Friday, October 13, 2017

Right Handed Bow VS Left Handed Bow

How to tell a Right Handed Bow from a
 Left Handed Bow
 by Larry Vienneau
never trust a seller, they often know nothing about archery. This photo shows that both the model and photographer are clueless when it comes to using a bow.
Most sellers are clueless about the bows they are selling. Above is an example I found on eBay and it is being used by many archery sellers from Asia, the mistake are numerous, but the biggest is she is holding the bow upside down and if she loosed her arrow then she would hurt herself. The photographer also posed the model as if she was a left handed shooter.
Roughly 10% of the population is naturally left handed and about 18% of right handed population are left eye dominate (my situation). However archery manufacturers have never kept up with this trend. During the 1950 many manufacturers made dual shelf bows which accommodated both dexterity but some manufactures ignored the left handed archer completely making only right hand models.  In the late 50s and early 60s manufacturers began producing both right hand and left hand bows, sometimes charging more for the left hand version or requiring left hand bow be special order. As a result there are far fewer good vintage or used left handed bow available today. A typical search on eBay for used recurves results in approximately 300 auctions of which 25 are for used left handed bows, less than 10%. A search of new recurves on eBay results in about 1,700 auctions and a search for new left handed bow results in 160, again less than 10%
So when I do a search for used left hand bows and 4 out of the 25 available turn out to be mislabeled, I get frustrated. One of me pet peeves are bow seller on eBay who can’t tell the difference between a right handed bow and a lefty. What is even more aggravating is an ignorant seller who is to stubborn take suggestions or comments. Then there are the sellers who have been shooting their bow backwards for years. One seller actually said "What difference does it make?" The important issue is safety. A bow strung backwards is much more likely to break because the backward limbs are not designed to take stress. There is also the likelihood of the string will slip off during full draw. Both of these are dangerous to the shooter and spectators. 
this bow could break or the string slip and injure the child

If you go online there is no shortage of examples of people shooting backward strung bows. 

this fellow is supposed to be an archery instructor, he has his bow strung backwards

here he is instructing his student, please note that all of the bows are strung backwards
shooting incorrectly strung bows are dangerous

 Hollywood has added to the confusion about what is a properly strung bow. Here is promotional material widely distributed for the epic movie "Exodus. Gods and Kings" Christian Bale is holding a horsebow strung backwards.

how a horse bow should look when strung
The Disney movie "Brave" was a wonderful children's movie about a young girl who challenges the traditional role of girls in medieval England. It also generated a lot of interest in the sport of archery for young girls. Unfortunately at the film's premiere a red haired girl was posed with backward strung bow. I guess they thought no one would notice!

this is a properly strung bow
And of course there are plenty of photographers who pose their models shooting bows incorrectly.
she has no idea what she is doing..

I guess they thought no one would be looking at the bow


the onlooker is waiting for the string to pop off and wondering why does she not have an arrow on the string??

no caption needed
When searching through the many bows for sale online I often see bows strung backwards.
two backward strung right handed bows, they appear to be left handed
 Some people do this internationally believing it is a safe way to store a bow, while other people do not know any better, thinking this is how a strung bow is supposed to look. I guess if this was 1965 that excuse would work but today anyone with the slightest interest in archery can go online and look up how a recurve is supposed to be stored or strung. So today there is absolutely no excuse for ignorance, it just takes a little initiative to do a little research. 

Shooting Right handed, bow held with left hand                                         shooting left handed, bow held with right hand

The biggest misconception people have is they believe a right handed bow is held in the right hand. A right-hand bow is actually held in the LEFT hand and drawn back with the right hand. Likewise, a left-hand bow is held in the RIGHT hand and drawn back with the left hand.  The drawing hand is the factor which dictates whether a bow is right handed of left handed. 
two nearly identical Ocala 14A bows. One is left handed and the other is righthanded

The problem is that ignorant sellers often have their bows strung backwards so that a right handed bow appears to be left handed. I once had a long exchange with a seller who insisted he was selling a left handed bow (right hand bow strung backwards) I sent him a photo of a guy shooting a bow strung backwards and he responded that is how he shoots. 
lefty strung backwards
I photographed one of my son’s right handed bow strung backwards (lefty) then I strung it correctly (righty). Needless to say he sheepishly admitted he had been shooting his bow wrong for years.

I usually send these sellers the 3Rivers Archery YouTube video;

left handed bow strung, rest on right side of bow                                                right hand bow strung, rest on left side of bow

Most seller are very thankful for the help and will change their listing to correct the dexterity.

If you find a seller who insists that the listing is correct, send them this link.

© Copyright, Larry Vienneau Jr.

All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Shakespeare Catalog May 1969


by Larry Vienneau

Like many of Shakespeare Wonderbows, this bow is named after a national forest; Kaibab National Forest in Arizona. The word Kaibab is a native word meaning “the mountain that lies down” referring to the Kaibab Plateau.
  • 1966 -69 AMO 56 inch, 1970 AMO 58inch , 1971 -56 inch
  • Weights 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60
  • Handle –Benge or Seduha and Zebrawood
  • Tips- Benge and Zebrawood
  • Semi pistol grip
  • Limbs- 2 inch wide, Black glass 1966, after 1967 – 1970 Dark Olive Green,  Black with white glass laminate 1971
  • Brace Height 1966-68 7 1/2" after 1969 8 inch
  • sight window -4inch
  • Arrow speed- 12 shots average, 410 grain arrow, 55# bow- 182.80 FPS

In 1964 Shakespeare bows started to look similar to the Root Archery. Ernie Root sold several designs to Shakespeare and they modified them and renamed them. Root Brush Master became Shakespeare Kaibab; Root Game Master became Shakespeare Ocala. Shakespeare finally bought Root in 1967. Ernie Root continued to be an important influence in Shakespeare bow design. The first bows after the sale bore the name "Root, by Shakespeare". Shortly thereafter Ernie Root went to work for Shakespeare, and the Root name was dropped completely. This bow is a perfect example of Ernie Root design. In the early 1960’s Root produced the Root Brush Master. The Brush Master had black glass, and the risers were laminated Zebrawood and Seduha. Shakespeare bought Root Archery in 1967 and Ernie was their chief bow designer. The Kaibab is nearly identical to the Brush Master except for slight riser modifications. From 1967 – 1970, The Kaibab was 58 inch long and had dark green glass. After 1971 it appears that Shakespeare was offering lengths of 56 and 58 inch in either dark Green or Black glass and did make custom bows over 60 lbs. The Kaibab was considered a high end quality bow like the Ocala and was Bear Archery’s primary competitor.

I own three Kaibab bows
I love this bow!! I own one 1967 55+#, one 1969 55+# and one 1970 -45#. Kaibab it is a silent, level, forgiving, beautiful, extremely fast and a deadly accurate shooter. It is a short bow but is also very consistent which makes it a fine choice for hunting or 3D shooting. The graining lamination on the 1967 are extremely beautiful
My Kaibab X27, 1967 55+#. note the wonderful wood grains
I have not found many Kaibab bow in Left hand models so if I find a X27 in excellent condition I will bid on them. The 1969 is another 55+# bow and it is shorter than the 1969 model with black fiberglass.
My 1969 55+# Kaibab X27
the 1970 Kaibab X27also has black fiberglass and there is also glass lamination on the riser. 
1970 Kaibab x27 with black fiberglass with black glass on riser
1970 top, 1969 middle, 1967 on bottom

Profiles of 1970, 1969, and 1967 Kaibab X27

© Copyright, Larry Vienneau Jr.

All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

How Photography can sell your Vintage Bow

Great Photos Will Help You Sell Your 
Vintage Bow
(all photos used are actual photos found on eBay auctions)

 Getting started

EBay is known for the worst product photos, yet I am often amazed by the photographs some people use in auctions. If you go to eBay and search “Recurves, longbows” you will see some excellent photos as well as some deplorable photos. Nothing will sell your bow better than good quality photos. Poor quality photos will be a detriment.  This is true whether you are selling vintage archery equipment or electronics. 

Today most smartphones have excellent cameras which are suited for photographing for on-line purposes. Smartphones also allow you to edit the photo. However if you want professional quality here are hundreds of digital cameras on the market and new models are coming out virtually every week with higher and higher image quality. Image quality is determined by number of pixels –or mega pixels a camera can resolve. The higher the pixels, the higher the quality, expensive cameras allow for higher resolution.
You really do not need extreme high-resolution for your auction photography. In fact, high-resolution photos are a hindrance because they take a long time to download when someone opens an auction. EBay recommends that photo file sizes be limited to 50 kilobytes. Actually you can go up to I -2 megabyte with no problem. One Megabyte will allow the potential buyers to see finer details. Sixty-four kilobytes (64kb) is the size of email setting on most digital cameras. So this is one of the first features you need to look for when buying a camera –make sure it has a low resolution or email setting.
The email setting is OK for most digital photos if you are not going to crop them. When you do, you lose detail. If you are planning to crop or edit your photos a resolution of 1 or 2 Megapixels is needed.  I always shoot at highest resolution and then edit and resize them for online or auction purposes.  Higher resolution will preserve the detail when you crop or resize. Always save the higher resolution versions.

 Shoot outdoors in indirect light.
Shooting in direct sunlight will result in unwanted shadows and high contrast.  If you look on eBay you will often find photos with a shadow cast by the photographer, THINK! Your shadow is NOT helping you sell your bow!!  

Get your shadow OUT OF THE PHOTO! Sting your bow correctly

I always shoot in indirect light. Indirect light reduces the chance of glare. If you have a north facing window, this can often produce very nice diffuse light. If you have a good quality camera use a tripod and a slower shutter speed, typically under 1/125th of a second. Using a sturdy tripod will prevent blur and allow you to shoot all the way down to 1/25th of a second with good results. A sturdy tripod can cost as much as $100, but second-hand tripods can be found for as little as $20-$30. If you are using lights, you can purchase white plastic light covers to diffuse the light or use a light tent such as the “EZ Cube”.  
The “EZ Cube” is a light tent widely used by good photographers. It makes taking great photos easy. You simply place an object inside the light tent; shine the lights on the outside and you get very diffused light. This eliminates glare and reflection from shiny objects. Also it has a seamless background and you can place different colored paper or cloth in the background to get different effects.

Never photograph you bow strung backwards. Some people leave their bow strung backwards to during storage. However most people who are familiar with recurves do not do this. I see many on eBay because the seller is ignorant, they have no idea how to string a bow. Some buyers ignore seller with bows strung backwards because it signal ignorance. Don't be ignorant or lazy, string your bow properly!
 One more thing, it is tempting to use photos found online of the same model as the bow you are selling, do not do this! I once found someone selling a Shakespeare Mancos on eBay and he was using my photo from my blog. The stupid thing was he was selling a right handed bow and mine was left handed. This is actually very deceitful, it leads the buyer into believing that the bow for sale is the same one on the photo. Do not be lazy, use your own photos!!

watch out for flash flare
Avoid reflective flares that distract from your subject

Focus carefully and correctly!!!  
I see out-of- focus pictures on eBay every day. In the photo below the seller has neither the bow or the background in focus. As a result a buyer gains little from the photo.

Poor focus usually credited to one or two things.  Auto-focus malfunction or lack of depth of field. Most digital cameras shoot a laser or infrared beam onto the object being photographed and measure the distance to focus. This beam can often be fooled by large objects (to close) that allow the beam to spread out or by something reflective surface on the object that fools the beam.
 Sometimes the camera is focusing on an object behind your subject this is because the camera can’t find correct depth of field. Have you ever looked at a photograph where the subject is in focus and the background is all fuzzy? “Depth of field” is the focal distance from “near to far” the camera will cover where everything is in focus. The lens opening on a camera adjusts to allow more of less light into the camera. When the lens opening is large, the camera has a very narrow range of focus, when the opening is small, the focal length is longer. This result is exaggerated when you are shooting very close when taking photos of tiny objects or detail.

Most people who own an expensive camera are familiar with “depth of field” issues. So for the general public with a smartphone or inexpensive camera I suggest that you take your time and allow the camera to “read” your object. You should take several photos to assure you have correct focus. If your camera does not focus on close objects then set the camera for the highest megapixels allowed, take your photo at a distance that the camera does focus and then crop or edit you image before you upload it to an auction site.
Lastly, make sure your photo is oriented correctly. This can be done while the image is still in the camera, it can be edited on your computer, and some auction sites have edit options when you upload.

Three eBay photos oriented incorrectly. Don’t be lazy, turn the photos!!

Here is another example of a poorly orientated photo. The dog is a cute touch

A horrible blurry photo found on eBay

Out of focus, and poorly lit. (See the foot?)

An example of a poorly lit, under exposed and out-of-focus photo (what is the electric plug doing there?)

Get the feet out of the photo!
more feet!
bare feet

One more with ugly feet, poor lighting

Keep your feet out of the photo or take them out by cropping

Avoid clutter.

 Keep your backgrounds as simple as possible. I use deerskin as a back drop.  You could use gray or off white fabric or even animal fur.

This is an example of an uncluttered, well lit, well cropped, quality photo of vintage bow

Here is a great example of good composition, lighting, and simple background.

Try to photograph only the object you are shooting. Get your feet, your dog, the laundry, and the kid’s toys out of the photograph! If you are going to use carpet make sure it is clean. Putting your bow on a table surrounded with clutter in the background will distract from your subject.  

Here is a good example of a cluttered photo. What is this person trying to sell?

Clean up the background as much as possible. Pick a background that shows off your bow in the best possible way, do not place the bow against a background that will overpower the bow. 

I found this photo on eBay, believe it or not there is a bow hiding in that photo

This is a terrible photo because a buyer can’t really see what you are selling. Clean the clutter

Cluttered and out of focus, what is this seller trying to sell?

Another example of a cluttered photograph, a buyer will pass this up because the bow is too hard to see

This bow is lost against a landscape background

This is a much better use of a landscape background

A great example of a well-lit and well composed vintage bow. All of this seller’s bows are well photographed
Avoid Over or Under exposure.


If you are shooting objects on a white background or shooting outside in bright sun light, you camera’s automatic light meter can often be fooled by trying to adjust to the surrounding bright light rather than the object. Most cameras have a metering feature which allows you to meter different areas of an object. When in doubt, don’t meter the strongest lights (overexposed) or darkest shadows (underexposed), look for mid-values to meter. Sometimes it is helpful to have a piece of light gray board of material handy to meter.

If your camera is set on Daylight and you shoot indoors with an ordinary household light bulb, you photos will appear yellow. If you shoot indoors with a fluorescent light, your photos will appear blue-grey. You can purchase Daylight bulbs. These are ordinary light bulbs that have the same wave length as daylight; you can find daylight bulbs at most large camera stores.  If you are using indoor light bulbs or fluorescent lights, just set your camera for the correct type of light you are using. Sometimes these exposure problems can be corrected when you edit your photos. I avoid this by shooting outside in indirect sunlight.

Get close.

I often see photos of bow shot from yards away, how is this helpful to a buyer? Getting close to your subject will produce a better photo. It is easier to focus accurately when you are close and it will show more of the object without the distracting clutter. Remember if your camera has trouble focusing close- in, use a larger pixel format (1 or 2 megapixel) so that you can edit a close up later. Always take good profile shots of the riser. Take several shots of the limbs, tip overlays, and make sure you take good photos of any flaws such a dings and scratches.

Close ups of flaws will give a buyer an idea of what they are paying for. It also is good protection for the seller since the seller has fully disclosed any imperfection with the bow.

This is a good example of what not to do. This seller did not get close to the item

I am not going to attempt to teach you how to edit; this is something you will have to master on your own. Editing photos often is difficult at first but it will improve your photographs.  Most computers come with some photo editing software installed, try them, and practice often. There are other software which are more complicated. I use Photoshop Elements to edit all my online and auction photos. Elements is an easier version than the full Photoshop versions. You can find older versions of Photo shop elements on eBay. There is also free software called GIMP which runs kind of like Photoshop. It is a free download :

do not string your bow like this, string it correctly

Things to learn and practice:

Sizing – learn how to resize your image. This is very helpful when you have a really high resolution image and you want to make it smaller for email or eBay

Enhancing- this refers to altering the value and color of your photo. This is helpful when you have a slightly over or under exposed photo.

Cropping- This is THE most important editing feature because you can take a cluttered photo and remove all if the distractions

When you have mastered these you can start playing with other features such as layers and filters.

Here are some helpful links:

The best way to learn to take good photos is to practice, practice practice. Remember, put your best foot forward! Use your best photo first, usually it is a riser profile or a profile of the whole bow. The better your photos become the more likely you will sell your bows.  Read your camera’s instruction manual completely and experiment with all of the controls and functions until you are comfortable with them.  Be willing to re-shoot your subject if needed, sometime the item looks in focus but later you discover that it is blurry. Re-shoot it! If you spend a lot of time looking at bows on eBay you will notice some sellers have perfected a formula for lighting, framing, and editing. These sellers often get the highest prices for their bows. The quality of the photos is an important tool when it comes to selling your bows.

Here are some examples of how important good photos are to both buyers and seller. 

This seller is outstanding. He uses beautiful photography . He also uses editing to offer several angles in each photo. ep1944

These are bows refinished and restored by Doan Archery, he uses well composed and well lit photos, His bows are exquisite and the photos reflect this.

This seller is one of the best on eBay. Though the prices are high, the seller adds a dozen or more photos
and adds close ups of any flaws. Note how the bows are centered in the photo, this is good editing. prettyimpracticals

This seller uses riser close-up as his lead photo and adds several detail photos to inform a buyer

This seller uses his backyard as a backdrop for his bows.
 I enjoy looking at his bows as the seasons change.   whitetailridge