Learning the (Bow) Language

Graphic depiction of the parts of a traditional takedown bow

Anchor — We also say “anchor point.” A specific point, typically on the face in the cheek area, where the archer “settles in” each time in order to develop a consistent draw and release technique.

Archer’s Paradox — The flexing action of an arrow as it moves around the shelf and sight window of a bow, before straightening out.

Arrow Nock — The notched end of the arrow that attaches to the bow string.

Arrow Shelf — The portion of the sight window where the arrow rests.

Back — The surface of your Bob Lee bow that faces away from you when the bow is being drawn.

Belly — Also known as Face. The surface of your Bob Lee bow that faces you when drawing the bow (same side as the string).

Bow Weight — Also known as draw weight. The poundage/force required to draw a bowstring at a particular draw distance.

Bowyer — A craftsman who builds traditional archery bows.

Brace Height — Also known as fistmele, is the measurement of the distance between the pivot point, or most inward point of the handle’s grip, to the bowstring. This measurement is critical to the life and tuning of a bow. See Brace Height Settings for your Bob Lee Bow.

Core — The material used in the center of laminated bow limbs.

Deflex-Reflex – This term references a bow designed to use the “recurve” of a limb for stability and efficiency. Bob Lee bows feature limbs that deflex off the handle back toward the shooter, and reflex back toward the tips of the limbs.

Draw Length — When at full draw (with an arrow nocked), the measurement of the distance from the face of the sight window to the throat of the arrow nock.

Dry Fire — The act of releasing a bowstring from full draw without an arrow, an event that can have catastrophic effects on a bow.

Fast Flight — Type of material used for making bowstrings.

Feet Per Second (FPS) — Measurement used for the launch speed of an arrow shot from a bow.

Finger Pinch — Occurs when the fingers of the string hand are pinched when the bow nears full draw, typically caused by a bow that is too short for the shooter.

Fistmele — A Saxon term meaning “fist measure,” which is the breadth of the fist with the thumb stuck out, used to set the distance from the bow handle to the bowstring (aka Brace Height).

Fletching — Feathers or fin-shaped plastic “veins” affixed to the end of an arrow for stabilizing the flight, creating spin as it leaves the bow, creating more efficiency and power.

Grain — Unit of weight used with arrows and broadheads — equal to 0.002285 ounce, with 480 grains to the ounce.

Grip — The slender, center part of a Bob Lee handle shaped for the archer’s hand.

Instinctive Shooting — Similar to throwing a baseball, this method is as simple as shooting a bow where the archer is looking.

Micarta — Brand / trademarked name for linen-based phenolic, a durable material impregnated with resin.

Nock — The notch in the arrow behind the fletching that receives the bowstring. Can be either a self-nock, which is a notch in the arrow shaft itself, or a plastic string-holding device that can be open-throated, which does not pinch the string, or snap-on, which does pinch the string.

Nocking Point — The place on the bowstring where you consistently attach (or nock) your arrows.

Nock-Set — A crimped metal ring used on a bowstring to help position the arrow in the same place each time.

Overbowed — A situation where a traditional archery shoots a bow to heavy for them to be able to shoot reliably or comfortably (basically, too much bow weight for them).

Overlays — Layers of materials laminated onto a Bob Lee handle for embellishment and strength.

Porpoise — The up and down flight of an arrow (indicative of a problematic release or incorrectly placed nocking point).

Riser — Aka Handle (of a bow).

Serving — The thread wrapping on a bowstring where the nock set resides. Acts as a buffer to protect the bowstring from wear inflicted by the arrow.

Shelf — Radiused ledge of a bow’s sight window where the arrow rests.

Sight Window — The area on a recurve or longbow handle that has been cut out to allow the arrow to come closer to the centerline of the bow (to help eliminate the occurrence of archer’s paradox, see above).

Silencer — Material placed onto the bowstring to reduce string vibration and help quiet the bow after the shot.

Spine — There are two types of spine: static and dynamic. Static spine is the stiffness, resiliency, and elasticity of an arrow shaft measured over a 26-inch span with a spine tester. In archery, it is the stiffness of an arrow: more stiffness equals greater spine. Normally measured in five-pound increments for wood arrows, such as 55/60 or 60/65. Dynamic spine is the bending characteristics of the shaft when it is shot from a bow.

Strike Plate — The patch of fur we place on the vertical side of our bow’s sight window, perpendicular to the arrow rest, to prevent the arrow from abrading the bow.

String Groove – A groove handcarved into the belly of a limb to ensure the bowstring is properly seated.

Throat — The most slender portion of the handle, where the thumb and index finger grasp the bow.

Tiller — Differing measurements of the upper limb and lower limbs from the bowstring to the belly.