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Symetry vs asymetry

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Steve Kendrot:
I've been doing a lot of reading and video watching over the last couple years and just finished my first hunting wieight BBO using Dean Torges design from Hunting the BBO and the Dryad tillering method. Dean paints a compelling picture of why a bow with a longer upper limb will result in a sweeter shooting bow in his essay Tillering the Organic Bow. I just got TBB4 and was reading Tim Bakers chapter on design and performance and he seems to favor a symetrical design with even limbs. Which do most people here prefer? I've never made a symetrical bow. Are there real differences and why are such renowned and experienced bowyers so ardently arguing different designs??? Does it really make that much of a difference?

Pat B:
Steve, I used to build bows with the handle offset...1 1/4" above center and 2 3/4" below. That's the way all the books taught it when I was learning. Now I prefer a symmetrical bow for ease of seeing proper tiller. Comparing the bend of 2 limbs of the same length is easier for me than comparing the bend of 2 different length limbs...the bend is different. With the bulbous handle like Dean teaches my bows are well balanced in my hand.        Pat

I like to offset mine. Up to 2" for longer bows and as little as 1" on a short design. Each bowyer has his own idea of what is a perfect bow, draw weight, length, fine or heavy built, feel when shot, etc. That's why there are so many different bows out there and why we keep experimenting and looking for what feels best to each of us.

Search for your own perfect bow Grasshopper.

Glenn Newell:
I think the offset handle with a longer top limb is a better bow because the static and dynamic balance points are closer together. If you do make an equal length bow then the tiller will differ from the offset handle bow. Most of the fibreglass bows I make are equal length bows but I do make most of my selfbows these days with an offset handle...Glenn...

John Scifres:
I don't think it makes a bit of difference on bows over 64".  I think it makes some difference on bows 60-64".  I think it makes a lot of difference on bows shorter than 60".  Don't ask me why.  Blame it on Dean  :)

I'm pretty much a stream-of-consciousness bowyer though.  The older and more experienced I get, the less I seem to know.  By the time I'm Dean's age, I'll have to start all over again.  Probably every day.  I'm sorry, what were we talking about.


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