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

Thomas Duvernay, 1997

Re-printed with permission from

 thmbrng1.gif (10499 bytes)

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: 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 your thumb size), and 100-200 grit sandpaper.

Next, you need a source of plastic. We will use a billiard ball.

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

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.
thmbrng2.bmp (68974 bytes)

Mark a billiard ball into thirds prior to cutting

Working down the outer sides with a flat file Example showing finger-hole ridge The finished thumb ring

9. Optionally, you can add finger hole ridges.

NOTE: At the apex of the ring, a small dip should be filed, with a shallow groove and a cross-secting ridge. The reason for this is that the string needs to rest next to your thumb, otherwise the string might slip.

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. It took me about two hours to fashion my first ring (without polishing) using Mr. Shim Jin-Bo's procedure. Then 1 made one using power tools. I used a band saw to cut the billiard ball, a disk sander to grind out the thumb-ring shape, a drill for the thumb hole, and an 8" round file. This method took me less than one hour.