How to Make an Archer's Thumb Ring Using Simple Tools
                       by Thomas Duvernay

Anyone who is wishing to shoot a style of archery that uses the so-called
'Mongolian Draw' needs to have a thumb ring.  While most traditional thumb rings
are made of horn, others are made from metal, stone, or plastic.  We will work on
the plastic type in this article.

The procedures in this article are somewhat simplified, so there are two  basic
assumptions that are made: you have at least a basic knowledge of how to use the
below-mentioned tools and you are able to extrapolate from the information given.

First, as the title states, you will need a few simple tools.  These include a hack saw
(or band saw), flat file, half-round file, round file, electric drill (with appropriately
sized bit, depending on thumb size), and 100-200 grit sandpaper.  Next, you need
your source of plastic.  We will use a billiard ball.  

1. Mark the billiard ball into thirds (each ball is enough material for three thumb

2. Find a way to support the ball while cutting (assuming you are using a hack saw). 
A vise would be a secure way, but in our demonstration the man making the thumb
ring, Mr. Shim Jin Bo, just balanced it on top of a kerosene container (the top had
an indentation).  

3. Alternately, cut into the lines you have drawn, a little bit at a time, until you have
the thirds separated.   

Now we will start shaping our thumb ring.  The filing is not necessarily done one
procedure at a time; you can alternate.  

4. Take a flat file and start taking down the  outer sides (the same as the outer side
of the ball).  

5. With a file, start rounding the inside.

6. Locate where your thumb hole will be and drill the hole.

7. Using the round file, start rounding out the inside of the hole.

8. Start filing the inside tip.

9. Optionally, you can add finger hole ridges.  NOTE: at the apex of the ring, a
small dip should be inserted, with a shallow channel and a cross-secting ridge.  The
reason for this is that the string needs to rest next to your thumb, otherwise it might

File away, until you have reached the desired size and shape.  Upon completion of
that, take the sandpaper and water and sand the thumb ring smooth.

Mr. Shim was able to do the entire procedure in about two hours.


Originally published in Instinctive Archer Magazine

Copyright ©2000 Thomas Duvernay