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articulated wishbones and chopped off finger

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Halla Waaaaallllaaa
Aug 15, 2002
ive browsed the forums and read many incidents about spearos losing parts of their fingers to articulated wishbones and that afterwards they switched to dyneema wishbones.

i did the switch because i figured that i miht as well learn from everybody else's experiences and what have you not. but one thing that puzzled me that no one mentioned wether or not they were wearing gloves, or do they have no effect what so ever? :head

so any input on the gloves would be greatly appreciated.

Mishu, gloves obviously protect the hand but not completely... If you gonna loose a part of skin from your index finger ie.. with gloves you will have that skin hanging from the finger. :(

I always suffer from that and changed all my setups to dyneema wishbones now if it slips, it only hurts...

I have done the wishbone trick a few times, but it helps if you are carefull when removing your fingers, it happens beacuse the wishbone are not fully in the spear and when you lift the rubbers when pulling your fingers out wham

Therefore just look at the wishbone and try not to lift the rubbers. push your palm against the rubbers and pull your fingers downwards, instead of out to the sides
i never had that problem, with little care you should not have too:)
I had an articulated wishbone slip while wearing 3mm gloves. It is not pain but a completeley numb feeling you get. I was only after i had reloaded and swam for a while that i noticed blood coming out of my glove.

I decided it was best not to look until i got back to the boat.

Once on board i took the glove off and it was carnage. Bit chunk of skin missing from right index finger and loose nail "OUCH"
im not as worried as far as slipping is concerned because i always place one hand on the wishbone while i move the other one downwards that way it wont pop out and aways use gloves because gill rakers hurt like a B****. what does worry me is that after a good 5 to 6 hours of loading my hands get tired and i might lose my grip and away goes my finger...

thanks for the input guys
This is a typical accident that hapens to many spearos. If you're careful while loading a gun, you can almost be sure to avoid this and similar accidents (like getting the wind knocked out of you when the bands release by accident and the gun kicks you in the chest of worse -- balls)..

I've used cable, dynema and articulated wishbones. With articulated wishbones, you need to make sure that the wishbone clicks in the knotch correctly and in the middle by feeling it, hearing it and looking at it before letting go. Also, a good trick is to let go of the bands quickly but smoothly once you've made sure the wishbone is hooked correctly. "Quickly" because you want your fingers out of there fast just in case the bands snap back, your fingers will escape the wishbone. Smoothly because you don't want to knock the wishbone off if you jerk your fingers out.

This comes as second nature with experience. Most experienced spearos will let go of the bands very quickly but carefully after they're loaded.

Remember that a loaded gun can always go off, so be careful where and what you're pointing it at..

While I'm at it today I must have missed this thread until I saw it came up again and wanted to add a few words and thank those for responding. Mishu-you brought up a topic that is somewhat of a painful right of passage for people who are getting used to articulated wishbones for the first time.

Coincidentally the thicker stronger rubbers also add to the tendency to want to let go of the band as soon as possible and possibly hooking it wrong when you're straining to make it to the back notch in the shaft.

I have come to the conclusion that for a single band gun the articulated wishbones are better, while for two bands or more the soft or tie your own variety are less risky.

Take a few precautions when using articulated wishbones if you're not used to them:

-always wear gloves
-start out by loading it often to the first notch to get a feel for it before you try to load it to the second notch if its hard, that way you get a feel for how it's supposed to hook onto the shaft
-keep your palms facing up and not down when you pull the bands to the notch as we have more of a natural tendency to pull our hands out from under us this way
-check and make sure the notches are always well defined and compatible with the wishbone. Some brands aren't and inevitably they lead to a painful discovery of this incompatibility
-load the bands by holding half the delrin part of the wishbones in your hand and the other half od your hand on the first part of the bands. Holding the plastic gives you more leverage than just holding the band.
-place the stretched band on the wishbone evenly! An uneven pull struggling to get the wishbone into the shaft will result possibly with a sloppy catch that is the most common reason for them to come off inadvertently.

In tie your own wishbones uneven wishbone placement just makes one side of the bands shorter than the other and unbalanced pull from one side of the bands and readjusting it usually causes the wishbone to fray.

In my opinion articulated wishbones are great for a single band because the band wears out slower since tie your own bands typically break near the wishbone connection with use. The screw in type of bands and wishbones don't put much pressure on the ends of the bands. Articulated wishbones also assure you the bands are always of even length on each side and they never wear out like cord or cable wishbones. Maybe it's because I'm so used to them but the other reason I like them is that I can quickly unscrew bands to change a severed one or change length or thickness quickly which I keep in my bag. The alternative with the tie your own variety is carrying extra bands with the wishbones already tied to the correct length.

Lastly, I feel tie your own wishbones are better with multiple bands since they reduce the risk of cutting an already loaded band while stretching another band (with an art. wishbone) next to it since the wishbone on the slightest touch can easily cut the stretched band. It is also hard to space multiple bands apart with articulated wishbones on two or three notches (compared to setting the length beforehand when tying your own) and impossible to put two bands with articulated wishbones on the same sharkfin or pin.

Hope this helps,

Mark: what i did, is that after doing some testing in the pool i noticed that two 16mm bands overpowered the gun and made it innacurate, which led me to the conclusion that the shaft was either too light or too short, or most likely a combination of both, but that is beside the point.
i took the bands which are the screw in type and and opened the caps, i then took the articulate wishbone and cut off the ends that have a small protrusion that sticks out to prevent them from slipping out of the plastic screw cap. i then tied a double ply of spectra wishbone chord to a steel nut that fits snuggly in the plastic cap. that way the bands are of equal length.
it try to snap a pic
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here are the pics.


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Yes, I have also found this to be a pretty good system as you can see from using it in my my custom bluewater gun. Unlike an art. wishbone though it still doesn't correct the accidental uneven placement of the bands though as you can still pull one side of the wishbone shorter than the other when you pull the bands on the notch. This is just trivial stuff though...

Hey guys,

Just noticed this thread... I agree completely with the steps Mark listed for safe loading a gun with articulated wishbones.
I just want to add two points of consideration.
- Check whether the arms of the wishbones are freely roatating in the caps. Sometimes the remainder of the rubber sticking out of the ring of the rubbers is too long. When you screw the rubber to the cap of the wishbone it presses on to the arm of the wishbone and prevents it from rotating freely. This way the wishbone may not enter the notch horizontally and cause a problem...
- Even when you get an off the shelf gun with manufacturers wishbones the quality of production may cause you problems. Sometimes the notch is cut too shallow due to bad production quality and you have a problem. You must use a fine key-file to fix the problem with the notch. Same applies to the hole on the shaft where the line enters. Sometimes the edges are too sharp and will cut the line immediately after you fire your first shot.

Other than that, 10 years ago we didn't have any equipment stores here and we had to repair our wishbones. Articulated ones were particularly rare. We used stainless steel wire... I have scars on almost every finger... :)

Wishbone said:
Other than that, 10 years ago we didn't have any equipment stores here and we had to repair our wishbones. Articulated ones were particularly rare. We used stainless steel wire... I have scars on almost every finger... :)

Hi Ivan and Happy New year!

It's always great to hear from knowledgeable people like you. I thought I had just wasted my time trying to list all the +'s and -'s of wishbones as no one seemed to really care to comment :p

Those are two good points you listed because you only discover these things by fiddling with them a lot and having used them over the years. It seems to me a lot of divers and tinkerers today discount the advantages of good
3-piece articulated wishbones and go back to more rudimentary wishbones that they can tie themselves, just for the sake of modifying something while never having really experienced their virtues since they haven't used them long enough to apreicate them!

After 10 years of articualted wishbones I've been starting to rig some of the cord,cable wishbones, and spectra wishbones more often and I'm always deterred by how fast all of them wear. What it boils down to is that a lot of custom speargun makers just don't have the tooling or the machines and delrin injection molding capablity to make them as easily as some of the bigger companies and as a result they are forced to make their own "tie your own version" which saves them money and people must therefore assume they're better. Oh well, to each his own but for every day hunting and longevity I don't see how you can beat the articulated wishbone system. Once a diver learns not to cut his fingers with them that is :)

Take good care!

slipping off wishbone should not be a really big problem for responsible spero. I used articulated wishbones from the day 1 and it slip only once (2nd day 3rd loading, i think..) i was wearing gloves, nothing happened. It was the first and the last accident i had with wishbone. You just need to be little carefull in first few days, later it becomes automatic...

Probably articulated is best for single band with ultimate life time. Hovewer i remmember i managed to bent one of them in first shoot :duh
I agree, the articulated wishbones are the best for single or double bands spearguns, and the only thing you need for protection is to wear gloves.
In 20 years of spearfishing (only the first 4-5 using not articullated wishbones) I only had 3 times when the wishbone scaped the arrow, mostly cause I was loading to fast and I was cold. But the gloves saved my fingers!


Hey Mark,

Happy one to you too! :)
You didn't forget my Christmas wish, didn't you? Cuz my buddy keeps bugging me for that quote... :)

Unlike you guys, I guess we're lagging behind this "back to the natural" behaviour. It's a real rarity already to see somebody using a dyneema or any other home-made wishbones here. The only problem is when guys who are new to the sport go and buy equipment made by some nameless producer. All hunting and bait shops on the cost here are selling spearguns and parts like tridents, rubbers and wishbones. No offense Murat and all the greek guys here, I don't have anything agianst your homeland, but most of those are made in Turkey and Greece. Man, 80% of those are pure garbage! They show all kinds of flaws, including misfires.. :(
But when it comes to wishbones there are also articulated ones of the same origin... None of them lasts more then a month and you cannot imagine how many are the ways a wishbone can break! Most commonly, the pins holding the heel to the arms break. Then it comes the tip of the cap around the arm, followed by bent heel popping out of the notch just as you lay on the bottom. And finally - the cap breaking just above the thread...
I bet there are bad quality guns and parts everywhere, but we're flooded and you gotta be particlurly careful when buying.

Now I can see another fashion revived - the metal (alluminium) caps of the wishbones. Can't really see any point in those besides the longer life of the wishbone cap itself. And even then, having in mind that the pins are the most common problem, I don't really know. And let's not forget the struggle when you have to deal with the cap welded by the sea to the ring. Besides, they scratch the tube of the gun.
I had like two handful of those collected and I gave them all away. I kept just two sets left from my dad and another one I always used to keep as a spare hanging on the float (it's a bi*ch when someone on the boat steps on your only pair of plastic spare wishbones and breaks them) :)

Happy hunting!
no problem mate, my home country is neither Turkey nor Greece. I am CYPRIOT, thats something else rofl
Yeah, but you're from the Turkish part of the island!... :)
Let's wait for Memo... Hehehe! :)
yes but we don't manufacture any dive related equipment rofl rofl
Now I can see another fashion revived - the metal (alluminium) caps of the wishbones. Can't really see any point in those besides the longer life of the wishbone cap itself. And even then, having in mind that the pins are the most common problem, I don't really know. And let's not forget the struggle when you have to deal with the cap welded by the sea to the ring. Besides, they scratch the tube of the gun.

God, reading that brings back memories...I switched over to band guns from pneumatics in 87-88 and I think I experienced just about all the wishbone problems you did.

I included an image of new ones and some of the old ones I could find. The ones in the center are older ones, the stainless wishbones with the stainless couplings which as you mentioned tore the crap out of the barrel during the shot :) turning your new gun into a used one quickly, but hey they looked and felt great new! and eventually they spotted with rust if you didn't keep them clean or worse they corroded like you said. The wire coat hanger type, those are cheap but only good if you use one 16mm band or a weak band as they bend easily and the only way they don't break over time is if you have perfect loading form which the beginners who use them don't. If you bend it too much or strain it eventually always breaks...Then came the first good articulated wishbones with delrin couplings but the shanks were too long so that most beginners without proper loading technique would strain to load them and pulling them incorectly would bend the shank (I did this too) as you can see from the one in the middle of the picture.

And finally they got better as the french articulated style design, that you see on the right, were made with thicker shanks and threaded with stainless nuts to hold the delrin couplings. These catch the shaft very well, don't bend, are low profile and aid in sighting down the gun more than the other design and can even be taken apart since they use nuts if one wants to mess around with a cord like I did in the picts. There are even short versions for people who use short bands and want the most power although it's harder to pull your hands out so I don't personally like those as much. Then the camo ones for the camo geeks :)

The two cord ones in the picture just haven't impressed me so far, I have yet to find a soft braided wishbone I like. One is 1200lb spectra braid cord-practically the strongest you could use aside from thick cable. The one screwed to the green 18mm bands are conventional production heavy duty cord used for speargun wishbones from another MFG. I use those types when I'm using multiple bands shooting bluewater fish like wahoo and tuna in the fall, so basically in less than two months I used those in the picts, probably about 5 outings and that's how worn they already are on Sharkfins.

It's amazing, we could spend all day geeking over wishbones eh eh. Maybe we should start the Encyclopedia of wishbones...
I'm glad to know the others like Roberto and Murat like them as well :wave


ps-Ivan the project is on hold and will take a few more months since they're redesigning a heavy duty rubber slip cover for the T-20 butts on the Master line to make it more confortable when loading multiple bands or without a gun chest pad integrated into the wetsuit. I'll send you an image.
ppa- sorry for the long post!


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