About the Nut behind the Bolt|
Nothing seems to work quite like it once did, probably because in September, God willing, I'll hit the big 60. But the first 59 years have been great. My dad gave me a 15 # lemonwood bow for my 5th birthday and archery, in one form or another, has been with me ever since. First deer, 1959, age 15, a running shot at 20 + yards, I remember it like it was yesterday. Last deer, 2002, age 58, a running shot at 15 yards. It was almost yesterday. All shots in between were not moving. I didn't know any better on the first running shot, and the last just happened instinctively.
My first "real" bow was a Jaguar recurve made by Tri-State Archery Co. in Danbury, Ct back in the late 50's. That was the bow I shot my first dear with, but, unfortunately, it was stolen from my dorm room a few years later while I was in college. Lack of time, and lack of a bow, turned into a multi-year layoff from archery. During that time, I was missing an important part of my life and didn't really know what it was until I got back in to archery in the early 80s. But things had changed a lot in archery during my layoff. When I went to buy a new bow, all I heard was "why would you want a recurve when you could get one of these?" The compound bow was about all that was available in any of the archery shops at the time, so, why not, I bought one, and I must say, I enjoyed shooting and hunting with it for the next 9 years.
It wasn't until the first issue of Traditional Bowhunter hit the stands that I started thinking about "real" archery again, and it wasn't until September 9, 1991 that I shot my last shot from a compound. That last shot was at a 6 X 6 bull Elk in the Colorado Rockies on my "dream hunt of a lifetime."
I live at sea level here in Maine, and even though I was in pretty good shape for a 47-year-old man, packing out a large bull Elk at 10,000 ft. wasn't easy. I stopped a lot to catch my breath, and it was on one of those stops that my mind drifted back to my days behind the recurve when I was in high school. My mind was on the joy of shooting instinctively with a simple stick and string and on how much more enjoyable it was back then, and this, only hours after having taken a nice bull, the one I had been spending huge amounts of time thinking and dreaming about for the past several years.
When I got home, I ordered a Jim Brackenbury recurve from Wes Wallace as Jim had died in a rafting accident around the same time.
A couple of years later, Rick Smith (a hunting buddy and master cabinet maker) and I were shooting in my back yard when, after admiring the Brackenbury, Rick said, "you know, this is just wood and fiberglass…we could make one of these." We did, and quite few more, and then in the year 2000, I made my first longbow (the one in the picture above).
Sometime in 2002, after having researched and experimented with some of the existing methods of making takedown longbows, and not being completely satisfied with any of them for one reason or another, I decided to "bite the bullet" and began the process of turning an idea into reality when I went to a local machine shop, described what I wanted to do, shelled out the dollars, and ordered the first prototype BOW-BOLT. Much to my delight, it worked very well and after several "enhancements" and 6 more prototype bows of various weights and materials, it was ready for production in the spring of 2004.
My "day job" for the past 35 years has been and still is as a manufacturer's representative in the ski business. My passion for skiing led me there, just as my passion for archery led me to bow building and the BOW-BOLT and although I have made nearly a hundred composite recurves and longbows in the past several years, I am still not a full-time Bowyer. Maybe someday, but even then, it will still have to be part time because we all need to leave time for hunting.Happy bow building and good hunting,