Gear Review

Jon Warwick
Warwick Ideas, LLC

The "StavePress"

"Photo above is from the "Stave Press web site"

I used this photo because it is better than the photos I took.

Bow stave vice


I have been introduced to a very good product, designed for the Traditional Bowyer. The "StavePress" is a well-designed, easy to use, mobile vice for holding bow staves, in either rough form or for final finishing and everything in between.

 The StavePress is easy to use, and does what it is intended to do with little  thought or effort on our part.

 The StavePress is a very solid, steel-clamping device that securely holds our staves while we turn them into those wonderful shooting bows we dream about. At least the StavePress does it's part in this process, the rest is up to us.The StavePress is made from steel pipe, steel square tube{ HSS} , and steel plate, not tin or cast pot metals that deform and break. The whole unit is made to be worked, and worked hard without any concerns of slipping and marring our staves or damaging the press. The clamping pads, or jaws are  padded, with a heavy and durable padding made from recycled tires, to securely hold your stave without leaving bruises or marring the surfaces.

The StavePress is a heavy weight, weighing in at 27 pounds, so rest assured it is solid. The components are welded together, for years of hard use. It can be bolted to a bench, or held down with a couple of "C" clamps on a picnic table or a friends work bench.  Many users mount the StavePress to a post in the ground for outdoor use. I have plans to make a mounting bracket for my trailer hitch receiver so I can take it with me on weekend outings and shoots as well as a mount for the concrete retaining wall under my apple tree. The places you can use the StavePress are only limited by your imagination and desire. Extra mounting plates are also available, so we can set up quickly and easily set up in a as many locations as we wish.

 I am finding that the StavePress is not limited to building bows. It will securely hold just about anything that will fit inside the head. I like to use the StavePress for holding guns for a thorough bore cleaning, and see no reason why it will not be well suited for making or re working a gunstock.

 It is good to have a couple of small wooden wedges and wooden shims, like shingles to allow for irregular shaped staves to be held in place and in the position we need. So far I have not had to shim any staves, but I can see where this may pop up. 

 I have clamped several staves in my StavePress and I am impressed at  how well it holds them. I have not had any issues with a large Osage stave that I am chasing to a single growth ring, and on some Ash and Hop Hornbeam. The staves are secure regardless of the shape, and tools I use. Draw Knife, Planes and Rasps do not dislodge the stave no matter how hard I work with them. This osage stave is tough, it is holding onto the sap wood and outside rings with a vengence, but no matter how hard I work it the stave and the "StavePress" do not move.  


Clamping a glued on handle for board bows is easy and secure , the padded press does not leave those ugly "C" clamp marks to deal with. It also holds the board bows securly and does not leave any marks or bruises.

 I trusted the StavePress enough to tightly clamp in a finished bow and pull, tug and try to make it slip. Not a mark to be found on it when I removed it.

 You do need to have a wrench to tighten the 2 locking bolts on the rotating head, but this can easily be remedied with a bolt change or modification. By welding a "T" handle on the securing bolts the wrench can be eliminated, however I think that changing the bolts to a Set screw with a "T" handle welded to it is a better option. As soon as the review is finished I will change out my bolts to  "T" handle setscrews. Setscrews will hold with less force, and the elimination of a wrench is just for my convenience.

 In summary this is a very good tool for building a self-bow. It holds the stave securely and does not leave marks, it rotates horizontally to allow us to rotate the stave for better access, and it also works very well as a vise to clamp handle pieces in place while the glue sets.

 If your place to mount itthe StavePress is solid, the press is solid, so don't expect it to make a shakey old desk rock solid. That is not realistic. We can have the StavePress as a permanent mount, or as mobile as we wish. There is no reason to think that it has to be screwed to a shop bench. The base plate can also be screwed to a 2X4 etc and held in a good solid mechanics or other vice that is already taking up bench space, and would damage the wood surfaces or not be able to hold the stave in a position we need. With multiple base mounting plates we can work where we want, and it only takes a minute to move it.

 I am very relieved to not be fighting with my old vise anymore and I expect my new bows to be better now that I have a great way to secure them during the buid. The StavePress can not make you a bowyer, however it will help you to be the best that you can by securly holding your staves or boards while you create the bows. By holding the wood securly, and not leaving clamping marks etc it is easier to build a bow, and to minimize mistakes with your tools.

 You will still need to learn to build a bow, tiller it properly , and all the other things that go with bow building, and pay your dues by  trial and error. This is hard enough, and when you are fighting a vise or clamp it is even more dificult. I am finding that the StavePress is making my learning curve smoother. I can acomplish more in less time with the StavePress than when I had to improvise a way to hold the "bow to be" securly in the position I wanted without worring about damaging the work I had already done..

 I have several bows in progress at this time and I will be posting photos of them as they are finished.

The StavePress is a very usefull, well made tool , that is helping me to be the best bow builder that I can be.Some day I might even be able to call myself a Bowyer. I can build bows without the StavePress, but it is much easier and faster with one.

Here is a link to a good video that the folks at StavePress made.

Pete ward

"Welcome to my outdoor world"