The feasibility of preparing small-diameter, high-strength, thermally stable silicon carbide fiber tows by the continuous chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of SiC onto carbon fiber tows was experimentally evaluated. Calculations of bending stresses and stresses caused by thermal expansion mismatch between the substrate and coating were used to evaluate the influence of coating thickness and substrate fiber diameter and type. Statistically designed and analyzed processing studies quantitatively showed the influence of key CVD process variables (temperature, pressure, and flow rates of CH3SiCl3 and H2) on fiber attributes such as coating thickness and uniformity, surface roughness, percent agglomeration, and strength. Emphasis was given to conceiving and evaluating various fiber spreading devices in order to enhance coating uniformity and to minimize filament agglomeration within a tow. Uniform coatings and fiber tensile strengths as high as 4 GPa were achieved.