Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


string follow???????????

Messages posted to thread:
huntersupreme 10-Dec-06
Hellfire 10-Dec-06
MStyles 10-Dec-06
huntersupreme 10-Dec-06
Viper 10-Dec-06
MStyles 10-Dec-06
Hellfire 10-Dec-06
Viper 10-Dec-06
asharrow 10-Dec-06
Sunset Hill 11-Dec-06
Ostyak 11-Dec-06
badger 11-Dec-06
asharrow 11-Dec-06
bowyer45 11-Dec-06
Sunset Hill 12-Dec-06
George Tsoukalas 12-Dec-06
smj 12-Dec-06
smj 12-Dec-06
nightpilot 13-Dec-06
Griz 02-Jan-07
NomadArcher 02-Jan-07
badger 03-Jan-07
Liquid Amber 03-Jan-07
Liquid Amber 03-Jan-07
PV 04-Jan-07
StandTall 04-Jan-07
Bassman 24-May-18
George Tsoukalas 24-May-18
Elderly OCR 24-May-18
twostrings 24-May-18
George Tsoukalas 24-May-18
Arvin 26-May-18
dean 26-May-18
BowAholic 26-May-18
Jeff Durnell 26-May-18
Birdy 26-May-18
Arvin 26-May-18
CLAYBORN 26-May-18
Elderly OCR 26-May-18
badger 26-May-18
Hal9000 26-May-18
George Tsoukalas 27-May-18
dean 27-May-18
two4hooking 27-May-18
2 bears 27-May-18
From: huntersupreme
Date: 10-Dec-06




Hi, Sorry for ny ignorance but what exacly is string follow? Thank you

From: Hellfire
Date: 10-Dec-06




When the tips are bent towards the archer when the bow is unstrung.

From: MStyles
Date: 10-Dec-06




Howard Hill said; "A little string follow is good for accuracy" If that's the case, all of my home made bows are accurate.

From: huntersupreme
Date: 10-Dec-06




Is it better to have more or less string follow when building a board bow?

If a board is slightly bent at the beginning should the bend be towards the shooter or outwards? Thanks

From: Viper
Date: 10-Dec-06




hs -

The old definition of string follow was: after a bow was strung for a while (as when being shot) and then unstrung the limbs didn't return to their original position. That's was/is fairly common with a lot of selfbows.

Not sure what it means today...

I never quite understood why Hill said that was a good thing (except that before laminated bow became the norm, all bows have some string follow), nor do any of my bows exhibit that feature, but then again, I don't use selfbows...

If a bow has string follow, then it will, by definition lose draw weight as the limbs fail to return to their original position. And from what I've heard, can lose weight if held at anchor to long that has to really help accuracy.

Viper out.

From: MStyles
Date: 10-Dec-06




Viper, I have a hickory board bow with 3" of string follow(someone strung it, and left it strung all winter) it is easy to shoot accurately, and I know it does around 160 fps (@ 28") thru the chrono. It's about 58-60#. Also, it's unbacked, and I use ff on it. I like it the most out of my homemade bows.

From: Hellfire
Date: 10-Dec-06




String follow is the distance the tips are set towards the archer when unstrung.

Set is how much the bow has lost reflex. If you had a bow with 2" of reflex, and lost 1", you would say that your bow has no string follow but has one inch of set.

From: Viper
Date: 10-Dec-06




M -

If that works for you, great, and I mean that in all honesty. I wouldn't be comfortable with a bow that reacted that way. Different strokes.

Hellfire -

I guess the definition changed ... or people just made up new ones ...

Viper out.

From: asharrow
Date: 10-Dec-06




I think Hill's comment had to do with the fact that a bow with some string follow will usually have less energy left in the bow when the arrow leaves it. That means less hand shock, and perhaps less severe paradox because the string can more easily move sideways to help the arrow make it around the handle.

From: Sunset Hill
Date: 11-Dec-06




Like Hellfire said, string follow is the curvature of the limbs toward the shooter when the bow is unstrung, not to be confused with set. All bows will take some 'set'when they are first strung & shot, even those with fiberglass, although those with glass will have much less than all wood bows.

According to Schulz, Howard was referring to the amount of 'kick' that a bow with reflex has, as compared to a bow with no reflex. The old target longbows had string follow, to soften the kick of the bow in the hand, as accuracy was more important than arrow speed. The old target and hunting bows had very small risers or none at all, to absorb the forward kick of the limbs. Current heavy risers do wonders for absorbing the bow's kick.

The classic Hill style longbow from the 60's to current has had a reputation for having kick. This was the result of heavy reflexing to increase the speed of the limbs' recovery due to increased pre-stress in the limbs; and longer limbs lengths (68-72") resulting in heavier mass limb weights. Schulz was originally taught this bowmaking style from Hill. In the late 80's and early 90's, Schulz returned back to the string follow design of bows that Hill had used before fiberglass became popular. What Schulz found was increased stability and accuracy due to the softer shooting feel of the bow because he had taken away the pre-stress reflex in the limbs. Some arrow speed is lost, but not as much as people are led to believe.

If the bow has string follow, upon release of the string, the limbs are not being arrested by the string in their attempt to return to their original pre-stressed position.

Basically, a string follow bow has less kick in the hand than a pre-stressed 'reflexed' bow, and that is what Hill and Schulz preferred for accurate shooting.

From: Ostyak
Date: 11-Dec-06




There's a detailed description in "Archery - the Technical side"(1947)of the accuracy-enhancing attribute of moderate string follow compared to a reflexed, high-early draw weight bow (this is about wooden bows and arrows with minimal riser mass, no center-shot etc.) Can't dig up the quote now, but it made sense to me. I only shoot selfbows and have made all my greatest close-range (<20 yds.) shooting with string-following bows (<3"). And I don't like the way these feel with their mushy early-draw!

From: badger
Date: 11-Dec-06




I have read a lot of the consensus listed above and in some ways it is true, Burt what is not true is that the "kick" has often been attributed to reflex or lack of string follow. I make quite a few bows and have for several years, I still don't understand excacly what gives a boiw kick, I know that very few of my bows have handshock, My guess is that it is because I make my limbs as light weight as possible, I recently gave Steve Quintin a 72" hickory bow with a little reflex and plenty fast, The bow has no handshock as I expected it would. On the other side of the coin a few years ago I made a 68" osage very narrow elb style. Bow had about 1" follow and would break your hand if you didnt shoot about 15 grains to the pound, I dont pretend to have the answer as to where shock comes from but I don't think it comes from where the old books say it comes from. Steve

From: asharrow
Date: 11-Dec-06




Badger, I think you ARE seeing what hand shock comes from: energy left in the bow. Use a heavy arrow--no hand shock. Use a bow with spongy early draw--no hand shock. If all the energy goes into the arrow, no hand shock.

From: bowyer45
Date: 11-Dec-06




Too me it seems by keeping the limbs narrow at the tips,handshock is very minimal and with a little reflex it is gone. If a bow is shooting a little rough, I narrow the tips more. Has little effect on draw weight but makes a sweeter shooting bow for sure.

From: Sunset Hill
Date: 12-Dec-06




I believe also that "kick" or shock isn't all about reflex, but has more to do with proper limb tiller and the weight of the limbs. However, all things being equal, a bow that has string follow will shoot 'softer' than one with reflex, and this softness upon release is a desirable trait.

From: George Tsoukalas
Date: 12-Dec-06




String follow for the selfbowyer is a fact of life. Beginning bowyers should not be concerned about it. Positive things about it-bow is slower and easier to shoot. Flaws in shooting style are not magnified. Bow is smoother to draw. Jawge

From: smj
Date: 12-Dec-06




Not sure, off hand, where I read this - but I seem to recall that so long as string follow was 3 inches or less, it was considered to be OK. Greater than 3 inches of follow and it was time for a new bow, or to reflex the bow and back it. I am sorry that I don't recall the source!

By the way, that is a nice looking bow! Is it laminated, more than one wood layer, or all one piece? Just curious and I can't tell for sure from the pic. Heating could be really bad if it has layers! Getting the wood warm enough to do what needs to be done could cause the glue to let go when you stress it for reflex. That could make matters a whole lot worse for you.

From: smj
Date: 12-Dec-06




Opps! I posted to the wrong thread... Sorry about that. Please ignore my comments above.

From: nightpilot
Date: 13-Dec-06




I had Craig at HH build me a string follow half breed last year. I still notice some hand shock but not as bad as my Wesley's. I was surprised at the speed however, it seemed just as fast even though your are really losing 2" of limb travel. They do have a string follow form and will build you one if you ask. Ross

From: Griz
Date: 02-Jan-07




I ran into this thread while doing a search. Stringfollow bows are a real joy to shoot as I have one myself. I have a 50# stringfollow longbow and I also have a 70# longbow with a bit of backset, not much, just maybe a 1/2" or so. Both bows are actually pretty good shooters and both are relatively shock-free, much of which I think is due to shooting form. I think that a lot of the guys that complain of longbow shock simply have poor form. But, that is another subject off the topic of this thread. The thing I like most about the stringfollow bow is the smooth draw. The weight builds more gradually, whereas the longbow with backset seems to build draw weight much more rapidly. Now I know what this means in terms of stored energy (area under the curve) and how it in theory relates to speed and all that, but from my vantage point behind the bow (and mind you I have not shot the heavier bow much in the last year and neither bows in the last month), the stringfollow bow does not seem to loose much in this department. The draw weights differ quite a bit, but I actually shoot a heavier "grains per pound of draw" arrow off my stringfollow bow. I guess when all is said and done, the difference is not great enough to warrant consideration, but the advantages of the stringfollow bow are, which is why all of my bows will be stringfollow bows from now on. The arrow goes where you look, plain and simple. Of course, 50# is easier to shoot than 70# and does allow for more concetration, but I can still notice a definite difference, which is most obvious when the shot is taken from other than a perfect pose...a hasty shot. This is exactly what Hill spoke of, and now I, like John, understand of what it was he spoke.

From: NomadArcher
Date: 02-Jan-07




I have had the same experience as Griz but only a 10# difference in the bows, the string follow was lighter but shot right with the heavier bow. The bows I am referring to are both glass backed. I have shot a few selfbows and wood composites with string follow that did not have the positive attributes of the glass backed longbows with string follow.

From: badger
Date: 03-Jan-07




Actually when it comes to all wood bows if a bow does not have string follow there is a good chance it is overbuilt, unless it was relfexed fromt the begaining, another fact of life with wood bows is that we store the energy in the wood, the wood has mass, the more energy we store the more mass we need, there is a point of deminsihing returns where a little string follow will moree than makeup for all that extra mass it takes to avoid it. Steve

From: Liquid Amber Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 03-Jan-07




The definition of "set" is a permanent bend in an arrow or bow.

The definition of "string follow" or "follow the string" is taking a permanent bend in the direction of the string when the bow is unbraced.

"Set" is the same as "string follow" in a bow if the permanent bend is toward the string.

That's the way the old guys used it and defined it. Who better than those old guys who made and used wood bows prior to fiberglass to define their own language. I think they would be amused at all the mincing and dicing of words nowadays. :)

Go look for yourself...take any literature on bows prior to 1945 and see for yourself. As well, both Houghan's[1958] and Paterson's [1984]"Encyclopedia of Archery" support the above.

From: Liquid Amber Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 03-Jan-07




As a final note, "The Bowyer's Bible[1984]" vol. three supports my previous post as well as Bertalan's "Traditional Bowyers of American[1989]."

From: PV
Date: 04-Jan-07




Now that we have determined that string follow and set are one in the same. (Thanks Liquid Amber)does anyone have any thoughts on why over time the bottom limb has a tendency to take more set than the upper?

From: StandTall
Date: 04-Jan-07




If it is equal in length to the top limb it will be under more stress.

From: Bassman Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member
Date: 24-May-18




PV, I thought my bows were the only ones that do that.I make my limbs even ,maybe that is were i am going wrong,i shoot 3 under and if i dont put at least half inch positive tiller on my selfbows the bottom limb sets horrible. I own alot of vintage recurves and some of them have the same problem,weak bottom limb.I try to fix them by moving the fulcrum point up by adding a stick on rest quite a distance from the regular arrow rest, some times that works and sometimes it does not depending on how weak the bottom limb really is.If i cant get them to shoot right they become wall hangers.

From: George Tsoukalas
Date: 24-May-18




Read LA's words carefully.

Set and string follow are not always the same...only if the permanent bend is towards the string.

So if the bowyer starts with 3 inches of reflex and looses 2 inches, he has 1 inch of set and no string follow because the limbs are not bent "towards the string".

If the bowyer starts with no reflex and ends up with 2 inches of set or string follow then they are the same.

Jawge

From: Elderly OCR
Date: 24-May-18




Geez, Jawge still has these terms on the bat signal. Even 10 year old threads aren't safe.

From: twostrings
Date: 24-May-18




Or he dialed in 3 inches of set back and lost 2 inches of it and got a bow with 1 inch of set back.

From: George Tsoukalas
Date: 24-May-18




LOL. I did not resurrect this thread, Elderly OCR. Only trying to help. :) Jawge

From: Arvin
Date: 26-May-18




All I know is I don't like either . I'll take a bow with light mass on the outter limbs and no set or string follow any time. I have a bow designed with deflex in the handle which appears to have taken set but it has taken none. I did not build the bow. The bow is fast enough , strings easy, and well made. You can go with shorter bow designs building in the deflex and see less set. But I see no significant bow performance . Bow designs are all a personal desire though so all I have is an oppinion on this. Arvin

From: dean
Date: 26-May-18




I am convinced that Nate Steen has perfected the string follow. I have shot a few varieties, but the bow from Nate is pure magic.

From: BowAholic
Date: 26-May-18




Cliff is right... and George is right... times change... terms change... it's all good.

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 26-May-18




As noted, String follow and Set aren't necessarily the same thing. The meanings seem to have evolved a little in the last 100 years or so(like so many others related to archery and bow making) partly due to changes in how bows are made, what they're made with, and why they're designed the way they are, but nonetheless, there were/are differences in them both then and now.

Robert Elmer, in Target Archery 1926, defined them as:

Follow the String: To become curved toward the belly from use, said of a bow.

Set: A permanent bend in a bow or arrow.

I see differences in those two, and a need for both definitions, as he apparently did.

But today, 'becoming that way from use' seems to have been dropped from the definition of 'string follow'(because it isn't always necessarily the case, as the term is used), and given to the term 'set'. Today, string follow doesn't seem to carry with it a determination of how it came to be, it simply describes the appearance of an unbraced profile. And with some laminated 'string follow bows' being designed and MADE that way from the beginning, it seems well-suited that way.

In the interest of keeping things in context and relevant to today's discussions, I feel this is more how they are understood today.

String follow - When an unstrung bow's side profile shows its limbs bent toward the string side so that the tips are behind the front of the handle, they are said to have string follow, or follow the string.

Set - The result, generally due to belly compression/compaction, of a bow’s inability to return to its original shape.

For instance, if a bow was constructed from a stave with 3” of reflex and after tillering, shooting in, and unstringing, the bow then shows 1” of reflex, the bow is said to have taken 2” of set... but in side profile is still seen as a reflexed bow, not a string follow bow, or a bow whose limbs are following the string.

Conversely, a bow's limbs can follow the string by 1", due to design by its bowyer, or naturally due to the shape of the tree that the bow was made from, but take NO set during construction or shooting. Just because a bow is a 'string follow bow', doesn't necessarily mean it had to take any 'set' in the limbs due to use to get there.

From: Birdy
Date: 26-May-18




It's just a nice word for a slow bow.

From: Arvin
Date: 26-May-18




Jeff I agree with what you just said. The bow I was speaking of is a Lonnie Dye bow. The bow is fast has no set maybe sting follow but it was induced in the building process . I don't believe it is faster than a well made reflex bow with a couple inches of set. At least in my minimal testing. Shooting arrows of the same weight pulled to the same length at the same poundage of bow. Lonnie builds a fine bow. I have one. That being said the end result of any design which makes for a good performer makes since to me. Arvin

From: CLAYBORN
Date: 26-May-18




I have a Howard Hill Robinhood and it was made with string follow for this reason. The start of the draw is easy and gets harder toward the end of your draw length. The bows without string follow are harder at the start and easier at the end of your draw length. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but seems to be true to my thinking.

From: Elderly OCR
Date: 26-May-18




The bows without follow are unlikely to be harder to draw initially and then easier later.

From: badger
Date: 26-May-18




I am not a big fan of string follow bows but one thing I will say for them is that they have the potential to carry the least amount of mass in the outer limbs which can make up for some loss of stored energy. They can be very efficient. If you build the string follow into the bow and it isn't from set it is something that one should consider.

From: Hal9000
Date: 26-May-18




Birdy... that is the best definition I have ever read about what String Follow really is :)

In reality a string follow bow has deflex in it and puts the grip more forward in the bow, making it less susceptible to torque, hence the more accurate claim.

if an ASL with reflex kicks, the bowyer doesn't know what he is doing, or operator error.

From: George Tsoukalas
Date: 27-May-18




Yes, if you build in deflex during construction it likely will not have any cell compaction which is probably a good thing. I have no desire to do that though. When I make a bow, I just make a bow and try not to overthink the process too much. Jawge

From: dean
Date: 27-May-18




i made a pig nut flat limb. It shot really good. I used shellac to finish it because it dries really fast and looks cool. Two years later, goose hunting in the rain, my bow sucked up water like a sponge and took a set. I sanded it down, taped it to a straight board to straighten it and stuck it in a furnace duct for the winter. I shortened it and retillered. the bow picked up about 8 pounds in the process, but shot really nice. I self bow maker, smarter than me, said if I would have put some reverse stress on the limbs and then heated the belly with a torch, I could have taken more of the set out of it and prevented it from coming back. I plan on reducing the poundage this summer, I will give his suggestion a try.

From: two4hooking
Date: 27-May-18




This....

I am convinced that Nate Steen has perfected the string follow. I have shot a few varieties, but the bow from Nate is pure magic.

From: 2 bears
Date: 27-May-18




The definitions of string follow / set have become blurred. Then along comes deflex. We seem to define it---was it intentional/built in or not. Unless you built the bow or was with it from its start,you can't tell and may call it either. >>>----> Ken





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