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So you're building a bow and the process is cruising right along.... Noooo problems!

You have floor tillered it, you have braced it at 6"+- and you have even drawn it to 1/2 your intended draw length. You're certain it is going to be your best-ever bow build!

And then it happens- The Stack. The good news is that you have recognized it. The bad news is that you're not exactly sure what to do about it!
I know, I've been where you are!

At exactly 1" past your half draw distance- and still a foot away from your preferred full draw- your stave gets uncomfortable to draw, its stacking. Its almost as if the wood is telling you you're about to blow it up. Heed its subtle warning for it may maybe telling you the truth!

There's a fine line between a strong, well-built bow and a broken stave. Recognizing when and where to remove more material (wood) from a stave's core or belly is certainly key. It is not as mysterious or elusive as you might think. Its more a matter of experience blended in with a little common sense and some patience.

What a guy or gal might do....
Start by making sure you do not have any interruptions in your taper. Next, determine where the stave is not bending and teach it to bend by removing material from those areas. If that helps but more flex is required, remove material off of the riser area. If the stave is bending uniformly but more flex is needed to reach full draw, remove material evenly throughout the stave's length from tip to tip. Early in your bow building career it may be better to have a bow come out a little lighter in draw weight than it is to damage or break a would-have-been bow. Experience as opposed to building the perfect bow is the goal.

In my bow building classes, bow hunting, SCA or serious target archery students are at times distracted or concerned with making a "strong enough" bow. After stringing their staves and achieving a proper brace height I have them "tug" the bow to approximately half draw.

Usually the stave will begin to stack at the 15" +- mark. GREAT! This means it is still plenty strong and we have wood to work with. It is at this point that new-to-bow-building folks error.

Because a strung or "braced" stave looks like a bow they tend to treat it like a bow- often overdrawing it or worse, attempting to shoot it when it is actually only 1/2 way completed. The resulting broken bow can be devastating, disheartening and potentially dangerous. I know because I have felt the emotional "sting" of disappointment and the physical sting of a bowstring off of a shattered bow.

Ideally, I want my bows to bend evenly throughout their entire length and my entire draw. Checking my limbs' taper and differential OFTEN during the tillering process ensures very predictable weight-gain per inch. I prefer to shoot bows that reach a stacking point in the final 3/4".... Ill say it again 3/4 INCH.... of my full draw. This makes for a really nice, solid anchor. Combined with a broad head touching the second digit of my bow hand's index finger, the 3/4" of stack sends the message to my brain that I have the bow maxed out. It also prevents the urge to overdraw the bow causing my arms to over extend, my chest to "open up", my head to raise up and all sorts of other bad habits to form.

How have you coped with stacking situations? Hinging problems?
 

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How have you coped with stacking situations? Hinging problems?
Tom, for me it's always knowing the feel between stack and when it's just a heavy bow. The methods you state are spot on.

Here's what I did notice right away in the beginning days. Most of my bow came out pretty darn close to my normal shooting weight, which is target weight bows :) Why? That's what I feel shooting a bow most days of the week. It was very hard for me to detect a 55# bow or higher from stack other than floor tiller checks very carefully going through what you describe. I can get there, I just have to be extra careful and extra slow.

It really helps to have a sample of similar draw weight you are targeting for to feel against. Sometimes that stack can be just you, but sometimes it ain't.

Oddly enough, I have built tons of bows and never hinged one. My day might be coming, but it has not happened yet.
 
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