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.
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Recommended Materials to Build a Draw Board
- 2×6 Stud, 6-8′ in length
- Threaded Floor Flange & Mounting Hardware
- Threaded Galvanized Pipe (at least 4″ in length)
- Hand-crank Trailer Winch
- Load-bearing Carabiner, x2
- Hanging Scale
- Yard Stick
- Pipe Insulation, Rubber Hose, or other material to protect the bow’s riser from the galvanized pipe
You don’t have to add a scale, a ruler, or a turnbuckle to your draw board, but I highly recommend doing so.
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…