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Bohning Junior Cresting Lathe

Reviewed By Steve , 20 October 2009

I always feel that putting "Junior"  is a marketing ploy to make me buy the other option of this crester, the "Pro". It's unlike me to buy something which isn't the top version of a product - I don't know why that should be I just always feel if I spend more I get more, I am a marketing mans dream !!. Whilst it is generally true that you get what you pay for, that isn't always the end of the story.

What separates the Junior from the Pro is a small tray, which is billed as a drip tray but basically just separates the Motor and arrow receiver from a small plastic rest for the shaft to lie on whilst turning. Luckily I had been given the heads up from several friends who own either one or other version, two of whom use cresting lathes to make custom arrows commercially, a saving of $35, which represents the price difference between them.

When it arrived and I unpacked it from the box I was a little disapointed, it looked bigger and more expensive in the pictures. Once again this is an American product so users in the UK will require a converter as this was designed to run on 120V AC. Of course being an American product it is robust and well made, I love Americans, they won't put up with shoddy kit and tend to want a quality product more than they want to save a few quid - and this is no exception to the rule. The Motor too is quality, you can hear it when you turn it on and just know that all the cogs, levers and whatever else is in there are not going to chew themselves to pieces in 5 minutes.

If you are going to use a product like this you are probably looking for a quality finish to your arrows, otherwise why bother using a crester just use a brush, so using the correct type of paint is essential, I would in fact prefer to use the Bohnings range of cresting paints and lacquers but as yet I have not put in an order as there is a premium to the carriage because they are flammable ( I can't see how the extra charge will pay for a new A300-600 Airbus if it goes tits up but I guess the airlines like to use every ruse in the book to grab a few extra quid off you).

However I use a number of different paints and Lacquers which probably give much the same results. One of the prerequisites to using a machine like this and indeed for cresting in general is that you need a straight shaft, you may think your shafts are straight but when you put them in this crester you will find out how straight they really are not !

I actually spend quite some time getting my shafts straight and a good supply of fresh shafts are very good, but sometimes you do get shafts that have been stored for a long time and they will have taken a set if not kept perfectly aligned. So given that your shaft is now straight the arrow can be put into the receiver in front of the motor.

Rather surprisingly this is just a rubber grommet which fits over the turning spindle with a hole slightly smaller than a shaft, it's just the friction of the rubber that keeps it in ( see pic 7) -I had been expecting something a little more substantial. The point is though that it does work once the machine is switched on, if you buy one of these though I would say buy a spare as without this small bit of rubber the whole thing is useless.

Once the shaft is in, it's just a case of positioning the arrow rest so that the shaft is running straight. I actually use a bit of sponge with a very light pressure to press the shaft down on to the rest, I find this helps to keep everything solid - you can mount the rest on a workbench but I would still use the sponge. Although the arrowguide (rest) has pre drilled holes so you can mount it on a board the motor unit itself does not, in fact if you want to do this you will have to mess about adding some brackets to the sides as there isn't actually any bottom to it- this is a major niggle because you really do need to have the whole set up stable. The Arrow guide itself is better off with a little felt on it to stop any possibility of scratching the shaft.

The one off switch is a dial on the lead and works well, I actually like the fact that whichever way you turn it will switch on and the next turn either way will turn it off (see pic 6).

It turns at a nice sensible pace, not too fast and not too slow. The knack of cresting can be discovered at your own pace, it isn't as easy as it looks and it does take practice, I like to use a paper template underneath the arrow I am working on as it gives me a guide for the cresting pattern. Important too will be the brushes you use, some quality sable brushes will mean a much finer finish.

The real question is - does it work ? and the answer is yes, this tool will teach you to be very unsatisfied with shafts that are less than perfect.

This isn't by any means the final word in cresting lathes, but it is the only one that is readily available. I also use this when burning crest patterns into shafts and I find I use this more than I actually thought I would.



Features & Design
Motor is good but the arrow rest itself is a bit cheap and nasty, despite the receiver being just a thin rubber grommet the quality of the important bits is good, gets less than full marks because there is no bottom and no easy way to fix it to something solid.
Performance half a review mark
Performs very well and completes the task of turning an arrow with reliability. The arrow rest must be positioned properly and just perhaps the "Pro" version with it's drip tray cum arrow rest holder might have helped.
Value for Money half a review mark

It's good value, a friend of mine did make his own with some Lego and an electric screw driver - to be honest I couldn't be arsed for what this costs, if you want to do it properly this crester will help

If you enjoy building arrows and want to take them to the next level this will without doubt enhance the arrow making experience. Put some brackets or a way of attaching it to a board Bohning, then you will get a higher mark !!



Your Comments

Tell us what you think, do you agree with the review or have something to add?

  • Posted by: darren chaplin on Feb 20, 00:41

    Steve, Am looking to buy or build something like this, where did you get it. Have heard a small cloth bag weighted with fishing lead shot and slung over the arrow shaft might help to keep your less than perfectly straight ones from jumping around so much but haven’t bought or built mine so so couldn’t say for sure.



  • Posted by: Steve@archers-review on Feb 23, 04:54

    This one came direct from the States, I am not sure that any UK dealers retail the Bohning jig, however I have been informed that we may be having a Cresting jig coming in from The Longbow Shop soon, so stand by for that review..

  • Posted by: Peter Moors on Oct 9, 13:40

    Most of the cresting jigs on the market are pretty much of the same general design. The Adelaide Archery Club in Adelaide, South Australia has a beauty, designed and built years ago by several of the members. It utilises a large drill chuck through which the arrow shaft can pass. This enables the shaft (driven by a variable speed motor) to be fitted so that the area to be crested is just next to where the shaft is held in the jig. The unit works fantasically and makes the job of cresting all club arrows a lot easier than with a larger unit that holds the arrow at the end and has the other end running over a rotary guide. – No vibration!!!


  • Posted by: ray slade on Sep 13, 21:41

    i made my own crester with a desk top fan motor and a length of 3×2 cls ,you get a 3 speed motor so simple ,so cheap it does aperfect job,can also be used for light sanding the arrow is located in a tube push fit to the shaft

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    Essential Details
    What :
    Bohning Junior Cresting Lathe
    Price :

    Junior Cresting Lathe

    Junior Cresting Lathe

    The arrow rest has pre drilled holes for mounting on a board

    Junior Cresting Lathe

    Arrow Guide/rest is Ok but could do with some felt on it

    Junior Cresting Lathe

    No bracket or pre drilled holes in the motor unit for easy attachment to a board.

    Junior Cresting Lathe

    Don't forget your converter.

    Junior Cresting Lathe

    On/off switch on the lead - I liked that.

    Junior Cresting Lathe

    Buy a spare one, if it goes on you then the whole tool is useless.


    Magazine We were very pleased to give our support to the James Whale Kidney Foundation shoot which we cover in this months magazine. We were also contacted by Lars Pilø with news on the archery related finds on Jovfonna, and while we couldn't get out there ourselves Lars kindly filled in some background information for us.

    Views of the course at Dunkery A mixed bag this month, me in the South West, Geoff putting the record straight, a chat with Keith Stay and the wisdom comes from South Cox of Stalker bows. 

    We take a tour the length and breadth of the British mainland to visit Scotland with Border Bows, Yorkshire with Aidy Hayes, the Wirral with Jason from, down South with the Company of Canterbury Longbowman, and Geoff is in Spain.

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