Equipment review – custom archery tabs from Dixie Leathercraft

Dixie Leathercraft

Dixie Leathercraft

Dixie Leathercraft is a small business in Leicestershire making a vast array of leather goods.
I first encountered them at the 3d championships this year where they had a large tent selling all kinds of products from quivers to arm braces, pouches to six gun holsters. I ventured into this Aladdins cave looking for a suitable belt pouch to house my Ventolin inhaler. They didn’t have one on show but offered to make me a custom belt pouch for the next day. Which they did and I have used ever since.
A few weeks after the championships a friend was round trying out his new Blackbrook afb and showed me a tab he had commissioned from Dixie. This got me thinking and I contacted Dixie to see if they would be able to make something similar for me.
They produced a couple of designs based on my specifications, one single layer and one double. The double was made large enough for me to mount  an old finger spacer from a worn out tab on.

This is the single thickness tab

This is the single thickness tab

The first design of the double layer worked okay but I felt it needed a slightly larger backing piece to extend to match the facing piece.

Mark 1 tab - needed the backing piece extended

Mark 1 tab – needed the backing piece extended

We also extended the leather covering the forefinger slightly.

Mark 2 tab before having spacer fitted

Mark 2 tab before having spacer fitted

The mark two was produced and I have now used this in earnest shooting the club 40 target course, on practice bosses at home and for a couple of shoots.
The extra length protects the ring finger well and the second layer whilst offering additional protection to the fingers, still allows me to feel the string on my fingers when at anchor.
I know a lot of people may think what’s wrong with the normal ones in the shops and my answer is nothing. I used one for several years along with shooting gloves and there are countless ones on the market. The reason I sought out a custom design was to see if it made a difference to me and I believe it does.
The tab is more comfortable to use than a glove  as I have found the glove in warm weather to be very warm and uncomfortable,  making my hand sweat.  I’ve taken to talc in the inside to make it more comfortable. I also tend to take my glove off between shots on warm days.
The cost has been cheaper than I expected and the service has been fabulous. Dixie Leathercraft are really friendly and helpful. I shoot split fingers or mediterranean lose meaning my first finger is above the arrow nock with the other two below the arrow. For this reason when I’m using a tab I have a finger spacer between the first and middle finger.
Mounting the finger spacer was pretty easy. I used my old tab as a guide initially marking the reverse side of the leather where the tab spacer would be.

Mark 1 below the mark 2. You can see how the backing piece now covers the full tab

Mark 1 below the mark 2. You can see how the backing piece now covers the full tab

The spacer on old tab was attached via two small screws which were easily removed from the worn out tab. I made two small holes in the new tab with a braddle for the screws and a third to allow the elastic strap through. If you have one you might want to use a leather hole punch for the elastic hole as it would make it easier to feed the elastic through.
Close up of the securing screws, the elastic is knotted through a hole in the metal plate

Close up of the securing screws, the elastic is knotted through a hole in the metal plate

The old tab had a metal plate triangular in shape with two holes in one end for the screws and the third I threaded the elastic through tying a knot so it wouldn’t be pulled through.
Once the elastic was fed through the tab I then fed the elastic through the gap between the two screws, screwing them tightly to the spacer then secured the elastic in place.
Elastic threaded through between the 2 screws before they are tightened

Elastic threaded through between the 2 screws before they are tightened

Before securing them I made sure the loop of elastic was the right size to accommodate my middle finger.

Shows the spacer and elastic loop on finger

Shows the spacer and elastic loop on finger

Finished leather tab

Finished leather tab

The extra length of leather can be easily folded over the metal plate .

Finished leather tab showing how the leather can be folded over

Finished leather tab showing how the leather can be folded over

I hope people find this of use . I know there have been a few articles and posts on tabs versus gloves. I think Bow International magazine ran an article on custom tabs and spacers a few issues back.
Thanks for reading.

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Archery and numb fingers

Very good posting from a very useful and informative site  on the issue  some archers can experience of numb fingers and methods to avoid damaging yourself.

Charles' Archery Blog

I first experienced numbness and tingling in my fingers while shooting barebow with a thin Damascus glove. The numbness didn’t go away, so after dealing with non-feeling fingers for a while I tried a bit of medical tape around the affected fingers in addition to the glove.

Med tape on fingers

The tape worked but was a chore because I had to apply it every time I picked up a bow. I also had to be precise with how much tape I put on, as varying amounts affected my shots differently. Suffice it to say that it didn’t take me long to make my way back to the land of tabs, and leave the Damascus glove behind.

Cavalier tab

A tab with two layers of leather was certainly better than my thin glove had been but after breaking it in, I found myself experiencing numb fingers again. This time, I did some research on the web and in the varying archery forums. I found that this wasn’t…

View original post 735 more words

AAE Elite Adjustable Finger Spacer

Good write up again and something I might look into myself.

Charles' Archery Blog

Some months ago I purchased AAE’s Elite Adjustable Finger Spacer for my AAE Cavalier tab.

AAE Elite spacer

This was prompted because after prolonged shooting I would have some soreness behind the first digit of my index finger where my finger was in contact with the hard outside edge of the standard spacer. Maybe a form issue however it made me check into spacer options.

The Adjustable Finger Spacer kit comes with an aluminum spacer, a soft rubber band that fits over the spacer, a fastener and a flexible, 3 x 3 inch, flat, plastic square.

Soft rubber band for Adjustable Spacer

When I opened the package I was surprised that only a single screw was supplied as the standard spacer uses two. I wondered if this would make for a secure fit or if the spacer would roam on the tab surface.

I also had no idea what the flat plastic square was for. There were no instructions in my package that clarified this.

Off came the old spacer and I…

View original post 331 more words

Time to change, I hope

When I first started writing this entry a couple of weeks ago, the view out of the window was showing snow on the hillsides, and British summer time had officially started. This got me to thinking about change over of kit in my quiver and belt pouches.

A while back I wrote an entry  that some of you may have read (Bow, arrows and kitchen sink …..what do you carry with you on a field shoot) about what I carry in general. (This was later published in the NFAS magazine)

In winter months I tend to load up with snack bars, gloves, thermos mug with a hot drink in and disposable hand warmers.

Summer months I tend to replace the flask with a cold drink, the hand warmers are replaced with insect repellent or on very rare occasions suncream (yeah I know, like we need that in Great Britain but you can be surprised some times) and a pack-a-mac on my belt in case of summer showers.

The warm hat is replaced with a canvas hat to keep the sun off my eyes.

First aid kit and spare arrow tube

First aid kit and spare arrows in arrow tube

I always carry a small first aid kit just in case, this being whether I am shooting, marshaling or just coaching.

The other thing I have started to do is not wear my reactive glasses. May sound strange to not wear glasses that go darker in the bright light of summer but I’ve found it sometimes to be a hindrance as they can darken at the wrong moment, they can also make it hard to see targets in shade.

So what do you carry?

Do you have a winter set of gear and a summer set?

Thanks for reading.

Buying equipment – more bits and pieces part 3

Ok so this is the third part to buying equipment etc. I hope you’ve found the other posts useful.

Hopefully you or your students have bought the basic bits and bow mentioned in the previous posting. What I want to cover now are things to consider after you have your bow and some advice on keeping it in good working order.

When you get it and afterwards.

Once you have your bow there are a few things worth remembering. Check the bow for damage – may sound strange but just because its new doesn’t mean it hasn’t been damaged in transit. If you have taken my advice you will have gone to an archery shop and tried a few out and they will have shown you how to set it up etc

Check the bow for damage – may sound strange but just because its new doesn’t mean it hasn’t been damaged in transit. Below shows a wooden riser that split after a couple of weeks of shooting.

Damaged riser

Damaged riser

Use your phone camera – yes technology can help here. A camera phone is a great tool for monitoring bracing height, nocking points, possible damage etc.

Protection – bow bag or cases. These come in lots of different sizes and shapes. Hard plastic cases, soft carry all style bags and backpack variants. What ever you choose get one that holds your bow and offers it protection. I have a simple soft case for my trainer bow, but for my competitive recurve I have a hard case with foam padding that holds my bow securely whilst in transit.

When putting your bow away make sure it is dry. I shoot all year round and in all weathers from baking heat to snow (there have been times I’ve shot an arrow and by the time I’ve walked up to draw it, there’s a layer of snow on it) But when you are putting your bow away dry any excess water off before putting it in the case. Then when you get it home open the case and double-check it is dry.

I use a Bazooka case, it’s a case originally designed for fishing rods, but is extendable up to 7 ft, for my flat bow. It means it doesn’t get knocked about in the car.

Bracing Height – Check your bracing height for the bow. This can vary depending on the style of bow, limbs etc.  and may change over time as the string stretches slightly, so you will need to monitor it.

Another advantage of getting it from an archery shop is they should check and set this for you when you get it. Make a note of it and better still a photo so you know exactly what it is. Get a bracing rule / gauge.

Bracing on bow

Bracing on bow

String – make sure you get the right length string and some string wax. String wax is often forgotten in the excitement of buying your bow, but is very important as it protects your string and binds the strands together. I wax the string every other time I shoot.

String loops

check for wear and wax

Limbs – Another area that can see wear are the limb pockets.

Limb pocket and bolt

Limb pocket and bolt

It is not uncommon for archers to be a little over enthusiastic when fitting in the limbs and over tightening the bolts or cross threading them.

Limb fitted into pocket

Limb fitted into pocket

This is something to look out for if you are buying a bow second hand. Check the limb pockets aren’t warn or the bolt damaged. Also check the limbs for any scratches or signs of damage along their edge. A good way of doing this is to run a cloth duster down the llimb edge. If it snags on anything then it might show damage on the limb edge such as a split or splinter.

Check for wear

Check for wear

Also check the limb string grooves for any sharp edges or signs of wear.

Ok that will have to do for now. I hope you have found this useful, My plan is do write another one shortly on arrows.

As always, thanks for reading.and let me know what you think