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Home | Tip of the Week | How To Make a Toothbrush Rest

How To Make a Toothbrush Rest

By Mark Kimber
Printer-Friendly Format

The brush rest, in my opinion, is the most durable and aesthetically pleasing method I have seen for shooting a traditional bow with an elevated rest. I used to shoot my recurve off the shelf, but after experimenting with the brush rest and settling on a style/method of attaching it to my bow, I found I could get perfect flight with vanes or feathers. If you hunt in the rain, vanes are an obvious advantage, not to mention their superior durability.

Brush rests, done the way that I now do them, are next to impossible to wear out. I have shot thousands of vane-fletched arrows over a single rest and have not yet managed to wear it out. The rest also helps keep an arrow in place during times of inadvertently torquing the string while drawing or a little shaking brought on by an awkward shooting stance or the excitement of having an animal in front of you.

Building a brush rest on your bow is reasonably straightforward and hopefully, with the following explanation, I can help you achieve this. You will need some thin leather, some contact adhesive (I use Kwick Grip), some five-minute epoxy and a medium-bristled toothbrush. I have found that there is no point in getting an expensive brush as the economy toothbrush is definitely more durable for this purpose. See Fig 1.

<div align=center>Figure 1</div>
Figure 1

First, clean the area of the sight window and shelf on the bow. I use acetone, but methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) is more gentle. You need to be careful of the quality finish on your bow. Not all finishes will handle acetone treatment.

Cover the entire area of the sight window with glue and allow it to dry. Shave an approximate 20mm (1 inch) piece of leather (cut more oval shaped) very thin, and smear contact adhesive on the back of it. Place it onto the bow in a position where the base of the brush will be glued to the leather. See Fig. 2.

<div align=center>Figure 2</div>
Figure 2

Carefully cut through the toothbrush to free a line of four to five bunches of bristles. As a guide, if you shoot reasonably heavy arrows, use five bunches of bristles; for lighter arrows, four would be plenty. Grind the plastic base of the bristles to an angle that will set the bristles out from your sight window at the desired angle, approximately 40 to 45 degrees, as shown in Fig. 1.

Using five-minute epoxy, glue the plastic base to the thin leather patch on the bow (Fig. 2) at the desired angle and distance above the shelf. Gauge the placement above the shelf by the height of the vanes. For example, the vanes I prefer have about a 12mm high profile, so I set the brush to give me just a touch of clearance, say 13 to 14mm (approximately 1/2"). Use a bow square with an arrow taped to it to set the correct line and to hold the bristles out at the correct angle. Allow the glue to set. See Fig. 3.

<div align=center>Figure 3</div>
Figure 3

Once the glue is set, trim the second piece of leather to the shape you want, and shave down the edges nice and thin. While holding the leather in place, mark where you need the bristles to come through the leather. I use a leather punch and make a small hole at each end of the proposed line, then cut between them. See Fig. 4. The leather needs to be as thin as you can reasonably get it; you don't want to push the sight window any further away from center shot than necessary.

<div align=center>Figure 4</div>
Figure 4

Cover the back of the leather generously with contact adhesive. Slip the bristles through the cut and work the leather into place while the glue is wet. The wet glue allows you to move and work the leather into place properly before it sets.

You now have a nice-looking, practical, durable, elevated rest on your bow. Clean up and setting the nock point remains. Once again, I use acetone to clean up surplus glue on my bows since the finish handles it without a problem, but you may need to be more cautious with the finish on your bow.

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