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Self bow beginner tool set

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Pat B:
Only use dead hickory if it was stored properly since death. Standing dead and dead on the ground for only a few weeks can make the wood worthless for bows by the time the wood dries. Fungi loves mistreated hickory.  :dunno:
Hickory does like to be dry but unlike other bow woods hickory likes 5%-6% M/C but will still make a good bow at 9%-11% M/C like most other bow woods..

If you’re using hickory, I would harvest the wood in the spring or summer so the bark just pops off. Then you won’t need a leave knife to establish a back and you can do all the rough out with a sharp hatchet. Then a Ferrier rasp for profile cleanup and early tillering, then a flat scraper of any kind for final tillering. Then a chainsaw file for the nocks. Harder that it’s just sand paper for cleanup. Yo me that’s a good minimalist setup. Though all work can be done with just a good heavy knife or sharp hatchet. If you’re gonna work something you need to chase a growth ring then get a draw knife as well. A bench vise or set of c clamps will make working the stave easier but not necessary. And a hard smooth rod to burnish an hook onto your scraper.

So I’m list form:

Ferrier rasp
Chainsaw file
Hard smooth rod for sharpening scraper (screw driver shaft works)
Oh and a pencil, you need something to mark your lines.


John Scifres:
Hand tools: roofer's hatchet, 10" drawknife, sandvik or bahko cabinet scraper, Nicholson #49 and/or #50 rasps, mill-bastard file, chainsaw or rattail file, measuring and marking tools, sharpening stones, burnishing tool, sledge hammer, wedges

Sandpaper and finishing materials

Power tools: chainsaw, bandsaw

Good luck, have fun!

darin putman:
Radford what would seem to be the hardest part of making a selfbow for most is learning proper tiller. A tillering gizmo is my most important tool when making a bow, it will help to teach what proper tiller should look like if trusted and used correctly. Simple to use on straight staves, plenty of info available on its use also.

Thanks everyone. I’ve got a good start here.


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