Thursday, January 30, 2014

The PVC Trigger Release

One of the oldest problems in archery has been in getting a clean and consistent release. A bad release can ruin an otherwise perfect shot. Leather gloves, tabs, even rings of metal, bone,and stone have all been used to augment the hand in drawing and releasing an arrow. Today there are a plethora of release aids both mechanical and stationary to choose from.

My favorite style of release, made of 2 layers of PVC.

The release aid that I've fallen in love with is a simple trigger, based on a design that never really made it when it was invented. Some users in the Google+ PVC archery community have even started calling it the Tomihama release, though the true credit for this design goes to Glen Klaurens, inventor of the 6-Gold trigger release. It was one of the early modern trigger releases and even contributed to the later invention of other release styles. Sadly this particular release never really made it, though it worked well and the design was ingenious.

While not exactly like the 6-Gold, my original prototype looks very similar.

It is simple, basically a ring for the middle finger with a small hook and a trigger-like tab for the index finger to hold onto. The hook locks onto the string below the arrow, the middle and index fingers are used to draw the bow, and the index finger is pointed forward at full draw to release the string and arrow cleanly. The thing that drew me to this style of release was the small size and lack of any mechanical workings.

After handling and shooting an original brass 6-Gold release, I decided to build my own. PVC is so easy to work with, I made a prototype with the two halves of a flattened PVC pipe glued together. It worked so well, the laminated PVC technique became my favorite method for making these releases. Even though I've made some with other materials, PVC is still my favorite.

I call this one the Chameleon as it's easy to lose if you put it down. It's made of 1/4" thick acrylic plastic in Josh's modified 3-finger style.

Once I started using this release, I began messing around with adding a second tab for the ring finger. I quickly realized that not only was this newly modified release more comfortable to use, but allowed a more natural draw. The 3 finger draw also allowed me to anchor to the same spot as using fingers, but with a cleaner release that wasn't affected by string pinch. String pinch, which is a problem with shorter bows, is where the bow's string angle forced your fingers together in the V shape of the fully drawn string. This is not only painful but can make a clean release very difficult.

With its ability to overcome string pinch, the PVC trigger release became the answer to a problem I had when putting together my book, Take-Down Archery. Part of the goal of the book was to allow an archer to build a whole kit that could be broken down and stored anywhere. One of the problems with the short bows in the book was hard string pinch. The PVC release fit perfectly as it was small and completely waterproof, something that you can keep in a kit or on your person at all times.

The templates below are from my book, Take-Down Archery. To make one of these releases, just copy the template onto the material of choice, drill the finger hole, and then cut and shape the release until it is smooth. These work well in PVC, heat a 4 inch length of 1" Schedule 40 PVC and flatten it completely, then cut the two halves apart and glue them together with hot glue or epoxy to make a solid slab. Dense and straight-grained hardwoods, horn, bone, metals, and other materials all work as well.

The templates coming up were designed by my friend Josh, who based his designs on the releases from my book. The curved string hook offers more security than the simple flat hook, though it is a little louder at release than the flat hook. His design also puts the ring finger tab further back, encouraging a more natural finger alignment that makes the release very comfortable to use.

So there it is. Go ahead and give this style of release a try and let me know what you think!


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