Author Topic: "The Bent Stick" Design Discussion - with photos  (Read 1457 times)

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Offline organic_archer

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"The Bent Stick" Design Discussion - with photos
« on: April 25, 2024, 11:21:59 pm »
I'd love to open a new discussion on Paul Comstock's design from The Bent Stick and TBB1. I made several a couple years ago and really liked the way they shot. There wasn't a noteworthy amount of speed loss or hand shock. Donny Dust has one of my first in this design and has been putting it through the wringer for years.

I searched the archives and wasn't able to find much other than people recommending The Bent Stick. How many of you make and hunt with these? There aren't many examples on PA or PaleoPlanet.

If you love it, why? If you hate it, why? Anyone have photos to share?

I've got one made of Hackberry in the works right now. It's being done "by the book". The stave was seasoned for 2 months, the blank roughed out, and is now sitting in a hot box at 103 degrees. It's 2" wide at the fades with a very slight taper to 1.75" wide 10" from the tips; so nearly 2" wide for most of its length. I went with 64" length instead of 66", because he recommends a 66" bow for up to 29" draw and mine is 26 inches.

I'll post the completed bow when it's finished. The few before this one were between 68-72" long so I'm looking forward to seeing how a shorter one shoots.

One in the hot box.




One I made a couple years ago for Donny. It pulls 62# and didn't take any string follow. The stave had a minor deflex spot that was placed in the handle/fade area of the limb to the right in the profile shots.





« Last Edit: April 26, 2024, 06:52:23 pm by organic_archer »
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Offline willie

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion...
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2024, 12:53:49 am »
Quote
2" wide at the fades with a very slight taper to 1.75" wide 10" from the tips; so nearly 2" wide for most of its length.

Is this width profile what makes it a "Comstock design"

(still looking for his book, it around somewhere)
It was the first bow I built, and book I bought many years back. needless to say it suffered from many of the faults of a first build, but I never thought to try the design again....hmmm

very nice work BTW, I like the tiller and finish.

Offline Pat B

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion...
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2024, 12:58:49 am »
This is a practical, very durable design, a real work horse. What's not to like about it. I got my copy of The Bent Stick back in 1988 and built the different designs Paul Comstock described in my early years.
 You've done a very nice job on your bow, tiller is spot on.  :OK
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline Aksel

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion...
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2024, 04:34:01 am »
Nice bow! I also made my first few bows following his design from TBB1 from Birch and Elm with pin nocks and rattan wrapped handle. I still have one from 20 years ago.

Thinking back at it it was a lot of unnecessary work cutting elm trees of a diameter of 12 inches to get a flat, wide cross section. I soon learned an Elm sapling bow of 4 inches makes an as good bow and is a lot less work and a skinnier, more pointy front profile comes naturally.

He said in TBB4 he stopped making the outer 1/2 as wide as described in The Bent Stick.

Pat, I am curious - what other designs does he mention in the book?

Ive been thinking of buying the book for a long time.
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Offline organic_archer

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion...
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2024, 10:12:56 am »
Willie - It's essentially a shortened Meare Heath. The extra width for ~2/3 of the limbs and ~66" length makes it his design. It's worth building another one if you like the looks! Bonus that it doubles as a canoe paddle  (W

Pat - thank you! Glad to hear you've built some!

Askel - The one in the hot box currently came from a 6-7" diameter tree. At 2" wide it does have a little crown, but not too bad. I agree and have also lately been drawn to Holmegaard-style bows made from saplings with really pointy tips. I just finished one and will try to get pics for a post soon, but it's been raining for days.

I recently gifted The Bent Stick and don't have the copy in front of me, but recall Paul covering two designs. One is a full 2" wide for most of its length (1.75" for bows under 55#). The other was something like "the ideal hunting bow" toward the end of the book. It was full width for ~half its profile, tapering to narrower tips.

I'm pulling from memory and could be wrong. Which reminds me... I need to order another copy!
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Offline Pat B

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion...
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2024, 12:00:09 pm »
Aksel, my first osage bow I built in 1989's was similar to Comstock's "starter" bow(pg20)...


This bow was built(41 1/2" t/t) from an osage board I bought. This little bow shot pretty well at 15" or so. In 1990 while we were building our house a young, strapping 19 year old carpenter's helper wanted to look at it. I told his only draw it 15" but he attempted 32" and that is the result. I learned a couple of good lessons about wood bows that day.  >:(  ;D
The other two I built were his "over built"(pg12) bow and his "1st class hunting bow"(pg34). Both are good designs. I think organic_archer's bow is similar to the 1st Class Hunter.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!    Pat Brennan  Brevard, NC

Offline gifford

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion...
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2024, 03:07:24 pm »
The Bent Stick, and Jim Hamm's book were my favorites, well, the only books I had on bow building until I added Al Herin's Cherokee Bows to the library. This was the very early 90's.

I built a dozen or so bows using Comstock's design, hickory, maple, sweetgum and finally discovering some osage. I still have several of the bows from those early years three osage and the hickory and they still shoot.

Although they have developed a bit of set from imperfect tillering and their speed is nothing to write home about yet they will still fling an arrow and if I do my part, hit the target with a satisfying thump. 

It is good to see that the Bent Stick is making the rounds. It is a recipe for a durable hunting bow. Your mileage may vary but I enjoy taking them down for a round of 3D on occasion.


Offline willie

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion...
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2024, 04:52:06 pm »


He said in TBB4 he stopped making the outer 1/2 as wide as described in The Bent Stick.



he said his more recent bows were "trimmer and lighter in mass with less string follow" (p 302)

Has Paul Posted or written elsewhere since TBB4?

Offline organic_archer

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion...
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2024, 06:35:06 pm »
Love it! Hope the thread keeps going!

Bummer about the bow being overdrawn, Pat. Looks like a fun little bow.
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Offline organic_archer

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion... *Bows added*
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2024, 06:42:22 pm »
Here are two more contributions to the discussion. Both were finished up this week.

The first one...

Hackberry
70" overall length
57# at 28" draw
1.5" wide for most of its length
Heavy heat treatment over coals
Dark Brown Fiebing's Dye
Buffalo grease to seal

No cut-in nocks. Just needle tips with nettle fiber wraps so the double slip-knots don't slide down the limbs. It's closer to a Holmegaard than Paul Comstock's wider bows, but it follows the same design principles.




« Last Edit: April 26, 2024, 06:54:55 pm by organic_archer »
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Offline organic_archer

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion... *Bows added*
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2024, 06:50:43 pm »
The second one...

Hackberry
64" overall length
55# at 26" draw
2" wide for most of its length
No heat - raw wood
Dark Brown Fiebing's Dye
Buffalo grease to seal

The buckskin nock wraps under the pin nocks are just for looks. It's true to Paul's design, but the stave could only accommodate a 64 inch bow. I draw 26" so no worries there. It has some prop twist so I'm still shooting it in to figure out which side is up. Also has mild string follow after shooting, but it's been humid lately and it's sealed with grease. The string follow could be eliminated with a heat treat but might leave it as is.

One of these profile shots shows the two bows next to each other for size comparison between 1.5" and 2" width.




« Last Edit: April 26, 2024, 07:00:37 pm by organic_archer »
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Offline WhistlingBadger

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Re: "The Bent Stick" Design Discussion - with photos
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2024, 12:55:43 am »
I like Sudburry-style bows, basically the Meare Heath design with some nice curves and narrower tips.  My favorite homemade bow is kind of a mix of the two designs.  It isn't my primary bow these days (a little light in poundage for elk) but still my favorite--looks nice and a good shooter.
http://www.primitivearcher.com/smf/index.php/topic,70364
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Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for."
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Offline GlisGlis

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Re: "The Bent Stick" and Comstock design discussion... *Bows added*
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2024, 05:44:17 am »
Hackberry
70" overall length
57# at 28" draw
1.5" wide for most of its length
Heavy heat treatment over coals
Dark Brown Fiebing's Dye
Buffalo grease to seal
No cut-in nocks. Just needle tips with nettle fiber wraps so the double slip-knots don't slide down the limbs. It's closer to a Holmegaard than Paul Comstock's wider bows, but it follows the same design principles.

Love it
how did you make the nettle wrapping? did you extracted the fibers by retting? could you describe the process?
I made it in different ways but still searching for the best method

Offline organic_archer

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Re: "The Bent Stick" Design Discussion - with photos
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2024, 10:26:26 am »
Glis - heres the process I use for nettle. Its abundant here..

Harvest mature stalks
Strip leaves while green
Air dry for a couple of months
Pound with a stick to separate fibers
Work between fingers to separate pith
(The more you work it the better the result)
Reverse twist into cordage of desired diameter
Apply to handle or tips
Apply dye to darken if desired

It will take approximately 10-12 stalks 5+ feet tall to make enough cordage for a handle wrap. It only takes 2 or so for each tip wrap.
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Offline GlisGlis

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Re: "The Bent Stick" Design Discussion - with photos
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2024, 12:59:16 pm »
ty for the reply
so you do not use water retting. just a dry process. Interesting  :OK