Jim Thorne

Jim Thorne has been making bows since the late 1980s. With his creative, yet down-to-earth writing style, he has helped many bowyers learn how to “build your own bow.”

How to make a plains indian style quiver

Plains indian quiverOne of the most comfortable quivers to carry in the field or woods is a plains indian style quiver. This one was made long enough to cover the fletchings of a standard 28″ arrow with field points or broadheads with just the nocks sticking out of the top. With the nocks showing, they are easy to get a hold of with your fingers, but with the fletchings covered up, they don’t make loud scratching or scraping noises against stuff like tree branches or even the ground if you are crawling around. I just find this quiver style to be a really comfortable and quiet set up for hunting.

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Contrast is good when making bows!

Contrast is goodI have to admit that I am an artist first and a bowyer second. Yes, making bows is an opportunity to unleash my inner mad scientist, but it is also a chance to express my artistic ability. Whenever anyone asks me what I do, these days I just say “I am an artist” or “I am a designer.” Most people understand what that means. I’m wired as an artist and so I see the world through an artist’s eye, always searching for beauty, unity, and an attractive and satisfying solution.

I think everyone knows at least one artist…that eccentric aunt or uncle who paints, Continue reading

String nock files for making bows

nock filesWhen I first started making bows, the best instructions that I could find said to use a “6” rat tail file” for cutting in the string nocks at the limb tips. The 6″ file made a pretty wide string groove that had to also be pretty deep in order to keep the string from slipping out. I remember one time taking a new osage self bow I had just made to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. My tall, younger brother pulled the bow back pretty far and the top string loop came right off of the bow, sending the bow flying across the room full of people, hitting a bookshelf with awesome force, and making a huge clattering noise. Continue reading

Low, medium, and high wrist grips for a recurve

low-med-high-wrist gripsIn the previous post Grip Size of a Recurve I was asked what are good angles for low, medium, and high wrist grips. Well, I’m sure that this is subjective and arbitrary at best, so I made a simple illustration that might be helpful. You can probably print this out and adapt it for use on your own riser design, whether it is a recurve or longbow. Just orient the drawing on your blueprint to make a template, or transfer the outline to the riser block before you cut it out. There isn’t really much difference in the grip portion of either bow style if it is a sculpted grip, Continue reading

Grip size of a longbow

longbow gripThe grip on a longbow is usually smaller and more refined than the grip on a hunting recurve, a target recurve, or even a compound bow. Obviously, the most comfortable grip size is determined by the size of your bow hand and your personal preference for the way the grip feels. Plus, we all know that men, women, and children have different hand sizes. In this post I will describe the best ways to measure a grip and suggest some measurements for small, medium, and large grip sizes. Continue reading

Interview with Ken Rohloff of WhippenStick Custom Bows

Ken RohloffKen Rohloff is the founder of WhippenStick Custom Bows. Ken is a custom bowyer and creator of the bow he calls the “Whippen Stick” custom bow. I first met Ken at the Leatherwall traditional archery forum probably in the early 2000s when he posted a few longbow pics. Immediately, I noticed how his bows stood out from the rest, not just because of the beautiful wood choices, but because of their refined, balanced design features, and obvious superior craftsmanship he had used in their construction. I later got to know Ken better at the Pirates of Archery traditional archery forum where we both posted a lot and had a lot of interesting discussions about making bows. Continue reading

Interview with Bill Howland of Brackenbury Custom Bows

Bill HowlandThis is the first of what I hope will be a series of interviews with custom bowyers. There is so much to learn from these bowyers who work full time doing the craft. I hope you find this information useful in your bow making!

Bill Howland is the owner and bowyer of Brackenbury Custom Bows, Nine Mile Falls, Washington. He has owned and operated the company since August, 2001. The company was started by the late Jim Brackenbury who died in 1991. Bill continues the production of several Continue reading

Brent scores big with his Classic Take-down Recurve

Brent's buckMy friend Brent scored big on this nice 10 point buck this weekend (November 3) with a bow that I made for him. One of his Facebook friends said that “Brent scored on a nice buck with is “old school bow”…lol. As you and I both know, there is nothing old school about a fiberglass recurve, but in this age of high-tech metal compounds I guess that a traditional bow seems like something from the past. There is something really cool about “building your own bow” and killing a deer with it. It is even cooler when it is someone else kills a deer with a bow that you made. Continue reading

Is this the best rasp for making a longbow or a recurve bow?

Universal Bowyer's RaspProbably the best rasp in my tool box for making bows is the “Universal Bowyer’s Rasp,” also called the “UBR10,” designed and sold by Dean Torges. It is really useful for making all types of bows: recurves, longbows, and self bows, but it is especially good for self bows and wood-backed bows where you tiller the bow by rasping and shaving the belly.

I just want to say right away that I am not trying to be a salesman for this rasp. I don’t sell it on this site, nor do I get a commission for selling it, or referring people to buy it. I just like it…a lot…and that’s good enough for me. Continue reading

Cool link in the build your own bow site stats

world wide web linkI just had to share this photo of a cool link I saw in the site stats for buildyourownbow.com. Only in the internet era is it possible to share around the world like this with like-minded people of different cultures and different languages. One thing for sure is that we all love archery. Please feel free to make a comment below if you agree. Thanks to the folks at www.mitbbs.com for visiting www.buildyourownbow.com and sharing with your friends.–Jim

 Click the thumbnail to see a larger photo with the buildyourownbow.com link!

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