Saturday, May 23, 2015

“The Necedah Wonderbows- Model X26, X28, X31”

Shakespeare Catalog May 1969

“The Necedah Wonderbows”
by Larry Vienneau
Before the Necedah X26 there was the Model X26-55
Shakespeare Archery partnered with Ernie Root in the early 1960. Shakespeare's first bows were the 1959-60 Model 100-600 bows. In 1961-64 Shakespeare introduced the Wonderbow. The Wonderbow came with a Model number and an "X" designation. In 1963 the Model X26-55 was introduced. It was nearly identical to the Root Warrior and it was 55 inch from nock to nock. In 1964 the first of the renamed bows was introduced. The X26-55 was renamed The Necedah X26 and it was virtually the same bow as the Model X26-55
“The Necedah” is one of Shakespeare Archery’s most famous and popular Wonderbow Models. It was the first Wonderbow to be named after a famous hunting area,  Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. This bow is a sweet shooter and was a strong competitor with Bear Archery. Its design shows the obvious Ernie Root influences and resembles the Root Warrior Model

 “The Necedah” is unique because there are several varieties which can be confusing to the novice or experienced collector. The Necedah was my first Shakespeare bow. I bought mine on eBay and luckily the seller misspelled both “Shakespeare” and “Recurve”, so I bought the bow for under $50. I own Bear bows and assumed that all other vintage bows were inferior to the Bear, so I wasn’t expecting too much. However I was pleasantly surprise at the beauty and craftsmanship of the bow. I was astounded when I shot it, it was smooth shooting and consistent. I was hooked!!!
I began researching my bow and found Five varieties of the Necedah. 
  1.  The X-26 at 55" 1964-65
  2.  The X-26 at 58" in brown 1966-71,  
  3.  The X-26 at 58" in Green Fiberglass 1972-73
  4.  The X-28 at 58" in Green wood and green fiberglass 1974
  5.  The X-31 at 58"  in Green wood and other hardwoods laminated with green fiberglass 1975-76.   
   All Necedah came in weights of 40, 45, 50 and 55 lbs.
I am excluding the Super Necedah from this discussion because most collectors consider it a separate model.
Ernie Root's Bush Master Game Master and Warrior 1966 Ad

My bow is a 1964 55”AMO Necedah x26 @50lb.It is unusual because it has "X-25 55" under the Wonderbow logo. After 1964 Shakespeare stopped placing the model number lower right of the company logo. The Model Number is found under the model name 1965

my scarce 1964 X26-55 lefty
my X-26 58 inch, note the different logo. This logo was used 1969 or later
Necedah X26, 1964-65 55 inch 1966-1973 58 inch
Necedah X 28, 1974, 58 inches
Necedah x 31 1975-76 58 inches
  • Recurve
  • Weights 35, 40, 45, 50 and 55 lbs
  • Cinnamon Brown 1964-1971 or Forest green fiberglass 1972-76
  • Handle Imbuya Wood or Wonderwood - a green colored impregnated hardwood, X-31was multi-laminated hardwood and Greenwood)
  • Sight window 4 1/2 inches 
  • Brace height 7 3/4
  • 2 inch wide limb
  • Imbuya or Wonderwood tip overlay
  • arrow speed 12 shots avg. 410 grain arrow- 50 lb. Necedah 55” -187.74 FPS, 45 lb. Necedah 58"- 184.66 FPS  

X26 Necedah: 1964-73
The 55” AMO X26 bows were produced approximately from 1964-66. It has handsome cinnamon brown fiberglass with exotic Imbuya wood riser. What is confusing about this X26 model is there are two different bow lengths 55” and 58”. I was confused by the dual size discrepancy. I later learned that Shakespeare changed the AMO to 58" in 1966.
The profile of the X-26 remained identical to the Root Warrior until Shakespeare moved its operation to South Carolina. Ernie Root left Shakespeare in 1969. In 1970 the profile of the Necedah changed and it resembled other bows in the Shakespeare Line. In 1970-71 the riser was modified and green glass was used.
Lavi Niv's nice X26 Green Glass

X28 Necedah:1974
Necedah Model X-28 was produced for one year in 1974. Unlike the X-26, this bow had Green "Wonderwood" and Green fiberglass Its length at 58” and there are also slight modifications to the riser.

Lewis Kent's beautiful Wonderwood X28 with stabilizer

X - 31  probably 1975-76
This variety is unusual. It is similar to both the Necedah X 28 and Super Necedah. It is 58" AMO and has green glass.  It uses Green Wonderwood in the riser but it also has multi-lamination, rare for a Shakespeare Bow. 
my rare left hand Necedah X-31
 The Necedah was the work-horse of the Shakespeare Archery line of bows. It was the very first Wonderbow and it was one of the last bows Shakespeare produced. It is a durable, consistent, hard shooting bow. I have owned several. I recently acquired my Necedah X-31. I know that the quality suffered after Shakespeare relocated to South Carolina, and I think I was not expecting much from this bow. I have to admit that I was surprised. It is not as fast as my older Necedah (a 1964 model) however it was very consistent and I scored very high round using it. I love the Necedah bows because they shoot well and are light in the hand and very resilient.  The Necedah is often available in auctions and they can be bought at a very reasonable price. 

thanks to 
Lavi Niv and Lewis Kwnt

November December 1965
pp 48-51
written by Jim Dougherty

November 1965 Ad
 This 1965 ad is a very early Necedah. It is a 55" inch bow and it is $49.95, by 1969 it was $69.99- that's high inflation!

*Information of the Necedah is sketchy especially in regards to the 58” X-26 and X-31, the dates are unclear. Anyone with additional information PLEASE comment.

© Copyright, 2013. Larry Vienneau Jr. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Shakespeare Supreme X16

Shakespeare Model X16 and 
The Supreme X16
by Larry Vienneau 
Shakespeare Model X16 1963-65

Shakespeare, under the direction of Ernie Root, produced excellent competition and target bows. The Model X16 (1963 - 65) was introduced in 1963 as a fine target bow. It was a 66" bow with exotic Benge hardwood and ivory white fiberglass. It came with a feather rest and calf hair arrow plate. It was available in right or left had and in weights of 30-50 lbs.  In 1966 the new Supreme X16 was introduced. The design of Shakespeare Supreme X16 stayed fairly consistent during its production from 1966-1971. Competition bows from the 1960-70 are generally longer AMOs and lower draw weights. A longer bow allows for a smoother draw, less string pinch and stable release. The AMO was 66 inch but in 1970 only it went to 64” inch then back to 66” in 1971. The draw weights fluctuated from year to year but were between 20-50 pounds.
Shakespeare Supreme X16 1967-71
 Shakespeare Supreme X16 was a top flight tournament bow at an entry level price.  Shakespeare produced three models of competition bows; The Professional X10 was their best tournament bow, The Titan X15 was their mid level tournament bow and the Supreme X16 was the entry level model. All three of these models were exquisitely designed. The bow-making art and craftsmanship of Ernie Root is apparent in this beautifully sculpted recurve. His style earned the admiration of the most discriminating archer. The Supreme came in seven draw weights to fit all needs. With excitingly stable shooting ease and pinpoint precision, it easily exceeded any other bow in the price range. Fine features include Exotic and Maple wood riser, white glass, three layer exotic and maple wood. In 1970 Supreme was designed for the Junior Olympics, with lower draw weights and shorter draw lengths.

There really isn’t too much information available on this fine bow. Competition Bows are usually available in auctions and tend to go for a higher price than hunting bows. I think most traditional shooter will benefit from shooting a competition bow in the off season. It is on my “Want List” but as a left-handed shooter has been waiting a long time for a nice example to add to my collection. So I live vicariously through my right handed friend Lewis Kent. He has a great collection and he does a great job restoring bows. He got this beautiful Supreme and was kind enough to share it. Thanks Lewis!! 

Lewis Kent's Supreme X16

UPDATE: March 2015
This article was originally written in May 2013.  I finally found a left handed Supreme X16. Left handed competition bows in good condition are very hard to find. My bow was the first year of production, 1966. I was luck to find a pristine bow, it had no real wear or scuffs but it needed a new rest and string. It is a 40# bow and shoots very well. It matched my 1966 Professional X10. I think the Supreme is an excellent target bow and I could now detect much difference between it and the Professional X10, though it is lighter. It felt just as stable upon release and I had consistent groups and arrow flight. It is now one of my best competition bows.
My luck find: a Lefty Supreme model X-16

Supreme X16 1966-1971

66” AMO (1966-69)

64”AMO (1970)

66”AMO (1971)

Draw weights:

25-50 pounds (1967)

25-45 pounds (1968, 1969)

20-40 pounds (1970)

25-40 pounds (1971)


1 ¾ inch (1967)

2 inch (1968-1971)

Sight window:

 7 inch (1967-1970)

6 ½ inch (1971)

Arrow rest:

Vertical feathers, calf hair plate (1967-69)

Adjustable Plate and Flipper rest (1970-71)

Brace height: 8 ½


Benge and Maple wood riser (1967)  

Maple, Bubinga, and Rosewood (1968- 1971)

Fiberglass: White

Triple tip overlays:

1967 Benge and Maple,

1968-1971 Maple and Bubinga

M16 Stabilizer mount- 1968-1971

© Copyright, Larry Vienneau Jr.
All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Shakespeare Trident X25

 The Versatile and Beautiful Shakespeare Trident X25
by Larry Vienneau
The word "trident" comes from the French word trident, which in turn comes from the Latin word tridens or tridentis: tri "three" and dentes "teeth". In the ancient world the trident was the weapon of Poseidon and Neptune, the god of the sea in Greek and Roman mythology and in India it was the traditional weapon of the Hindu god Shiva. As a weapon, the trident was prized for its long reach and ability to strike at a distance.

The Trident X25 shows the obvious design of Ernie Root. Its beautiful lines and brilliant use of contrasting woods are both unique and striking. When you compare the “Butcher Block” Game Master Root with the Trident X25 the resemblances are clear.

The Trident X25 is another beautifully crafted Shakespeare target bow and is classified as a Field/ Hunter bow. At 64 inches from nock to nock, it is long enough for repetitive precision on the field rounds, but short enough for a good hunting recurve. It's a great shooting bow.  There really isn’t tremendous information about this bow available online; I have found it in 1966-68 Shakespeare catalogs. I also found another reference to a 1965 model. The catalog description:

“Trident x25 is everything ever wanted in a fine performing, truly all-purpose bow. Trident is smart, smooth and exceptionally well stabilized. With speed to spare, it casts arrow after arrow with machine-like speed and undiminished agility”

variations of the Trident X25

The Trident X25 was an exceptionally well crafted bow at the mid-price range. It could be an effective target shooter and equally effective hunting bow. The 1965 model had green fiber glass which suggests that it was designed as a hunting bow. Most catalog photos of the Trident show a multi -laminated riser, the 1965 was the first year of production and it is possible that the solid Imbuya was replaced later in 1965 with the Imbuya and maple riser. The 1966-68 bows were white glassed and usually white glass bows are meant for the target, though this bow clearly would have been an outstanding hunter.

 For its price, The Trident combined the ultimate in appearance with unique versatility of performance. Trident is a fast bow, the 64-inch length is comfortable to handle in the field, yet long enough to guarantee the smoothness of cast so desired for tournament shooting and a comfortable handle, custom-contoured of Imbuya and Maple wood; face and back of sandalwood (white) fiberglass; shock absorbing upright arrow rest, and Calf Hair strike plate.

Lewis Kent's Beautiful Trident X25

The Trident is a very beautiful, fine performing, and smooth, stable shooting multi-purpose bow.  I have a “Want List” and the Trident X25 is on the list! As a left handed shooter, nice examples of this bow are hard to find so I sit and patiently wait and check auctions, classifieds and online trader sites. Luckily for me I have a righty friend Lewis Kent who is as nuts as I am. He bought an excellent Trident Bow. It needed some work but Lewis loves working with wood and restores bows. He did an outstanding job rejuvenating this bow !!

*UPDATE March 21 2015: (This article was first published May 2013) After years of looking I finally found a nice Left Hand Trident X-25. It was an eBay find and it needed refinishing, it looked like it had been painted black and the previous owner removed most of the paint.  After adding a few layers of finish to my bow and a new calf hair and feather rest it was finally ready to test. The Trident is an excellent shooter. I took the bow to the range and was very happy with its speed and accuracy. my first six arrow were on target with 4 of 6 in the gold! I tested the arrow speed shooting a 412 gr. arrow 12 shots with an average speed of 177.79 which is very fast for a -40# bow.
my long awaited LH Trident X-25
details of my 1965 Trident X-25

TRIDENT X25 1965-68

  • 64 AMO
  • Limbs 1 ¾
  • Sight window 5”
  • Arrow rest vertical feathers
  • Arrow plate calf hair
  • tip overlays
  • Brace height 7 ¾
  • Weights 25-45 lbs.


  • white belly, green back
  • white “sandalwood” belly and back


  • 1965  Imbuya
  • 1966-67 Imbuya and maple
  • 1968 Imbuya and “exotic” woods
© Copyright, Larry Vienneau Jr.
All rights reserved.