new string dilemma

I have a low poundage (38#) draw bamboo backed longbow and have difficulty shooting over any distance greater than 50yds (excessive elevation problems) so a club colleague suggested restringing it with fast flight instead of the rather thick dacron string it has at the moment. Now it has been said to me by more than one person who knows a good deal about longbows that I should not use a double loop string otherwiswe there is a chance I could break the bow. Whilst obtaining a flemish looped string in fast flight is not difficult I cannot see why the end loops of an otherwise indentical string would make enough difference to cause damage to the bow or not. The bow has horn nocks if that make any impact on the reasoning.
Can anyone offer an explanation? Is it one of these things that happened once for reasons unknon so it is now accepted wisdom that it must be true in all cases.

I used to own a beautiful Colt SAA reveolver in 44-40 and I was warned that the primers back out on the cases (44-40 was a more powerful round than the 45 long colt that was more common). The story had some truth to it but only when applied to balloon head copper cases not made since the 1880's. Is it the same with the bowstring?
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
I do remember fastflight strings being considered unsuitable for longbows as they did not stretch so much and it was believed the bow would be damaged by the shock of stopping suddenly, compared to the gentler stopping allowed by stretchy Dacron. Then, some tried fastflight and it seemed their bows survived.
I think a Flemish looped string would offer a more cushioned contact round the nock area compared to the slim served end loop. Perhaps those loops would have more tendency to cut into the nocks on the limb tips.
 


WillS

New member
It's rubbish! I use double loop FastFlight strings on bows with 100# draw weights and more, never had a problem.
 


EVC

New member
Ask the question to the bowyer if possible. Despite some annecdotal evidence (the poster above) in favour of the FF string, the maker is supposed to be the authority on this matter.
 


WillS

New member
I make my own bows, and if I thought FastFlight would damage them, then of course I wouldn't use it.

EVC is right however - if you ask the bowyer and he says it's fine, you can't go wrong. What's more likely is that you'll ask the bowyer and he'll say FastFlight will damage the bow because if you use it, he can't be blamed if anything goes wrong.

Here's a thought for you - traditional longbow strings were linen - linen stretches even less than FastFlight yet the top warbow guys use linen on 170# bows. If non-stretchy strings were harmful to a longbow, I don't think people would use them on priceless yew warbows ;)
 


Del the Cat

Active member
I use 'hard' modern string materials and double loop strings on all my bows including a 70# Yew longbow with self nocks.
I also use a low strand count and have never had any damage to nocks or bows. I've even had a relative dry loose where an arrow has split at it's nock... still no damage.
You will find a plethora of people who "know a good deal about longbows" most of them can't tell a cow's backside from a banjo and are what I call 'armchair experts'.
If you want to see my credentials google Delsbows or Bowyers Diary.
Anyhow, more problems are caused by bowyers knots slipping than are caused by double loop strings.
Del
BTW on a 38# bow I'd only be using 8 or 10 strands of Astroflite, with extra strands layed under the serving at nocks and centre to bulk it out for loops and finger comfort/nock fit.
 


I dont want to name the people I discussed this with but one is a bowyer and another works in an archery shop specialising in traditional bows. They both agreed that the stringing material is fine for the bow, just the finishing of the string should be done in a certain way and I cannot see how it would make a difference if the string length is correct. The stress/strain relationships will be exactly the same. I can see the advantage of the flemish loop should the measurement be out I can then adjust very easily but I think that damage being caused by a style of knotting is a little tenuous.
It may be that the bowyer and the string maker want to hedge their workmanship with a rather strange caveat.
 


Del the Cat

Active member
Yeah, (groan) it's probably the old argument...
In a Flemish loop the bit that goes round the nock is as thick as the main body of the string.... but on a continuous loop it's only half the number of strands!
D'uh????
Yes... BUT the continuous loop will be served at the loops and can also have extra strands laid in! (Funny, I'd already mentioned it). So it can be as thick or thicker than a Flemish loop.
Anyhow, medieval materials like linen, once stretched are not far removed from Fastflight, they are certainly not as stretchy as Dacron B50 (in my experience)
The breadth of some peoples ignorance is breathtaking! ;)
The title string maker probably covers a huge percentage of archers, and they probably always make 'em one way.
I generally do (but I have made laid in linen Flemish twist strings).
The title Bowyer covers a wide range of skills and knowledge.
I always advise becoming your own 'expert'. Listen to everyone, but only take on board what your experience leads you to believe to be true.
Don't be afraid to question the conventional 'wisdom'
Del
 


I can see that there is some argument for the thicker string being more reilient but that is negated by having a laid in loop at the other end and still cannot see why it would cause the bow to fail and not the string, perhapd they meant string failure bausing the bow to break but didnt express it as such.
As you say, an example of "received wisdom"- somebody knew someone who said that this had happened to someone else so it must be true in all cases.
However, until I learn how to make my own strings then I will buy one with a bowyers knot and have the advantage of being able to fiddle with the bracing height a little.
 


WillS

New member
So learn! Took me a couple of tries with some YouTube vids but it's so rewarding, so much cheaper and of course people's opinions become null and void as you are getting experimental results first hand.

It takes about 10 mins to make a Flemish twist string in the hand (no jigs at all) from unrolling the spool to waxing and stretching. Well worth learning.
 


Just been flicking through one of Bert Smith's books. Now he was a little fellow that shot light bows, but was very good at clout. He reckoned that a fast flight string would give him an extra 10 yards at 180, over a Dacron string.

So it made a difference, but not a huge one.
 


Del the Cat

Active member
Just been flicking through one of Bert Smith's books. Now he was a little fellow that shot light bows, but was very good at clout. He reckoned that a fast flight string would give him an extra 10 yards at 180, over a Dacron string.

So it made a difference, but not a huge one.
Ah you have to beware of that sort of thinking else it goes like this.
The softer string doesn't matter as it's only 10 yards.
The bigger flights don't matter 'cos it's only ten yards.
The 11/32 shafts are tougher and they don't matter as its on ten yards difference.
Next thing you know you are 30 yards short.

When you actually make a bow you are trying to eke out every last ounce of performance whilst maintaining some reliability.
I often say, making a bow is easy, making a good one is difficult.
Everyone should get to now their bow and their arrows and tune them to the optimum for their usage rather than some arbitary idea of what is right.
I reckon there are vast numbers of people shooting maladjusted or unsuitable kit.
Del
 


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