10 Minutes With Herb Meland
This "10 minutes with" is Herb Meland of Pronghorn bows, he kindly took the time to talk to us about himself and his bows. I have owned and shot several of Herbs terrific bows and was interested to know a little bit more about the man behind them, Herb has been making bows since 1969 ........
How long have you been involved in Archery and how did you get started?
When I was in 3rd or 4th grade one of my older brothers brought a longbow home-I think it was thrown out from the girls gym class. i was 9 or 10 and shot the bow almost daily-wood target arrows were available from Montgomery/Wards(early mail order)for I believe 39cents each. So 60+years in Archery. My first good bow was a 1954 Bear Grizzly static recurve. I shot bows of most makers in the 50s and ended up buying recurve bows made by Bill Pyle (Staghorn) Merrill WI. He was in my opinion the top bowyer of the time.
When did you make your first bow and what was the result?
My first attempt at building a laminated bow was a short hunting recurve -It shot OK but was very crude-my brother-in-law still has one that I would like to take to the landfill.
What's the one tool in your workshop which you couldn't do without?
Most work is done with various belt sanders. the bandsaw is also used daily. plus lamination grinder-pattern sander-and several dust collectors.
What do you think the next big innovation in bow building will be ?
I'll let you know after I unveil it-I constantly think of possible new designs-tapers-mtl.etc. I thought of something today that I'll try-subtle thing that won't show.
What materials do you enjoy using the most ?
Red elm is my favorite core but I use bamboo-osage amberboo and certain veneers. I wish someone would produce a truly high-quality clear fiberglass.
What is it about your bows or the way you make bows that sets you apart from other bowyers ?
First I'm a Bowyer-not a bow cloner or bow builder-there is a big difference. My designs are ones that I have taken from the drawing board to bow and in a lot of cases to the garbage. My current 3PCTD is the last of roughly 40 designs I have built and I feel the best. I Try to get better all the time.
Do you still have time to shoot ?
I try to draw bows several times daily to maintain muscle tone. I rarely shoot an arrow.
What's the best shot you ever made ?
Because of the target I can't tell you what my best shot was.
How many bows do you make a year ?
I'll probably settle in at about 100 bows a year because I am only able to work half days.
What bow are you currently shooting and what's the spec on the arrows you shoot, if it's wood which one ?
-If I shoot I still shoot my old 60" 1PC that I have reduced to 60#@28".
I have all kinds of arrows but my very favourite are compressed-footed tapered cedar.I like stiff arrows and generally use 15# over the weight of the bow (yes they fly good) I stick with mass weight in the 550 to 600 grain weight. 5" helical or maxi fletch. broadheads in the 125-50 gr. range.