© by John B. Aniano -- All rights reserved.

Tools for Bowmakers

I also make traditional woodworking tools for bow and instrument makers.


The knife blades shown are made from older cast steel straight razors.  I generally use razors that were made in Sheffield, England as these are considered to be among the very best quality.  I have also used older American and German straight razors and have found them equally good.


The handles are laminated to the blade blanks and can be shaped to suit your preference.  Most any wood species can be used for a handle, but those that are especially dense are preferred.  Knives with curly maple, birds-eye maple and ebony handles are shown pictured.  The knives are shaped with an oval cross section and they will not readily roll off the workbench.


The longer knives are in the pattern of E. Grandchamp, and come in two sizes.  These blades have double bevels,  a curved profile and a continuously varying cutting angle that allows these knives to act as both an aggressive roughing tool and a delicate scraper.  If you are curious to see how these knives are made, check out this "how-to page".


The shorter knife pictured is in the style of S. Thomachot and has a round pernambuco handle.  It has a straight double bevel with a roughly 40?/span> cutting angle.  This knife is constructed so that the blade is off centered and will not easily roll off the bench.


I recently met with Ole Kanestrom at the 2003 Oberlin bowmaking workshop.  He was using a thin-bladed "Fetique knife" of which I have made several versions from old straight razor blades.  Pictured are knives with birds-eye maple and ebony handles.


Other specialty knives are available upon request.  I have made several traditional Japanese "bamboo leaf" knives for customers who find them useful for bowmaking. They are forged, shaped, hardened and tempered and made from top quality file blanks.  The finished knives are available with your choice of handle wrapping.  The one pictured has a brown lizard skin leather wrapping and is approximately 6" long.  I find this type of knife useful for shaping both the head and frog contours.


I also supply various other tools, such as custom sized, flat-bottom, spade bits for drilling pearl dot recesses, Parisian eye cutting bits, specialty chisels and gouges, button and stick nipple cutters, bow tensioning cables, etc.


I can also "fettle" metal-bodied bowmaking planes.  Fettling a plane is the process of fine-tuning the way the blade is bedded to the body and installing a steel insert in front of the blade to make the throat opening tighter.  I can routinely make the throat opening ~0.005"-0.008" wide by this procedure.  Planes with a narrow throat take a very fine shaving and can work with curly and wild grained wood.  I have done such tuning of Saint James Bay bowmaking planes and others.


Please e-mail me if you are interested in any of these services or if you need a tool not described above.

Knives with

curly maple handles

Knives with pernambuco and ebony handles

Bamboo leaf knife

Fetique-style knives with birds-eye maple and

ebony handles