Cavalier Elite - Leather, Cordovan / other

AndyW

Active member
Hi All, hopefully someone will know the answer to this - what's the deal with cordovan faces on the elite tabs. I've just had the shock of my life after checking out a well known website. Turns out my 3 cav elites and spare faces would be pushing the ?200 barrier. Over the years I've picked them up here and there and just chucked the cordovan and leather faces in a box and straight swapped them out for calf hair faces which I make myself.
What am I missing? They seem awfully stiff. Do they ever get better than a hair face or is it preference? What does cordovan offer to put ?20 on the price of a tab? P.S. for info. I shoot a compound off fingers and I've never given the cordovan (or leather ) a chance.
 


Rik

Supporter
Supporter
Hi All, hopefully someone will know the answer to this - what's the deal with cordovan faces on the elite tabs. I've just had the shock of my life after checking out a well known website. Turns out my 3 cav elites and spare faces would be pushing the ?200 barrier. Over the years I've picked them up here and there and just chucked the cordovan and leather faces in a box and straight swapped them out for calf hair faces which I make myself.
What am I missing? They seem awfully stiff. Do they ever get better than a hair face or is it preference? What does cordovan offer to put ?20 on the price of a tab? P.S. for info. I shoot a compound off fingers and I've never given the cordovan (or leather ) a chance.
Ah. Cordovan. It's specialist stuff. Dense and tough, nicely hard wearing. Gets used for high end handmade shoes and bookbinding. You get about 1 square foot of it off the rear end of a horse, hence the relatively high price, though I would agree that sone manufacturers seem to take the proverbial. If I were shooting a leather tab, I would want it to be cordovan.
There are synthetics which are pretty good too, but you generally have to brew your own tab for that on an Elite, which I'm sure some people do...
 


AndyW

Active member
Thanks Rik,
Is it just the hard wearing aspect that makes it attractive? I would after looking at the faces imagine that they are a beast to break in. I like a hair tab as there's little resistance to the string and I've got flexibility in the tab to drop the pressure off my ring finger. Will these ever get to the comfy as an old slipper point or isn't that the idea?
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
When I was new to archery I was talking to some MB shooters. I was always asking questions, and asked about tabs. I was using calf hair at the time.
Why do you want that? I was asked. I said that the string slips off easily.
They said that you don't want the string to slip off too easily as that makes it harder to hold at full draw.
I was advised that a tab should stay smooth and not create creases in front of the string when it folds round; and that it should hold its shape, not stretch in places.
 


AndyW

Active member
geoffretired, I can see the sense in that even though it's the opposite to what I was thinking. Too used to shooting compounds and worrying about the string pinch. I might give the cordovan a go with my KG1 and see if the stiffer face feels better with a recurve.
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
What I find with a tab is that it should hardly intrude into what I want to do. I don't want a tab that is such a loose fit that I have to push it into place for every shot.It should be in the right place once I put it on. I don't want the shelf to get in my way at all, of for the leather at the fingers to feel bulky.When I draw the string I like to feel the string is almost in my bare fingers rather than the feeling of being in an oven glove.
The one I liked best was the Bjorn. I haven't seen those around for some years though.
 


Rik

Supporter
Supporter
Stiffness; a part of that is newness. Leather tabs need to be shot in.
Another part may be treatment. It's generally advisable to treat a new leather face with something like neats foot oil, both to increase the lifespan and to give it greater water resistance. It would also tend to make the material a bit more supple.

With a new tab, I tended to work it a bit (bend it around, this way and that) then treat it.
I haven't used leather in a few years now. Synthetics are just more convenient, overall.
 


AndyW

Active member
Stiffness; a part of that is newness. Leather tabs need to be shot in.
Another part may be treatment. It's generally advisable to treat a new leather face with something like neats foot oil, both to increase the lifespan and to give it greater water resistance. It would also tend to make the material a bit more supple.

With a new tab, I tended to work it a bit (bend it around, this way and that) then treat it.
I haven't used leather in a few years now. Synthetics are just more convenient, overall.
Probably explains why I've always shot with the calf skin as it's supple from the off (I did try to break a leather tab in once and gave up).
How long/shots would you estimate to break in a cordovan/leather tab (ballpark) and are you looking to get it truly supple. Do people tend to shoot a new one in while the other is perfectly usable?
Out of curiosity which synthetic do you use? If it's available as a sheet I might have a play at cutting some down to fit the elite plate. ( Excuse the questions possibly sounding dumb but if I don't ask for fear of sounding daft I will never find out )
Thanks.
 


Rik

Supporter
Supporter
Probably explains why I've always shot with the calf skin as it's supple from the off (I did try to break a leather tab in once and gave up).
How long/shots would you estimate to break in a cordovan/leather tab (ballpark) and are you looking to get it truly supple. Do people tend to shoot a new one in while the other is perfectly usable?
Out of curiosity which synthetic do you use? If it's available as a sheet I might have a play at cutting some down to fit the elite plate. ( Excuse the questions possibly sounding dumb but if I don't ask for fear of sounding daft I will never find out )
Thanks.
To shoot in a tab - several dozen. You might see it stabilise in a single longer session. People who care would have a second tab shot in, in case of problems with the first one.
Note: heavy rain will soak even treated leather, which makes it difficult to use.

I've been using a synthetic marketed as Oberon (from Arrowhead UK) , for some years. It's a thin foam sheet (seems similar to craft foams, but more durable). Easy to work with - cuts with scissors. No shooting in time. No reaction to getting wet. Doesn't wear as well as leather (some people report that it wears too quickly for them), but since there's no penalty in changing the face...

I think Perris stock sheets of Vulcolan (which Spigarelli uses), that could also suit - it's thin, slick and reportedly durable. Some say too slick, especially when wet. May need an additional backing layer as it's thin.

Cutting a new face is straightforward, if you have an original one as a template, and maybe a punch for the screw holes.
 


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