Tillering Rack For A Bow

Wesley E Willard Archery, Archery Projects, Woodworking

Something that I have wanted to build for a long time is a tillering rack for my bows and bow building. For those that do not know what this is or its intended purposes, let me inform you. When bow building you get to a certain stage in which your bow limbs start to look like actual bow limbs. They just don’t naturally appear in this shape, you have form them to that point by removing material. A tillering rack is a great tool for aiding this process. By placing the handle at the top of the rack and watching the limb movement, (in this case) you see the right and left limb bending evenly. Once able to be strung, you can attach a pull cord. Leave considerable length and from a distance, flex the bow visibly seeing a multitude of things. First and foremost, how evenly the limbs are bending. It’s a good indicator if more material needs to be removed from the belly of side of either limb.

Another thing is the draw-weight of a bow at any given length. This isn’t mandatory by any means, but adding a pull scale (as shown in the video) can let you know what your draw weight poundage is while tillering. If your bow is completed in the tiller and completed it can also act as an aid to check poundage at any time. Change strings and brace height? This might allow you really see the difference in how the limbs bend and what might be affected.

In the case for our kids, who have a much shorter draw length. As they grow we’re able to check what draw weight they pull as they grow.

All of the materials listed were scrap that I had laying around. Even thought he 2×4 for the middle frame is pine, I wasn’t concerned with this load capacity since it would be on the top side downward, mounted to a wall and several feet long. We’re talking about gently applied pressure here, not a potato gun for wood.

The 1×12 face plate is also pine, it was the most concerning at first, but there really is no load against it, it’s just there to keep the bow shifting front-to-back. I did glue it thoroughly, pre-drill and screw it to the entire frame with torx head screws. I’ve tested several bows; it’s worked like a dream, no more concern. If I had some hardwood lying around, I would have used that, just in case, but I didn’t and it turns out I didn’t need it. The grain of the face board is running top of the rack to bottom. If it was horizontal I might have more concern for a shifting bow breaking at wood grain line. The good news about the pine, it’s cheap. I put that money saved towards the scale.

The scale was one I found online that had a peak weight function. Meaning, as you pulled the weight, it freezes the strongest amount. So, I could then use the tillering rack pull cord, pull down to whatever draw length I wanted and not worry about the scale being visible. I just lower the bowstring back down walk up and check the ‘frozen’ weight on the scale, UNBELIEVABLY handy and not to mention super-safe.

The bracket used at the bottom of the 2×4 to help the guide rope was interesting. Clay Hayes @ twistedstavemedia.com is where this plan was adopted from. He welded up a standup pulley that could mount to the wall. Turned out great. However, I don’t have a welder. I did some searching and found the bracket in the video on amazon. As stated in the video, its “technical” bearing weight is 1000lbs, whether or not that is true, I do not know. It is built well though. I need it to handle 150lbs at the very max, likely under 100lbs regularly, once tings are in a better tiller, under 50/60lbs.

I will say as far as the video goes, it’s my first on youtube. For the first portion, I had the camera vertical (lessoned learned). Fortunately it was a short portion. If you go and watch the video and like it, please give it a thumbs up. Anyways, I hope this might help someone else interested in making a tillering rack. It was a fun project to build.