The St. Charles Thunderbird Recurve


$750.00, plus shipping

RH or LH, or double sided RH/LH


Limbs of select matched yew laminations under clear Gordon glass

Laminated I-beam construction handle riser of Yew, Ipe or Bubinga

Horn 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 bowsock

  Updated October 4th, 2014

New St. Charles Thunderbird Recurves in Stock, ready for immediate shipment

47#@28" RH Red Bubinga, Yew Lams, Clear fiberglass back and face $750.00

50#@28" RH Dark Ipe Riser, Yew Lams, Clear fiberglass back and face $750.00

50#@28" RH Red Bubinga Riser, Yew Lams,  Clear fiberglass back and face $750.00 

37#@28" RH Dark Ipe Riser, Yew Lams, Clear fiberglass back and face $750.00

50#@28" RH Yew Riser, Yew Lams, Clear fiberglass back and face $750.00

30#@28" RH/LH (double shelf) Red Bubinga Riser, Yew Lams, Clear fiberglass back and face $750.00






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 bow limbed 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 truely unique in its design. By the Spring of 1957 nearly all recurve bows in production mirrored the Thunderbird's basic style. A little over 300 of the original Thunderbirds were produced through 1953 and 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 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 the day ranged from the earliest commercial glass bow backings to woven fiberglass bulkhead material origially developed for World War II bomber aircraft. Adhesives were an experiment in themselves.

I first built a small series of bows using the original rubberband pressed wooden 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 wonderful modern glass and adhesives we enjoy an exact, but modern, copy of the original form was badly needed.

This produced was I was looking for. I could now reproduce the beautiful bows I remembered as a 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 earlist heros. Years and some hundreds of bows later, that feeling and the joy in recreating these wonderfuly shooting bows has not diminished.

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