Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Michael Lee and StickBow Archery Traditional Bows

 Custom Handmade Bows at a Great Price
© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.

Michael Lee and Stickbow Archery
Workingman's Bows, at a Working Man's Price!

Fellow archery enthusiasts! Here is a new bowyer I have had the pleasure of meeting, (through the ether that is the internet and email,) though I must say, the circumstances of our initial introduction were less than auspicious. None the less, I am pleased to introduce him to The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles family of readers!

StickBow Archery's Michael Lee has been building bows for seven years, and commercially for three years, and has established an enviable reputation for building quality bows at a very fair price. You won't find fancy exotic tips, or thirty coats of hand-rubbed oil finish on his bows. What you will find is a reasonably finished bow that is made for work and is light, responsive, and fast!

Michael will be sending several bows to me so that I can review them. I'm really looking forward to shooting them, and reporting the results here on TROC. If his eBay feedback is indicative of the quality and value of his bows, I feel confident I'll be very pleased, as will you.

Let's get started!

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Michael, tell us how you got in the business.

Michael Lee: Well I kind of got into it in a round about fashion. I had been making bows for myself for almost ten years, when I met Dave Ruff, the owner of Siegeworks Creations. Dave gave me the opportunity to apprentice with him. Dave's a real nice guy and helped me get a start.

TROC: That's only half the story...

ML: Ummm, the rest of it is kinda rough. Dave got into a bind with some personnel issues. The truth is that he let a couple of bows slip past him and the people that he owed them to weren't too happy about it. I was still an apprentice and wasn't ready to shoulder the whole thing. I couldn't yet tiller the recurve bows really effectively, (I was too slow still!) and the best I could do was rough out the shelves or grind out to the lines. Then Dave busted his collar bone riding and shooting the horsebows he was working on, and that really put us behind. I did the best I could, and I really did learn a lot, but it wasn't pretty.

TROC: Go on, this is just getting interesting!

ML: Well we made good on 99 percent of our bows. Like anything built by hand, there were going to be a couple of things that might have gotten by us, but Dave was always willing to do the right thing and get it fixed. But his timetable revolved around the shows he was involved with, and sometimes repairs took a back seat. Again 99 percent of them got out ASAP, but there was always the one that came back to haunt us.

TROC: Michael, as I mentioned to you when I emailed you, I was digging deep into this. I learned of a few instances where Dave over promised and under delivered. That would piss anyone off! In the end though I believe he got squared up with almost everyone correct?

ML: Yes sir, he did. Except for a couple of bows that he is still working on. But the strain and aggravation got to him.

TROC: I can imagine it did. I checked the forums like Bowsite/Leatherwall and TradGang and found quite a few unsubstantiated accusations. But in the end, I found that only three bows were owed. In one case I spoke with the gentleman and between his secretary and my questions, it was ascertained that he had never been charged for the bow. He apologized for the oversight and his new bow is on its way. I have assurances from Dave that the other two are being built and will be delivered when they are done. The people in these tight knit communities are too quick to take each other's word. They should be ashamed of themselves. I wrote another piece on it here.

ML: I had no idea you had gone that far to check. But then he offered to sell me everything for a price I could afford. I felt I was taking advantage of him, but it was either that or I would be out a job too! I took him up on it and here I am, a bowyer!

TROC: As far as I can tell, you are pretty much are building a very similar line of bows. Tell me about them

ML: Well I was lucky enough to get all the forms for the bows he used to build, like your American Longbow. I do not build horsebows, those are a difficult to build and to be truthful, I do not like to build them, so I am staying away from them. I changed the SideWinder around - modified the tips somewhat so they would not be as rough on the servings on the strings and changed the limb taper slightly making the bow a true 200+ FPS bow. That wasn't easy, but now it really hits like a tiger and (has) the manners of a kitten. I mainly offer take down bows to 56" which is probably my most popular bow, the Asian styled line I call the Rebellions and the popular, tried and true longbows like yours. We are working on a 60's style recurve and of course the wood stick bows which are very popular with reenactors, the bushcraft crowd, and people just getting started in archery that don't want to spend a ton of money on a compound bow.

TROC: Now your selling on eBay! Why eBay?

ML: I am trying to build a business doing something I love, and with those bigmouths at the sites you mentioned were dragging me into the mess they created; then my online sales stopped dead in their tracks. Sir, I do this for an income too. I thought Ebay was a great way to get a good reputation in real time, you get the real time feedback of quality, service, communication, speedy deliveries, and you might not believe this, there are some cool people there!

TROC: Interestingly enough I found a thread on one of the forums exhorting people to buy your arrows, and then leave poor feedback. I would be happy to forward you a screen shot of the same.

ML: Thank you for the offer, but I saw it and sent it straight to eBay.

TROC: Nice! Those bullies and miscreants will get what's coming to them sooner or later. I've said it before and I will say it again: Our great Nation is doomed if that is how we are going to act. The anonymity of the internet lets anyone say anything they want with little fear of any reprecussions.

But Ok, enough of that! You've got some great bows but I want to know what are some new ideas you're exploring?

ML: A classic 1960 - 1970 type recurve and the Rebellion series. The Rebellion is the off shoot of the old Sidewinder but the tips have been addressed and the limb tapers different. Its a smooth bow, fast and light. Best of all its a good looking bow. I have sold a few on Ebay with great feedback on them, as well as some of my takedowns. Then there are my all new Hand Cannons. They're one handed crossbows built along medieval lines, with draws up to 80lbs. They great fun!

Hand Cannons... I want one!

TROC: Come on kid, don't hold back on me, I know what else you're cooking up, and I want you to tell my readers about it.

ML: You're going to drag it out of me aren't you?

TROC: Yeah, pretty much...

ML: It's a survival bow that I think will really take off with the bushcraft crowd. I'm building it with the same emphasis on quality and value that I am building my reputation on. You'll have to wait a bit on that because I am still refining the idea with each one I build.

TROC: Michael, I look forward to  giving it a go, and seeing your interpretation on a survival/bush bow!

ML: I'll send you one whenever you want!

TROC: Michael, thanks again for spending a little time with me here at the Chronicles. I'm looking forward to reviewing your bows, and wish you much success in your endeavours!

ML: Thank you Albert. I appreciate the opportunity.

Folks, I am certain that you'll find Michael Lee's bows a quality bow at a very fair price. If you are considering trying traditional bow, you cannot do better in my opinion than a Michael Lee StickBow model. They are a well priced, finished adequately, and good shooters.

You can contact Mike through:
or through his blog:
Michael Lee's Stickbow Archery

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert A Rasch, Hunting in Florida

Albert Rasch,HunterThough he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Those crossbows! What's not to like?

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Nice one Albert

The idea of a handmade bow with 100% of the usability and only 10% of the finish at 30% of the price is a very good one. The finish get you ooh's and Ahh's at the club, but it's the ability to send arrows where they were pointed that gets you dinner

I wasn't aware of the controversy - but as ever it's good to see a man take a pride in his work and stand by the results. I've had to man-up and go back to work for free too, and while it sucks at the time it beats the alternative!

Michaels 'survival bow' has caught my imagination too, I've started saving for it and plan a trip to Italy to give it a thorough field test on some Cinghiale. Sounds ideal.


Albert A Rasch said...


I couldn't have said it better! You're not going to find white shellac and boiled linseed oil lovingly applied, what you are going to get is a good serviceable finish meant to protect your bow.

But yes, we will know much more this summer when I get home and try some of his wares out!


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Who wouldn't like a black widow, or a bow from any number of uber bowyers? Just cant afford it.

I think he's on to a winner with his idea, the only things i dont like are the waiting time, and that rule of hand made outdoor equipment where the cooler the company the worse the website (see a forthcoming post for many many examples), Oh and his US shipping only, that I dont like.


Albert A Rasch said...

I'm sure he will get on sometime today.

I've always wanted a Howard Hill, but like you, I have to watch where and how I spend my money. In the end if you're a hunter, all that matters is if the bow put the arrows where you wanted them.

And SBW, what are friends for?

All the best,Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
Extreme Wild Boar Hunting in Florida!

Michael Spinelli said...

That's an idea I don't believe I have seen, a takedown "survival" bow. That is certainly an interesting concept. I can see where it might be very convenient to have it available especially in places where a firearm is impermissable, or even during regular hunting season where having it might be a wise idea. I hate to have to wait until the summmer Albert, any chance of getting a few pictures before hand?

Mike S
Outdoor Travels and Adventures!

Michael Lee said...

Good Afternoon gentlemen,
SBW, I am taking a look at the shipping over seas. I saw Dave go through a few bouts with this in regard. I'll save you the details.

The survival bow is a 58" take down recurve that will pack into a GOD pack and within the bow are fish hooks, weights, water tabs, fire striker and a built in compass. The handle is wrapped with 550 para cord which can be used for lashings and even a trot line. Heck, I guess one could even sew up a wound with the 7 strand inner core if needed /ouch.... I believe that (as i was taught) a good servicable bow is what is needed for protection and putting meat on the fire. While the finish of the bows are not by any means an eyesore - they are not "5 miles deep" looking either. They could be.... for a price. Currently I have about 100 stick bows in stock ready to ship along with a 68" clear glassed bamboo/yew wood longbow and a clear glass 58" purpleheart takedown with bamboo and maple. Both are 50# right handed. I am trying to build a tad of stock for those that just want that bow now. But with all the draw weights and options people want it is expensive to keep that kind of stock. SBW I got your email, I am sure we can work something out. I have more supplies coming in next week and need to build a few stock survival bows as they are starting to take off. Albert - pics are coming lol.. Took some this week, got to take more :)

Thanks again for taking the time, and taking a shot with me. I really appreciate the opportunity!

Michael Lee
Michael Lee's Stickbow Archery

Bob S said...

You young fellers enjoy shooting your bows! It really makes me feel good to listen to your banter back and forth and remember the good old days of fiberglass and local woods. They might have been heavy bows, but they shot none the less, and brought home the deer!

Good luck on your new venture Michael!

Big Bob

Albert A Rasch said...

SBW, Mr Bob, Michael, seems like blogger screwed up and had to reset a bunch of stuff. If you guys would put your comments back that would be great!


Michael Spinelli said...

Hey there gents!

The idea of a well designed bow at a reasonable price is wonderful! As SBW said in his earlier post, "A hundred percent bow, with ten percent of the glam, at thirty percent of the price, is a bargain!"

I am looking forward to Albert's reviews, he is always spot on, fair, and a source of knowledge!

Mike S
Outdoor Travels and Adventures!

Nebraska Hunting Company said...

Looking forward to your reviews Albert! BTW when are you coming up here for a Merriam's? I've got them so dialed in, that you should be able to jump out of the blind and get one with a stick!

All the best!
Scott Croner, Merriam's Turkey Hunting