Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall

Bow Design Considerations

Messages posted to thread:
Gray Goose Shaft 27-Dec-18
JustinB 27-Dec-18
4nolz@work 27-Dec-18
Jeff Durnell 27-Dec-18
Longcruise 27-Dec-18
fdp 27-Dec-18
arlone 27-Dec-18
buddyb 11-Jan-19
Stoner 11-Jan-19
Orion 11-Jan-19
DanaC 12-Jan-19
crookedstix 12-Jan-19
From: Gray Goose Shaft
Date: 27-Dec-18

I am looking for a book or other reference that discusses the elements of laminated bow design. I do not intend to ever build a bow, but would like to understand more about how they work.

I have read the Bowyer's Bible series of books by Tim Baker and others about selfbow design. They are pretty detailed about where to remove wood and where to leave wood to make the limbs bend in a certain area and not in others. Baker said that we are bow orphans trying to relearn what was forgotten centuries ago, and that archaeologists told him that there is nothing new in archery. I read the general description of bow design in 'Shooting the Stickbow'.

I am interested in learning about how reflex and deflex are balanced and the effects of different limb core materials; maple, bamboo, and foam. What are the effects of varying limb length and riser length? Does a rigid riser increase speed? If limbs fail, do they always fail on the back, in tension? Is the riser stress highest at the narrow throat, and is the stress higher at full draw or when the limbs are stopped by the string? Maybe I'm trying to fly too close to the sun, but if you don't ask, you don't find out.

From: JustinB
Date: 27-Dec-18

Have you found pirates of archery yet? The walk the talk thread is epic.

From: 4nolz@work
Date: 27-Dec-18

Im not sure such a book exists

From: Jeff Durnell Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 27-Dec-18

For laminated bows, there's Jack Harrison's, Traditional Bowyer, more unnecessary fun. There's some good info in there, and some I disagree with, but I don't remember if it goes into the details you're looking for.

From: Longcruise
Date: 27-Dec-18

Agree with 4nolz. However, much of what you find in TBB volumes is applicable to glass lam bows....and some is not! After you build a couple you begin to see the differences.

Realize too that much is theory and opinions. For such a simple looking object there is much that goes into a bow design that is not readily apparent without very close examination.

A good approach is to build a few bows from kits with full instructions and get a feel for how a bow works. Much of what you learn will answer some of your questions and you will find that some of your questions are the subject of never ending ongoing debates.

Not a very good response to your post, but you asked a lot of questions! :-)

From: fdp
Date: 27-Dec-18

What Jeff Durnell said. Jack's book is about all there is for laminated bow design.

Anythng that is appliacble to all wood bows is applicable in the design of laminated bows as well.

From: arlone Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 27-Dec-18

I think it only covers longbows and I haven't read it yet, but have read only good things about it. It is "The American Longbow" by Stephen Graf.

From: buddyb
Date: 11-Jan-19

The American Longbow will answer "I think" some of the questions. I have the book and its a good read.

From: Stoner
Date: 11-Jan-19

X3, Jack Harrison's, Traditional Bowyer, more unnecessary fun. John

From: Orion Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 11-Jan-19

Yep, Harrison's and Graf's books are both good, but they deal with longbows. Graf's ASLs only. Harrison deals mostly with r/d longbows. Been a while since I read Jack's book, but he does test out a lot of stuff and report on the results in his book.

From: DanaC
Date: 12-Jan-19

Viper's book (Shooting The Stickbow, Anthony Camera) has some real good stuff on the evolution of bow design.

From: crookedstix
Date: 12-Jan-19

That's one of the fascinating things about the recurve explosion in the late 50's and early 60's--there were SO many different approaches tried. Parallel lams, double-tapered lams, differential-thickness lams like the Howatt Hunter, tip wedges, riser shims...and then the many different limb profiles on top of that...and even the brand of fiberglass on the outside of the limb.

I will say, after owning and testing a lot of different bows, that there's more than one way to skin a cat...but I also think that Harry Drake may have skun more cats than just about anybody else.

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