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What Is A Warf Bow?

bear bear black

Around 2006, Bob Gordon figured out how to resurrect old compound risers by removing all the hardware and fixing a grooved 1/8″ plate on the limb pockets. That way, they would accept ILF recurve limbs.

It created enough mass and adjustability for a good hunting bow. Bobs’ dog’s name was Warf – that’s how he came up with the name. Warf Bow. 

So, a Warf bow takes an old compound bow riser and converts it to accept ILF recurve bow limbs.

The Need for Warf Bows

Twenty years ago, there were no sub-23″ ILF risers available for hunting. Making a Warf Bow was a good alternative if you wanted the newest functional limbs and also wanted a bow as short as 62″. Today, plenty of risers are available in the 15-21″ range. 

What is Warfing?

Warfing: using an old riser that has a single string and no wheels, cams, or pulleys, and converting it to accept a traditional limb set. It’s an excellent way to keep an old hunting buddy alive and still shoot the latest limbs.

What is Warf Bow Used For?

Hunting, target shooting, 3-D archery, you name it. With the right limbs, excellent speeds can be achieved.

What Are ILF Bow Limbs?

ILF stands for International Limb Fit. It is the most common method for attaching limbs to risers, used by most recurve bows manufactured today. The benefits are that you could constantly improve, change and upgrade your bow. Just buy new limbs. You can change from one set of limbs to another without replacing the whole bow. That’s a good thing, especially if you are new to archery and growing stronger.  

US Patent 4,494,521 – from 1985 

  • Bear Black Bear 
  • Hoyt Game Getter 
  • Ram Hunter Hoyt 
  • Hoyt Pro Vantage 
  • Hoyt Game Getter II 
  • Hoyt Buck (TD-3) 
  • Hoyt Spectra 

There are thousands of old compound models out there, but only a few can be converted! For example, some Bear bows are good candidates for warfing. Hoyt Game Getters II and Pro Vantage are also perfect for making a Warf Bow out of them.

Benefits of a Warf Bow

Money! Instead of using higher-priced ILF risers, you can save yourself some money and repurpose your old compound bow riser. Once converted, you could use any ILF recurve limb. A warfbow has the mass to handle shock and, depending on the configuration, can deliver pretty good performance.

Warf Recurve Bow for Bowfishing

Photo Source and Credit Strom Usrey (here’s the link

Excellent for bow fishing! I mean, compounds or recurves are great for bowfishing too – but why not have some fun and convert an old compound bow into a Warf Bow instead?! 

One of the best pieces of documentation on how to do so is from a guy named Storm W. Usrey.

He has some excellent tips and pictures on how to make this conversion! Having a compound that is “warfable” is key. He explains that “Hoyt Spectra, Hoyt Rambo, Hoyt TD3, Bear Black Bear, Jennings Black Lightening or some of the older Proline bows” are some of the compounds that possibly could be converted into a Warf Recurve Bow. 

How Much is a Warf Bow

It depends on whether you have an old compound bow available or not. I’d say you’re looking at $150-500 bucks depending on what you have and if you have to buy the adapter plates or not. You can go as low as $100 for a used Bear Black Bear if you find one on eBay.

I would recommend checking out some archery forums. There are also several Facebook groups that are all about Warf Bows.



What’s a Frankenstein Bow?

Basically, it´s a bow that is put together from different parts and brands. For example, taking a PSE compound bow, swapping the original limbs for something else, maybe swapping the cams.

You need to know what you’re doing there. String length, draw weight, etc., it’s an art to get it all figured out and have a perfect bow that shoots well. Nothing for beginners! 

If you are looking for a place to get something done like this, check out Johns Custom Archery. Here’s a link to his FB Page:


A Warf bow is a bow that is made from an old compound bow riser. The original limbs are replaced with ILF recurve limbs. “Warfing” is the process of converting an old compound bow riser to accept ILF recurve limbs. ILF stands for International Limb Fit and is the most common way of attaching limbs to risers today. The benefits of a Warf Bow are that it is cheaper than using an ILF riser, and it makes an excellent bow, not only for bow fishing.

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