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
Multiple lamination 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 bow sock
Updated January, 2015
Thunderbird Recurves in Stock, ready for immediate shipment
58#@28", RH, Osage Orange, Yew Lams, Clear Glass Back and Face $750.00
30#@28", RH/LH, Red Bubinga Riser, Yew Lams, White Glass back
and Face $750.00
24#@28", RH/LH, Red Bubinga Riser, Yew Lams, White Glass 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 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 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 diminished.
History of an Original: The St. Charles Thunderbird Recurve Bow
Jay St. Charles