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 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 for visiting and sharing with your friends.–Jim

 Click the thumbnail to see a larger photo with the link!

The truth about bow balance

perfect balanceI think that bow balance is one of the most interesting and important topics about making bows. What can be more important than building a balanced bow? I mean, this seems like possibly the most important thing we can get right. The crazy thing is that for something that seems so important to making a good bow, there doesn’t seem to be much useful information about it in books or magazines. The archery forums have plenty of discussions about tiller and balance, but many comments just seem to be “what so and so taught me to do” or opinions that are not based on experience or fact. I’ve read everything that I can find about bow balance and four popular myths seem to stand out… Continue reading

Applying the designer’s “rule of thirds” to tip design

Tip proportionAnyone can glue on some tip overlays and shape them into a suitable bow limb tip, but do they look good? As a graphic designer, I’m always interested in making my bows look good and have good proportions. This applies especially to the limb tips.

The designer’s “rule of thirds” goes something like this…a photo, painting, or design usually looks better when you put the focal point one third of the way from the edge than putting it in the center. The following quote from Wikipedia explains it like this… Continue reading

Splitting an osage log into bow staves

osage orange stave endA straight Osage Orange log is like a log of gold to a selfbow bowyer. As you probably know, Osage trees don’t usually grow very straight, so finding a clean, straight one is a rare find. My friend Brent brought one over to my house this weekend for us to split into staves. It was about eight-to-10 inches in diameter at the base and almost perfectly straight! He cut it down on his farm in northern Boone County, Missouri, and he wants to make a bow out of it since it grew on his property. That’s pretty neat. If he doesn’t get one made, then hopefully I can make one for him. I hope to make one or two out of it, too. 😉 Continue reading

Just say “no” to color-coordinated bow accessories

Color-coordinated bow accessories

Click thumbnail!

I’ve never been one to bash any form of archery. I love all types of bows. But, I just had to share this photo (at right). What has happened to “archery”? I mean, look at all of the stuff on this bow. I have to admit that when I first really got into archery and bow hunting in the 1980’s, I was into compound bows. When I was shooting compounds, I think that I had every type of gadget you could buy attached to my bow. I had a rubber baby buggy bumper string nock so my release aid wouldn’t pinch the arrow nock and break it. My bow had a kisser button, a dovetail sight with fiber optic, T-dot pins, an arrow rest, a cushion plunger, a sling for the grip, an arrow gripper to hold the arrow on the bow when waiting for a monster buck to come, some magic plastic string silencers, Continue reading

How to make a simple thickness sander for bow laminations

a simple lamination grinder

When I started making bows, I had to order finished bow laminations and overlays from a bow making supplier because I didn’t have a thickness sander. Even though buying prepared laminations was faster and easier, the problem was that I had to order everything I needed one or two weeks before starting the bow. Also, if I didn’t order enough lams or the right ones, or…smack me with an arrow shaft…I broke a lamination, then I wouldn’t have enough lams or overlays to complete the bow and production would come to a screeching stop. Continue reading

How a recurve bow works

recurveWhat is a recurve?

A recurve is simply a curved portion of the tip of the bow limb. Recurves can either be static (rigid) or working (bending). Many sizes and shapes of recurves have been tried throughout archery history, and are still very popular on modern bows. Most modern recurves can be called “contact recurves,” because the string “contacts” the recurved portion of the belly surface of the limb. On some contact recurves, the string will stay in contact with the belly surface of the limb all of the way from brace height until full draw. Continue reading

Thoughts about bow balance and vibration

Daniel shootingI have developed a little different theory about bow balance than what seems to be understood and taught in most archery books, articles, and what you read on most archery forums. Most people are just doing what they have been taught, what they have read, or what they have been told by others. Dean Torges’s article about dynamic balance really got me to thinking about this after reading his article that appeared in “The Bowyer’s Journal” magazine a couple of years ago… Continue reading

How to make a simple bow

a simple osage stick bowWhen I was a young boy, my brothers and I used to make a bow out of a hardwood stick and a piece of string. This was always a fun project. Sometimes I like just messing around and decide to make a bow out of a stick harvested from the woods behind my house. You know, not every bow has to be what I call a “glam” bow…a glamorous, fiberglass laminated bow. Primitive bows made from natural materials have a beauty all of their own. Plus, they are cheap and easy to make. If you have always wanted to learn how to make a bow, but don’t have a woodworking shop, or expensive shop tools, you might consider learning how to make wood bows first. Continue reading

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