10 Minutes With... South Cox

By Steve
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How long have you been involved in Archery and how did you get started?

When I was five years old, I found an old wood laminated recurve under a neighbor’s house.  Despite the fact that my mom was a vegetarian, she was very supportive of my interests and financed my first quiver of arrows (which didn’t last very long).  I packed that bow with me everywhere for years.  Though I didn’t have a mentor, I spent much of my youth in the woods “hunting”, though I never posed a legitimate danger to anything until I was in my teens.  The hunter instinct must have run deep, or maybe I just didn’t care for Tofu too much. I was Robin Hood for Halloween several times.

South Cox 
When did you make your first bow and what was the result?

In addition to archery, my other passion was woodworking.  I don’t remember when I built my first bow, I’d guess I was 8-10 years old.  I built many self bows before I ever new there was a name for them specifically.  I made my own arrows and tied on feathers, made Broadheads out of deer antler and wondered how you made an arrowhead out of a rock—never figured that one out.  I didn’t make them necessarily because I was trying to become a bowyer, but because I needed a bow to shoot.  I hunted quail with the last one I built and can still remember the only arrow I shot at one with it.  I missed and hit the board fence the quail was perched on.  It was very disappointing at the time to have gotten less that 7-8 yards and have come up empty handed, but I still remember that day clearly.  It was the first of many character building experiences I’ve had while shooting a bow.
What's the one tool in your workshop which you couldn't do without?

There are so many, but I think the one I really like the best is my wide belt sander/thickness sander.  I love resawing my own veneers/especially when you get a piece of wood with some really wild grain.  

What do you think the next big innovation in bow building will be ?

That’s an interesting paradox for me.  I’ve enjoyed the transition from the compound industry to the tradition industry because of the simplicity.  I’ve always been a gear junky and pushed the limits with whatever I was using/whether it be a backpack, water filter or a bow.  For that reason, I’m always interested in what new materials  are becoming available for bow building.  But major innovations, hmmm, maybe putting wheels on a bow?  (oh yeah, that has already been done).
What materials do you enjoy using the most ?

I love working with wood, the wilder the patterns and grains the better.  I think the thing I enjoy most about building bows as apposed to building a staircase or a piece of furniture is that I can find one outrageous board and make several bows out of it.  I feel better about a more efficient use of materials and know I’m building something that will be really appreciated from that one board - as apposed to being one boards lost among hundreds of others.  It seems every time I visit a new specialty exotic hardwoods store I find another species of wood or variation of a species I haven’t seen before.  I about spend myself broke buying up all of the unique boards I find.

What is it about your bows or the way you make bows that sets you apart from other bowyers ?
There are a lot of great bowyers out there and many, many beautiful bows that they build.  Most all of the bows out there are solid, dependable bows that will serve the shooter/hunter for years.  Any shoddy bowyers fall by the wayside pretty quickly.  Sure, there are certainly some bow designs that’ll yield better performance and shoot-ability than others and I’m always trying to be at or as near the top as I can with my bows - but for me, what really sets one bow apart from the others is a combonation of the design, the woods incorporated and the lines of the bow.  For me, it is one of the biggest draws to traditional archery.  To carry a weapon that is not only deadly effective, but is also a work of art worthy of hanging on the wall.  I think there is hardly a better place that old cliché "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" fits than when picking out a bow.  I guess I’m a conissouer of beautiful bows, and being admittedly somewhat biased, I’d have to say my bows are about as pretty as most any out there.  The last bow I shipped out was to a client who had never seen one of my bows.  He called when he received it and said his non-hunting wife was clearing out a space on their living room wall to hang it.  Now there is a compliment!  I just hope she’ll let him take it down every once in a while to shoot it.

Do you still have time to shoot ?

I struggle with this one.  I love shooting my bows, but I also feel the pull of work obligations/meeting shipping deadlines, still managing a few employees in my construction business and family obligations.  I have to remind myself that going out to the range and launching a few arrows is not a time luxury, but important for my business and therapeutic for me.  

What's the best shot you ever made ?

I shot a tree once that was trying to save the life of a big bull elk.  I should have taken a picture; my buddies had a hard time believing I was able to make the shot.

How many bows do you make a year ?

I haven’t reached my capacity yet, but I’d put the number about 150 or so before I need to bring on some help.

What bow are you currently shooting and what's the spec on the arrows you shoot, if it's wood which one ?

I’m shooting a 58/56# Striker made of Cocobolo and Bocote with the Sitka arrows by Grizzly Stik. I just started playing around with the Grizzly Stiks  a few months ago and have been really impressed with their durability and the way they shoot.

You can get more information about stalker bows from their website at...


Steve and Andy

Steve Nicholson and Andy Gilfrin, are real archers interested in the best archery suppliers have to offer. In our search for the very best bow, arrows and equipment we have shot, used and worn pretty much everything on offer.

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