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Thread: Number of laminates?

  1. #1
    In the White
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    Jan 2018
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    Number of laminates?

    I am looking at getting my first longbow and have spotted a couple of longbows in stock that are immediately available. One of them is a three-laminate bow (bamboo, padauk, ipe) and the other is a four-laminate bow (bamboo, padauk, ipe, ipe). For an extra £50, would the extra laminate be worth it to a complete starter in the longbow world? Both bows are the same weight (48lbs at 28”). Comparatively, what benefit in general (value for money notwithstanding) do multiple laminates have on a bow? My dad’s is five laminates, but I have no idea how that compares to other bows.


  3. #2
    It's an X Del the Cat's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Harlow Essex
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    "For an extra £50, would the extra laminate be worth it to a complete starter in the longbow world?"

    Short answer ... No

    Longer answer,
    reasons for using laminates:-
    1. You can match the wood with it's properties suited to its position in the bow. e.g the back is under tension, the core needs to be stable, light and resistant to crushing, the belly need to be good in compression.
    2. It allows slats of wood which would otherwise be scrap to be used. Eg, wood with swirling grain would be ok in the core but not as back or belly.
    3. Multiple thin laminates allow a bow to be glued up into quite tight recurves (not applicable to an English longbow, although they can be glued up with a slight reflex or back-set.)
    4. To make the bow look pretty. e.g I did a boo/Purpleheart/Yew which looked like a jam sponge cake, for a lady archer.

    From the above you can see that 3 laminates is plenty, often a simple backed bow is fine.
    I recently made a series of 3 ELB for a flight shoot. 2 were boo/Yew, one was Boo/Yew/Ipe ... the fastest was a Boo/Yew
    PS. To me there is an implication that a 4 lam should be cheaper not more expensive as it is using up wood that is otherwise too thin.
    Otherwise why would you have two Ipe lams on the belly? Bonkers!
    Health Warning:- These posts may contain traces of nut.

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