Thursday, October 11, 2012

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

Shakespeare Catalog May 1969

“The Necedah Wonderbows”
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 x25-55
“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. The x-26 and x 28- both of these bows have brown fiberglass and came in weights 40, 45, 50 and 55 lbs
Later I found a third and fourth variety of the X28.I also discovered a fifth X31 which seems to be a precursor to the Super Necedah. 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 55”AMO Necedah x26 @50lb.
My 55" Necedah
Necedah X26, 1964-1973, 55 Inch, 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 or Forest green fiberglass
  • Handle Imbuya Wood or Wonderwood (specially impregnated hardwood)
  • 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: 1964-70 –ish *
These 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 can’t find out anything about this dual size discrepancy. I bought a fantastic book hoping to find an answer:  Vintage Bows - I; An Introduction to Choosing, Shooting and Collecting by Rick Rappe, I contacted Mr. Rappe and he was also confounded and offered the suggestion that perhaps the 58” was made later and helped  to usher in the next Model.
Lavi Niv's nice X26 Green Glass

X28 Necedah: 1967 – 1971-ish*
Necedah Model X-28 dates from approximately 1967 – 1971. Like the x-26, it has handsome cinnamon brown fiberglass Imbuya wood riser. It differs in length at 58” and there are also slight modifications to the riser. Since it was in production longer it is more common than the x26. I need one for my collection! 

1972 -1973*
The Third Variety is the Green Limb version. 1972-73 Shakespeare started to produce the Necedah x28 58” with an attractive Forest Green Fiber glass and Imbuya (brown wood).

Lewis Kent's beautiful Wonderwood X28 with stabilizer

1973 -1975*
In 1972 Bear Archery introduced a hardwood riser impregnated with a greenish stain. Not to be outdone by Bear, Shakespeare offers its fourth variety of the Necedah - a green stained green limbed recurve bow. The green wood was called “Wonderwood”. This X28 58” with Forest Green fiberglass and Green Wonderwood was produced in 1973-1975 (?) and is one of the least common. 

X - 31 dates unknown (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. I don't own this bow yet so my descriptions are based on two examples which I found online. The photo below (top row) shows it's profile next to a Super Necedah.

Necedah x-31
thanks to 
Lavi Niv
guyver of Archerytalk forum for top two photos
eBay's adamash310 for bottom two photos.

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.


  1. I've been bidding on some super necedah lately, they usually go for around $100-$120 range. Do you chat on the leatherwall? George D. Stout on there is pretty good on Shakespeare bows.

  2. I do visit the Leatherwall. I will contact him, he contributed to Vintage Bow II by Rick Rappe. Thanks for the heads up!!!!!!!

  3. I see in the article that it says the brace height is 7 3/4, but your description says 8 1/2 to 9". Which is correct?

  4. you are right!! before I found this article I was basing the brace height on online chats, auctions and blogs. The higher brace might be for the X31. so yes, it is 7 3/4. thanks for letting me know, time to re-tune my bow!!

  5. I have been looking for some information on this bow for some time and was glad to find this web page.
    I have a NECEDAH x26 that is in mint condition. It was given to me and has been in my dry basement for the past several years. I am not sure of it's usage history prior to getting it, but would say based on it's condition it has had minimal useage. No condition issues at all. With this bow I also received some broadhead arrows with the original feathered fletchings. They are in the original Shakespeare box. Don't think they have ever been nocked.
    I would be willing to part with them if anyone is interested???

    1. I am interested in your Necedah x26. What is the draw weight on her?

    2. My bow is 45#, but it is not for sale, it is my baby!!!

    3. I have an x 26 in good condition # 50

  6. I own a Super Necedah X-30. Any specs available for that model?

  7. Yup I have a post on the Super Necedah:

    SUPER NECEDAH: X30, X32 introduced 1968
    Limbs 2 inch wide
    54” AMO
    X30 Seduha and Zebra Wood riser
    X32 Multi-Laminated riser
    Overlays triple ply laminate
    Black Glass
    Sight window 3 ½
    Draw weights 35 lbs – 60lbs
    Brace Height 9 inch

    Chronograph test: tested with 1 dz. 410 grain, three 3 inch fletched arrows,
    shot from #45 bow --169.11 fps

  8. i buy one for 25 dollars. will it break?

  9. Might be a perfect bow or it could break. It is hard to say without seeing the bow.

    If you are concerned then you should take it to a qualified bowyer.

  10. I have a question about a shakespeare bow I found. Its a model B I Hunter 55". I was wondering if anyone knows anything about this. thanks!

    1. Hi Ethan, the B1 Hunter was a a Shakespeare Parabow from the late 1950s to mid 1960s. It was only made as a right handed bow. Draw weights 30-65 lbs. Very durable bows!
      We have a post on the solid fiberglass bows that might be helpful

  11. I have an x26 #50 in good condition any idea of worth

    1. Hi Bobby
      The Necedah X26 is one of the most successful and popular bows made by Shakespeare, it is also the most common. There isn't the collector interest compared to Bear bows but that is changing. I bought my first eBay(3 years ago) Necedah for $45. It was a #55 1966 model which uncommon. that bow is selling for $100-$120. Condition and poundage is also really important. My bow had lots of wear. A pristine bow is much higher value.

      I suggest that you go to eBay an do a search for "Necedah" then look in "completed auctions" it might give you a better idea on monetary value. You might try trading it too on some of the traditional chat-rooms and forums. Or you could hold on to it because the prices are rising.

  12. Larry,
    I wanted everyone to know the stabilizer on the X-28 is not original to the bow. I bought this vintage stabilizer on ebay. So it is not a Shakespeare. I'd love to find a few originals for my bows. Hope this helps and thanks for a great blog.

    1. I just bought a vintage Saunders 6 inch Stabilizer to try with my bows with the right insert adapters. The Shakespeare adapter don't always work with all stabilizers, correct? The stabilizer they sold was a "M16" 1968- 71 and I found that they used a 1/4-20 brushing. My Saunders seems to work well on most of my bows. The Shakespeare had a 26 inch long stabilizer for competition shooting.

  13. I bought a Shakespear wonderbow Necedah x26 at an auction for $8.00. wow I couldn't believe it no one knew what it was.... I will never part with it..

  14. Thanks so much for all of the information on Shakespeare Archery. My son, who has been into archery for a few years now, just bought me a beautiful Necedah X-28. From what you've posted above, there seems to be two different versions of this bow, one from 1972 to 1973 and the other from 1973 to 1975. Is there really any difference? If so, how can I tell which one I have? Also, what type of arrows do I use with this bow? I'm new to archery so any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks....Wayne.

  15. Hi Wayne
    The difference is in the shape of the riser and color of the fiberglass. Send a photo to
    Arrows depend on your draw length and the bows' draw weight. Have someone measure you. extend your hand out as far as you can . Have someone measure from the center of your chest to the end of you fingers, that will give you some idea of your draw length. If you have a archery pro-shop near by they can measure you too. You will also need a string which is 4 inches shorter than you bows AMO (distance from nock to nock)

  16. i got a necedah x26 from my friend that found it in the back of an old car that he bought off of a guy. it has the old logo, 55# 58", it is in pretty bad shape. the guy that had it before spraypainted it camo colors. it is infuriating how ignorant some people can be.

  17. I have similar fps numbers using the iphone chrony app. 45# kaibab my draw 27". B50 average 175fps. Blended string I call fat fast average 185 with a 430 grain arrow. I checked this against two other bows which makes sense to me. 48# game master skinny string average 190 with 470 grain arrow and a 50# k mag with shinny string average 195 with same 470 grain arrow

    1. I am interested in your settings and process of the Chrono Connect Apps. Thanks!

  18. Mmk I found an x-28 when cleaning out my grandparents attic but there was no string, any ideas of what kind of string and what length to buy it? the length is 58" and 45# draw weight if that helps.

    1. Nice find!!
      You will need to buy a string made of Dacron-50, no fast flight string just to be safe. Your bow is 58" so you will need a string that is 54". There are lots of string vendors on eBay and I always have a good experience buying them there. When you buy, let the seller know that you have a vintage bow that is 58 inch and 45 lbs. He will make you the rights size string with the correct string count. Enjoy!!
      one more thing, make sure you buy a bow stringer.

  19. I have a bow that I am 99% sure is a Shakespeare. It looks almost exactly like my Necedah except that the black glass is continuous across the riser. The odd thing is that the serial number is PS698 which is shorter than the serial number on my Necedah. The only markings are 45#, PS 698, 58" and a small x. I would appreciate any info.