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Bow stabilizer from bamboo

The front bow stabilizer is a rod with a changeable weight at the end that counteracts the force of the string's pull, and makes it easier to steadily aim the bow, thereby increasing accuracy.  It can also help make the shot quieter and the bow vibrate less.  High end bow stabilizers can cost hundreds of dollars and are made of carbon fiber.  Even low end ones aren't that cheap.  What one wants in the rod is rigidity and low weight.

Bamboo doesn't quite have the rigidity per weight that carbon fiber does, but by my calculations it comes much closer to carbon fiber than steel and aluminum (at the same diameter and weight, a steel tube will suffer from 3.3X the same deflection in a cantilever than carbon fiber; aluminum 3.2X; while bamboo will be only 1.5X).  And bamboo is much cheaper, and stands up to dings better, since for the same weight, the wall thickness is greater.  In our region, it can be a weed, and you can sometimes get loads of it for free on Craigslist.  And it looks really good.

For those who don't want to read details, here are the instructions in a nutshell: (a) cut bamboo to size; (b) run 5/16-24 bolt through dowel; epoxy inside bow-end of bamboo; (c) put segments of pipe, held in place with drawer liner, around other end or attach a 1/4-20 bolt on that end for commercial weights.

I was making a stabilizer for a target recurve, and I wanted it long: about 32".  I used a nice piece of dry 1 1/8" outer diameter bamboo.  For hunting, I'd want a shorter piece.

There are two ways of making the stabilizer take on weights.  One way is for it to simply have a bolt with some standard 1/4-20 thread on the outer end for commercial weights to screw on.  I will discuss how to do that.  The other way is what I actually did, which was simply to attach segments of PVC or aluminum tube on the end, with some vibration dampening friction-fit.

Basic ingredients:
  • Bamboo stave, at least 1" diameter
  • 5/16-24 bolt or segment of threaded rod, approx. 2.5" long
  • washer with outer diameter roughly matching the bamboo
  • dowel of outer diameter as close to the inner diameter of the bamboo as you can make it, approx. 1.5" long
  • enough rigid epoxy (e.g., JB Weld) to fill the gap between dowel and inside of bamboo
For DIY pipe-weights and dampener:
  • tubing, steel pipe or PVC pipe/conduit with inner diameter somewhat bigger than the bamboo
  • drawer-liner material
For using commercial weights and dampeners:
  • 1/4-20 bolt or segment of threaded rod, approx 2.5" long
  • another dowel piece of about same size (unless the bamboo is significantly narrower there)
  • another washer
  • more epoxy

 
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