© 2011 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
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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.
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
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
Albert A Rasch
Member: Shindand Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...
Though 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.