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Let's say you have a bow that can be shot off the shelf or a rest.... the Sage comes to mind. Which way would require the stiffer arrow.... shelf or rest? And why? - L
Rest is a little stiffer, as it provides less friction/resistance to the arrow, so more energy passes to the arrow. (I shoot off the shelf anyway).
 

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Sage has a flat and wide shelf. Not all the bows are created equal, and some have a better shelf than another.
I've shot the Sage from the shelf and with elevated rest and the arrow was the same. One word of caution though: I built myself a toothbrush elevated rest that was having the side plate as thin as the side plate I used while shooting off the shelf. If I was using a normal elevated rest on the Sage I would have used a weaker arrow because the elevated rest was pushing the arrow off centre more than with normal side plate.
 

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Even a super-radiused shelf and strike area (like on the Black Hunter) will never get as clean as a rest. Probably get there with a 'hump' like on some of the DAS bows though. You see this when you tune, a shelf is generally harder no matter what the material. I still far prefer the shelf however, the challenge and simplicity of it (once you have a tune!).
 

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Even though my go to bows are wood to wood, I am a fan of arrow rest. In active use they are not equal in all situations, active hunting use versus target use. The same can be said of plungers and how they are set. Feather rests that glue to the shelf work great for cedar arrows, but did not work for my extra heavy dowel stuffed micro flights, they collapsed with arrow weight. Hoyt plastics take up some center shot and can crack when you least expect it. Bear Weatherrests are very sturdy, but are not so good if your bow is outside of center. The old Para brush robs a slight amount of center shot, which can be alleviated if one cuts the top off, not as flexible as a spring rest, but can handle some rough hunting handling. They work better if Superglued to the bow, the sticky tape can let go when you least expect it. For a self bow that has no arrow shelf, if the top lip is cut off and the brush on down is Superglued, they make a handy addition for keeping an arrow in ready shooting position. I find that a finger makes a very good arrow rest, it only needs to just barely be above the shelf. A soft gloved finger may even be better. If a glove lifts the arrow a little, it will not affect arrow flight as the passing arrow compresses the gloved finger.
 

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It shoot a stick on rest on all my recurves to include my Sage. I am able to shoot a stiffer shaft off the rest, than the shelf. For example I can shoot full length 2016/s out of a 42 pound Sage, using a 125 grain tip. 1916 and 2016 arrows group together out to 25 yards with a 125 grain tip out of my 42 pound bow. This is not the case when shot off the shelf.
 

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People have been sticking a match stick under the shelf padding forever to solve this issue and it works fine. (totally separate issue from a sloppy inconsistent release, or poor tune, leading to other contact with the shelf and riser.)
 

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With perfect tune I find the shelf to shoot equally accurately. Perfect tune is easier to achieve with a rest. To get it from the shelf involves various thicknesses of leather and a lot of gluing and peeling. I have a sack of leather scraps. the thinnest is from an old wallet. The thickest is from French combat boots and unspilt cowhide.

A friend hunted a good deal in Africa, with rifles. He had some of an elephant scrotum tanned. He offered me some to make a tab. I decided I did not want that so close to my mouth. He has got an elephant foot wastebasket. I would like one of those. It is surprisingly big. - lbg
 

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A friend hunted a good deal in Africa, with rifles. He had some of an elephant scrotum tanned. He offered me some to make a tab. I decided I did not want that so close to my mouth. He has got an elephant foot wastebasket. I would like one of those. It is surprisingly big. - lbg
Not to derail, but IMO that is too much. Ancient elephant species going extinct in the wild due to hunting for sport and cash (tusks), wiped off the planet, and people are making waste baskets out of their feet because it looks funny.. Glad to see African elephant hunting is increasingly banned and patrolled - only way to save the last of them left in the wild. Some ex servicemen (incl from USA) have devoted themselves to protecting the last herds from illegal sport and ivory hunters. Have to draw a line.


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Back to thread: as for shelf material, I've found no better and more durable than industrial velcro (as long as your arrows are clean, dirt wears it down). Gives very consistent performance, which is what counts. Great all weather performance for hunting. My string's made out of space age fibres, my shelf can be made out of a little nylon or whatever it is.

Like the idea of a matchstick under the material. Have not seen that trick over here in Europe.
 

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I would also say the rest is more forgiving when there is slight inconsistency in your release.
 
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