What is Fistmele in Archery?

Fistmele is a term used in archery to refer to the distance between the bowstring and the bow grip when the bow is unstrung. It is an important measurement that helps determine the proper length of the bowstring for a specific bow.

How is Fistmele Measured in Archery?

Fistmele is typically measured by placing the bow on a flat surface and then using a ruler or measuring tape to measure the distance between the deepest part of the grip and the string. The measurement should be taken from the bow's belly (the side of the bow that faces the archer).

The term "fistmele" comes from the Old English word "fystmele," which means "fist measure," as it was traditionally measured by holding a fist vertically and measuring the distance between the thumb and the first knuckle.

Why is Fistmele Important in Archery?

Fistmele is important in archery because it helps determine the proper length of the bowstring. A bow string that is too long or too short can affect the bow's performance and accuracy.

When a bow is strung, the bowstring stretches, and the distance between the bow grip and the bowstring decreases. This decrease in distance is called the "brace height." The proper brace height for a bow is usually specified by the manufacturer or can be determined through trial and error. It is generally recommended to have a brace height of between 7 and 9 inches for a recurve bow and between 6 and 7 inches for a longbow.

Calculating Bowstring Length from Fistmele

To calculate the correct length of a bowstring based on the fistmele measurement, the archer should take the fistmele measurement and add the desired brace height. This will give the overall length of the bowstring needed for the specific bow.

For example, if the fistmele measurement is 8 inches and the desired brace height is 7 inches, the total length of the bowstring should be 15 inches (8 + 7 = 15).

Factors That Affect Fistmele in Archery

Several factors can affect fistmele measurement, including the type of bow, the material of the bowstring, and the archer's technique. 

Type of Bow

The type of bow can affect the fistmele measurement. Different types of bows have different designs and shapes, which can result in varying fistmele measurements. For example, a recurve bow typically has a higher fistmele measurement than a longbow, due to its shorter limbs and more compact design.

Material of Bowstring

The material of the bowstring can also affect fistmele. Different materials have different stretch characteristics, which can result in different levels of tension on the bowstring when the bow is strung. A bowstring made of Dacron, for example, may stretch more than a bowstring made of Fast Flight, resulting in a different fistmele measurement.

Archer's Technique

The archer's technique can also affect fistmele. Different techniques can result in different levels of tension on the bowstring, which can affect the fistmele measurement. For example, an archer who grips the bow too tightly may increase tension on the bowstring, resulting in a lower fistmele measurement.