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» Trad Gang.com » Topic Archives » Classics » Actionboo-vs-bamboo-vs-yew. Interesting. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Actionboo-vs-bamboo-vs-yew. Interesting.
Ghost Dog
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I was talking with a well known bowyer a few nights ago; someone who makes a very fine line of handcrafted longbows. Like so many bowyers he offers bamboo flooring (plyboo, lamboo, actionboo) as a core material, along with yew.

During our conversation he mentioned to me that he had noticed that straight grained yew used as a core material was producing faster arrow flight in his bows, all things being equal. I found this really interesting, as actionboo is such a popular choice these days.

I own several bows from this particular bowyer. All of them are the same length, two have natural bamboo cores, two have actionboo cores and two have yew cores. All are within two pounds of each other and all have the same string materials.

I do not own a chrono, so this is not meant to be a conclusive test, but I do have a couple of arrows that make a screaming sound when they reach speeds of 170 fps, or greater. I am sure that you know what I mean by this.

The upshot is this; the yew cores are faster by quite a bit, even when some of the bamboo cored bows had a heavier draw weight than the yew cored bows. Aside from the arrow report, I can see the difference too. There is also no noticeable difference in "hand shock" either, which might be expected to be less with the lighter bamboo cores.

Now I am not an arrow speed guy in the least. I am most at home with a fine selfbow as many of you know, and speed is not a selfbow issue as much as it is with glass laminated bows. I just thought that this was an interesting discovery on the part of my friend the bowyer, which my own small time test seems to agree with.

Now what does any of this mean? Maybe it means that in a good bow design a wood core is just as good, and maybe better, than a bamboo/actionboo core, but with so many variables in bow designs, a real conclusion would require real tests, as much as the screaming arrow test appeals to me. [Smile]

[ January 11, 2007, 12:46 PM: Message edited by: Ghost Dog ]

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LBR
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You and your bowyer aren't the only ones that have come to that conclusion Ghost. Chek-Mate doesn't offer bamboo cores because, in their designs at least, they didn't find any reason to use bamboo over yew. Also, bamboo is more expensive for them to get, more labor intensive, and the nodes can be a weak point.

I agree that bow design can play a part also. Marc (the bowyer) plans to keep experimenting, but to date they still don't offer bamboo limbs.

Chad

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Pete W
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Interesting.
Are all risers the same length?
Are the only diferences in the limbs the core material or are there other diferent woods/veneers in them?
Are they all the same model and with the same amount of reflex/deflex?
Is the nock fit the same on all of the strings?Have you tried using the same string on each bow so nock fit and string weights will not be diferent?

[ January 11, 2007, 01:03 PM: Message edited by: Pete W ]

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Ghost Dog
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Hey Pete,

Are all risers the same length?------Yes.

Are the only diferences in the limbs the core material or are there other diferent woods/veneers in them?------All have veneers.

Are they all the same model and with the same amount of reflex/deflex?------Exactly the same.

Is the nock fit the same on all of the strings?------ Yes.

Have you tried using the same string on each bow so nock fit and string weights will not be diferent?-------Yes.

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Pasty Face
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That is interesting. I dont know much about building bows but I thought Bamboo was the perfect limb wood, strong and light.

Cool

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Pasty Face
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I anyone wants me to take their slow Boo bows off there hand just send them to ........
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Plywood Bender at Work
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"Like so many bowyers he offers bamboo flooring (plyboo, lamboo, actionboo) as a core material, along with yew."

I believe this. I also believe you would have similiar results with red cedar, black walnut and other light hard woods. I think the laminated bamboo might be slightly tougher in the long run. Now, did you try a bow with bamboo that wasn't laminated? I think much of the benefit of bamboo, light vs strength, is lost when you add back in the weight of all those glue lines.

BTW- to date the best shooting LB I've made has black walnut limbs and running a close second is one with red cedar.

That's my opinion, your mileage may vary.

Carl

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Lefty
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Bob
Does yew have the smooth draw feel that bamboo or actionboo does? I never shot a yew core bow before, but really like the feel of bamboo in the limbs.
Chris

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Dalebow
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I have had and have several yew bows and even had a bowyer build his first bow with yew as a core because I asked for it, he remarked how "snappy" it was and how it impressed him. I think Yew makes a great limb wood, you can use less laminations when your whole limb is one wood and it is beautiful. The fox breed Iam getting ready to order will have all yew in the limbs.

I have several yew limbed bows and boo cored bows and think they do pull smoother than boo and boo is pretty darn smooth!! One exception is an Adcock and that is because that design is pretty perfect, I think OL could use plywood and get a great limb
Dale

[ January 11, 2007, 02:48 PM: Message edited by: Dalebow ]

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Ghost Dog
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Plywood Bender, two of the bows in my test were natural bamboo.

Lefty, I think a smooth draw is based on many different factors, one of which is expectation, if you get my meaning. Bow design will always be the biggest factor contributing smoothness of draw, coupled with a draw weight that one is conditioned to.

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James Wrenn
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I have never used yew because that stuff will kill ya. [Smile] I am another however that has never been sold on bamboo.I seldom use it any more in anything I build and would never use it in a recurve.If I was having a bow built I would not pay extra to get it in most bows. jmo
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Crooked Stic
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I think the yew ranks right up there at the top. Not sure why. May have something to do with elasticity. Like Dalebow sez it hard to beat the smoothness of actionboo.

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Keith Deters
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Bamboo flooring is not light in physical weight. To make a bow with similar draw weight, you have to use more of it because it's weak. This adds to the physical weight of your bow's limbs. It has the SG of average red oak. As far as I'm concerned, it's best used as a floor.

My comments are about using it in bamboo backed bows. I don't know why anyone uses it. It takes so much set that just about any domestic hardwood will work better. I think many new bowyers like it because it's hard to break. It will make a bow, but so will many other woods, with much better results. IMO.

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LBR
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Pete, Chek-Mate has been in the bow building business for about 35 years, Marc has personally built well over 10,000 bows, so I trust their test results. The results could possibly be different if they designed a bow specifically around bamboo limbs, but I really don't think it would make much if any differece.

I agree with Ghost on the smooth draw--going by feel isn't always accurate, especially if you are "testing" your favorite against one you haven't shot. The scale tells the tale. When I scaled my personal yew-limbed longbow (66@30.5), it gained a consistent 2.5 pounds per inch out to my draw length. Didn't think to check any further.

I'm not a bowyer and don't pretend to be, but I have talked to several. Seems opinions differ about as much as when you ask a group of archers "what is the best bow". Some really liked bamboo, some are indifferent to it, some don't use it.

Based on my personal experience, I'm sticking to yew limbs for my longbows.

Chad

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Walt Francis
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I believe Jay Massey related the same findings between yew and boo in his book The Bowyers Craft. The exception might of been tonkin cane which was almost equal to the yew. As with most woods, there is a difference in cane types. These findings only pertained to longbow designs, not recurves. I have a meeting this evening but will look it up and verify those finding in the morning.

Walt Francis

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