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Thick bowstrings (Read 201 times)
J
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Thick bowstrings
Jan 13th, 2021 at 5:02pm
 
Here's an interesting bit of history:

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SOME archers, for instance the Egyptians, have favored the use of a thin and hard string, maintaining that it is better suited for casting the arrow, less visible on the bow, and more telling against the enemy. They were guided in their choice by the fact that the strings used in competitive archery [flight-shooting] are always thin, with all archers agreeing on this specification.

Others (namely, all the Persians) have preferred thick and coarse strings, asserting that they are better in every way. Ṭāhir al-Balkhi once said that he had examined a bow belonging to a certain Persian against the arrow of which none could protect himself because of its force and penetration, and found out that the bow was as flexible as those in current use, but that its string was coarse and as thick as a finger and that the metal head of its arrow was very large. He, therefore, made himself one exactly like it and tested it; only to find it very good. A certain archer stated that the coarse string is better for the bow: more penetrating, more easily drawn, and superior to the thin in warfare and target shooting; while the thin string is better for competitive shooting and for shooting at distant marks. Ṭāhir declared that the thick string is more deadly at short distances and the thin is more telling at long distances.

The thinness and thickness of the string, as well as its relatively appropriate size, are determined by bracing its bow, drawing the string with the thumb and index finger the length of one and a half spans, quickly releasing it and listening to its twang. If the twang is sharp and high, the string is too thin for the bow; if it is moderate in sharpness and lowness, the string is just right; if it is low, the string is too thick.


Quote:
The great stringis more surer for the bow, more stable to prick withall, but slower for the cast. The little string is cleancontrary, not so sure,
Toxophilus

Quote:
In war, if a string break, the man is lost.



http://www.armchairhistory.co.uk/pdf/Toxophilus2.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s81Igxo3piQ
https://www.archerylibrary.com/books/faris-elmer/arab-archery/docs/xxxv.html


It seems this whole discussion between thick and thin string like we slingers do all the time was being done by archers as well. The part I made bold could also be applied to slings

On my self bows so far I mostly use 550 paracord. It's slower than a ''real† bowstring'' but it works quite well. My thinking being that it's still miles better than what primitive peoples had anyway, and it's very comfortable to draw back and shoot and very durable indeed.
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Morphy
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #1 - Jan 13th, 2021 at 6:48pm
 
My thinking being that it's still miles better than what primitive peoples had anyway, and it's very comfortable to draw back and shoot and very durable indeed.

Although it may be counter intuitive this is actually not true. Paracord is a horrible bowstring. It stretches far too much and only the inner core is longitudinal strands. The mantle does add strength but far too much mass for the amount of strength gained. On top of that Nylon stretches a lot. Further robbing efficiency. With a 550 paracord string your bow could be shooting the equivalent of a 10-20# lower weight bow for the same amount of draw effort. I could send you a dynema string that would blow it out of the water. And increase your bows efficiency by a considerable amount if you wish.

A good linen, silk, hemp or many other natural fiber string will be far lighter for the same mass and shoot far harder.

While Iím destroying dreams here, the thick strings being better at close range is absolute horse sh!t.

Thicker strings are found on Persian composites most likely because they had such ridiculously high early draw weight combined with the extreme difficulty in stringing these heavily reflexed/recurved short bows and with the fact that a broken string in battle doesnít mean you go hungry, it means you die.

Lastly, these bows are quite unstable which is one reason Iíve never pursued them; they are too specialized for me. A heavily recurved/reflex bow can flip in your hand on the shot and shed itís string leading to potentially breaking the bow. With a Yew longbow this isnít such a big deal. Grab another piece of wood and carve a bow. But some of the composites take 6 months to a year to make each. In some of these cultures if the bow broke due to bowyer mistakes the bowyer was killed. Another reason to have a bigger string than needed lol. So all of these aspects come into play when discussing this subject.


Because thereís such a high amount of energy storage you can sort of get away with a thicker, heavier strings on Persian bows. Even if it slows their bows down, which it does, itís the best trade off for the needs of ancient archers in the realities of longer war campaigns. Lose some speed> Lose some blood.

As for the Egyptians using thinner strings this is probably because they used triangular composite bows which have much lower early draw weight and energy storage. Also much, much easier to string and less likely to blow your string out like the crazy pop of the Indo-Persian design.


...

Just in case you're curious why they are so unstable. Look at the reflex on that beast. Imagine trying to string a 100 pound warbow with that much reflex. Lol.

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MarianoV123
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #2 - Jan 13th, 2021 at 7:28pm
 
@Morphy Would an artificial sinew string be good?
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Morphy
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #3 - Jan 13th, 2021 at 8:20pm
 
MarianoV123 wrote on Jan 13th, 2021 at 7:28pm:
@Morphy Would an artificial sinew string be good?


Negative it's just waxed nylon. Send me your address and bow info and I'll send you a dyneema string if you want.
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J
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #4 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 3:48am
 
I have 'real bowstrings' on my professionally made bows. I could make myself a thin bowstring as well if I want. No need to send me a string.

The penetration I get on my professional 40# hickory longbow with a 'real bow string' and on my privet selfbow with a paracord string, both 40 pounds, is roughly equal. I don't have a way to test speeds but it does not feel or look 10 pounds slower. Yes, 550 cord is not an efficiŽnt bow string. Bank line is probably better. If I want something better I will twist something out of hemp.

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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #5 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 6:00am
 
J wrote on Jan 14th, 2021 at 3:48am:
I have 'real bowstrings' on my professionally made bows. I could make myself a thin bowstring as well if I want. No need to send me a string.

The penetration I get on my professional 40# hickory longbow with a 'real bow string' and on my privet selfbow with a paracord string, both 40 pounds, is roughly equal. I don't have a way to test speeds but it does not feel or look 10 pounds slower. Yes, 550 cord is not an efficiŽnt bow string. Bank line is probably better. If I want something better I will twist something out of hemp.



Hopefully you took that in the way it was meant J.  Smiley

FWIW true bow speed on trad bows is extremely hard to measure even with a shooting machine.  By hand it's virtually impossible.  There are so many variables. I won't go into details or it would be even longer than the last post.  But It's a good bow. I mean no offense. The info is there if someday you or someone else need it. 

Mariano hopefully you also took that in the way it was meant lol. I'm very too the point some times but the offer still stands.
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NooneOfConsequence
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #6 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 11:40am
 
If you have a phone that can record audio, you can measure the speed.  In a quiet area, shoot through two pieces of paper a known distance apart.  Use Audacity or some other audio program to measure the time between the two sounds, and you know distance and time... thus you know the speed of your arrow. 

There's enough momentum that the first piece of paper won't slow the arrow down significantly, but if you want to take it to the next level, you can subtract out the effect of the paper too. Simply repeat the same test again with a 3rd sheet of paper in front of the other two to figure out how much of an effect one sheet of paper has on the velocity.
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ďMy final hour is at hand. We face an enemy more numerous and cunning than the world has yet seen. Remember your training, and do not fear the hordes of Judas. I, without sin, shall cast the first stone. That will be your sign to attack! But you shall not fight this unholy enemy with stones. No! RAZOR GLANDES!† Aim for the eyes! May the Lord have mercy, for we shall show none!ď† -Jesus the Noodler
 
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #7 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 11:45am
 
If you have a phone that can record audio, you can measure the speed.  In a quiet area, shoot through two pieces of paper a known distance apart.  Use Audacity or some other audio program to measure the time between the two sounds, and you know distance and time... thus you know the speed of your arrow. 

There's enough momentum that the first piece of paper won't slow the arrow down significantly, but if you want to take it to the next level, you can subtract out the effect of the paper too. Simply repeat the same test again with a 3rd sheet of paper in front of the other two to figure out how much of an effect one sheet of paper has on the velocity.
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ďMy final hour is at hand. We face an enemy more numerous and cunning than the world has yet seen. Remember your training, and do not fear the hordes of Judas. I, without sin, shall cast the first stone. That will be your sign to attack! But you shall not fight this unholy enemy with stones. No! RAZOR GLANDES!† Aim for the eyes! May the Lord have mercy, for we shall show none!ď† -Jesus the Noodler
 
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Morphy
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #8 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 3:01pm
 
NooneOfConsequence wrote on Jan 14th, 2021 at 11:40am:
If you have a phone that can record audio, you can measure the speed.† In a quiet area, shoot through two pieces of paper a known distance apart.† Use Audacity or some other audio program to measure the time between the two sounds, and you know distance and time... thus you know the speed of your arrow.†

There's enough momentum that the first piece of paper won't slow the arrow down significantly, but if you want to take it to the next level, you can subtract out the effect of the paper too. Simply repeat the same test again with a 3rd sheet of paper in front of the other two to figure out how much of an effect one sheet of paper has on the velocity.


Ive never used this method NOOC. Do you prefer it over a chronograph?
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #9 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 4:19pm
 
If you have a chrony, that's probably better... it's certainly less work, because the paper method requires some post-analysis, and a chrony just tells you the answer directly.  The paper method  should be fairly precise and easy to do on the cheap though. All you need is a few pieces of paper, a measuring tape, and an audio recording device... and some patience.
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ďMy final hour is at hand. We face an enemy more numerous and cunning than the world has yet seen. Remember your training, and do not fear the hordes of Judas. I, without sin, shall cast the first stone. That will be your sign to attack! But you shall not fight this unholy enemy with stones. No! RAZOR GLANDES!† Aim for the eyes! May the Lord have mercy, for we shall show none!ď† -Jesus the Noodler
 
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Morphy
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #10 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 6:26pm
 
Interesting. Thatís a new one to me. Ill have to try that some day for my sling. I would be too scared to throw through a chronograph with a sling lol.

The difficulty in measuring a wooden bows true speed is the amount of variables that change on the user end that affect the bows speed. Thereís a lot and they are pretty difficulty to account for. Hard numbers I would venture to guess at least on wooden bows are not a real thing. Things like depth of penetration and distance also tell us nothing but sometimes are used as a rough gauge against other bows. Itís a moving target, you can gauge one against another easier than you can get hard numbers that have any realistic chance of being accurate from one day to the next. Some very smart bow builders, some who are engineers have had trouble with this. Itís an interesting subject.

Donít want to derail this anymore. I just enjoy discussing this topics. Possibly too much lol.

Hopefully our other bow builders and geniuses will chime in.
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Mersa
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #11 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 7:06pm
 
For me itís always better to add the weight into the arrows.
Letís take out air resistance because that is most likely negligible.
A 16 strand d97 string vs a 14strand d97 string the 14 strand string will most likely shoot the same arrow faster but if you add extra weight to the arrow for the weight loss they would be closer to the same speed.
Itís the same reason I donít use string silencers on my bows.
Iíd rather a bow that shoots a heavier quieter arrow than a fast loud one. But I am hunting so if itís just for target shooting your parameters might differ.
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #12 - Jan 14th, 2021 at 10:44pm
 
@J - Are the nocks on the arrows you use for a 550 paracord string larger than normal?
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Re: Thick bowstrings
Reply #13 - Jan 15th, 2021 at 4:38am
 
They're wood nocks, part of the arrow, yes, not those plastic glue on ones, these are probably a little too tight
Paracord is not my final solution for bow strings. But it works. It's a piece of string.
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