Author Topic: short bow draw  (Read 523 times)

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Offline Jackpineboyz

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short bow draw
« on: November 25, 2021, 11:26:23 am »
Happy Thanksgiving!

Been a while since I posted, but not seeing quite what I am looking for.  I am finally getting back into bow building after a 2 year hiatus while I built a log cabin. So far I've been building long bows such as molly's, pyramids, afb.  I have a friend that gifted me a nice piece of mulberry that is about 50" long.  I have always wanted to make a short bow with some reflex in the tips.  Thinking a sinew backed Ishi or a mondoc/yana.  My goal is for a short ambush bow for under 15 yards in heavy cover for whitetail ( and what ever else comes in range  (AT)).  I have been using a secondary pinch so I'm ok with string angle.   I am 6'3" and usually draw self bows with the pinch grip 27-28".  I would like a short draw bow though with this.  I would like to draw in the 22-24" range.

So my question is how short can this style bow go realistically and be durable for hunting?  I would be comfortable with my past experiences of a ntn length of 46" with a light sinew backing.  I have seen examples on the forum though of 40" bows pulling 28"!  Is this the exception to the rule, or is the heavier sinew these bows typically have allowing this?
If there is a good book, or a post I missed please reference it for me. I'm used to the safe rule of thumb of double draw length for a bendy handle, but these bows are definitely not following the rule.  How much can you cheat on the rule with the sinew?  I have books that talk about the bows and give some dimensions including TBBB but not really a formula for draw length to bow length with sinew.

For the people that hunt these bows, what sort of length do you recommend for accuracy?  10 yards and under on the ground is the plan, but will say 15 yards max. I was thinking to try a 42" NTN.  Would 38" be hunt able still though?  Thinking weight of around 55#.

Appreciate the help.

Offline RyanY

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Re: short bow draw
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2021, 01:00:06 pm »
Even all wood bows can be designed to be drawn till the string is pulled off if made wide and thin enough. I can’t speak for sinew but you need enough width for your desired draw weight as the tight radius of the bend will require thin limbs to not take set or break the back. This year I made a red oak recurve board bow 52” pulling 28” with less than 1” of set and no sinew. All about that width.

Offline organic_archer

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Re: short bow draw
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2021, 10:16:56 pm »
Been on a short bow kick lately. I’ve built a pile of 48” long Comanche-inspired bendy handle bows of hickory, hackberry and osage (EDIT : all straight-limbed design, no backing, no curves). I make mine to draw 22” so they’re not stressed to the max. I’ve made quite a few in the 60# range and one 72#. They just rip those short little arrows, carry great in the woods, and take very little string follow if tillered properly.

There’s no “law” that says short bows can’t be accurate at longer ranges. I shoot them just fine out to 25 yards. Takes a little time to get used to the floating/nonexistent anchor point. With practice, you can get as accurate as your longbows, and then you pick up a longbow again and it feels like cheating.

Can’t personally see any benefit in going as short and as highly stressed as possible. A 48” bow feels tiny, and will still be reliable. If it was much shorter, not sure I could be as accurate.

I vote go for it. Don’t get the handle bending too much. You’ll love it.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2021, 10:27:48 pm by organic_archer »
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Offline bassman211

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Re: short bow draw
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2021, 09:54:46 am »
6 ft3 55lb ........ make it  49 inches nock to nock. Plenty short for a tall man. Use Osage if you have it , and put some reflex in it, and sinew. That will make you a long lasting , good shooting bow. I have  made them like that with B Locust, Hickory, Hornbeam, Elm at 22 to 24 inches of draw 35 to 50 lbs, and many with no backing with good results. Shorter bows are harder to shoot accurately at longer distances. Natives shot bows that length on horseback with no problems.

Offline Jackpineboyz

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Re: short bow draw
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2021, 10:13:35 am »
Appreciate the feedback. 
Organic, beautiful finishes on your bows on the website.
Ryan, must be some nice tillering on that red oak board bow!  I am comfortable at this point with pushing the envelope on self bows, but these short sinew bows are new territory for me.

With such a nice piece of mulberry I think i'll take advantage of the length.  Once I clean it up, will make a good 48" overall length.  Has really nice rings.

A local bowyer i know (chris at Newwood bows) has a piece of elm drawing around 35# at 29" with a 38" NTN.  For unbacked self bow this is the exception rather than the rule for sure. It actual shoots quite well.

any general thoughts on how much sinew allows you to shorten the bows length? 
Are people with the short bows and long draws just watching for set and other stress signs?  Or is there a method to the madness?
Horse bows in particular can get some real long draws and short lengths.  Is there a ratio of sinew to bow that guides this?

To this point I have only used sinew to increase durability on a bow I was questioning the back of or to add some draw weight.  Nothing real crazy.

Offline sleek

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Re: short bow draw
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2021, 10:56:12 am »
I find that anything less than 54 inches long starts to really affect the efficiency of the bow. I have made plenty of short bows from 42 or 48 inches ( can't recall ) up to 62 and I feel 54-56 is the sweet spot. 54 inches will pull 50 pounds at 26 inches without a problem and I have recently been pushing them back to 28 but that's something I'm still experimenting with. 56 handles 28 without issue. The trick is the right amount of deflex to reduce stress with recurves to maintain string angle. Your width is a major function of your draw weight capability as well.
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Offline bradsmith2010

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Re: short bow draw
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2021, 12:57:47 pm »
I would recommend 24 25 inch draw,,with practice you can go shorter.. as you go shorter you may have to go up in weight to achieve the arrow speed you want

Offline Jackpineboyz

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Re: short bow draw
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2021, 12:07:34 am »
thank you for the feedback!
I hung on to the mulberry stave despite being small because of the nice growth rings.  Now I remember keeping such a short stave for one of my kids.  It is wedge cut so I will be about 1 1/4 wide. 
I have a few red elm staves which is a tenacious wood and I suspect would perform well.  I do have some osage I have never worked either a friend gave me.  Thoughts on which would be better?  I will be in the 46-48 NTN range I think now and will go for a 24 " draw.  At the shorter draw I would like to be in the 50+ range poundage.
Osage or red elm? I do like the comanche and other similar short bows.  I'm liking the Yana/ishi bar since my bird dog is named Ishi. ;D

Offline SpringyWoodPassion

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Re: short bow draw
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2021, 04:11:45 pm »
48" long would be too short for me. I played with a 52" selfbow. It felt fantastic. I drew it to 27". It was so forgiving and just didn't want to break on me. Then I hit it with a heatgun and a few days later I drew it .....and the back finally broke on me.

I think I was pushing it's limits too far 'cause I felt too confident with it. Who knows, maybe if I hadn't overdone it with the heatgun it wouldn't have failed.

Don't get discouraged. Remember,  ....if not for scorching it, who knows.