RH/LH, Double Shelf Bows, what’s that about? – by Jay St. Charles

The following article was originally posted on Social Media. I am sharing here with permission from Jay St. Charles because I not only do I strongly agree with the content but I also had the opportunity to spend some time with Jay this past week at his shop dipping my toes into exactly what he is talking about here.

Double shelf bows at the ready
Double shelf bows at the ready

It’s about expanding your personal archery capabilities. It can be about making an optimum bowhunting shot from an otherwise awkward position and it can be about promoting an even muscular development of your back. Shooting both handed can be a way of leaving persistent bad habits and panic behind and can help teach you things about your form you might not otherwise detect. And it’s also very much about your personal archery fun!

I’ve been practicing both handed archery my whole career (and so did my father Glenn).
Contrary to popular belief, your archery does not have to be tied to the concept of “master eye”. For a brand new beginning archer who is being taught to aim with a sight or the arrow tip, yes, it will make that early archery easier for both the student and their instructor. But for the polished, experienced archer, even if they shoot with a sight or by gap, it can work just fine. I’ve done it and so have thousands of others.
And if you are a both eyes open, look and shoot instinctive archer you’ll find the experience absolutely seamless, requiring no thought or shifting of gears. You simply draw and shoot one way or the other, from one shot to the next if you like.

Double shelf bow
Closeup of a dual shelf Thunderbird

Imagine shooting a full afternoon where your fingers are worn out and your bow arm is too. I can simply flip the bow over and do the whole thing all over again, other handed.
Funny thing, it’s not unusual for some archers to discover they become better archers shooting with their other hand. Some of this can be as natural as the fact that most right handed people will have a stronger bow arm in their dominate right arm. Or some undetected weakness or physical circumstance may be bypassed by becoming an other handed archer.

True, a double shelf window can not be cut to center, but unless you’re tuning for championship competition, no bow needs to be. A double shelf bow will instead have a symmetrical 1/4″ from center windows that will shoot the same correctly spined arrow easily and very well off of either side.
I’m passing this on as something I practiced and taught as an archery professional for over 50 years. You start with a light draw (25# or maybe less) other handed bow and simply fool around with it, all for fun. In my own experience doing this as a teenager, I was up to good skills with a 35# in a day or so and shooting 45# within the week. If you are already a practiced archer you’ll find that there’s really no difficulty to it.
But ultimately, why even fool with this? Because it’s fun, perhaps the reason you took up archery in the first place.

Double shelf bows
Jay usually has several of these dual shelf Thunderbirds in stock

Jay St. Charles lives in Washington state where he is owner and operator at Pacific Yew Longbows contact information is available on his website.

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