Tools Used by Bowyers & Arrow-Makers
Hugh Soar's interesting article on bow string grooves in the latest issue of the Journal got me to thinking about the actual tools used by bowyers and arrow-makers in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to craft traditional long-bows and wood arrows. Obviously, bowyers used draw knives, spoke shaves, toothing planes, various other hand planes, saws, wood chisels, scrapers, rasps, files as well as hatchets and hand axes to rough out staves. What other tools did they use?
Some of these bowyers probably developed special tools or devices to assist them in their craft. The same is likely true of arrow-makers as well.
James Duff in his book "Bows and Arrows
" speaks of some of the tools used but isn't expansive. Stemmler and some other writers have likewise commented on tools but not in detail. I am sure that many of these bowyers and arrow-makers used tools they developed for their own purposes and may have been reluctant to share this information with others [competitors].
I wonder if anyone has seen an operational or abandoned traditional bow-maker's and/or arrow-maker's workshop with the tools and equipment still intact in it and could comment on the principal tools the bowyers and/or arrow-makers used. I am very curious as to the principal
tools used as well as any unusual
tools that were employed.
My father was a mechanical engineer, always interested in tools and shared that interest with my brother and me. He inherited his grandfather's woodworking tools that had been used by my great-grandfather in his occupation as a wheelwright in Northern Vermont.
My dad was a woodworker in his spare time. My brother and I were fortunate to inherit our great-grandfather's tools from our father; consequently, I have had an interest in woodworking tools for some time and how these or similar tools might have been used in bow-making and arrow-making.