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 Shakespeare Necedah model x 26 - 55# - 58" was the bow that took the current Pope and Young Non-Typical Mule dear, World Record in 1987.  Ken Plank used Bear wooden arrows.

“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.


  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

    2. I have a question about a Shakespeare B-1 bow I picked up at an auction. It says 51" string length but what is the the actual length I need? I'm new to bows so any help would be appreciated!

  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.

    1. hi flyingcowboy
      I have not seen a Necedah with black fiberglass. send photos:
      we also have a Facebook group with some amazing bow experts:

  20. Gentlemen, I have a #40 / 58" Necedah that has been in the basement for many years. It was my grandfathers and I learned to hunt with it. I have taken numerous deer but it hasn't seen the light of day for over 35 years. I am going to take it up to a cabin I have in Maine and want to get a new string and arrows. Can anyone tell me what to buy for arrows and string?

  21. Gentlemen, I have a #40 / 58" Necedah that has been in the basement for many years. It was my grandfathers and I learned to hunt with it. I have taken numerous deer but it hasn't seen the light of day for over 35 years. I am going to take it up to a cabin I have in Maine and want to get a new string and arrows. Can anyone tell me what to buy for arrows and string?

  22. hello Walter
    You should buy a Dacron-50 string 12-14 strands, it should be 4 inches shorter than you bow length, so it should be 54 inches. As far as arrows you want a arrow spined or matched to your draw length and the bow's weight (40#) . You can choose from wood, aluminum or carbon arrows. You might want to go to an archery shop to have someone check the bow and they can help you with string and arrow selection.

  23. Selling a necedah x-31 and a kodiac glass bows
    300 for both or bo

  24. I just bought an X26 in 58"/55# configuration. Though the seller allowed it tested 52# for him. Well w/in normal range of variation I'd expect, especially after all these years. I most confess the information posted here greatly influenced my purchase. I really like the idea of picking up a bow that was made under the influence- of Ernie Root that is. It sold to me for $70 though shipping put it up to $99.
    Jim on my wife's account (thus the name Jillian)

  25. Hello
    With your experience, what do you think about use "BCY B55" string instead of "Dacron 50"? Sadly I haven't found Dacron in my country but BCY, and as far I have read this strings are pretty similar and aren't fast flight

    1. I found a forum discussion that might help. Most feel it is safe-

  26. Hi,
    I just purchased a 58" 55# Shakespeare X-28 in really nice condition. It has some scratches and scuffs but doesn't look to have been shot a whole lot in it's 42 years. I had to bring a 54" string with me since the seller didn't have one to fit it. I was struck with how light and smooth drawing the bow is. The string seemed to lay dead center of the string grooves and I couldn't notice any twist when sighting down the limbs or string; so the bow came home with me. Do you happen to know what the factory recommendation was for brace height on on a 58" 55# X-28? With my spare(new and unused) 54" endless loop style string the brace height is 8.5"(no twists in the string).

    1. Congratulations on the bow!
      Brace height 7 3/4 but tweak it until it is right for you

    2. Thank you for the quick reply, I really appreciate it. Looks like maybe I should pick up a 55" string and start from there. The more I handle this bow the more I really like it. I love the skinny limbs and the thing feels like holding a feather. I also really, really like the green riser and green limbs. Hopefully it will quit raining/snowing this week and I can get out and shoot.

      Thanks again

      Thank you for a really well done and informative site. If I hadn't found it, I probably wouldn't have given Shakespeare bows any thought(well, not serious anyway). Hopefully most people continue to pass them over like I used to, that'll leave more for us. :-)

  27. Just won a 1964 Neceda practically unused!! Original clipped calf hair and feather rest are barely worn. One of the most BEAUTIFULLLY figured shedua (Imbuya...?) risers I've ever seen! Just need to get a string made for it. Really curios to see how she compares to my 1964 54" Drake Hunterflight and my 50" Cascade.

    Jason DuLac

  28. One other note bout this bow.

    You posted above that Necedas with "model x-26 55" printed below "Wonder bow" (as mine has) were 1964 production years but mine also has a serial number of "F52700M" which indicates June 1965 production year according to your serial number decoders. Hmmmm... Anomaly...? Any thoughts...?

    Again, thanks for a VERY cool blog!!!

  29. Anyone interested in buying a neceda x26 50#

  30. Anyone interested in buying a neceda x26 50#

    1. RH or LH
      you might try our Facebook page

  31. Thanks to vintage root and Shakespeare archery for know about Ernie Root archery.i am very interested to know Shakespeare archery.

  32. I found a shakespear wonderland yukon x-24 60". Can anyone tell me anything about it?

    1. Here is the post on Yukon

  33. My father was a proud owner and user of a Shakespeare Wonderbow, Laminated Fiber Glass, The Necedah, Model X26, #50, D62074M, 58" When he used to hunt, he brought home a deer every year using this bow. He even made his own strings. Dad has passed away and it's time for this bow to have a new home and bring down deer for a new owner. If you are interested in this bow, please contact me at It a beautiful bow in good condition for its age.

  34. I commented above but didn't think to post some pertinent (I hope)
    I have the all in Brown 58" X26 Necadah. Written in white on the back limb face below the grip, vertically is "55-" "H93123M" (serial #?) and "58"(in.)"
    This is rated at 55# and the seller said it tested at 52# for him but, the difference between this and my 50# bow is shocking. Actually, I had 'Magyar, Asian type bow rated at 55# and it wasn't nearly as hard a pull as this one. I guess it's the design difference. Any way, I had to pass this one on to my son.
    Anyhow, does the serial number mean anything to anybody?
    Posting on my wife's (Jillian) listing.

    1. Hi Jim
      Thanks for the comment.
      The serial number translation August 1969, 3123 bow producted