Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall


Dark lines in fiberglass of vintage Bear

Messages posted to thread:
AugustWhite 21-Jun-22
AugustWhite 21-Jun-22
AugustWhite 21-Jun-22
longshot1959 21-Jun-22
fdp 21-Jun-22
Randog 21-Jun-22
AugustWhite 21-Jun-22
fdp 21-Jun-22
AugustWhite 21-Jun-22
longshot1959 21-Jun-22
Catskills 21-Jun-22
Catskills 21-Jun-22
AugustWhite 21-Jun-22
longshot1959 21-Jun-22
MStyles 21-Jun-22
Jamie 21-Jun-22
[email protected] 21-Jun-22
Randog 21-Jun-22
Catskills 21-Jun-22
Jim 22-Jun-22
Nrthernrebel05 22-Jun-22
Randog 22-Jun-22
PhantomWolf 22-Jun-22
Brad Lehmann 22-Jun-22
[email protected] 22-Jun-22
Linecutter 22-Jun-22
fdp 22-Jun-22
bowhunt 22-Jun-22
mangonboat 23-Jun-22
longshot1959 23-Jun-22
[email protected] 23-Jun-22
fdp 23-Jun-22
From: AugustWhite
Date: 21-Jun-22

AugustWhite's embedded Photo



Hi there, new to this forum and archery in general, but I got my first vintage Bear recurve recently. I'm wondering ho. wever if this bow is actually safe to use!? It has these darker lines running up and down in the fiberglass (see pics!).

Just curious if any of you have ever seen this, your opinions on whether its safe to shoot, etc? I don't mind the cosmetic imperfections, but if this thing is about to crack, I don't even want to string it up! I'm a total noob, so apologizing in advance if this is an obvious question...

Look forward to my archery adventure here and thanks for your help!!

From: AugustWhite
Date: 21-Jun-22

AugustWhite's embedded Photo



Here's another pic!

From: AugustWhite
Date: 21-Jun-22

AugustWhite's embedded Photo



One last pic...

From: longshot1959
Date: 21-Jun-22




Stress cracking, and a lot of it. Common in old bows and especially Bear. Some guys will tell you to shoot it but I wouldn't. This whole fad thing over Old Bear Bows is baffling to me. I watch these bows, some with serious problems, selling for ridiculous prices. Bear bows are not rare. There are literally umpteen thousands of these bows everywhere you look.

From: fdp
Date: 21-Jun-22




Agree with longshort. That one is going to let go. That probably isn't the worst I've ever seen but it is BAD.

From: Randog
Date: 21-Jun-22




I've seen and owned several with no problem. I'd shoot it with no fear.

From: AugustWhite
Date: 21-Jun-22

AugustWhite's embedded Photo



Wow thanks for answering here you all!

But dang, was worried I'd be advised not to shoot it...

I'm just confused, because there are other threads where many folks seem to think stress cracking isn't a big deal. That said, I don't see any other pictures online that look quite like this bow... sounds like this one is worse than the average...

Randog, I'm curious if the bows you've shot like this looked quite as bad -- I love your optimism and it would be a dream if this bow worked out for me...

Anyhow, definitely open to anymore opinions and/or advice in terms of the safety of shooting this bow!! Thanks again for your time

From: fdp
Date: 21-Jun-22




You were advised not to shoot it.

From: AugustWhite
Date: 21-Jun-22




Hi fdp, thanks for your response.

I'm just curious as I have another member suggest it would be no problem to shoot... Just hoping to get an even wider sample of opinions if possible here.

I'm guessing your advice to not shoot the bow will be the majority, but thought it couldn't hurt to stay open to more responses...

Thanks again!

From: longshot1959
Date: 21-Jun-22




Just curious. How did you come across this bow? Did someone sell it to you or did you just end up with it? If you don't have much into it I would think about taking some time and find a Bear bow in better condition. There are scads of Kodiak Magnums, Grizzlys, Black Bears, and similar models for sale and many are really fine condition. If an old bow has ANY cracking, dried out finish, warped limbs, or missing tip overlays that is a bad sign. Plenty of good bows out there if you are patient. And on EBay, always check the sellers "other items". If they show up as someone who regularly sells archery equipment, that is good. If he shows up as a Junk Shop operator or Pawn Broker, pass on it. Personally, I would NEVER sell a bow like that to anyone.

From: Catskills
Date: 21-Jun-22




If it does explode, it’s not going to be when it’s hanging on the bow rack, it will be when you’re pulling it towards your head…

I have an old Bear polar with stress lines nowhere near as bad as those, which I seldom shoot.

From: Catskills
Date: 21-Jun-22




If it does explode, it’s not going to be when it’s hanging on the bow rack, it will be when you’re pulling it towards your head…

I have an old Bear polar with stress lines nowhere near as bad as those, which I seldom shoot.

From: AugustWhite
Date: 21-Jun-22




Hi Longshot,

Yeah I got this bow off of eBay, just a rookie mistake. I bought it more based on the description, and didn't notice the lines in the photos until after the purchase. In his auction description he said: "It does have horizontal woodgrain lines in the yellow fiberglass which is very common on all older Bear Bows. This does not effect the strength or performance of this bow in anyway"

So I assumed the lines were horizontal and just superficial finish crazing. The day after purchase I looked back at the pics and realized the lines are not only horizontal, but very defined.

This bow will arrive this week, so I'm yet to have it in hand. The good news is the seller will let me return it if I'm not happy, minus the shipping expense.

I guess I learned my lesson real quick with purchasing my first vintage bow (facepalm). I just got excited because it had the exact specs I was looking for, and looks identical to my friends old Bear bow that I've fallen in love with shooting...

Anyhow thanks for your further guidance.

From: longshot1959
Date: 21-Jun-22




Yeah, I would not even unpack it. Initiate a return immediately as "Not as Described". Open a case if you have to. This guy saying that it has "woodgrain lines in the yellow fiberglass" shows that he has no idea what he is talking about. Would be interested in knowing this guys seller name so I can block him from my account.

From: MStyles
Date: 21-Jun-22




I have at least two old Bear bows with those cracks. One is 60#, one is 74#. I shoot them both regularly. I also have a Shakespeare Cascade with the long cracks in the glass. It’s 64#.

From: Jamie
Date: 21-Jun-22




My super kodiak had those lines though they were just in the fade outs. I hit them with loctite 420 prior to refinish. Lines have not come back after 4 years of shooting.

As others have said might be best to return it. If it was over 100$ I know I would!

From: [email protected]
Date: 21-Jun-22




Were the lines were visible in the photos on eBay?

From: Randog
Date: 21-Jun-22




Hey August, I had a kodiak hunter that was worse than yours and had no problem and the guy I sold it had no problem last time I talked to him. Most guys on here have more experience that's just mine.

From: Catskills
Date: 21-Jun-22




I agree with Longshot, don't even unpack it.

Despite tales of bows with stress lines shooting fine, those are really bad, and like others have said, there are plenty of fish in the sea,...I mean, plenty of bears in the woods.

From: Jim Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 22-Jun-22




Fire wood!

From: Nrthernrebel05
Date: 22-Jun-22




Like almost every other topic on here, you are going to get conflicting opinions. These old bows with stress cracks are shot every day for years and years but sometimes they fail. But you know what, ANY bow can fail at any time. These lines were very visible in the photos and described by the seller. They are vertical not horizontal. If they were horizontal that would be bad. You chose to purchase it that way so don’t try to back out of the deal by returning it. Personally I would fill them with Loctite 420 to keep them from spreading and shoot it. I have a couple bows with stress lines i shoot pretty regularly.

From: Randog
Date: 22-Jun-22




Wow, at least wait until it breaks if it ever does.

From: PhantomWolf
Date: 22-Jun-22




Morning August, welcome to the Leatherwall from Maine!

Many opinions as always, pro & con, but ultimately your decision. Good luck with whatever you decide and keep us informed.

From: Brad Lehmann
Date: 22-Jun-22




That is a pretty light draw weight bow. I've shot much worse and never had one break on me. If you are worried, you can stabilize the cracks with a wicking suuper glue. Just be advised that you will have a mess and will have to scrape the excess off then refinish the limbs. The advice has always been that stress cracks running the length of the limb are no big problem. Stress cracks across the limb call for stopping shooting immediately.

From: [email protected]
Date: 22-Jun-22




I think it looks worse due to the light colored glass. He never answered if those photos were off the listing,if so buyer beware.

From: Linecutter
Date: 22-Jun-22




Reading all the "Advice" here, if you keep it and don't return it. If you decide to shoot it, if you have a draw longer than 28" I wouldn't. If your draw is 28" or shorter you "Might" get away with it. If I were you though, I would return it because it was not as described, those lines ARE NOT horizontal to the limb, they run parallel on/with the limb. Those lines look like they may run through the fiberglass not the finish. The lower limb picture you show, the cracks/lines run all the way to the end of the fiberglass in the handle on the belly side of the bow. Just what I am seeing. DANNY

From: fdp
Date: 22-Jun-22




Oh they are absolutely cracks in the glass. No doubt about it.

From: bowhunt
Date: 22-Jun-22




To shoot or not to shoot.Your call totally.But you got your feedback.

I would totally saturate the cracks with loctite if I kept it and was going to shoot it personally.May take a few bottles.

From: mangonboat
Date: 23-Jun-22




It's not a 'one size fits all' situation. Longitudinal stress cracks can be in the finish , the outer part of the glass, or all the way through the glass. different bows and years use different glass, and early 1960 Bear bows were the worst. 3M glass used by Damon Howatt 1959-65 and some top-of-the-line Bear bows in 1962 was probably the least problematic. The cracks are less of a problem near the fades, a much bigger problem on the hooks, because the represent a loss of lateral surface stability and the tips are less supported against torque under stress. Your 1968 Cub appears to have multiple cracks through the glass extending well into the curves. It is going to be vulnerable to torque failure, especially, when stringing, unstringing or shooting the bow.

From: longshot1959
Date: 23-Jun-22




I am sorry, but for me it all boils down to this. With SO MANY bows available out there that are in good shape, WHY shoot junk? Why risk it. And as far as "buyer beware" goes, that is just unacceptable. If someone needs to sell junk to the unsuspecting to make a dollar, they should just go get a job at WalMart or something honorable. Sorry for the blatant opinion.

From: [email protected]
Date: 23-Jun-22




My "buyer beware" was if those photos were from the eBay listing - he never answered the question.If you buy that bow with those pictures it's on you.Reread my 2 posts.

From: fdp
Date: 23-Jun-22




"If you buy that bow with those pictures it's on you." Yep....





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