How are bow limbs made ? [Archive] - ArcheryTalk Forum: Archery Target, Bowhunting, Classifieds, Chat

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June 30th, 2004, 09:43 PM
Hey all ! All this talk about bow limbs blowing up got me to thinking . How are limbs made? What are the differences between the major manufacturers ? It seems to me from reading some of the recent posts that some manufacturers limbs handle a dry fire better than others. What materials are the limbs of Martin, Hoyt and Mathews made of ? Any opinions of which are best ?Thanks for the info in advance !

July 1st, 2004, 11:21 PM
Must be a secret !

Jim Mense
July 2nd, 2004, 12:14 AM
Surprise! Fewer limb manufacturers than bow manufacturers!

July 2nd, 2004, 12:53 AM
Hoyt is one company which has totally produced its own limbs for years. I took a tour of their plant last year and was shown everything except that area. The tour guide told me that he doesn't even get to visit that area. Up until recently almost all of other US archery companies have had their limbs produced by one source and then do the final finish on their own.

July 2nd, 2004, 05:35 AM
PSE make their own limbs!

Gordon Glassmakes most of the limbs!

go to this site:

Gordon Composites
Gordon Composites (

Bow Only
July 2nd, 2004, 06:33 AM
CSS's limbs actually have what looks like rope in them. I saw a cutaway of one at the ATA this year. Somehow, they hardened the area around the rope. They're completely different than the layered limbs of other manufacturers.

Raymond v. Halm
July 2nd, 2004, 06:35 AM
I was told the bulk of them where made in Korea. ( I guess they where talking about a Samick division)Samick Archery (

Looking at their site though, i guess it only go's for olympic limbs.

July 2nd, 2004, 07:29 AM
Limbs are probably the most important component of a bow. I doubt too many manufacturers are going to give any detailed information on the construction of their limbs. However, it does appear to be an area that has a lot of potential for further developments.

July 2nd, 2004, 07:41 AM
Martin and Hoyt limbs are laminated and high quality. But if you want the very best, Barnsdale limbs are the ultimate. Gordon glass limbs, while functional, are cheapos that cost the manufacturer about $10 per set. I don't know about you, but I don't really want a $700 bow with a $10 set of non laminated limbs.

July 2nd, 2004, 08:21 AM
My bow comes standard with Barnsdale laminated limbs!!!:D

July 2nd, 2004, 09:47 AM
Thanks for the replies ! I was just wondering how the process worked. I read a Martin ad a little while back ( I think it was a Martin ad) and they said something about their limbs being matched because they were cut from the same sheet of material. I suppose that the laminations are glued and cured in large sheets and then the limbs are cut out of them. Are other limbs made in a mold with high pressure ? I think I'll try Barnsdale and see if he can give me the skinny on how limbs are made and what's best. Thanks ! 2cam

July 2nd, 2004, 11:12 AM

Martin, Mathews and Hoyt all make their own limbs but buy their materials from Gordon.
Gordon Composites makes several different grades of lams.
The quality of the limbs on your bow depends on the quality of these laminations and quality control the manufacturer uses to build them.
As already stated, I doubt they will tell you about their limb making process and the materials used.
They will just give you a general answer to get you off their back.
As Jbird said, Barnsdale is the best!
If you compare a Barnsdale limb to any other, you will see the difference right away.
Beautiful construction and finish!
Dave only uses the finest materials.
One of the major reasons I shoot Bowman bows.
PSE and Bear/Jennings have compression molded limbs.
Cheap and no where near the quality of a good laminated limb, jmo.


July 2nd, 2004, 11:47 AM
Bottom line. A lot of people are getting to the podium shooting non-laminated "cheapo" limbs.

July 2nd, 2004, 11:55 AM
All of Martin's limbs are made in house. We laminate them out of strips of fiberglass. We use huge presses to compress and heat cure the adhesive. We currently are making 4 types of compound limbs as well as a full line of laminated traditional bows. The process for each limb style is slightly different and a large part of the process is a trade secret, so I can't show and tell too much.

I will try and get some pics of the process for you a little later. There is a quick glimpse of the process in the Martin Show "The Making of a Bow".

July 2nd, 2004, 12:08 PM
Jbird, You information is not correct. The raw materials cost a lot more than you think. The labor involved in laminating, shaping, and finishing the limbs is also a huge expense.

July 2nd, 2004, 12:22 PM

I am so glad you posted.

I was hoping you would.

Limbs are very intriquing and a dynamic aspect of bows. I'd like to build some, but know I would use the correct adhesive and they would blow up on me! :(

Jim Mense
July 2nd, 2004, 12:27 PM
"PSE makes their own limbs."

Not so! They have used Barnesdales on their Mach series prior to 2003, and many of their Unicams have used "outside" limbs. Having said that, their magnaglas limbs are some of the best, most durable limbs I have used.

Bent Arrows
July 2nd, 2004, 12:34 PM
What causes a limb to delaminate or blow up? Is heat the only factor? What about moisture?

July 2nd, 2004, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by Bent Arrows
What causes a limb to delaminate or blow up? Is heat the only factor? What about moisture?

Bad epoxy, oils, solvents, heat, raw material voids, too much stress, gremlins, you name it.

Bent Arrows
July 2nd, 2004, 01:04 PM
I'll tell youwhat, I work in a shop the two or three weeks before the archery season starts and their is one company that has more problems with delaminating than others from what I've seen. Utah gets some hot weather but the air dry, that's why I asked.

July 2nd, 2004, 02:54 PM

PSE hasn't used Barnsdale limbs in the last 3 years.
They make their own compression molded limbs.
The Barnsdale limbs were only used on PSE's top target bows and a few hunting bows with parallel limbs.
Their Magnaglass limbs are not as good since they quit using graphite in their construction.
The older molded limbs of the Mach 6 era were the best.
The new ones are fair quality but not comparable to a good laminated limb.
I have them on my Mach 8.
PSE needs to ditch the old 633 Magnaglass compression molded limbs, put a stainless steel stabilizer insert in their risers, and go to a laminated limb.
Then, they would compete with anyone!


July 2nd, 2004, 05:56 PM
I was not referring to laminated limbs. I have been told by a couple of people that the Gordon (non laminated limbs) that are common on several lines of bows cost the mfg's around $10 a set.
I may have been misinformed.

July 2nd, 2004, 07:59 PM
Thanks guys ! I just wanted to know the "general" process.
GRIV , I'll have to see that production !

July 2nd, 2004, 09:58 PM
Hey Sag ! I'm a little fuzzy on how compression molding works. My understanding is that the components are stuffed in a mold and then pressed in high heat and presure to let the epoxy cure and get the air bubbles out. Is this correct ?
I have a friend that has a Bowman with the black limbs . He had to wait 6 weeks for them but they are really beautiful ! Did Barnsdale make limbs for Hoyt ? The limbs on my friends Bowman look almost like the way the limbs were on my Hoyt Superstar except for the angle ground into the end where the limb sits in the pocket.
I dry fired my Superstar once because of a bad nock and there was no damage. I suppose that the length of the limbs may have something to bo with it. Seems that the short limbs really produce alot of pressure and that's why when they are dry fired have so much more damage. Just wondering ! 2cam .

July 2nd, 2004, 11:23 PM

You are correct on the manufacture of compression molded limbs.
I also have a Hoyt Superstar and the limbs do look quite a bit like the Barnsdale limbs construction wise.
The lams look very similar so I understand why you think they may be the same.
As far as I know, Dave has not made them on a production basis for Hoyt.
Dave Barnsdale could answer that best if he sees this thread.
Dave has made a few custom limbs for Hoyt shooters though.
That old Superstar is a monster strong bow, isn't it ? ;)


July 4th, 2004, 12:38 AM
Hi Sag ! The limbs were monster strong but the riser was bent from day one only I didn't know it . It was that way before the dry fire. I always wondered why the top limb canted so differently than the bottom. The shop I bought it from said it was just cable guard pressure . Someone more knowledgeable took one look at it and said " This riser is bent, send it back and they'll give you another one". That was the last I ever saw of that bow ! They sent me an Aspen instead.......a very poor trade!

July 4th, 2004, 01:26 AM

Can't imagine how that riser got bent.
The Superstar's riser, imo, is one of the strongest risers ever made period.
Only riser that rivals it is my Accu-Riser I and my custom extra heavy riser on my Type 2 Accu-Riser II.
Yes, bad trade, the Aspen was nowhere near the bow the Superstar was.
Heck, to me, the Superstar is, overall, the greatest Hoyt ever made!


July 4th, 2004, 12:54 PM
The guy that spotted the bent riser said that it was probably bent in the heat treatment process and they just missed it. How , I don't know, but looking back it was a sweet bow ! Only bow that has come near it is my Ovation ! Maybe one of these days I'll find another one in good shape and see if it was the bow or the shooter !