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  • Evian Blackthorn
    Carolus wrote ... cam. I second him. The mechanical principles behind the thumb-ring are exactly the same principles that are used in modern release aids .
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 2, 2001
      Carolus wrote'
      >Technically, as the string is held by the ring and not the
      >fingers it is a "release aid" and works as a mechanical

      I second him. The mechanical principles behind the
      thumb-ring are exactly the same principles that are used in
      'modern release aids'. The thumb-ring IS a moving part. The
      only major difference between the thumb-ring and a modern
      release aid is that the thumb-ring isn't contained in a
      case, with a button to push to release it. It is NOT just a
      covering for the fingers, like a tab or glove, but a cam and
      lever machine. A simple machine, to be sure, but a machine
      none the less. But then all machines, even the most complex,
      are made up of the five basic simple machines, and that's
      all they are. The basic machines are the wheel and axle, the
      lever, the wedge, the pulley, and the screw. The cam is a
      modified wheel and axle. In the "Mediterannean release", the
      three (or two) fingers, with or without a glove or tab, form
      a 'hook' that catches the string, and pulls it back, using
      the unaided muscle power of the fingers to maintain the
      'hook'.. With the thumb-ring, the index finger 'hooks' a
      lever, while the string is caught by a cam (which uses the
      thumb joint as the axle). Then this whole thing is drawn
      back. The mechanical advantage of the 'lever' requires less
      muscle power from the finger to maintain the 'hook'. Upon
      release, in the "Mediterannean release", the fingers open
      and the string is released. Upon release, with a thumb-ring,
      the finger releases the lever. The lever, which is connected
      solidly to the cam, flies forward as the cam rotates, along
      with the end of the thumb, around the axis of the thumb
      joint (the axle) until the string can slide off the cam, and
      be released. The only part of the body that 'moves' by the
      choice of the person is the finger. The ring, and the thumb,
      moves by the force being applied to it by the string, which
      was restrained by the finger working through a lever arm.
      Sounds like a moving part to me.

      O course, the only thumb-ring I have ever actually seen
      and successfully used was made of bone and was of my own
      design. I tried to copy several different designs that I
      found in "Stone's", but both the photo quality and the
      designs leave a lot to be desired there. When you read
      through the text, you begin to realize that NONE of the
      thumbrings shown are made from the common materials he
      states were normally used for actual shooting thumbrings.
      You further realize that, in all probabilities, all the
      rings he pictures were purely ornamental. After trying
      several designs, I decided that they just flat didn't work.
      At least not right. So I set about using the basic concept,
      and designed my own. I came up with a design that works. It
      works well. I have no idea if it is at all similar to any
      true period thumb-ring, or not, though a friend claimed he
      saw one very similar in a museum somewhere. I do know this.
      I do not put extreme (and painful) pressure on my thumb
      joint, as I did with those from "Stone's". I do not have to
      put as much finger muscle power into holding the lever with
      one finger as I did when holding the string with three. I
      also do not have trouble with the ring wanting to fly off my
      thumb, nor with it digging into the back of my thumb on
      release, both of which were common complaints with those
      from "Stone's". I do not hook over the end of the bent
      thumb. I hook only over the tang (lever) of the ring, with
      my thumb held straight out towards the target, instead of
      bent. This produces a clean, crisp, and smooth release,
      without pain or other problems. I have no idea of whether my
      accuracy is good or not. I broke the only bow I had at the
      time that I could use with the ring two days after I
      completed the ring, and cracked the ring then when I dropped
      it on concrete later on, before getting another bow that I
      could use with it. By the time I got a bow that I could use
      with a thumbring, I had mis-placed the now cracked ring, and
      really didn't 'need' it for the underpowered 20# bow I had
      gotten. But I will soon be making another one, and will pass
      on whatever information I can after extensive use. But let
      me assure all that the way I designed my thumb-ring, it was
      a MACHINE. It might be only a single carved piece of bone
      that slips on the thumb, but it IS a moving part. It is not
      just a cover for the thumb so that the string won't abraid
      the skin. Without the ring in place, using the same basic
      hand, thumb, and finger positions, my grip would best be
      described as a typical pinch grip. I can't pinch grip a
      string on a bow that weighs more than about 25 to 30#, but
      with the ring in place, I broke a 45# bow by overpulling it,
      without too much effort or strain. That is, effort from or
      strain on the drawing fingers. The rest of me was under the
      normal strain. I could not shoot the 45# bow with a pinch
      grip, as the string would pull out of my grip at about 18"
      of draw. I pulled it effortlessly to about 42" with the
      ring. and it broke. So obviouly, my ring is of a different
      design than those used by persons who "prefer shooting an
      eastern release without a ring", as Kaz indicated. Not
      knocking you, Kaz. But with my ring and the grip it
      requires, shooting the same way is just not possible without
      the ring. At least not with a heavy bow. When I get my new
      heavy Magyar bow in from Horsebows (ordered last week), and
      get a new thumb-ring made, I'll get some photos done up and
      on my website so everyone can see what I mean. Maybe someone
      out there can even help me find out if it is similar to some
      true period thumb-ring, and if so, which one.

      Evian Blackthorn of THE WEB
      Editor, Bodkin and Bolt Magazine
      APD TEST Site
    • jrosswebb1@webtv.net
      Dear Evian and all, With all due respects to you M Lord and your shooting. If you are using the thumbring with a pinch grip you have invented a way of
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 2, 2001
        Dear Evian and all,
        With all due respects to you M'Lord and your shooting. If you are
        using the thumbring with a "pinch grip" you have invented a way of
        shooting that is not typical of most thumbring shooting. The string is
        held at somewhere near the first joint of the thumb and the thumb is
        supported with the index finger thus locking it in place.The arrow is
        held on the string supported by the "crouch" between the index and
        middle finger. Fortunately there is a great deal of documentation on the
        Middle-Eastern style of shooting and much of it is period. I would ask
        to chime in here as he has devoted the last few years to this study. You
        can see reproductions of ancients using this grip in Robert Hardy's
        In respect to your definition of this as being a mechanical moving
        device, most of the mechanical parts you described are part of the human
        anatomy. Yes, the human body has a machine like quality to it, but we
        usually don't refer to things done by human hands as being made by
        machine, so therefore the pivotal, wheel and axle character of the
        finger cannot be used to define the thumbring as a mechanized item with
        moving parts. You were born with it already installed.The mechanical
        releases, rope kind, bearing,etc. place your hand away from the string
        and you hold them more like you would a pistol operating a trigger, so
        I'm sorry, but I don't see the relation.
        I do not shoot with a thumbring. Many of my friends do. Some even
        shoot kyudo.
        I see no technical advantage to it, but I respect the art and devotion
        to it. Most are shooting with bows that are enormously heavier on the
        draw than you describe. A pinch grip just wouldn't work, even with a

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