Archery Glossary - By Tim Baker

A forum containing technical information related to bowmaking: Tables Charts, Graphs, Formula, wood-species specifications, etc.

Archery Glossary - By Tim Baker

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November 22nd, 2005, 5:13 am #1

This Archery Glossary was originally posted by Tim Baker:


Anchor, Anchor Point: A point usually on cheek or jaw where the arrow nock or drawing hand touches at each full draw, helping to achieve consistent draw length and aim from shot to shot.
Angle of Violation: When a bows back is out of parallel with the original tree surface, the angle at which violated wood fibers approach the back. The greater the angle the more likely an unbacked bow will break in tension.
Archer's Paradox: The arrow bending around the bow at release, traveling toward the target instead of being deflected by the wide grip.
Armguard: A shield of stiff leather or other material secured to the inside of the bow forearm as protection from the released bowstring.
Arrowhead: Attached to the front of the arrow shaft providing balance in flight and shaft protection at impact. Arrowhead designs can ease or slow target penetration.
Arrow Length: Measured from bottom of the arrow nock to the arrow tip, base of the arrow head, or any assigned point.
Arrow Nock: A groove or notch to accept the bowstring.
Arrow Plate: A patch of generally hard durable material attached to the bow preventing wear by the passing arrow.
Arrow Rest: A small protrusion attached to the bow just above the grip to support the arrow.
Arrow Weight: An arrows total physical weight, usually given in grains.
Back: The side of the bow facing the target.
Backing: Material applied to the back of a bow, usually to prevent tension breaks or to increase performance. Backing can be of wood, sinew, rawhide, silk, plant fiber and more.
Bare shaft testing: Shooting unfletched arrows, to adjust nocking point, arrow rest position, etc. for best flight.
Barreled Arrow: An arrow shaft tapered at each end from middle.
Belly: The side of the bow facing the archer.
Billets: Short staves to be spliced together to form a full-length stave. Often they are sister billets, taken side-by-side from the same tree to insure similar properties. Billets can permit a bow to be made from otherwise unusable wood.
Blunt: A flat-faced arrowhead of rubber, wood or other material, intended for small game at close range. Prevents skin punctures. Tends not to bury itself, therefore useful when roving.
Bobtailed Arrow: Widest at front of shaft, tapering to narrowest point at arrow tail.
Bowyer: A skilled bowmaker.
Brace: To string a bow.
Brace Height: On a braced bow, the distance from the bowstring usually to the grip belly, but sometimes measured from the back, the grip belly, or the assumed neutral plane. See Fistmeile.
Breasted Arrow: Where the last several inches of the nock end is tapered, for faster flight and less fletching wear.
Broadhead: A hunting arrowhead with thin sharp blades.
Cant: Angling the bow from verticle to help hold the arrow in place and to aid viewing.
Cast: Sometimes, the distance a bow sends an arrow, but more accurately the speed of the arrow leaving the bow.
Checks: Small cracks paralleling the grain, usually from to-rapid drying.
Chrysals: Single or multiple fine rupture lines running across the width of the belly; compression fractures resulting from poor tillering or an over-straining design. See Frets.
Cock Feather: On a three-fletch arrow: A different-colored feather to be nocked 90-degreed to the string, insuring that no feather strikes the bow directly.
Composite bow: A bow whose limbs are made of two or more different materials.
Compression: The shortening force felt by the belly as the bow is drawn.
Creep: After reaching full dreaw, any forward movement of the arrow before release.
Deflex: A portions of a braced or unbraced bow which angles toward the archer, as in deflexed limbs or tips. Opposite of reflex.
Deflex-Reflex: Limbs first angling toward the archer, then back toward the target.
Diffuse-Porous Wood: Wood with relatively uniform pore structure throughout the annual ring, as opposed to ring-porous woods.
Draw: Pulling the bowstring to firing position.
Draw Length: Full draw measured from the arrow nock to the point where the bow hand resists the bow.
Draw Weight: Force in pounds needed to pull a bow to full draw length.
Dry Fire: Shooting a bow without an arrow.
Elastic limit: The percentage of length that wood can be stretched or compressed before permenant deformation. For most woods permitted strain is about 1%.
Endless String: Made by winding thread between two nails or similar of desired distance apart, loops formed by serving.
English Longbow (ELB): A straight-stave bow, usually man-tall or taller, narrow and deep limbed, most often of yew, often with a crowned belly, the grip often being part of the working limb, therefore not narrowed or thickened.
Face, the bow belly
English Longbow, ELB: Typically a working-grip, man-tall or longer selfbow, narrow and thick in section, often with a crowned belly, the grip no narrower than nearby working limb. Most often of yew, but also of other woods. Often with horn nocks.
English Longbow-tillered ELB tillered: An un-narrowed grip, working as part of the limbs. Can be any shape crossection.
Fadeouts, Fades: Where the thicker handle riser fades out into working limb.
Feet Per Second, FPS: Arrow speed, generally measured leaving the bow
Fishtailing: When an arrow wobbles right to left in flight.
Fish-tail Splice: A W shaped splice used to join two billets.
Fistmele: A traditional brace height measured from the bottom of a clenched fist held against the bow's belly to the tip of the extended thumb.
Flatbow: Bows with limbs considerably wider than thick, rectangular or lenticular in section, and usually shorter than longbows. Medium and lower density woods especially benefit from this design.
Fletching: Two, three, and sometimes more, feathers secured near the arrow nock to stabilize an arrow's flight.
Flight Arrow: Designed for maximum distance, a small diameter, shorter, lighter, often barreled arrow, with small fletching.
Flight Shooting: Shooting for maximum distance.
Flu-Flu: Dense, large fletchings producing short arrow flight, used for bird or tree hunting.
Follow the string: See String Follow
Foot: The fore end of an arrow shaft.
Footed Shaft: An arrow shaft having a hardwood spliced into its foot or forward end, for durability and better balance in flight.
Footing: Typically hardwood spliced into the tip of an arrow
Force Draw Curve: The graph shape produced when plotting draw weight at successive draw distances from brace height to full draw. The Area under the line represents energy.stored by the drawn bow.
Fret: Presently used interchangeably with chrysal. Traditionally frets are larger, and place the bow at greater risk.
Gap: The space between arrow tip and target as seen at full draw.
Gap Shooting: An aiming method focusing on the visual gap between the tip of the arrow and the target. Gap size is adjusted for target distance.
Grain: Fibers that make up wood. The word is often misused when referring to ring lines
Grip: Where a bow is gripped while being drawn.
Handle: The often thicker, stiffer, narrower, often non-bending area between a bows
two working limbs.
Handshock: A harsh kick of vibration felt by the bowhand and arm upon release.
Hardwoods: Non-conifer wood. Hardwood can be light or dense, hard or soft. As opposed to softwoods.
Head: The front of the arrow shaft.
Heartwood: Dark inner wood beneath lighter sapwood.
Helical Fletching: Where the feathers spiral somewhat around the arrow shaft.
Hinge: Excessive bend in one portion of a bowlimb.
Instinctive Shooting: Where the archer looks at the target, draws, and releases, with no conscious aiming method.
Let Off: Reduction in draw weight at some point before full draw is reached, as caused by string lift-off of extremely recurved or retroflexed bow limbs.
Limb length: Distance measured from limb nock or limb tip to mid-grip of a working-grip bow, or to the non-bending portion of a stiff-grip bow.
Limbs: The bending portions of a bow.
Limb tip: The outer tip of a bow limb.
Longbow: A straight-limbed, near-man tall or taller bow, usually but not always narrower and thicker in section than shorter bows.
Loose: Releasing the drawn arrow.
Mass: The physical weight of a bow, arrow, or other equipment.
Nock: To place an arrow in position on the bowstring.
Nock-to-Nock: From one string nock to the other.
Nocking Height: The distance above a point on the string square with the arrow pass
Nocking Point: An exact point on the string where the arrow is nocke.
Overbowed: Using a bow too strong to shoot accurately.
Overlay: Wear-resistant material, often wood or horn, usually applied to the back of limb tips to prevent string wear, especially on narrow limb tips...
Pinch, Finger Pinch: Short bows with long draws yield sever string angles which pinch the drawing fingers.
Pins, Pin Knots: Small knots, usually in yew, but occasionally in other woods...
Point Blank, Where the drawn arrows tip is viewd directly on the target.
Point of Aim: An aiming method wherein at full draw the arrow tip is viewed against a certain point on the ground of background instead of the target itself.
Porposing: When an arrow wobbles up and down in flight.
Power Stroke: Upon release, the distance over which the bow imparts its stored energy to the arrow--from full draw to brace height.
Recurve: A portion of an outer limb curving toward the target.
Reflex:: Where limbs or tips angle or curve toward the target.
Release: The loose. Releasing the bowstring. Shooting the arrow.
Retroflexed tips: Where tips are angled instead of curved toward the bow's back.
Ring-Porous Wood: The light, weak, large-poured, early-growth or spring-growth portion of the annual ring of many hardwoods.
Riser: A glued-on or self-thickening of the grip.
Roving: Shooting at various and random targets in fields or forests, "stump shooting."
Sapwood: White or near-white outer annual rings lying just under the bark/cambium and above the darker heartwood.
Selfbow: An unbacked bow made from a single stave of wood or two spliced billets. Older definitions disallow spliced billets.
Self Arrow: Made from a single blank of wood.
Serving: A protective wrapping of a bowstring's nocking area or loops.
Set: Permanent deflection of the limbs toward the archer, resulting from compression of belly wood beyond its elastic limit. Set and string follow are not the same..
Setback: Natural, steambent, or spliced reflexing of the limbs, placing the bow tips forward of the grip back.
Sinew: Tendon. Strong, elastic cords, generally from the Achilles and backs of ungulates such as deer, elk, moose and wild cattle. Long used to back wooden bows and horn composite bows. Useful as thread when mounting feathers and arrowheads. and for making bowstrings.
Shake: A long crack in a bow or bowstave caused by physical trauma or improper drying.
Sling: A cord attached to finger or wrist preventing the bow from falling from the hand when shooting with a loose grip.
Smooth: A bow that draws with little or no stack.
Snap Shooting: Drawing and releasing in one fast movement without careful aim. Good for a few extra FPS when flight shooting.
Softwoods: Conifer wood. Many softwoods are harder and more dense than many hardwoods.
Spine: The stiffness of an arrow. Arrow stiffness must closely match the needs of the bow in order to fly where aimed, the main factors being draw weight, brace height, and handle width.
Spliced: Where two billets have been joined to form a full-length bow.
Stack: Abrupt increase in draw weight during later inches of draw. Caused chiefly by large differences in string angle at early and later stages of draw. Especially noticed in short bows.
Stacked: A limb cross-section nearly as thick or thicker than wide.
Stave: A branch, board, or split section of log from which a bow is to be made.
Straight-Stave Bow: A bow made from a stave having essentially no natural or induced reflex, deflex or curves. Once tillered and used a straight-stave bow may show considerable deflex.
String Follow: Where by set, design, or deflex in the stave, an unbraced bows tips rest some distance bellyward of the back. Usually the result of set.
String Nocks: Grooves, notches or shoulders at each end of the bow to hold the bowstring. Sometimes fitted with horn, or overlays on the back, to prevent wear by the string.
String Silencer: Fur, cloth or other material tied or woven into the bowstring several inches from the nocks to dampen string vibration..
Take-Down Bow: A bow which can be pulled apart at the handle for ease of transport.
Tension: The stretching force felt by the back as the bow is drawn.
Tension Break: When the bow back breaks first, often leaving belly wood directly beneath unbroken.
Tiller: The process of removing wood from a stave such that the bow bends to intended shape, drawlength and drawweight.
Tiller: The side-view shape of a drawn bow.
Timberhitch: An easily adjustable loop knot securing the bow string to the lower nock. Usually the bottom loop of a Flemish bowstring.
Torque: Twisting of the bow by the bow hand while drawing and releasing, causing arrows to spray right and left from shot to shot. Page
Underbowed: Using a weaker bow than needed.
Whip Ended: A bow that bends too much in its outer limbs.
White Wood: Sapwood from thick-sapwood trees, such as ash, maple, oak, hickory and others.
White Wood: A vernacular term distinguishing once-traditional bowwoods such as yew, Osage and Lemmonwood from the once disparaged other woods. Bows made from, for example, from hickory and other heartwoods, and from dark woods such as Locust are often colloquially called whitewood bows.
Working Recurve: A recurve that straightens somewhat after string lift-off