In Chris Schwarz Blog, Woodworking Blogs

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Drawing furniture-scale curves – up to 48” or so – is a challenge to do by yourself. And many times when you use a springy stick and nails, you are so focused on holding things in place that you fail to see if the curve is fair or not.

Years ago I bought the Lee Valley symmetrical drawing bow and designing with curves became a heck of a lot easier. The glass-reinforced plastic never snaps or bends unevenly (like wooden strips will). The nylon strap and buckle is easy to adjust with one hand and the thing holds its setting. Most importantly, you can adjust the curvature in very fine increments thanks to the strap’s hardware.

I know I sound like I’m gushing about a simple thing, but that’s because I am. I’ve used this drawing bow on countless designs. It’s perfectly sized for chairs, the curves on the bases of cabinets, pretty much anything that needs a symmetrical curve.

Recently I purchased the asymmetrical drawing bow and have been delighted with it as well. The plastic part tapers in thickness so it makes curves that have a smoothly changing radius. This simple little tool made a recent design challenge an incredibly easy task, eliminating a lot of trial and error.

If you design with curves (and like them smooth instead of lumpy), these are indispensable and inexpensive tools.

— Christopher Schwarz


  • To read past entries from this guide (and from former years), click here.



Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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  • kaw-liga

    I couldn’t agree more with how great these curves are. Perfect everytime.


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