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does the selection of the wood make a difference on how fast the bow shoots or is it the limb design and limb covering ( carbon)...
 

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Enhanced Mutant
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I have heard that bamboo is the bomb in limbs. I don't know about speed though I think it is suposid to be smooth drawing.
I think the glass makes the speed and probably design as you said. I am not sure why the aft mounted limb bows would be faster such as the widows. It looks like a deflex design that is more accurate in bows but usually slower???
 

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Performance

Typically wood choice is more important in a self bow.
Laminated bows tend to get their power out of the materials used such as glass, carbon and limb design. I was told that wood choice is more for aesthetics. But some woods do respond better than others even with some backing of some sorts.
Bamboo, although not a wood has characteristics which are sought after by many of the top bowyers because it does have a certain "snap" to it, great for limbs. And it is used in glass or self backed bows.
I have one of my longbows that has two layers of Boo, carbon and Elm in the limbs. This bow is a warstick! A real shooter!
Talk to some bowyers their all descent people (most all) and I've had many conversations with them and they answer most questions honestly.
Have fun
Out for now
DDSP
 

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I have been asking the same thing. This is what I have been told
Yew then black walnut then Elm and maple.
 

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In general limb materials represent tradeoffs between springiness or elasticity which facilitates recovery of stored energy, light mass weight, which facilitates acceleration of the limbs, and durability which facilitates shooting the bow more than once.

Hickory, for example, if very durable but tends to be relatively inelastic which means it's likely to follow the string. However, it's often combined with springier but less durable to woods to get the tradeoff preferred.

Likewise, horn is very strong in compression which makes it a very good material for the belly of the bow but a poor one for the back. Sinew works exceptionally well on the back of a bow but would be more or less useless on the belly.

Fiberglass works well on both sides as long as it isn't too thick, since it is after all glass and tends to add mass to the limbs reducing their acceleration. Whatever the limbs use to overcome their own mass isn't transferred to the arrow.

Traditionally, yew, osage orange, red elm, walnut, ash or similar woods have been used successfully to make servicable bows. Opinions on which are the best depend heavily on experience and the environment. I wouldn't give a hoot and hell for a yew bow in the winter or a sinew backed bow in the tropical rainforest.

Neither would I care much for a stacked wood bow that wasn't long or an exceptionally short bow that used standard length arrows and no recurves or sihas.

All things considered, handles and risers don't contribute a wit to limb performance and the longer the limb the less it's stressed at any given draw length.

Most exotic woods don't contribute anything to performance either. They just fuel the denuding of the rainforest.

Typically the more durable a wood is the less elastic it is and vice versa. That's why composite bows were such a great invention. And when one considers they were invented where forests were nearly non-existent and therefore there weren't any sapplings handy to illustrate the principle, it's a wonder they were ever invented at all.
 

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Although I don't shoot it, or any other longbow, very well, the sweetest drawing bow I have ever owned is a Black Thunder longbow. It has a walnut core and yew lams. It has black glass over carbon over yew on the belly and clear glass over the yew on the backside of the limbs.

It is 62" and draws 48#@28". I traded a 62" Black Thunder that drew 53#@28" and had bamboo lams for the new one. Shooting the very same arrow, the 53# bow shot 150 fps, the newer, lighter poundage bow shot 164 fps.

Both bows were made by the same bowyer. I believe the carbon made the biggest difference, but walnut is not far behind bamboo when it comes to quality of performance in limbs.

Bill Lamb
 

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I am continually amazed by the speed of Hoyt's FX recurve limb. As you're probably aware it's made of glass, carbon and foam. In addition to the speed, the draw seems to lighten up near anchor. Not sure how they do it. The geometry of the limb when unstrung, strung, and at draw doesn't seem to at all unique. I wonder if they shape the foam core. They are noisey things.

I have had a number of custom recurves made with different kinds of wood and, though they look great, I am not convinced they shoot any better than actionwood.
 

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The best bow wood for limbs is the one that is used in a bow designed for the wood it is made with. Properly designed and made no one wood will outshoot another. It is simply how to take advantage of the characteristics of the wood that you use.
 

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The best bow wood for limbs is the one that is used in a bow designed for the wood it is made with. Properly designed and made no one wood will outshoot another. It is simply how to take advantage of the characteristics of the wood that you use.
So, if you have a really durable wood that isn't very springy, you should make short limbs with a lot of tension and angle in them, to utilize the durability but not rely on speed, whereas if you have a very fast wood that isn't durable you should not put much tension on it but have longer limbs with less tension and more travel, applying smaller force for a longer time to the projectile?

So, theoretically you could make a bow from anything, including rolled up paper, but have to make the limb length, thickness and tension to accommodate the material you are using.

Like if I used a leaf spring from a truck I probably don't want 30 inches of travel on 20 inch limbs, because I could not load it with the 1400 lb pull, but I could make the same shape, size and length of draw with willow and it would be ideal for that material, with an 80 lb draw weight, and achieve the same speed as the truck spring having a fifteen inch travel and 180lb draw weight. (just much smoother, quieter, lighter, better looking but harder to move in the bush)

A question, then, about Yew. I have the stuff growing wild all over the place here, but I've seen people turn it on a lathe and work it in their shops, it is horrible! The turnings warp and twist, pieces crack and split, are deformed and generally doesn't cure well.
How could you work Yew in such a way that the limbs of a bow remain true even in different environments (humidity, temperature)

If there isn't, which woods are stable in a variety of circumstances, with similar durability and springiness?

Obviously some of the other woods in this area are not suitable for reasons of durability, like Thuja Plicata and Cupraensis Nootkaensis, they split much too easily to trust them in limbs of a bow, but are light weight enough and very workable to make the stock. But if looking for those properties maybe Amabilis Fir would be better.

I know the Sitka Spruce was widely used in sailing ships for the masts, perhaps it has some good dimensional stability and durability? It is also very popular for guitar bodies. Anyone try it for bow limbs?

Some of the woods I have readily available;
Western Redcedar (Thuja)
Yellow Cedar or Cypress
Hemlock
Sitka Spruce
Fir (Balsam, Grand, Fraser)
Yew
Alder
Pine
 

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Never mind

I found a list of the ratio of elasticity and strength, none of the woods around here are good except Yew, which is in the top five world wide but the others in the top are all endangered species not allowed to export/import.
 

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Civil but Disobedient
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Twelve year old post. You may want to send a personal message to the original poster so he knows that this has been updated.
 

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In my opinion, which isn't worth a whole lot, if you're talking about modern laminated limbs using carbon fiber or fiberglass, it's more about the story than the performance. There may be something to feel, though the bow design and build, in my experience, seems to have a whole lot more impact on both performance and feel than the materials used.

I once asked Ron Pittsley of Predator bows about the option for carbon core limbs. He said something more or less along the lines of, "If you want to spend the extra $100, I'll build them for you, but you're not gaining a whole lot. We really just prefer maple."

I have a set of glass/maple limbs that shoot just as comfortably, at the same speed, as some other limbs that have a synthetic core with carbon fiber. The feel between them is drastically different, as is the arrow weight for the draw weight, but then, so is the design.

But, the summary, I really wouldn't worry about it.

I'd defer to a bowyer, but one who couldn't care less about selling you anything :)
 

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Corripe Cervisiam
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I wonder if "sweet old bill" is even around anymore?

Of course the wood matters in all wood bows......not so much with the latest glass and carbons is what I hear. That new latest and greatest wood isn't even a wood, "foam"
 

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I wonder if "sweet old bill" is even around anymore?

Of course the wood matters in all wood bows......not so much with the latest glass and carbons is what I hear. That new latest and greatest wood isn't even a wood, "foam"
S. Old bill apparently is. Profile shows he was logged on November 28th, 2015 04:13 AM
 

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two ways to look at this, and both come to the same conclusion.

if you take the idea that bamboo is 50% better than maple. (its not but for example it points to the issue) If you were to take the laminates off the core. and try bending it to 28" you might at best get 1lbs of draw weight.
its less than this, but hey, lets go all out to proove its stronger... (cos you need to)
so you glue on the same lamainte, and you get a 40lbs bow.
and at 50% better than 1lbs = 1.5lbs. LOL... congrats, you now have a 1fps at best....
now its not 50% better, nor do you get a full 1lbs, its normally less....

the other way to look at it is like this.
if you make your cores 0.002" thicker you gain 1lbs in bow weight.
if i put maple and bamboo through the machines and make the same dimensions of core, with the same tapers, same everything, and glue these up into 2 sets of limbs, using the same glass etc, you gotta laugh.
you end up with the same draw weight.

so if bamboo is a groovy limb material, if doesnt show in the DFC, or the final holding weight...

so it doesnt store energy, any better than Maple, Nor does it have any significant mass difference. so the return of the limb isnt going to be any more efficenct.

so, there you go. we cant see it. and yes, we will charge extra for bamboo cores.

as for carbon.
put it up the middle of the limb and it will do nothing. The middle does nothing anyway. it handles a sheer stress.

now, if your using a 0.03" glass laminate on either side of the limb.
put 0.03" carbon up the middle and you simply have a heavy mass limb.
put it on the back and belly and watch the draw weight JUMP.
thats because carbon is stronger than glass.

so yes, carbon DOES change things. Bamboo doesnt. but like all things, it needs to be done properly.

here is a question. why would you put glass back and belly and not up the middle?

if you dont do that, why would you do it with Carbon?

many things there.... but it might help put sense to some of the coments made here and in other places.
 

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It took twelve years, but I think we finally have the answer to the original posters question.

Whew, that was a tough one.
 

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The wood/foam/bamboo/etc. core is just a spacer to separate the top cord and the bottom chord of the limb, which are the primary power producing elements. Draw weight and response of the limb is influenced by the spacing (wood core) between the top chord and bottom chord and the taper of the spacer as well as the thickness of the top and bottom chords.
 

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Wow, talk about memory lane. Thanks for the latest replies never to old to learn something new. Oh, by the way I found a typo I meant "they're" not "their". ��
Have a good one
 
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