Welcome to Project Gridless!

Hello! Project Gridless is dedicated to off the grid living, foraging / hunting for food, traditional survivor skills and modern tips for off the grid living. To join Project Gridless and become a contributor email cardiotrek at gmail dot com.
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or by joining the Canadian Toxophilite Society.

New Compound Bow and my love of Vintage Compound Bows

On the right is a photo of my new compound bow:

It is a circa 1969-70 Black Hawk Chief Scout, 45 lbs, 50% let off.

So by "new" I mean I just purchased it three weeks ago and had it shipped to me. The bow itself is 46 years old.

It is my 2nd compound bow and also my 2nd Black Hawk bow, my first being a 1972 Black Hawk Avenger recurve.

One of the things I have discovered about Black Hawk is that they are very beautiful bows. The Avenger is downright exquisite.

This one here is by far one of the prettiest compound bows I have ever seen.

They're also a little tricky to date.

Fortunately I found this blog:


The site is dedicated towards dating and tracking the history of Black Hawk bows, which were made by the Cravotta Bros. in McKeesport Pennsylvania between 1951 to 1975. The website also tracks the prices of Black Hawk bows being sold on eBay, and other similar auction websites.

The Black Hawk company president James Cravotta died in 1969. Then the factory burnt down in either 1973 or 1974, hastening the company and its workers into early retirement. (It is unclear what year the factory burnt down, but given the relatively small number of bows that were made in 1974 and 1975, I am guessing it burnt down in 1973, and apparently it took two years to rebuild the factory during which they finished a number of orders and then probably decided to call it quits due to financial problems / lack of new orders.)

Around the same time Black Hawk closed up shop various other archery manufacturers were being bought up by other bigger manufacturers, so it was a sign of the times. eg. Damon Howatt died in 1965 and his company/brand was later sold to Martin Archery. Many of the bows made by the older "vintage" bow manufacturers are now considered collectors items and still shot by many an archer and bowhunter, as they are considered desirable.

Vintage Compounds hold a special place in my heart. They are often very beautiful and elegant to look at. Especially when they use wood.

Compare wooden compounds to modern compound contraptions which look like Darth Vader had sex with a robot jellyfish, and the modern compound bow was the result of that unholy union, and you realize that with wooden compounds beauty and function can co-exist in the same bow - without having the bow look like the unholy creation by a mad scientist.

Furthermore - to make matters worse - video games and movies then see modern compound bows, think that the weirder a bow looks is somehow better, and you end up with these ridiculous compound bows in video games that don't even make any sense at all.

Example: Just count the number of things you see wrong with the image below.

What we really need is for manufacturers to realize that there is a market for wooden compounds and start making new ones, to make compound bows beautiful again. Like the Black Hawk Warrior compound bow shown below.

Worth repeating.

Make Compound Bows Beautiful Again.

Black Hawk Warrior Wooden Compound


I even made a meme for this.

Deer Ribcage with Arrow Splint

In this photo below you see what happened when an arrow only injured a deer and it got away. The arrow broke a few ribs and later broke off, but the arrow was used as a splint and new bone grew around the shaft (see the Bear Razorhead).

The deer was later shot by someone else years later, and when the butcher discovered the broken arrow they made this rather bizarre piece.

From the angle it looks like the deer was shot from a tree stand up above. Clearly it was a bad angle and the bowhunter should have waited for a better angle in order to guarantee a killshot.

This is why it is important to get a killshot when hunting. If you only injure the deer, you need to track it and finish it off. Don't leave it to suffer for years.

Aiming is Useless, according to Funker Tactical

Thompson .50 Calibre Rifle
I am not big into guns. I learned how to shoot rifles at summer camp when I was 10-11, which includes the time my uncle Duncan handed me a .50 calibre rifle he was going moose hunting with. The scope bounced back and gave me a black eye, but I was only 1 inch off from the bullseye at a distance of 50 yards.

I also got hearing damage in my left ear from an incident when I was 12 when someone was shooting at me while I was trespassing. The shooter was NOT the owner. Long story. After that incident I generally stayed away from guns.

Back in the early 2000s I got into airsoft guns and pellet guns, mostly because I had a girlfriend who was into such things. That interest later dwindled. I have a box of old pellet guns somewhere that I never use.

All of this pales in comparison to my love of archery and bowhunting. Still, for the purposes of hunting, rifles certainly have their uses.

What I find fascinating about rifle and handgun shooting is how horribly inaccurate they are. I have seen people shooting many times and I am always amazed how many people are really horrible shots. They couldn't hit a pop can at 60 feet to save their life - and yet I can do that with a bow easily and consistently.

This tells me several things.

#1. People need to practice shooting a lot to get good at it.

#2. People are making a lot of amateur mistakes when shooting.

#3. Some people never learn how to shoot properly.

Earlier today I was browsing YouTube when I came across the following video, which was thoroughly educational - and made me realize that I already correctly do the three things he mentions in the video.

Which made me feel good about myself, because it means I am an above average shot - certainly in comparison to some people who apparently are completely clueless.

It also brought back good memories of summer camp and my uncle Duncan teaching me how to shoot, to which I must conclude that they did a good job teaching me. My experience with archery also teaches me patience, attention to form and detail, which doubtlessly improves my form and accuracy when shooting rifles too.

Regardless, for those people who are learning how to shoot / hunt with rifles, this is certainly a good video. In the demo he is demonstrating using a handgun, but the principles discussed still hold importance with rifles, crossbows, etc.

Aiming is Useless - Funker Tactical

Profitable Solar Power, Here to Stay

In recent years you may have read headlines like:

"How to Profit from Solar Energy"

"How can electricity from solar energy be profitable?"

"How to sell Solar Power and make Money."

"How to invest in the Solar Industry."

"So How Quickly Can We Shift to Solar?"

"Top 6 Things You Didn't Know About Solar Energy"

"Solar Energy Jobs Outpace U.S. Economy"


If you are seeing these headlines or similar headlines, you will understand that isn't just a trend anymore. It has happened. Solar power is now profitable. What it really comes down to is several things...

#1. Solar panels are a lot cheaper than they used to be. The price of photovoltaics have dropped 40% in the last 2 years alone.

#2. Solar panels are significantly more efficient than they used to be.

#3. Solar technology in general has come a long way during the last 50 years.

If you are a James Bond fan like myself, then you should know that solar power was a big theme in the 1974 film "The Man with the Golden Gun".

Ignoring the fact that it was a villain showing off his solar power and that in 1974 the idea of a super efficient photovoltaic (or Solex as they called it in the film) was basically science fiction back then - and so valuable it was worth killing people for it. Today, efficient photovoltaics are a science fact. They are more efficient, they cost significantly less, and nobody is going to be killing people over a bit of technology that will be obsolete in two years when someone invents a more efficient photovoltaic.

For the Off Gridders however, more affordable solar power means they have more options for how to get solar power in their off grid home.

So lets see what one website now charges for such an installation?

Back in 2013 pricing for installing a solar power system for your home would cost:

"At today’s pricing [June 2013], a solar system would typically cost you anywhere from $20,000 – $40,000 in Ontario depending on the size of the system (40k for a 10 kW system and 20K for a 4.5 kW system)."

So now that it is January 2017, and the price of photovoltaics have dropped 40%, shouldn't we see a significant drop in the price?

Yes, but the price of the manpower to install it has probably stayed the same. Much of what you are paying for during an installation is a bunch of men showing up at your home, climbing all over your roof and installing the solar panels.

In Ontario you need all of the following and each of these things comes with a price.

  1. Solar Panels (which is the only thing that is now cheaper)
  2. Rails & Flashing units
  3. Inverter(s) & monitoring
  4. Permits (varies per jurisdiction)
  5. Design
  6. Complete system wiring, disconnects & sub panels
  7. Engineering (if required)
  8. Labour
  9. Electrical
  10. Assistance with OPA & Ontario Hydro paperwork (if you intend to sell power back into the grid)
  11. Squirrel Guard
However in theory if you did most of the labour and other aspects yourself, a real DIY project, then you really just need the solar panels, an electrician, the permits, etc.

If you do end up selling power back into the grid, with a 10 kW system you are expected to make $4,000+ per year for a period of 20 years or more. The more basic 4.5 kW system is for people who want to be self-sufficient, don't think they need the extra energy, and are not intending on selling energy back into the grid.

So the 10 kW system really seems pretty obvious when you think about it. The system pays for itself in approx. 8 to 10 years, plus you save money from not having to pay for electricity for all that time.

Lets do the math... My wife and I currently spend over $800 per year on our electricity, so saving $16,000 over a 20 year period, while getting paid $4000 per year over 20 years...

Minus $40,000 for installation (2013 prices).
Plus $16,000 in savings.
Plus $80,000+ in revenue.
Profit of $56,000.

So yeah. More than doubles our money in 20 years, all while providing electricity we use anyway. This is definitely going on our To Do List when we buy our first home.

In Ontario there are now Solar Panel Investment companies which buy up land which isn't being used for anything else, build a solar farm with as many large solar panels they can fit onto the property, and then reap the profits over the long term. With the low interest rates for borrowing money, investing in solar power right now is ridiculously profitable. Companies can basically borrow the money, and then pay the interest for the loan using the profits from the solar farm, pay any land taxes, pay the government their share because of income taxes, and voila, they still walk away with a sizable profit.

In July 2015 the Canadian Solar Industries Association released an estimate that was commented on in the Globe and Mail:

"Within five years Ontario homeowners could save enough money by putting solar panels on their roofs that they won’t need any [government] subsidy to make installation worthwhile.

[T]he plunging costs of solar equipment, combined with rising overall electricity costs, will put the two in balance by 2020.

Currently, many Ontario homeowners are installing solar panels, but the incentive is a provincial program that pays them high rates for the electricity they generate – considerably above market prices."

And then there is wind turbines and wind farms, which are even more profitable and cost efficient than solar power. It pisses off the NIMBYs, but frankly their opinions rank up there with conspiracy theorists who think cellphones cause cancer.

You see I can remember a time when solar panels were a joke. That only hippies used solar panels. But today farmers (who are often the salt of the earth, Conservative types) are installing wind turbines and solar panels because they have realized it is a smart investment and uses non-arable land that they would otherwise not be using. So if the farmers are doing it, it must be profitable.

Conclusion: Solar Power is Profitable.

And it is here to stay. It will only get more and more profitable as the years go by.

Which means for people looking to power their off grid home the future is a bright one, where solar power and wind power gets cheaper and more affordable - and the dream of being off the grid is that much closer because it isn't a dream anymore. It isn't science fiction. It is affordable and profitable NOW. So why delay and procrastinate? Do you like getting ripped off by Ontario Hydro and their ever increasing bills? No? Well then hurry up and get solar panels and a wind turbine already you silly stubborn mule.

Cleaning your Clothes Off the Grid

I saw the video below posted on Facebook and then decided to share it here. The Drumi is an Off Grid Foot Powered Washing Machine for your clothes. (Although they should totally make a version for washing dishes too.)

The Drumi is available for sale via http://www.yirego.com/drumi

However if you were expecting it to be super cheap, think again. It is $265 CDN. Or $239 USD.

So that does seem awfully expensive at first glance. Certainly there are other ways to clean your clothes off the grid that cost less $$$?

So how does the Drumi compare with a more old fashioned version of a washing machine, the old washboard and wringer?

How to use a Washboard:

And the Pioneer Version:

You will note in the Pioneer Version that he doesn't use the soap directly on the clothes and just sort of sprinkles it on the water/clothes instead. I recommend using the method mentioned in the first video, which is putting the soap directly on the clothes so you are not wasting soap.

I saw other videos on this subject, but opted not to use them as I felt they didn't do that good of a job and were sometimes overly long-winded videos.

So how does that compare to the Drumi up above?

Well, I found a package deal on http://www.bestdryingrack.com/hand-wringer-washer.html which sells everything you see below (except for water and soap) for lumpsum of $439 USD. (Which means the Drumi is actually cheaper.) The one below is pretty fancy however. In theory you should be able to find an old used washboard and a wringer for significantly less.

Washboard and Wringer Package Set

Tips for Selling Bows on eBay

Awhile back in 2015 I posted about buying antique longbows and recurves.

In 2016 I purchased several more bows via eBay. Some more antiques, including a wooden compound bow, a Bear Grizzly Static, and an Archery Craft Toronto flatbow.

One of the things I noticed while browsing bows is that some sellers do a really horrible job at taking photos of the bow, describing it, and it consequently discourages people from bidding on a bow due to lack of information / lack of quality photos.

Thus, here are some tips for anyone looking to sell a bow on eBay (or other websites).

#1. Accurately describe the bow.
  • Year of manufacture.
  • Manufacturer
  • Model type + any numbers.
  • What condition the bow is in. eg. "Shoots like new, just a few scratches."
 #2. If you don't know, admit that you don't know.

Even better if you do some research and say something like "I think it from the early 1970s, but I cannot be certain."  At least then you are being honest while still providing the potential buyer with needed information. If they want to narrow it down with their own research, that is up to them.

#3. Photos, Photos and High Resolution Photos

Don't forget to show the bow's vital stats.
If you plan to sell a bow on eBay you really need lots of photos. The more the merrier.

  • High resolution.
  • Use something that makes a good background so it easier to see details.
  • Front and back of both tips.
  • Front and back of both limbs.
  • Front, back, and 2 side views of the riser.
  • 4 views of the entire bow from different angles, including one which shows the bow's stats.

16 photos total. Minimum.

On eBay 16 photos is basically the bare minimum if you want a good price. Bows that don't have all the above and/or poor resolution don't sell for much because people refuse to bid on bows where they cannot see the details.

#4. Describe any problems with the bow.

Be honest and list any cracks, major scratches or problems with the bow (eg. Twisted limbs). People get points for honesty and even a bow with problems can still be sold to a collector who just wants it for wall decor.

If you hide any faults with the bow the buyer may demand their money back and return it, so it is best to be honest from the beginning. Otherwise you could end up losing money on shipping and not actually sell the bow.

#5. Do NOT add extra keywords. That only annoys people.

Some people on eBay describe a bow by adding extra keywords like recurve, compound, hunting, longbow, etc to describe a horrible bow that they are just trying to get attention for. It is super annoying when you as a buyer is looking for a particular topic and some jerkoff has flooded the search results with cheap bows made in China that don't even accurately describe the bows they are selling.

Super annoying.

#6. Mention anything else you are including with the bow as a "package deal".

So if it is coming with arrows, a sight, bowstring, spare bowstring, any extra goodies make a list of everything that is coming with it.

#7. Find out the shipping costs for all parts of the region you are willing to ship to.

So for example, if you are only shipping to people within North America, confirm the cost of shipping your bow within that region. Then list the cost on eBay. If the cost varies, mention that the cost may vary based on location, but include a range to range estimate of the cost.

Note - If the shipping cost is ridiculous, many people will refuse to bid at all. So shop around for a good courier which offers a decent rate. Browse eBay to sell what other sellers are using for couriers and this will give you a better idea of who has the best prices for shipping.

#8. Set a reasonable starting first bid price.

eBay is an auction website after all. You need people to bid on an item by being interested in its potential price. The more people who get interested, the more likely they are to have a bidding war.

The price of a particular item, if there are multiple bidders, can skyrocket suddenly in the last half hour. Especially the last minute as many bidders will try to outbid each other and swoop in during the last minute to claim an item.

But that will never happen if the original minimum bid is too high. Too high = no bidders = your item doesn't get sold.

A good way to guess a good starting bid is compare what other archers will say they bought a bow for at a garage sale. If they bought a bow similar to yours at a garage sale for $60, then that is a good starting price for bidding.

#9. There is always the Buy It Now and Best Offer options.

Another thing eBay has is an option for sellers to list a Buy It Now price.

Eg. $200 or best offer.

That means people can still bid on the item, but it has a maximum price. If someone really wants it badly, they can click Buy It Now and just pay the full price.

Or if the seller selects a particular setting which allows for Best Offers, buyers can submit a best offer price, which the seller can then choose to accept or reject.

This way if you want to guarantee your bow gets sold for a minimum price, you can list your ideal price and if anyone gives you a good offer that you like then you can choose to sell it for the lesser amount.

Buck Fever

What vegans don't understand about hunting is that "Buck Fever" is better than an orgasm. Your whole body shakes from adrenaline and pumping hormones. It is the most incredible experience. Compared to that, nothing vegans can offer has even the slightest comparison of sheer ecstacy.

Most non-hunters probably have never even heard of Buck Fever. Let me explain...

In the moment before successfully shooting an animal it is normal for a hunter to get a surge of adrenaline. Then, once it is dead, and you have successfully killed it your body gets pumped full of adrenaline and positive-feeling hormones. So much so that many people report shaking from excitement and a feeling of ecstacy.

That feeling is incredibly addictive. It is a drug similar to Runner's High that marathon runners / exercise addicts get, but so much more potent because of the adrenaline combo.

It is also sometimes said that the bigger the game animal and the more anticipation involved, the bigger the release of adrenaline and hormones. Thus hunting big game animals isn't just a matter of ego or attaining more meat, it is also an addiction to the chemicals your body releases.

Over time as hunters become more experienced the Buck Fever will lessen, becoming less potent. It will still be there, but your brain will have learned how to cope with the rush of adrenaline and you won't shake as much.

This is one reason why rifle hunters might be tempted to try bowhunting or even spearhunting. The rush of adrenaline is said to be greater when trying a more traditional and challenging method of hunting. If they are chasing the feeling of their "first time" then trying a new hunting method will be like popping their cherry all over again.

Depending on geographic regions and languages there might be other names for Buck Fever. Buck Fever is pretty specific to hunting deer too, but the concept is often used to describe the same feeling after successfully hunting many other types of game.

Even fishermen report a similar feeling when catching a truly big fish that they had to fight to reel in. So the feeling is not restricted to hunting land mammals.

Back to my initial statement vegans will never understand a hunters need to hunt. The need to acquire your own food rather than relying on farmed meat or vegetables, to take responsibility for that aspect of your life. The need to hunt "the old fashioned way" as if it is a calling, a force of nature and fate that wants you to preserve part of human heritage. And lastly vegans will never understand the love of eating meat and being an omnivore. Food is like a religion. People have very strong feelings about it. And people don't change their 'food-religion' just because some other people want to convert them.

"Until vegans find a way to grow bacon on trees I guess I will keep being an omnivore."

Chris Pratt and Bowhunting

Actor Chris Pratt is into bowhunting and he waxes like a romantic poet when talking about the process of hunting.

Nor is he the only celebrity who is into bowhunting. There are quite a few out there. Like the following examples

Bo Jackson (Celebrity Athlete)

Karl Malone (NBA Basketball Player)

Brett Keisel (NFL Quarterback)

Ben Roethlisberger (NFL Quarterback)

Matt Hughes (9 time UFC World Champion)

Randy Couture (UFC Fighter / Actor)

Miranda Lambet (American Country Singer)

Justin Tuck (NFL Player / Super Bowl Champion)

Paul Ryan (American Politician)

Chipper Jones (MLB Baseball Player)

Blake Shelton (American Singer)

Donald Trump Jr. (Professional Moron)

Jennifer Lawrence (Actor) - Although it should be noted that Jennifer Lawrence only did squirrel hunting.


Now you may have noticed something. Most of the celebrities mentioned above are from occupations where hunting (and bowhunting) would be more accepted. Many celebrities who are into rifle hunting / bowhunting tend to stay quiet about their interest in such activities because they are afraid of backlash from fans.

For example:

Singer Madonna (yes, that Madonna) hosts rifle pheasant hunts on her estate, but tends to stay quiet about it because of protests from animal rights groups.

Actress Eva Longoria, actress Eliza Dushku, singer Avril Lavigne, duchess Kate Middleton, singer Miranda Lambert are just a handful of female celebrities who hunt (usually with rifle) but tend to stay quiet on the topic because they don't want to upset the "PETA people".


And really it comes down to the idiocy of people who are anti-hunting, who are apparently okay with people eating beef hamburgers, bacon, "chicken fingers", but don't know where their meat actually comes from. Complete hypocrites. They get all upset about celebrities who hunt, but meanwhile they fill their bellies with beef, pork, chicken and wear leather / fur regularly.

And then there is the vegans - who avoid meat and all animal by-products entirely, but somehow still wear leather jackets, leather purses, leather boots, etc - and pretend that they are somehow saving the planet with their "animal friendly ways" of only using animals for their skin.

And then there is the food vegans eat - mostly flown in from South America, Africa and other parts of the world on cargo planes. They think they are saving the environment, but all they are doing is buying foreign food transported on planes that spew greenhouse gases, handpicked by poor people who are paid peanuts, while making the corporations who sell "fresh organic produce" rich while local farmers here in Canada are ignored. If they were serious about "saving the planet" then they should start by buying all of their food locally (both vegetables and meat products, grown and raised in Canada) so that they aren't wasting so much greenhouse gases on transporting food from overseas.

"Show me a vegan and I will show you a person who will probably starve to death during a nuclear winter because they won't have access to imported vegetables flown in from overseas."

And the bit about nuclear winter is a real possibility now that Donald Trump is the president elect. I wouldn't be surprised if he starts a nuclear war during the first year of his presidency. In fact, I would be surprised if he did NOT start a nuclear war during the first year.

To anyone who is worried about the same thing I recommend the following:

#1. Learn how to bowhunt both large and small game.

#2. Stock up on arrows, broadheads and archery equipment.

#3. Stock up on seeds for planting crops.

#4. Learn how to garden.

#5. Learn what to do during a nuclear attack. Assuming you survive the initial attacks, you will need to be prepared for what follows.

"Always be prepared." - Boy Scouts Motto

Bear Bow Models, Older Models sorted by Year

This list is mostly for my personal reference, with respect to dating old Bear bows. They are sorted by the years released. If you know of additional old models, and know what years they were released, please post a comment about the model type and what years they were available and I shall update the list. Also if you spot any errors, please feel free to comment and help keep the list accurate.

Grizzly Static Recurve 1949-1957
Kodiak Static Recurve 1950-1953
Kodiak Recurve 1954-1966
Kodiak Special 1955-1967
Polar (recurve) 1957-1970
Grizzly Recurve 1958-1978
Alaskan (leather grip semi-recurve) 1959-1961
Kodiak Magnum 52" 1961-1977
Tamerlane 1962-1968
Bearcat 1964-1971
Tigercat 1964-1978
Tamerlane HC-30 1965-1967
Little Bear 1965-1978
Alaskan (recurve) 1966-1970
Super Magnum 48 1966-1976
Super Kodiak 1967-1976
Kodiak Hunter 58" and 60" 1967-1977
Temujin 1968-1970
Tamerlane HC-300 1968-1972
Tarter 1968-1972
Wood Handle Take-Down 1969-1972
Magnesium Handle Take-Down A-B-C 1971-1978
Victor 1972
Black Bear 1972-1978
Wood C-Riser Victor Custom 1973-1975
Victor Patriot 1973-1977
Polar (compound) 1976-77

Bear Polar Compound Bow circa 1977

Notes regarding dating Bear bows:

#1. Check the Serial Number.

From 1964 and earlier the serial numbers were reset every month, making them very tricky to date.

Bear bows from 1965-1969 are dated with with last digit of the year being the first number of the serial number.

Starting in 1970 the first part of the serial number was a letter. 1970 = K.

#2. Check the Coin Medallion.

Starting in 1959 all Bear bows came with a coin medallion inset in the bow.
  • Copper Coin – 1959
  • Aluminum - 1960-1961
  • Pewter – 1962
  • Brass - 1963 – 1970
  • Nickel-Silver - 1971-1972
Until 1972 all coins were flush with the wood. In Autumn 1972 the coin was raised above the surface of the bow.

#3. Check the Patent Mark.

Many of the early Bear bows had a patent mark on it. eg. CANADA 1953. It doesn't mean the bow was made that year however, merely that it was patented in that year. It does help to narrow down the age however.

#4. Check the Decal.

Prior to 1959 many Bear bows had a decal stamped on the bow.

1948 was a small Running Bear decal.
1953 (Summer/Autumn) to 1955 was the Standing Bear decal, usually with the words "Glass Powered Bow" under the decal.
1956 to 1978, silk screening was used instead.

#5. Check for Wood Laminations

If the wood is all one piece, then it is older than 1949, which is the year Bear started mass production. After 1949 all wooden bows were laminated.

If it is all wood and has "Bear Products" stamped on it, then it is from 1940 to 1945.

If it is all wood and has "Bear Archery" stamped on it, then it from 1946 to 1948.

If is all wood and has the Running Bear decal, then it is definitely from 1948.

#6. Check for a Leather Grip.

All Bear bows made prior to 1959 came with a leather grip.

#7 Check for Gainesville, Florida.

In 1978 Bear moved all manufacturing and offices to Gainesville, Florida. If it has that location stamped on the bow, it was made after 1978.

If it says Grayling, Michigan then it was made prior to 1978.

Old Compound Bow Repair in Toronto

I have discovered I have some skill at fixing older model compound bows.

Three weeks ago a friend at the Toronto Archery Range approached me with a cherry red older model compound bow (I estimate it was made in the mid 1980s) that was literally in shambles. The bowstring, cams, cables, and various other parts were in a ziplock bag and the compound bow itself was basically just the riser and limbs. He wanted to know if there was any chance of fixing it.

BACKGROUND - I have fixed other compound bows before, usually while at the archery range and doing what I call "Compound Bow Triage". I set up my tools on an "operating table" (picnic table) and perform "emergency surgery" to repair the bow. I have done it for people so many times I have lost track. Apparently I have developed a reputation for being able to fix compound bows, both newer models and older models.

So when my friend brought me the wreck of a bow at the time I didn't know if it was possible. It was in shambles after all, and I had never tried to fix a compound bow that was in such a state of "pieces". But as someone who was raised on Lego who loves building and repairing things, I told him "I make no guarantees, but I am willing to give it a shot."

I honestly wasn't expecting much. It was in such a bad shape I was expecting it to be missing too many parts that it might be impossible to fully repair. We even joked about taking off the limbs and turning it into a 'Frankenstein' recurve bow, that is how little faith I had in it being possible to repair it.

And voila.

It is fixed. Just finished repairing it this morning.

 Above and Below: "The Red Brute"

Fortunately most of the parts were there.

I call it "The Red Brute", and I shall explain why. This compound bow vibrates like crazy when you shoot it. The vibrations jar me all the way up to the shoulder. Think of shooting this bow like riding a wild bronco. It is going to shake a lot and try to buck you off. It is also very noisy, partially because the bow is missing a string stop (see further below).

Old Jalopy
Or alternatively if you like car metaphors, it shakes like an old jalopy. A jalopy is a really old decrepit car that is in horrible condition, could break at any moment, and literally shakes when you drive it. Some people enjoy driving a jalopy, but they are not for everyone.

But the Red Brute is powerful, and it is certainly accurate at close distances judging by the clusters I did this morning. Next Sunday I will take it to the range and test it out at longer distances, and return it to its owner.

So what needed to be repaired???

#1. The Cables and Cams

The first order of business was getting the cams, cables and bowstring back on the bow itself. They were a jumbled mess so I had to unjumble them and then figure out what goes where via a little trial and error / logic.

#2. New Retaining Snap Rings for the Axles

The cam axles were missing two external C-shaped 3/16th inch snap rings that keep the axle from sliding around and falling off. That required a trip to the Sunnybrook Home Hardware and $1.57 for the tiny parts.

#3. The Bowstring was a Wreck

The old bowstring was in such poor shape I decided to add serving all the way up its length and reinforce it in areas that looked weaker. This would make the bowstring heavier, but would dramatically increase the life expectancy of the bowstring. (The cables meanwhile were in excellent condition and did not warrant any repairs.)

#4. Added an Arrow Rest

My friend didn't bother putting an arrow rest on the bow, as he reportedly bought the bow along with several other bows at a proverbial garage sale. Bought the whole box of them. So I added an old Hostage arrow rest from my box of old archery equipment stuff that I don't use any more.

I needed the arrow rest on there so I could take the bow out to the garage and shoot it multiple times to make sure it was actually safe to use. I shot it 50+ times, during which I discovered how loud, noisy, and jarring it was.


Overall I enjoyed fixing this old compound bow. It was a complete wreck, in shambles, and it now can shoot quite accurately despite the shaking and shoulder jarring. I had a good deal of satisfaction shooting it in my garage.

However due to the vibrations I would probably want to do several things to get more accuracy and reduce the jarring. The most important of these is #3.

#1. Add a Trophy Ridge 9 Inch Static Stabilizer to reduce vibrations / increase accuracy.

I have tried other stabilizers, but this is my favourite thus far.

#2.Add Limbsavers to reduce vibrations and noise.

#3. Add a String Stop to reduce noise and vibration.

The Red Brute has a slot for a string stop, but that part is missing, hence the noise/vibration. I browsed Amazon.com to check out the prices of string stops, but sadly they are a bit pricey. $50 to $200 each, depending on the model type.


The final results is that this is a compound bow that has speed, power and accuracy, but desperately needs a string stop and perhaps a few extra gadgets to help make it quieter / vibrate less. It is approx. 60 lbs with a 29" draw length, with 50% let off.

Cost of Repairs
$30 for repairs / labour.
$1.57 for parts.
$10 for string serving (material + labour).
TOTAL $41.57

Overall, I am very pleased that I was able to fix this bow. I regret not taking a photo of what it looked like before I started repairing it. People would have been able to see the before and the after.

So if other people out there in Toronto are looking to have their old compound bow repaired, let me know and I will give it a try. I really enjoyed fixing this one and I am willing to try fixing other bows too. So if you have an old bow and it is in bad shape / in need of repairs, let me know and I will try to fix it. If all or most of the parts are there we can see what can be done. If many of the parts are missing, but you like the idea of a 'Frankenstein Bow' I am still willing to do that as well.

I charge $30 per hour plus the cost of any replacement parts.

"I make no guarantees, but I am willing to give it a shot."

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