If you are not privvy to this blog of George Tekmitchov’s I am pleased to bring it to your attention. Incidentally, George is a long-time engineer and designer of risers at Hoyt AND the “voice” of Olympic Archery for a number of Olympiads (but for not the Paralympics, unfortunately). George has extraordinary insights in archery. HIGHLY recommended.
There are only a couple of different bowgrips, as they come from the factory. If you wish to shoot to the best of your ability, or to coach someone into their best, using the NTS, then improving the bow grip is an integral part of your efforts.
In order to achieve a knuckle angle on the bow hand that approximates 45 degrees the grip must be changed to a “higher” grip. Higher in this case means that the hand becomes more flat/horizontal instead of vertical. When you grip a baseball bat, THAT is a vertical/low grip.
The lowest bowgrip, for example, is that found on certain compound bows where there are only the slightest mounds of plastic or wood attached to the sides of the riser. A higher grip allows the recurve archer to bring the pressure point and the bow’s pivot point closer together, and also lessens the angular movement of the bowhand upon release – less side-to-side motion and more “to-the-target” motion. As the bow moves forward towards the bowsling, the archer’s hand MUST move in reciprocation to the string arm follow-through motion, the index finger describing a “sit” motion down.
Anyway, I learned from Don Rabska in around 2004, how to use plumbers epoxy putty –
a compound material that can be found in small tubes in the hardware store’s plumbing section. It’s much thicker than bondo, and when blended the two parts undergo a chemical reaction and become rock-hard in just minutes. Perfect for building up a bow grip or otherwise customizing it for your own preferences.
My original writeup for the TSAA website can be seen here.
I also came across a very neat website, that sells innovative, inventive products, including one called Sugru, invented by Jane in the UK. It comes in small sealed foil packets of colored rubberized silicone putty. If you want to make a color it does not come in, you can combine several colors such as yellow and blue to make green. It cures in about 24 hours, and at that point it feels soft and rubbery. JUST right for the flesh-to-bowgrip interface! You can get fancy with the finish – get some screen mesh, for example, and press it into the surface and peel it away, to leave a high-traction surface. You can press anything into it and remove it, to leave a bas-relief impression – a coin, a seashell, sea urchin shell, a leaf, coarse sandpaper, feather fletching, etc… If you allow it to simply cure after shaping it, the surface will be pretty smooth, so texturing the surface is a good idea, such as apply a mesh imprint.