The St. Charles Thunderbird
Recurve Anniversary Edition
Thunderbird Anniversary Recurve are available as a custom order item only
Inquire for quote on projected
$750.00, plus $30 shipping in conus
RH, LH or RH/LH
63" and 66"
Limbs of select matched Yew laminations under clear Gordon glass
Multiple lamination I-beam construction handle riser of Yew, Osage Orange, Dark Ipe or Bubinga
Hardened tip overlays
Hand Skived, wrapped Elk hide grip in black or brown or bare wood grip
Ships with two hand laid B50 bowstrings and fleece bow sock
The Story of the original St. Charles Thunderbird
Over the Winter of '52-'53 my father Glenn St. Charles launched a new and exciting project: a full working recurve limb bow utilizing a relatively new material - fiberglass - in combination with hardwood laminations. Most innovative were its long handle riser and relatively its short, fully working recurved limbs.
At the time of its introduction in the Spring of 1953 the St. Charles Thunderbird recurve was truly unique in its design. By the Spring of 1957 nearly all recurve bows in production mirrored the Thunderbird's basic short limb long riser style. A little over 300 of the original Thunderbirds were produced 1952 through 1954, during which time the basic bow went through a variety of minor variations. The example shown below featured a light walnut rider and was built in 1954.
Reproducing the my father's original 63" Thunderbird was an interesting task. I had the original form, a wood and metal device which used rubberbands cut from automobile inner tubes for tension. The fiberglass of those days ranged from the earliest commercial glass bow backings to woven fiberglass interior bulkhead material originally developed for World War II aircraft. Adhesives were an experiment in themselves.
I first built a small series of bows using the original rubber band pressed wood/metal form and these early bows performed beautifully. However, it was clear that to create a cosmetically sound bow and make the best use of the modern glass and adhesives we enjoy, an exact, but modern copy of the original form was badly needed.
This modern form produced
what I was looking for. I could now recreate the beautiful
recurve bows I remembered as a small child. What is more, I
found that the second "rising" of the Thunderbird brought back
the great feeling I had as a young kid, hanging around the old
bow shop with my Dad and the great guys that were his closest
archery buddies, my earliest heroes. Years and some
hundreds of 2nd Generation Thunderbirds later, that feeling and
the joy in recreating these wonderfully shooting bows has not
More images of the original Thunderbirds, the 50th Anniversay Editon and other bow history is posted on this site at:
History of an Original: The St. Charles Thunderbird Recurve Bow
Jay St. Charles