Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


Bamboo as a recurve core wood.

Messages posted to thread:
JimG 14-Jan-21
aromakr 14-Jan-21
Bows&Beers 14-Jan-21
MattS 14-Jan-21
Flyman 14-Jan-21
JimG 14-Jan-21
The Whittler 14-Jan-21
DougInMN 14-Jan-21
Andy Man 14-Jan-21
joe vt 14-Jan-21
Bowman 14-Jan-21
Wudstix 14-Jan-21
fdp 14-Jan-21
JusPassin 14-Jan-21
DanaC 14-Jan-21
aromakr 14-Jan-21
fdp 14-Jan-21
tecum-tha 14-Jan-21
JimG 14-Jan-21
Jeff Durnell 14-Jan-21
tecum-tha 14-Jan-21
Orion 14-Jan-21
JimG 14-Jan-21
Orion 14-Jan-21
Mike E 14-Jan-21
algstick 14-Jan-21
Runner 14-Jan-21
bowhunt 14-Jan-21
M60gunner 14-Jan-21
Jeff Durnell 14-Jan-21
JimG 14-Jan-21
Jeff Durnell 14-Jan-21
Draven 14-Jan-21
Runner 14-Jan-21
Bassman 14-Jan-21
JimG 15-Jan-21
Bassman 15-Jan-21
Ihunts2much 15-Jan-21
mahantango 16-Jan-21
fdp 16-Jan-21
Adam Howard 16-Jan-21
From: JimG
Date: 14-Jan-21




I've ordered a GN Ghost. I asked the new bowyer for bamboo as the core wood under GN's standard brown glass. It's one of the options as a core wood and was his recommendation. I'm now second guessing myself. I like bamboo in straight limbed bows. But a longbow/flatbow is not a recurve.

For those familiar with the Ghost/Super Ghost, what core woods do you like or recommend?

And yes I already know that the core wood in a glass laminated bow basically serves as a spacer for the back/belly glass and has very little effect on performance and shootabilty/feel.

From: aromakr Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member
Date: 14-Jan-21




Bamboo is an outstanding core wood in any bow design, its light and strong.

Bob

From: Bows&Beers
Date: 14-Jan-21




In all honesty the material used in the core doesn't really make that much of a difference. As much as people think it does. There are many other things that will make a bow shoot better. Then the core wood, you simply could have went with maple and had the same results and outcome.

From: MattS
Date: 14-Jan-21




Honestly I can't tell the difference between bamboo core and maple or actionwood. Nothing I could tell if I was shooting with my eyes closed. I'd take any if the 3 above.

From: Flyman
Date: 14-Jan-21




Ihave had quite a few bows with bamboo core.I really think the bows drew smoother and were quicker.

From: JimG
Date: 14-Jan-21




My other options that I considered was osage and elm if that matters at all. GN normally does not offer maple for core wood.

From: The Whittler
Date: 14-Jan-21




In a blindfold test I doubt anyone could tell the difference. Don't 2nd guess yourself it's a good core material just enjoy. And don't forget to show us pics. when you get it.

From: DougInMN
Date: 14-Jan-21




I think you made a good choice as mentioned above not a ton of difference, my all time favorite bow is a Pronghorn Ferret, Boo core sandwiched by 2 Red elm lams.

From: Andy Man
Date: 14-Jan-21




Have in my 2 BW recurves and all of my longbows- no complaints

From: joe vt
Date: 14-Jan-21




Hey Jim, I am replying even though I don't have a GN Ghost.

I have both longbows and recurves with and without bamboo core in the 45-50#s @ 28" range. For me, I do not feel or see any differences. If you asked me what are my favorite longbows I own, they would include core woods of bamboo, yew, and maple.

If you asked me the same question regarding my recurves, my favorites would include core woods of actionwood, maple, and bamboo.

Go figure!

The actual extra cost of the bamboo option would cause me to get it or not. I do believe that bamboo is better for resale value.

From: Bowman Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Jan-21




the extra cost of the bamboo would also cause me to get it or not. As Bear Used then and now in all there bows all maple as core wood. If it didn't work I don't think Bear would have or would still be using it to this day.. As for resale value vintage Bear bows are still bringing a pretty penny and are made with maple. I don't think core wood has anything to do with resale value.

From: Wudstix Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 14-Jan-21




Bamboo is core on three of my four main bows recurve and longbow. The one is a PBS auction acquisition with elm core. Bamboo works just fine.

From: fdp
Date: 14-Jan-21




I'm in the camp of not feeling that core wood matters in a recurve.

Steve Gardner (badger) proved to me a number of years ago that contrary to what I was convinced of Bamboo is not consistently lighter than other core woods and many times is in fact heavier. Nor does it recover from bending any quicker than anything else.

I do believe it makes outstanding backing on all natural material bows though.

From: JusPassin
Date: 14-Jan-21




An old bowyer friend of mine knew Fred and discussed bows with him off and on. Fred's bows where built to make him money. Performance was not his main goal, durability was. He didn't want to get bows back to repair or replace. Maple is durable, and dependable.

From: DanaC
Date: 14-Jan-21




Had a set of bamboo-core limbs, I think they were a bit smoother than the ones they rep,aced, but 'smooth' is hard to quantify. Still, if the cost wasn't excessive, I'd recommend them.

From: aromakr Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member
Date: 14-Jan-21




Frank: I agree there can be a great amount of weight difference, as bamboo is a grass and unless it is heat treated it can be heavy, but when heat treated it is extremely light. I've proven that my self making what few bows I've made, by weighing before and after heat treating a strip of cane. Its amazing the weight loss. John Schulz and I were talking about that one morning when we were both having our trucks worked on at the same garage.

Bob

From: fdp
Date: 14-Jan-21




Hmmm...I never thought about the heat treating angle, but I can see how that would decrease the weight.

From: tecum-tha Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Jan-21




Not familiar with The Ghost, but bamboo as a core material is awesome if the bow is above 50# draw weight. Modern glass is much stronger than the glass of old, that will require less core material in the recurves. Bamboo is not very resistant to torque in comparison to maple for example. I have seen recurves under 45# to be more prone to twist in the recurves having bamboo limbs. I would stay with maple under 50# in a recurve, especially if the recurve is a wider flatter limb.

From: JimG
Date: 14-Jan-21




No additional cost, so that's not's a factor. I have no idea as to whether the boo is heat treated or not.

From: Jeff Durnell
Date: 14-Jan-21




I made a one piece tempered bamboo recurve. Clear glass. 84 lbs. Bolivian rosewood riser. That thing spits an 850 grain arrow in an impressive fashion. But maybe it just seems like it because I'm used to selfbow trajectory :^)

From: tecum-tha Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Jan-21




When everything is perfectly straight, it makes no difference. But no archers releases the string straight. The olympic limb companies invest great research and money in making a limb laterally more stable....

From: Orion Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Jan-21




I had a bamboo core Ghost several years ago. Very nice bow. Just got too heavy for me and had to sell it. BTW, I don't buy the myth that core doesn't make a difference or that it just serves as a spacer and doesn't contribute much to the overall strength/poundage of the bow .

If that were the case, why would folks build all wood or all bamboo or some combination of wood and bamboo laminated bows. They seem to shoot quite well without fiberglass, and they're not much thicker than glass laminated bows of the same poundage. Adding fiberglass makes them more durable and does increase the poundage substantially, but the core's contribution is also significant, IMO.

From: JimG
Date: 14-Jan-21




Tecum-ha

I asked for 45# @ 26" with the understanding that it would be +/- 2#. So that should put it right at 50# @ 28" give or take. As for the limb profile, the limbs are deep cored, almost longbow like with a working recurve. Great Northern is first and fore most a flatbow/longbow builder and that is reflected in their recurves. So twist should not be as much of a threat as some other recurves......I hope.

From: Orion Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 14-Jan-21




Jim: The Ghost is actually fairly slim toward the tips, though I haven't heard that limb twist was ever a problem. Regardless, when Jerry still owned the company, I believe he began inserting 8-10-inch long wedges in the recurve area of the Ghosts -- to increase stability and no doubt add a little more performance.

From: Mike E
Date: 14-Jan-21




The smoothest bow I ever owned was yew back and bamboo belly no core wood in between.

From: algstick
Date: 14-Jan-21




You will get lots of opinions on the core wood issue. I would trust the recommendation of the bowyer you have selected it is his design and he knows what works best for his bows and the draw length / draw weight you have requested.

From: Runner
Date: 14-Jan-21




Bamboo really holds onto water much like Hickory. Likely the weight loss from heat treating is mostly water. Heat treated material does not take moisture back up to the same degree.

From: bowhunt
Date: 14-Jan-21




I have had 3 Super Ghosts.

Like you stated Jim.It has a narrow limb with deep core and thicker stack.Not sure when they added the tip inserts.But it sounds like it makes for a stronger tip and a little more punch.

I really liked my all Osage limbed Superghost.It had clear glass.It was a real strong shooter with heavier hunting arrows.We all know Osage is very strong/tough bow wood.Its really good in compression on the belly.Some combine it with bamboo on the back in all wood laminated bows.Typically a little heavier than Bamboo.It looks great as well on the Ghosts.Osage Might be a bit more torsionally stable in that deep core Ghost limb?

My other ones were red elm and bamboo.

Just saying I liked the all Osage one I had.Reiterate I shot heavier hunting arrows.Like 12 grains per pound.60 inch bow,65 #s at 30".I had a longer draw back then.

From: M60gunner
Date: 14-Jan-21




Yes, heat treating boo does take the water out. It also makes it more springy, think bamboo fly rods. But I am talking boo veneers not boo flooring ot laminated like used by some bowyers. That stuff probably weights more than Osage or Maple.

From: Jeff Durnell
Date: 14-Jan-21




Orion, I don't buy that myth either... or any other.

From: JimG
Date: 14-Jan-21




Please keep the thoughts on this subject coming.

From: Jeff Durnell
Date: 14-Jan-21




I don't like colored glass, or the look of bamboo under clear glass, but I wouldn't be opposed to making another bow with tempered bamboo core lams with a good looking veneer lam over them. That's probably the only way I'd use 'raw' bamboo in a laminated bow.

A buddy of mine has been making lams with vertically laminated bamboo stair treads in his d/r longbows with various veneers over them and the performance is real good, and they look awesome.

From: Draven
Date: 14-Jan-21

Draven's embedded Photo



I have a longbow made by Jaap Koppedrayer and is "all natural" - no glass - bamboo core and superflex actionwood outer lams, 6 layers. My Dave Johnson ASL I love and the lightest bow I own - 2 layers of glass and 4 lams of red cedar. Between the two, the Jaap's is outshooting the ASL with same gpp. I believe the truth is in the middle : the material and the design will make a bow to perform better than other.

From: Runner
Date: 14-Jan-21




The actual weight of bamboo varies depending on how much is power fibers and how much the pithier inner portion.

Power fibers alone or mostly power fibers actually weighs similar to typical hardwoods. Tonkin power fibers are denser than Ipe and heavier as a result.

Moso is pretty close to Maple in its outer portion.

From: Bassman Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member
Date: 14-Jan-21




I have made glass bows with maple,and lam boo core. If their is a difference in speed, and smoothness of draw I didn't see it, and maple core is cheaper to buy. It has been the standard of the industry for decades. Still pretty tough to beat even today over all.

From: JimG
Date: 15-Jan-21




For those who are mentioning maple, well it's not an option for me. Nor is foam. Or yew. Hickory, osage, bamboo, and red elm are my options. I could maybe get him to use ash as well.

From: Bassman Professional Bowhunters Society - Qualified Member
Date: 15-Jan-21




Just another choice in life. Your bow your call.

From: Ihunts2much
Date: 15-Jan-21




I would think osage, and to a lesser extent hickory would be last choice due to thier density. Like said, the core is just "taking up space". So make it as light as possible.

From: mahantango
Date: 16-Jan-21




My Mahantango Raven by Jim Martin is a narrow limbed '50s style recurve very similar to the Ghost. It is three lams of boo under clear glass, no veneers. It is the only bamboo limb recurve I own and also the smoothest and quickest.

From: fdp
Date: 16-Jan-21




Irregardless of perception or emotion attached to lamination material in most applications there is more performance difference between 2 sets of lamination of the same material than there is between 2 sets of lamination of different wood/grass.

Particularly in bows that have small amounts of glass them such as recurve and many deflex/reflex longbows.

That has all been hashed out before.

From: Adam Howard
Date: 16-Jan-21




Mahantango x2 , Jim builds a spectacular recurve and the bamboo is awesome feeling and shooting





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