Still in nesting mode, see DIY Bow Wrist Sling, I head to the shop and create a DIY Bow Press for around $25. 

The recent purchase of a parallel limb bow left me without the ability to “press my own”.  My old traditional style press wouldn’t work and for the most part I don’t trust “pro” shops to mess with my bows so I was “up a bow string without a peep sight”.  Then, while surfing through Archery Talk’s DIY Forum I found AT user Race59’s plans for a $20 press that works on a somewhat linear fashion for both parallel and regular limb compound bows.  As presented here it likely will not work on beyond parallel limb bows nor will it allow you to change limbs although there are work-arounds for both discussed in the thread.  Race59 seems to be a fairly prolific press designer who likes to share – to our good fortune.  This is a very portable press easily tossed into the truck bed with your kitchen sink and other gear. 

A $25 bow press.



  • (1) pipe clamp, either 1/2″ or 3/4″
  • (1) one 48-60″ length of black pipe to match the size of pipe clamp purchased; 1/2″ or 3/4″
  • (1) piece of wood, preferably oak, maple, hickory or other tough species, 4″ wide x 14 1/4″ long x 1 1/2″ thick  
  • (1) 8″ piece of double-sided tape -or- heavy duty adhesive
  • (1) 8″ piece of indoor/outdoor carpet or similar cushioning material.
  • (4) #8 x 3/4″ wood screws 

The pipe clamps, commonly marketed under the Pony brand in your local home improvement store, are available for $11-13.  Many of the AT users who utilized 1/2″ pipe and clamps reported jamming problems not on the pressing cycle, but on the “relax” cycle.  I chose to use 3/4″ pipe and clamps since I had a stack of them out in the wood shop.  The pipe was available in shorter 60″ (5′) lengths for $5-11.  Note that for the construction described here one end MUST be threaded for the pipe clamp to attach.  It typically comes that way or home centers will do it for you at no cost.  As mentioned before, see the original AT thread for other options.  The wood, double-faced tape and carpet were lying around my shop. 


Note that these instructions are for the 3/4″ pipe and clamps.  Adjust dimensions accordingly for 1/2″ pipe and clamps. 

Step 1) Mill the wood to final dimensions.  You want to end up with two blocks 3 1/2″ wide x 7″ long x 1 1/2″ thick.

The two milled blocks.

Step 2) Drill a 1 1/8″ hole centered 1 1/16″ from the bottom into each block for the pipes to pass through.  See the picture for the exact location.

Hole placement.


Step 3) Drill a 3/4″ hole centered 4 1/8″ from the bottom for the cam channel through each block.   Again, see the picture above for the exact location.

Step 4) Form the cam channel by cutting a slot between the top of the block and the hole drilled in Step 3.

Forming the cam channel.

Step 5) Cut a 1/4″ deep saw kerf into the face of each block 1″ from the top. 

Forming the bottom of the notch.

Step 6) At a 6-7 degree angle cut a saw kerf from the top of the block down to meet the kerf cut in Step 5.  This creates a notch for the bow’s limbs to rest in.

Forming the top of the notch.

Step 7) Apply the double-sided tape and indoor/outdoor carpeting to the notches made in step 6.

The double-sided tape and indoor/outdoor carpeting applied.

Step 8) Drill two 11/64″ (or similar-sized) holes in the faces of each of the pipe clamps – see photo below.

Holes were drilled in the clamps, pilot holes were drilled in the blocks and screws were installed.



Step 9) Transfer the holes from the pipe clamps onto the backs of the wooden blocks.  Drill 1/8″ pilot holes 1″ deep on the transferred marks.  Attach the blocks to the clamps with the wood screws being careful not to twist the heads off (as I did 5 times).

Step 10) Grease the screw end of the pipe around the wooden block and clamp – see picture below.  Many AT users reported filing and sanding the black pipe down to bare metal then waxing it to make the pressing action more smooth.  I’m short on attention span so I didn’t want to do this tedious task.

Grease the pipe clamp in the area marked.


Step 11) Build a base for your press – that isn’t covered here nor is it necessary, but a couple of “U” bolts and a tabletop or saw horse should work quite well. 

You should now have a viable, portable press.

Using Your Press

To use the press first back off the limb bolts 2-4 turns before pressing.  Then adjust the screw end all the way out so that the space between the two clamp faces is the largest.  Place the bow into the block’s notch on the screw end and adjust the levered end clamp until the opposite limb tip rests snugly into it.  Now begin tightening the screw until the bow is relaxed.  Also note that some bows have draw stops that may have to be removed in order to use this type of press.  Use a pencil to mark the stop location on the cam so that it may be returned easily. 

happy hunting, dv

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