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

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: , , |4 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|9 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

Build a Board Bow

Board Bow! Did you know that you can build a great bow from a maple board that you can pick up at your local hardware store? Building a board bow is a great way to start building bows without sinking a lot of money into an osage stave. The number one question I get through my website is "where can I buy an osage stave?" If you're just getting into bow building, you don't need the stress of worrying about messing up an expensive stave. You need to enjoy the process, make mistakes, and learn form them. This video series will take you step by step how to build a board bow with easily accessible and affordable materials. I make most of my bows from osage staves but I was very impressed with the durability and performance from this 70 inch maple board bow. After shooting it in it has no string follow at all after it's allowed to sit unstrung for a while. To accomplish this, I tied [...]

By | December 1st, 2017|Categories: Traditional Archery|9 Comments

Bow Building Book – Traditional Bowyer’s Handbook

It's finally here! My new bow building book, Traditional Bowyer's Handbook, will guide you through the entire process of building a wood selfbow. The book starts off with a chapter on finding bow wood. No mater where you live in the country, you've got something close by that will make a bow. This chapter discusses many different species that can be found throughout the country and gives insight into how these woods can be used to make a great shooting bow. The vast majority of my bow making experience has been with Osage, pacific yew, Eastern redcedar, persimmon, hickory, and a few other species. There are many, many more that I have very little or no firsthand experience with. For these species, such as ocean spray, vine maple, etc. I’ve included descriptions by a number of very knowledgeable bowyers from across the country. Each of the woods we will discuss have different bow making qualities and, if we take those qualities into account, they’ll all make good bows. In [...]

By | November 20th, 2017|Categories: Primitive Archery, Traditional Archery|Tags: , |2 Comments

Bow Building Class with Clay Hayes

Bow Building Class with Clay Hayes A peremptory note from Clay: For information on small group bow building classes, see the Traditional Archery page or shoot me an email via the contact form. ch My Osage selfbow made at a bow building class with Clay Hayes. Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated by bows and bow building. There was a park nearby where saplings grew and my brothers and I would search for the perfect bow. I didn't know it at the time, but these stick and string bows would turn into an obsession for me. Fast forward 10 years I was working with native Wisconsin woods, actually shaping the wood, using directions in one of the first bow building books, The Bent Stick, by Paul Comstock. (This was long before the days of the internet and online tutorials, and well before I could afford any kind of bow building class.) I didn't really know what I was doing, but I built what I thought [...]

By | November 15th, 2017|Categories: Traditional Archery|Tags: , , |8 Comments

Apple Orchard Bucks – Hunting a Whitetails favorite food!

Part 2:  A Very Special Deer Food This is part 2 of a two part series on hunting white-tailed deer in feeding and bedding areas. See part 1 for brief introduction. A well worn deer trail through an old apple orchard. The top of the small apple tree swayed back and forth as if whipped by the wind. Yet the evening was calm, with nothing more than cool air draining down the ridge. I couldn’t see the tree well, but I could clearly hear the dull thud of heavy apples striking the forest floor. After a few minutes, the swaying stopped, but my curiosity kept me focused on the fruit-laden tree some 30 yards down slope. I envisioned a heavy-racked buck shaking the tree with such gusto that it trembled from its roots to its crown. Finally, when the culprit showed its self, I struggled to stifle an audible laugh. A giant buck, yea, right! A small woodchuck was laboring uphill with a red apple wedged in his [...]

By | October 14th, 2017|Categories: Ron Rohrbaugh, Traditional Archery|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Hunting Whitetail Deer Bedding Areas

It’s good to be back on the Twisted Stave blog. I’ve been busy preparing for a Newfoundland moose hunt, but here in upstate New York it’s hard to ignore that fall and deer hunting are right around the corner. Mornings have been crisp and dewy, sumac and Virginia creeper have already turned crimson, and at night, far above, I hear the nocturnal flight calls of migrating thrushes. This has my mind bending toward the glimmer of a “shine pole” and “b-r-r-r-t” of a rutty buck. In that vein, I thought maybe we could talk a little about deer hunting. Below is Part 1 of a 2 part series on hunting whitetail deer feeding and bedding areas. Much of this is excerpted from my book, “A Traditional Bowhunter’s Path.” Like most wildlife species, a white-tailed deer’s life cycle is driven by three primary forces: food, security, and reproduction. Any white-tail hunting book worth its salt covers these topics in detail, but in my experience there are often misconceptions and nuances in [...]

By | October 2nd, 2017|Categories: Bowhunting, Ron Rohrbaugh|Tags: , , , |10 Comments

The Next Big Thing

The first vehicle that was truly my own was a 1986 Toyota pickup with the venerable 22RE engine. When it came into my possession, it had 200,000 miles on it, was nicely highlighted with rust and badly needed new shocks. I was in college in northern Wisconsin and living in a log cabin with a woodstove and no running water.   Not much for amenities but the rent was $50 a month, a manageable sum given the $4.35 an hour minimum wage I was earning as a lifeguard at the college pool and cleaning a butcher shop in the evenings.  I had an old Stihl chainsaw, a beat up Remington 870, a hippie girlfriend and not much else.  I’m not sure what happened to the chainsaw, but I still have the 870 and have been married to that hippie for 25 years. I put another 100,000 miles on the Toyota before I finally sold it; putting gas, oil and not much else into it.  To this day, when I see an [...]

By | July 14th, 2017|Categories: Campfire Philosophy, Chuck Boggs|3 Comments