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.

This this the best rasp I’ve ever used. Unlike most rasps that feel like they are shredding the wood, this rasp feels like it is shaving the wood off like a plane or a razor sharp knife. It removes wood much faster than any other rasp that I have used. I bought it for tillering self bows and wood backed bows, but feels so good that I use it for final shaping of the handles of all styles of bows, including a fiberglass recurve, hybrid reflex deflex longbow, and a straight longbow.

Universal Bowyer's Rasp

The rasp is about 10″ long and 7/8″ wide. It has coarse teeth on one side and fine teeth on the other side. It comes with the turned and finished main handle that goes on the tang of the rasp, and a roughed out wood handle piece that attaches to the end of the rasp with a pin. The roughed out handle needs to be shaped, but you can round off the edges and shape it to fit your hand and style of holding the rasp. It really is nice having the second handle on the end of the rasp. I think that most of the time I am holding my rasp with two hands, and the second handle allows me to pull the rasp at times, which seems to be an efficient way of removing wood, plus it avoids handling the toothed portion of the tool which roughs up your palm and leaves corrosive skin oils on the teeth of the tool.

Handle detail

Detail of the second handle.

Detail of coarse side

Detail of the coarse side.

Detail of the fine side

Detail of the fine side.

With this rasp you can make long, sweeping strokes to flatten out a long section like the belly of a board bow, but it will also cut out tight curves like the deep grip of a recurve. It is very useful for removing a lot of material in a hurry from the sight window. I tend to cut out the sight window fairly shallow, then use a rasp to shape it slowly and precisely. I don’t like to use sanding machines on a sight window because it is too easy to ruin a bow in a big hurry.

I bought my rasp from 3 Rivers Archery, but you can also buy it directly from Dean Torges and read his write up about it at his website called The Bowyer’s Edge.

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Jim Thorne

Bowyer and author at Build Your Own Bow!

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.”

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