Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


Black glass vs wood veneers

Messages posted to thread:
56' Kodiak 12-Jan-18
George Vernon 12-Jan-18
goldentrout_one 12-Jan-18
camodave 12-Jan-18
camodave 12-Jan-18
camodave 12-Jan-18
George D. Stout 12-Jan-18
EF Hutton 12-Jan-18
Orion 12-Jan-18
ny yankee 12-Jan-18
George D. Stout 12-Jan-18
Mpdh 12-Jan-18
GF 12-Jan-18
duvall 12-Jan-18
Bowlim 12-Jan-18
Rick Barbee 12-Jan-18
4nolz@work 12-Jan-18
fdp 12-Jan-18
Longcruise 12-Jan-18
Cameron Root 12-Jan-18
fdp 12-Jan-18
Mpdh 12-Jan-18
Tboughty 12-Jan-18
Longtrad 13-Jan-18
Frisky 13-Jan-18
shade mt 13-Jan-18
Jeff Durnell 13-Jan-18
Cameron Root 13-Jan-18
hawk-eye 13-Jan-18
Iwander 13-Jan-18
Iwander 13-Jan-18
George D. Stout 13-Jan-18
Iwander 13-Jan-18
Iwander 13-Jan-18
Dan W 13-Jan-18
Kodiak 13-Jan-18
unhinged 13-Jan-18
Longcruise 13-Jan-18
George D. Stout 13-Jan-18
ca 13-Jan-18
Cameron Root 13-Jan-18
larryhatfield 13-Jan-18
unhinged 13-Jan-18
dean 13-Jan-18
dean 13-Jan-18
Elderly OCR 13-Jan-18
Rick Barbee 13-Jan-18
Renewed Archer 14-Jan-18
Jeff Durnell 14-Jan-18
Cameron Root 14-Jan-18
Rick Barbee 14-Jan-18
Rick Barbee 14-Jan-18
Babysaph 14-Jan-18
twostrings 15-Jan-18
Longcruise 15-Jan-18
Jeff Durnell 15-Jan-18
Hal9000 15-Jan-18
From: 56' Kodiak
Date: 12-Jan-18




Is there any performance difference or is it all for looks?

From: George Vernon Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 12-Jan-18




Assuming the core is the same, thin veneers under clear glass are essentially the same as the same core under black glass.

One of the positives of colored glass—black is not the only one available, is one does not have to worry about the annoying streaks often found in clear glass. Bowyers have always had to worry about streaks in the clear glass, but in the last 10 years the problem seems worse. The streaks are internal to the glass and are not the crazing seen in the finish. They don’t appear to impact functionality of the limb. But when you pay north of $1000 for a custom bow with beautiful veneers under clear glass and end up with embedded streaks, it’s a real downer.

My personal tastes, especially in ASL type bows go in the direction of colored glass with a matte finish.

From: goldentrout_one
Date: 12-Jan-18




I have read here numerous times that black glass is faster than clear glass, but I have never seen data to support that claim.

From: camodave
Date: 12-Jan-18

camodave's embedded Photo



Hard to knock the performance of a Howatt Hunter. They have pretty much always come with black glass. Larry Hatfield knows more about making a bow perform than pretty much anyone else alive.

From: camodave
Date: 12-Jan-18

camodave's embedded Photo



Not really black glass but pretty close. Once again Larry is the one who taught us that maybe the best glass ever available for building bows was called Scotchply and made by 3M for the aircraft industry. This is one bow I will never part with.

DDave

From: camodave
Date: 12-Jan-18




1962 Kodiak Magnum.

DDave

From: George D. Stout Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 12-Jan-18




Veneers are for looks and simply add expense. If that's your thing, there is nothing wrong with it. In a glass sandwich, most woods are relatively similar in how they react all else being equal...design, etc.

From: EF Hutton
Date: 12-Jan-18




Timberhawk offers Brown glass.

Looks nice

From: Orion Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 12-Jan-18




Black glass is supposed to be a bit quicker. But, maybe the veneer adds some quickness, or subtracts from it. Regardless, it's a very small difference either way. Not enough to worry about.

Almost all my bows are black glass. In most cases, it wasn't a decision on my part to order black. It was the only "choice" available. I have nothing against clear glass and veneers, and have a couple that are real lookers. But, some veneers have become a little overpowering for my tastes.

From: ny yankee
Date: 12-Jan-18




I've seen black glass with a dull finish that was actually shiny. It gives off a ball of bright light. Not all but quite a few. With clear glass (dull finish), I have never seen a shiny one. Depends what you like if you are hunting big game.

From: George D. Stout Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 12-Jan-18




The old claim was white was fastest, but I don't think anyone ever too like bows and recorded any differences. White glass supposedly reflects heat away rather than absorb it, making it better for long tournaments in the open sun. That part makes sense.

From: Mpdh
Date: 12-Jan-18




What I always heard was that any color pigment, when added to fiberglass, made it more brittle.

MP

From: GF
Date: 12-Jan-18




One of our By-God Experts here told me that the fastest bows he’d ever seen were black glass over Maple... Seems like a veneer would be more likely to detract from performance than add to it, but you have to wonder if it’d ever make a dime’s worth of difference anywhere but through a Chrono or on a salt flat...

From: duvall Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 12-Jan-18




no performance difference because of color that's an internet myth that has been told so often it's become truth. there is differences in glass however. people who are into flight shooting or building fastest bows they can will spine test glass to find the stiffer pieces. they do vary

From: Bowlim
Date: 12-Jan-18




"Black glass vs wood veneers"

"Is there any performance difference or is it all for looks?"

Bit of a confused question.

Take the title, in what sense are we opposing wood veneers and black glass? One assumes you are asking vs clear glass over veneers, but that is two things not one. We rarely see black glass over veneers.

So then look at the question, "is there a performance difference or is it all for looks?" To which the obvious answer is: Yes.

But what is odd about that question is it seems to be mostly about the veneers and presumably clear glass, not the black glass, or for that mater other colors of glass.

The simplest answer on the clear glass over veneer part is that since it is all for looks it isn't about performance, so it would be odd if it improved it. Normally pretty veneers are rotary cut; and they may be very badly off grain; they are usually heavier materials; they over-saturate with glue; and they often have poorer adhesion qualities. Most of that is pretty bad, but it would depend on the overall limb design, which in most cases is entirely lacking.

Rare would be the guy who picks a heavy burl because it's interwoven structure reduces splitting in the linear glass, and it's hardness once over-saturarted with epoxy ideally uses the compressive resistance of the bamboo core, yatta yatta, and has it all quantified. It's just the client thought some insane combination of veneers he saw on a cigar box would be purdy. It is funny how people used to argue over white spacers on gun stocks, and yet we ended up in Willy Wonka's design studio on our traditional bows.

From: Rick Barbee
Date: 12-Jan-18




This is speaking strictly of wood & glass:

The fastest bows I have ever owned were black glass over maple cores. A bowyer I used to work, and test for almost always had faster performance with his black glass bows.

I've also talked with many others (including other bowyers) who's experiences were the same.

Does that make it so? Maybe not, but I believe it.

Rick

From: 4nolz@work
Date: 12-Jan-18




I think it's mentioned in a book- maybe Traditional Bowyers of America.Who knows nowadays.

From: fdp
Date: 12-Jan-18




Any glass that has color added to it is slightly softer (has less spine) then clear glass. The color pigment weakens the matrix.

White is the softest, because it takes more pigment to color it. As the colors get darker, it requires less pigment.

From: Longcruise
Date: 12-Jan-18




I recently completed three identical bows (about as identical as possible) one black, one red face black back and one clear over veneers. Stacks were identical. Everything that went into the stacks was calculated to be exactly .326. There is no noticeable difference in the performance or draw weight of these bows.

From: Cameron Root
Date: 12-Jan-18




I think the grading of the glass like Toelke does is most important. How he does that? You would have go ask him. One of many things he told me this summer in Montana. I am very sure many do it to help hit the weight.

From: fdp
Date: 12-Jan-18




I don't know how Dan Toelke does it. But I do know that Jack Howard, Rocky Miller, and some others actually spine tested the glass in their bows. Dan probably has a similar method.

From: Mpdh
Date: 12-Jan-18




I think Asbell spined glass also.

MP

From: Tboughty
Date: 12-Jan-18




There is so much contradictory information about this going around in this thread (let alone the rest of the internet) that it's probably best to just shoot what you have most fun shooting.

If there were any significant difference, it's likely negligible otherwise there would be more reliable information or concrete evidence to back it up.

From: Longtrad
Date: 13-Jan-18




A better comparison would be black glass vs clear glass without veneers.

I have no idea, but just thinking out loud, I would imagine the extra glue line from the veneers to slow things down a bit, maybe an insignificant amount, but it must have some sort of impact.

From: Frisky
Date: 13-Jan-18




Bob Savage spined his glass. I think he learned it from Jack Howard, but I didn't ask, lol! The reason Bob did so was not to get stiffer glass for increased speed, it was to better hit the weights he wanted.

Joe

From: shade mt
Date: 13-Jan-18




I will second the thoughts on Black glass over a hard maple core, or red elm.

The thing you need to remember is your basically splitting hairs, and you will find that bows made from the same form and same core material same type glass can vary slightly from bow to bow when chrono'd.

Speed and performance is a result of limb design more than the type of glass or core used. Normally your lighter limbs will produce the best performing bows, and some of your prettier wood are also the heaviest.

But back to the thoughts on black glass vs clear glass....if I want looks I go with clear over a nice veneer, which also cost a little more...if I want performance, function, and a good solid performing bow, I often use a maple, elm, or vertically laminated bamboo (actionboo) over black glass.

Something to keep in mind is the glass itself is often the heaviest lamination in the limb...I've all but gotten away from .050 except in heavier draw weights.

Most of my personal hunting bows are black glass.

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 13-Jan-18




I'll likely die having never made a bow entombed in black(or any color) glass. I don't think it makes a significant difference in strength or speed, but wouldn't change my opinion if it did. In fact, if it wasn't for clear glass, I'd never build another glass bow.

From: Cameron Root
Date: 13-Jan-18




I've had enough clear glass bows and wouldn't go out of my way to buy another. I shoot them more than look at them.

From: hawk-eye
Date: 13-Jan-18




I quit using clear glass about 5 years ago, mostly because of the occasional streaks, it's only cosmetic and doesn't affect performance, but with colored glass there is no problem.

From: Iwander
Date: 13-Jan-18




I don't think there is enough difference to notice. Much cheaper and more practical in my opinion if you want a hunting bow for a tool.

From: Iwander
Date: 13-Jan-18




I've noticed that Black S glass can be quicker than E glass. You can get S glass in .030 and it's about as stiff as .040 black E glass. Again, the price difference seems to outweigh the performance difference.

From: George D. Stout Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 13-Jan-18




It's not just internet myth, this stuff was discussed all the time back in the 60's and 70's...well before internet experts. So it is what it is, mostly conjecture but always fun to hear the opinions, especially around an archery club picnic table. Oh for a working time machine.

From: Iwander
Date: 13-Jan-18




Jack Howard tols me he always used Uni S glass.

From: Iwander
Date: 13-Jan-18




"Told" rather

From: Dan W
Date: 13-Jan-18




George- I thought all our old vintage bows WERE working time machines!

From: Kodiak
Date: 13-Jan-18




I like the look of clear glass over a nice veneer. I've got a Palmer with black glass and a dark gray actionwood riser and that combo ain't as hideous as it sounds. lol

From: unhinged
Date: 13-Jan-18




I did the math on this a while ago. First, colorant ads no strength. You could ad fumed silica or chopped fibers, etc. to strengthen the matrix, but why bother? It's already a composite, with strength that far exceeds our needs. Typically colorant concentrations above 3% in epoxy, inhibit the cure. A stip of laminate 1.5"x 72"x .050" weighs approx. 166.5 grms and is approx 70/30 epoxy to fiberglass. So you have approx 116. grms of epoxy to color. With a 1% concentration, which would make it opaque, you need 1.16 grms of colorant, or about 12 drops and there is virtually no way that is going to effect the strength of the laminate in any tangible way.

From: Longcruise
Date: 13-Jan-18




I'm doing my next clear glass build with the Bearpaw glass. It's supposed to be a higher quality in terms of streaking, etc.

From: George D. Stout Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 13-Jan-18




Clear glass is fine for those who like grain in the limbs. There is a whole bunch of folks who won't even consider a bow without clear glass, fancy veneers and woods most people pronounce wrong. Bottom line is they are just choices, and when designs are the same, they continue to be just choices with little impact on performance..if any impact at all. The streaking in clear glass can quickly put a damper on the prettiest veneers though.

From: ca
Date: 13-Jan-18




Black glass show sloppy bowyers work more than clear imo. I used to like clear glass with fancy veneers 25-30 years ago, but like black or brown much more last couple years.

From: Cameron Root
Date: 13-Jan-18




I have 2 customs on order. One is northern mist green the other black. The lighter glass has streaks in it white being the worst.

From: larryhatfield
Date: 13-Jan-18




Clear glass should be stronger because it does not contain inert ingredients that provide the color to the resin. At least that's what Dave Gordon told me.

From: unhinged
Date: 13-Jan-18




If you go to Gordon's website, they don't give different specs for colors or clear. Not worth noting, apparently.

From: dean
Date: 13-Jan-18




Jack Howard told me that white glass had more speed in it than brown. Someone also told me that clear glass was slower than black or white glass. Back when Urac was used to glue glass, the glass either had to have the inside with the prequilted pattern or it had to be throughly roughened to give the glue something to key on, that would look rather peculiar with clear glass.

From: dean
Date: 13-Jan-18




We built a number of long bows back in the 70s with the quilt pattern white glass, based on the Jack Belcher string follow bows, using only Urac. We had a couple separate at the bamboo to riser, I neglected to sand the riser wood with course enough sand paper. i did get them fixed using advice from Kramer. I drilled a hole, injected the whole thing with super glue, put in a glued hard wood pin and then clamped it tight. That held. The deer and turkeys we killed with those white glassed bows must have been blind.

From: Elderly OCR
Date: 13-Jan-18




You can look up the numbers for s glass and e glass to compare. They are a bit different.

From: Rick Barbee
Date: 13-Jan-18




I wonder -

what clear glass over black (or some other color) stained (no veneers) cores would look like. Probably not to good, but I'd like to see it.

If I ever order more custom limbs I may just order them that way. :-)

Rick

From: Renewed Archer
Date: 14-Jan-18




I don't know about speed, but I recently shot a 62 Grizzly w/the setting sun behind me. The reflection in the white facing limb blinded me every time I shot. It may reflect heat but I'd rather not be blinded. I'm going to have to do something with those limbs if I shoot that way again... oh yeah, I can change position but my target can't.

Having said that, the 62 is about the straightest shooting bow I have. So are my other 62 Bears. Polar, KS.

However I love the look of clear glass over veneers. I do see them when shooting and I also see colored limbs. Some colors seem to interfere with vision more than others. But that also depends on the background colors of where I'm shooting. So I figured I need a mint green bow for spring, a tan or brown bow for summer (the grass dries out here then), and fall foliage colored bows in autumn. Maybe white in winter, if there's snow. I don't like black limbs, visually.

You can talk about limb speed but if limb color and appearance affects shooting, that's way more important than a tiny fraction of a difference in speed. Who cares if one type of limb shoots a fps faster, if you miss the spot? And personally, for me, the beauty of veneer limbs w/clear glass enhances my mood and I shoot better with those bows. Unless the bow with colored glass is also very beautiful. Shandor

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 14-Jan-18




Black glass is fine for folks who see bows as simply utilitarian. But for many others, it's not just about performance. I visited a friend a couple of weeks ago who is a meticulous craftsman. He had recently redesigned his fiberglass longbows. They all had clear glass(no streaks) and classy, naturally beautiful wood visible under the glass and in the handles. I ogled and handled some of them, each unique, but warm and inviting in its own right. If they were made with black glass, not only would I not have been drawn to them, we'd need only to have looked at one... and quite honestly, he may have been inspired to make just one, since any others would have been the same.

Then he showed me some of the flintlocks he's made, gorgeous, hand carved works that take him up to a year to make. Aside from the awe inspiring carving and inlays, each of their stocks were unique by nature... even those that came out of the same tree had their own character. I can't even begin to describe them and do them justice. But putting black glass on his bows because they're just tools to fling arrows would be akin to putting black synthetic stocks on his flintlocks because they're just made to toss roundballs, and that would be very unfortunate.

From: Cameron Root
Date: 14-Jan-18




What keeps me shooting a bow is the beauty. Of the entire shot cycle. Not the grain. I've had/Have some beautiful looking bows. Some are still here some are not. When I order a custom it's 95% performance. 5% theme. I think veneers are a waste. If you want clear use a full lam. Grain to me is for selfbows primarily and function there trumps fake fancy

From: Rick Barbee
Date: 14-Jan-18




I'll admit it. I view a bow much more as a tool, than anything else.

As far as aesthetics are concerned, I am much more drawn to the overall lines/shape, than I am to the finer details of the cosmetics.

In the end, how I view a bow is much more due to how it shoots, than how it looks.

I've shot bows, that to some were viewed as "very ugly", but every time I loosed an arrow from them I would smile, and think to myself - "Oh You Beautiful Thang You."

Rick

From: Rick Barbee
Date: 14-Jan-18




I should add - I'm not apposed to "pretty", but it's nowhere near the top of my list of requirements.

Rick

From: Babysaph Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 14-Jan-18




George hit the nail on the head. Laminations do nothing.

From: twostrings
Date: 15-Jan-18




The graceful curve of a strung bow, the coiled snake at full draw and the lofting arc that flies with birds and angels, then descends to deliver our fatal intents. That is the awful beauty of the bow. Wood grain is for furniture, color is for dresses and drapes.

From: Longcruise
Date: 15-Jan-18




I like Clear with veneers and colored glass too. It's a fun challenge to bring components together in such a way as to make a beautiful bow with black glass or any other color for that matter.

Performance and aesthetics are different factors/values in a bow and are easily mutually exclusive or inclusive IMO.

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 15-Jan-18




The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.

From: Hal9000
Date: 15-Jan-18




I prefer black glass because it just looks cool, most clear glass bows are gaudy looking. The true beauty is in the classic lines, arcs, etc. Don't really care if it is faster or not.





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