[English Longbow] Laminated stave question

DavidH

New member
One of our archers has bought a stave with umpteen laminations. It only cost him around ?36 on ebay and I'm wondering just how much thought would have gone into selecting the various woods.

Surely its the limb that benefits from each of the woods selected so what happens if you lose a couple while shaping the bow? Would they have been tapered when the stave was made (edit:that sounds silly now i think about it) or does the thickness of the laminations remain constant throughout the length and the stave made so all will be included when the bow is shaped.. Presumably a couple of laminations or maybe just one are purely for the handle and the rest would all need to be in the limb section

I'm totally confused on this and would love an answer from one of you bowyers.

Incidentally my bow has only 2 laminations hopefully simulating the sapwood and the heartwood of a selfbow
 

WillS

New member
I've seen those multi-lam staves on eBay. Interesting stuff!

Right. Basically, you have two answers: Either the person who did the glue up designed the many lams to be in the handle and disappear when the bow is shaped, or he designed the stave to include all the lams in the limbs as well.

There are quite a few different designs that include more than two laminations through the actual limbs, and as long as the guy who bought it knows what he's doing, there shouldn't be an issue. It also depends on what draw weight the seller planned it to be. If he wanted it to be for a 100# warbow and added laminations accordingly, yet the buyer only wants a 50# bow he'll take off more than the seller planned for.

Quite often the laminations are all tapered individually as they're glued which compensates for everything and makes life easy, and some bowyers even tiller and shape each individual lamination before gluing the whole lot together.

It may be that the middle laminations are power-lams, so losing the outer edges of them during shaping won't be an issue, but that needs to be checked with the seller as normally they're fairly easy to detect, with sharp tapers disappearing out of the fades.

The number of laminations often varies, some bowyers preferring 2 or 3, some going up to 4 or even 6. Double laminations are basically the simplest you can get, with a single-length fibre backing for protection and the dense belly wood doing all the work, but as you add laminations you can really fine-tune the bow performance, picking various wood types to do different jobs within the bow as it works.
 

DavidH

New member
So I wasn't quite as stupid as I maybe thought WillS;) Does the guy who bought it know what he is doing? I very much doubt it. He has made one bow on a course and that one needs some work. If the laminated staves I've seen on ebay are the same as the one he bought, they dont give any indication of final weight. I can see that making any bow with more than two or three laminates has to be a very fine art and you'd have to really know the woods you were putting in it. Well we will see what transpires...
 

Berny

Member
My local longbowyer once said (apropos of me mentioning a 7 lam longbow - that broke)
"what's the point of more than 4" (poss. 5)?

Thinking about it, apart from building safe (?) weight with lots of thin lams - what is the point.
Back - something good under tension
Middle - something good overall, ..., ...., ....
Belly - something good under compression
 

0neida

New member
It may be that the middle laminations are power-lams,
I've been making bows and other laminated objects for years and I've never heard of power-lams.

What are they?
 

WillS

New member
I've been making bows and other laminated objects for years and I've never heard of power-lams.

What are they?
This is a nice how-to on putting power-lams into bows.

They're basically a reinforcement method to prevent handles bending too much at full draw, keeping the middle section hard and avoiding any handles popping off if they're glued on, as they would be with a multi-lam stave.
 
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