Bow Setup & Tuning – How to Build a Draw Board

What is a “draw board”? How does it help with bow setup and tuning? And how can you easily build one?

A draw board is a device that can hold your bow in place, mechanically draw it, and safely hold it at full-draw. A draw board that is equipped with an inline scale and ruler will allow you to better understand your bow’s draw cycle and check the measurements that we discussed in Part 1, such as draw weight, holding weight, and draw length.

A draw board greatest value is that it lets you see the bow’s draw cycle and understand how your bow is performing at full-draw; more specifically, it allows you to check cam timing, cam synchronization, and draw stop positioning.

Recommended Materials to Build a Draw Board

You don’t have to add a scale, a ruler, or a turnbuckle to your draw board, but I highly recommend doing so.

Assembly

Assembling the draw board is as simple as mounting the flange and post to one end of the board, and the hand-crank winch to the other end.  The winch connects to the turnbuckle, which connects to the scale, which connects to the bow.  How long you make the board, and were you mount the post and winch on that board depends on where you will be using the board and how you will be mounting it.

I would recommend leaving enough room in the front of the board so that you have plenty of clearance to mount your bow without having to remove your sight and stabilizer.  I have my draw board drilled so that I can bolt it to my workbench in my house, but I am also able to move the draw board to other locations and use clamps to secure it to almost any surface.  (I have it mounted to my deck in the video above.)

The yardstick placement should be determined by measuring from the front of the threaded post, and adding 1.75″  (Why would you do that?).  I also recommend verifying placement by comparing with a bow that’s draw length setting has been confirmed with a draw arrow.

The purpose of the turnbuckle is, as I mention in the video, to finetune the amount you draw the bow.  The hand-crank winch has fixed amounts of draw length at each step.  If, for example, you’re only 1/6″ from reaching full-draw on the bow, another step on the winch is going to pull too hard/far into your bow, whereas the turnbuckle can be twisted to perfectly draw the bow that last fraction of a measurement.  This is especially critical on bows with a limb-based draw stop.

For a great illustration and another DIY draw board plan, check out this article at Field & Stream: Step-by-Step: How to Build a D.I.Y. Draw Board for Your Compound Bow

Here are some detailed photos of the components in my draw board…

Draw Board Mounting Hardware Draw Board Scale Attachment Draw Board Turnbuckle Draw Board Winch
The Author

Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and the outdoors. Learn more about Sole Adventure or get in touch with Mark...

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  • Wesley Levy

    Looks like a nice sturdy draw board mark and really easy to put together. I like it!

  • Leon

    Great post Mark! Thank you. I guess I know what I’ll be doing today.

    • SoleAdventure

      Let me know how it goes.

  • Lee Strohe

    So do you cut off the first couple inches of your yardstick once you measure from the front of the wooden post and add 1.75? Also, how is the ruler staying in place and not being hit by scale or string? (Ruler/yardstick = same thing) Great Vid!

    • SoleAdventure

      Yes, Lee, I trimmed the yardstick down. I had to do so for clearance around the flange mount. The ruler is mounted to the stud with a small nail on each end. It’s flush against the stud, and there’s plenty of clearance for the scale/string to “ride” above it.