fps which is ok, but certainly not great. In this video we talk about how bow design influences the speed and efficiency of a bow. We also talk about the trade offs between a very safe design, like the board bow we built, and more high performance designs. To get started I show an easy method for measuring the draw weight of the bow using a common bathroom scale. Then we shorten the bow a little to raise the weight and reduce limb mass which will have the added benefit of increasing the efficiency of the bow. After shooting the bow through the chrono for a second time, I reduce mass in the limb tips to reduce inertia even more and we squeeze a little [...]

By | January 10th, 2018|Categories: Primitive Archery, Traditional Archery|10 Comments

Hide Tanning Part 1 – Fleshing a Deer Hide

Hide Tanning 1 - How to Flesh a Deer Hide Tanning a deer hide is a great way to use a little more of the animals we harvest. Every year tens of thousands of deer hides are discarded so if you don’t have access to one of your own, it’s not to difficult to find a hunter willing to give you one. I’ve picked up several good deer hides for tanning off the side of the road! To get your deer hide ready for tanning or making rawhide, you’ll first need to flesh it. Fleshing a deer hide is about as easy as it gets in the tanning world. The fat, flesh, and membrane come off easily with an improvised fleshing knife. I just use my draw knife to push the flesh from the hide leaving a nice clean skin ready for the next step in the tanning process. This quick video will take you through the process of fleshing a deer hide for tanning, making buckskin, or [...]

By | December 20th, 2017|Categories: Backcountry College|Tags: |1 Comment