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Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

Old 11-17-2005, 09:54 AM
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Nontypical Buck
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Default Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

Is the wood in the limbs pretty much cosmetic, as the glass does the majority of the energy storage?

Chad, I think you've posted as much in a few threads here and there lately, which got me thinking, so thought I would ask
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Old 11-17-2005, 10:31 AM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

Check out these bows, they are all wood, no glass, with speeds close to 200fps.

http://www.bowsofwood.com/id33.htm


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Old 11-17-2005, 11:19 AM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

Bobco, not questioning an all wood bow, just wondering how much oomph the wood in a glass lam bow is contributing
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Old 11-17-2005, 11:27 AM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

First off, I'll say I'm not a bowyer by any stretch of the imagination. The closest I've come to making a bow was stringing up some hickory saplings with trotline when I was a kid. I have/do pester the snot out of bowyers with questions though, and try to find out as much as I can.

How much difference the wood makes (in a glass bow) depends on several things--the design, draw length vs. bow length, draw weight, how that weight is attained, and probably a few other things I can't think of at the moment.

First, the design. A bow with wide, thin limbs (as is common in recurves)generally doesn't have much wood there to begin with. A couple of strips of wood that are 1/16" of an inch thick don't offer much resistance--bend an old wooden yardstick and see how hard it is. The length of the working limb also makes a difference--take that same yardstick and grab it at one end and the half-way point and notice how much the resistance goes up. You can have a long bow with a short working limb, or a short bow with a long working limb, etc. Then you have bows, such as a Hill style longbow, that has a much narrower and deeper cored limb. With these, there is a lot more wood there and it does a lot more work--these bows generally are longer over-all and have a longer working limb--the wood offers too much resistance in a short limb with a deep core.

Draw length and bow length are in-line with the length of the working limb. A shorter draw or a longer working limbwon't stress the wood as much. If you are approaching the max draw lengthwithin a certain design/length, the wood can make a difference--some woods are more flexible, and will allow a smoother draw at a longer draw length; but this is only going to make a difference when you reach that point--this is where yew works better than most limb materials.

The draw weight, and how that weight is attained, can also make a difference. If the weight is attained by adding more wood, then the same thing is going to apply as with a deeper cored limb. However, if a thicker glass is used, it won't matter as much--the glass is doing most of the work.

Don't take all this as the gospel truth, because I'm going on what I've gathered from others over the years, and I could be wrong in some aspects, and I'm sure I've left some things out--I'm still learning. I do know that in most cases with Chek-Mate recurves, I'd pick the wood I liked the looks of best. Now, if a different bowyer or dealer tells you that this or that works best in their bows, I'd go with their recommendation--they should know their bows better than anyone else. Like most everything else in this sport, there are no absolutes that will cover every bow or every design.

Chad
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Old 11-17-2005, 12:02 PM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

Bobco, not questioning an all wood bow, just wondering how much oomph the wood in a glass lam bow is contributing
OK, just wanted to show that you can have the oomph without the glass at all.

I agree with Chad that the glass will contribute a hole lot more in a recurve (not much wood at all) then a longbow. I believe that the glass with it's added strength also contributes to the longevity of the bow.
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Old 11-17-2005, 12:40 PM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

I was looking for a yes or no answer

Thanks. I was just curious, now I know enough to quit thinking about this...
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Old 11-17-2005, 12:45 PM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

Yep--the glass is what makes it last. Like you said, there are some all-wood bows that are fast, but the problem I have with them is durability/longevity. That's why even primitive bows were (are) backed with rawhide, sinew, etc. You can basically bend a fiberglass lam in half and not hurt it--very durable, very flexible, and (usually) very consistent.

There's even bows that have foam cores instead of wood--Olympic bows, I think--the foam sure isn't doing much work. Pretty sure you couldn't use foam cores on just any 'ol design though.

Chad


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Old 11-18-2005, 06:56 AM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

I agree Chad, and I'd rather have some glass on the bow so my chances of getting smacked in the head by anything is greatly reduced.

Bragging (well, I don't know if it is really bragging) aboutpure woodlongbow that that has lasted four years and 15,000 shots is just not enough for me anyway.
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Old 11-18-2005, 07:57 AM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

C'mon, Bob! Wood bows aren't all THAT bad.Most of them give you plenty of warning before they bust you in the chops. And most don't ever bust you, they just kinda give up and fold over. There are the few exceptions though, the ones that'll give you a big, sudden surprise.[:-]

Put a backing on a wood bow, like bamboo, rawhide or even silk or linen, and that reduces the chances of breakage dramatically. I haven't tried sinew yet, but that stuff sounds like pure gold as a bow backing.

The last one I had snap in my hands was an unbacked bow. I'd shot, set the bow on the bow rack and was coming back from the target with my arrows, when I noticed what looked like a hinge in the lower limb. Picked the bow up and, sure enough, it was hinged right below the grip, and the tiller was all outta whack. It was a bright day and the bow was casting a perfect shadow. So,using the shadow,I decided to see what the tiller looked like at full draw. I was pulling it back, slowly, and watching the shadow when...

KAPLOOIEY!

I stood there wondering who threw the grenade for a second or two, until it sunk in what had happened. Immediately thereafter, feeling seemed to return to my body andI had to lay down on the groundto writhe in agony for a minute, wishing I'd worn a cup that day instead of tidy-whities.[&:]

Really ticked me off because that was the best shooting bow I'd made, to that point, since starting back to making wood bows. Still got the shards. I figure the top end is gonna make an atlatl someday.
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:16 AM
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Default RE: Glass bows, glass doing all the work?

There are the few exceptions though, the ones that'll give you a big, sudden surprise.[:-]

Those are the one's I'm afraid of.
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