QUESTION: I am concerned that I might not fully understand the whole bow making process. How do I get started?
ANSWER: This first concern is perhaps the most important. Watch the video and read the instructional materials carefully, plan your procedures in detail, and make a dry-run with all materials and equipment you will need. If, after carefully doing these things, you still have questions, please feel free to call us before beginning your project.
QUESTION: How should I choose my Bow Draw Weight?
ANSWER: Make archery fun. Choose a bow draw weight that is comfortable, less than what you are capable of pulling. Many new archers become discouraged and quickly lose interest in the sport when the bow is so heavy that it is not fun to shoot, or when the bow is so heavy that accuracy is lost. Most states have a legal weight of 40-50 lbs. for big game. On a cold fall day when you are stalking a buck, a lighter bow is a joy to shoot. The secret to success is in accuracy, not in muscle. In target practice or tournament shooting, an even lighter draw weight may be more desirable. After you have practiced until you are getting the feel and the muscles are firming up, then a heavier bow could be considered.
QUESTION: How do I get rid of hand shock?
ANSWER: I am asked repeatedly about hand shock. You often notice this when shooting a longbow for the first time. After you have shot for a while, you will become less aware of this when you release the arrow. You are less likely to notice this when shooting a recurve, take-down recurve or even a take-down longbow. It is a simple law of physics, relating to weight and mass. The flat longbow has a heavy, long limb and a short, light riser. The motion of the long limb cannot be absorbed by the smaller riser, thus the hand shock. When compared to the longbow, the recurve and take-down recurve limb is shorter and lighter with a larger and heavier riser; the shock of the lighter limb moving forward is absorbed by the riser, thus lessening the hand shock and giving the “soft feel”. Therefore, to lessen hand shock in a longbow, you can do one or a combination of a few things. You can shorten the bow, use a reflex/deflex design, or use a heavier (more dense) riser.
QUESTION: What is “stacking”?
ANSWER: “Stacking” is a term which also bothers novices. This is the amount of increase in weight as the bow is drawn. It occurs in all bows, but can be intensified in three ways. First, the bow may be too short for the draw length. A longer bow could help this problem. Second, the ratio of fiberglass weight or thickness should also be increased. Third, the more radical the limb design the more the stack will increase. This means that at a given limb length the bow weight, a more pronounced recurve design, will stack more at full draw. The use of multiple tapers in a limb can also cause stacking.
QUESTION: Which bow limb laminations should I choose?
ANSWER: For many centuries, bows were made from a solid piece of wood such as yew or osage. These bows were household tools used to hunt food and as protection from enemies. Most of these were longbows. Later, recurve styles were laminated with strips of sinew or horn for more efficiency. Now we have high-tech materials which have revolutionized the archery world, both in efficiency and design. Compound bows are usually built from solid fiberglass limbs because of the great stress in the limb design. Traditional bows, however, are built from outer layers of glass laminate over wood core. The majority of bowyers use a core of wood or cane combined with an outer layer of Bo-Tuff Glass. Bow draw weight is determined by the thickness of these two materials. Bow design and length also determine poundage. Careful records of micrometer readings of total limb thickness can be very helpful in determining bow weight. Weight control is a science which must be mastered by a good bowyer. Instructions from manufacturers and suppliers are also invaluable to the novice. Example: The Bingham 58” Take-Down Recurve bow will vary approximately 1 lb. for every change of .001 of an inch in thickness. The Bingham longbow will change approximately 1 lb. for every change of .003 of an inch in thickness. Bow Glass laminations come in several widths, thicknesses, lengths and colors. There are a number of core woods used in bow limbs. Refer to this website for a list of many of the most beautiful and best performing core wood and cane laminations. These laminations can be purchased either tapered or parallel. Tapers are most commonly used in a .002 per inch taper 36” long. Some bowyers use several tapers with a .001” taper per running inch. I prefer a combination of a taper used with parallels. With this combination, you achieve excellent limb action desirable for a fast, smooth limb. Overlays can be glued to limb tips to furnish additional strength and color. Core laminations may be dyed to add variety under clear glass.
QUESTION: Which Riser should I choose?
ANSWER: With traditional bows (Recurves, Take-Down Recurves, Longbows and Take-Down Longbows), riser (handle) woods are chosen for color, beauty of grain, strength and ability to take a good finish. Avoid soft woods as they cannot stand the stress of a working bow. Avoid those woods with an open grain structure, those that will “bleed” color, or those whose oily nature prohibits a good finish. With the advanced technology of high stressed limbs found in compound bows, came multi-lamination risers made from blocks of 1/16” veneer. These laminated risers are very strong and are found in many colors. Another way to achieve a colorful riser is to laminate combinations of accent strips made of hardwood, phenolic or core-tuff. This will furnish strength and beauty.
QUESTION: What is the difference between UL and ULS glass?
ANSWER: ULS has a 50/50 woven fiberglass inlay (scrim) that provides cross strength (90 degrees to the longitudinal axis). This scrim layer will give strength lengthwise to help reduce longitudinal cracking. For most designs, however, UL and ULS work equally well.
QUESTION: How Do I determine my draw length?
ANSWER: The easiest way to measure draw length is to nock an old arrow in your bow. Draw your bow back to a full, comfortable draw, and have someone mark the arrow at the point where it meets the back (target side) of your arrow shelf. Carefully let your bow down. Measure from the base of the groove of the arrow nock to the place on the shaft that you previously marked. This is your draw length. Add 1” to that measurement and that is your arrow length. This additional 1” will give your proper broadhead clearance.
QUESTION: How do I correct limb twist?
ANSWER: Refer to our instructional material for directions. If you still have questions, give us a call and we will help you.
QUESTION: How do I determine the thickness of my limbs?
ANSWER: You can find the Bingham Bow Draw Weight Chart here. For our recurves, the limb thickness is composed of 2 pieces of Bo-tuff, 1 parallel, and 1 taper (.002”). The total limb thickness is the sum of all four layers, the taper being measured at the butt end. For our 1 piece longbows and our shallow t.d. longbow, the limb thickness is composed of 2 pieces of Bo-tuff, 3 parallels, and 1 taper (.002”). The total limb thickness is the sum of all six layers, the taper being measured at the butt end. For our pronounced t.d. longbow, the limb thickness is composed of 2 pieces of Bo-tuff, 1 regular taper (.002”), 1 parallel, and 1 reverse taper (.002”). The reverse taper is simply a taper that is reversed so that the thin end of the taper is at the butt end of the limb. The total limb thickness is the sum of all five layers, the regular taper being measured at the butt end and the reverse taper being measured at the thin end. In the case of the t.d. bows, the wedge is never considered part of the limb thickness. Additionally, please note that this chart is accurate for Bingham Bows and designs only. We are happy to offer advice if you are using your own design, but we cannot guarantee an accurate limb thickness for different designs.
If you are ordering a limb lamination kit from us and plan on following one of the Bingham Bow designs you do not need to figure out your limb thickness. Please just state your desired weight, width, length, and draw length and we will figure out the rest for you.
QUESTION: What do I need to build a bow?
ANSWER: You can click HERE to be linked to the First Time Bowyer package product page. This package includes all of the materials you will need to build your first bow, excluding the lumber for the laminating oven, which can be purchased at your local hardware store.
QUESTION: How long will it take you to process my order?
ANSWER: For a custom order including wood or cane core laminations, risers, tapered wedges, or phenolic accents, you should anticipate anywhere from 1-2 days for processing, depending on the season. Winter is routinely the busiest season so please expect a slightly longer processing time.
Orders that do not require custom parts are normally processed and shipped within 1-2 days. Shipping time will of course be determined by your location.
QUESTION: Can I check the status of my order?
ANSWER: Yes, click HERE to be taken to our order status page. You will need your order number you received in your order confirmation e-mail.
QUESTION: What is the difference between Dacron, Fast Flight & D97 string?
ANSWER: Dacron is the standard for traditional bows. It has some stretch to it. Therefore, it is a little more forgiving for your bow. It is also a little quieter. Fast Flight and D97 don’t stretch as much and therefore transfer more energy to your arrow. It may give your increased performance. D97 will give you slightly better performance than the Fast Flight. Make sure that your limb tips are reinforced to be able to use Fast Flight and D97.
All Bingham Bows will handle the increased strain of Fast Flight and D97, as long as the tip overlays are finished to an appropriate thickness.
QUESTION: How thick should I make the tip overlays?
ANSWER: If you are using Fast Flight string, a thickness of at least 1/8” should be used on the tip overlays.
QUESTION: How do I measure bow length?
ANSWER: The easiest way to measure the length of your bow is to start at the string groove, follow the curvature of the limb along the belly side of the bow, across the riser area, and follow the curvature of the other limb to the other string groove. This will give you the a.m.o. bow length.
QUESTION: What is the difference between D.E.R./Versamid and Smooth-On?
ANSWER: Both of these epoxies are excellent. They both have the same strength, heat, and cure time properties. They only differ in mixing ratio and viscosity (thickness). The D.E.R./Versamid (formally known as Epon/Versamid) is a 2:1 ratio and is thinner. The Smooth-On is a 1:1 ratio and is thicker.
If, after reading all this, you are still asking the same question, “Can I build a bow?”, the answer is still “yes”. Good luck on your project, and that next trophy might well be shot using your very own handcrafted bow.
Yours for better shooting,
Bingham Projects, Inc.