This book is meant to be understandable and fun to use. The topics range from the beginnings to the end -- cutting and curing wood through building a selfbow of almost any type and finishing it. Selfbows are wooden bows with no laminations in the limbs. Both beginners and advanced bowyers should find the book usable and worthwhile. There are extensive descriptions and directions throughout, supported by over 200 individual color illustrations. Besides the how-to directions, there are sections on heat-bending, splicing billets, shaping handles, and treating problems like knots, cracks, etc. Several other useful topics are addressed, such as suggestions on how to make a bow with only a few measurements, reduce handshock, eliminate stack, stabilize arrow flight, shoot where you look, and increase arrow speed.
Tillering goals I emphasize.
It’s common to read that you should tiller a bow so the limbs have “a smooth, even curve”. My emphasis is actually not on the curvature of bow limb profile per se. I think the aspect of a bow that’s most important is NOT the profile it has when strung, however important that is, nor even the profile it has when fully drawn, however important that also is.
Instead, I think it’s more important to focus on where, when, and how much during the draw, specific regions of the limbs bend during the draw for the bow style you’re making.
The profiles of a strung and fully drawn bow, then, become the consequence rather than the goal of the tillering process. Although the profiles will differ in various bow designs, the tillering process will be essentially the same.
Naturally the reason for tillering a bow to draw so specifically is that you’re setting it up for how smoothly it draws and how nicely it shoots -- for the degree of handshock, arrow stability, arrow speed, etc. Naturally also, you may not follow the tillering pattern in this book, but instead follow your own intuition or pattern.
Stim Wilcox has been making bows since he was a child, where bamboo splints and privet hedge arrows were exciting things to make and shoot. The bow-making experience that led to this book came mostly from the last 16 years of experimenting with hundreds of bows and many woods. Every word in this book stems from a love of archery and the pleasure of sharing the information and ideas about making wooden bows.The book has been written from the heart.