Athboy Archery Club  


How to ...

Select your own Arrows
Make up a set of Arrows
Make a Bowstring
Setup a Peepsight
Tune your Bow
Calibrate your Sight

Select your own Bow

The choice between getting a Recurve Bow or a Compound Bow is up to you.
I suggest that you try both types of bows, if possible, before making a decision.
Using a Recurve Bow is more 'traditional'.
Its main advantage is less moving parts to adjust, easier to tune and maintain.
Its main disadvantage is draw weight. The full strength of the bow must be held
at full draw by the fingers, so more strength training will be required to control
the draw weight.
Using a Compound Bow is more 'modern'.
Its main advantage is the 'let-off' at full draw, allowing the use of a stronger bow with less effort to hold at full draw and the use of a mechanical trigger.
Its main disadvantage is more moving parts to setup, tune and maintain.

There are two main factors that effect the choice of size and strength of the bow:-
1.    Draw Length
2.    Draw Weight

Draw Length should be measured from the inside of the nock to the front edge
of the riser at full draw. ( For a basic guide to Draw Length relative to
Recurve Bow lengths, see "The Basic Recurve Bow". )
Draw Length for a Compound Bow should be measured the same, except to check that the full draw position is in the centre of the 'valley' of the draw.

Draw Weight for a Recurve Bow is usually marked on the bottom limb, at a standard draw length of 28 inches ( 711mm ). If your draw length is more than 28 inches, then add 2-3 pounds per inch, if less, then subtract 2-3 pounds per inch.
The Draw Weight you choose, should be comfortable to use at full draw.
Remember that you will have to draw the bow back at least 90 times in a competition.
Draw Weight for a Compound Bow is usually marked on the bottom limb stating
the minimum and maximum weight range, ( usually 15 pound range ) , and
the draw length ( which is adjustable one inch longer or shorter ).
Remember that you may be able to hold comfortably at full draw, but still have
to draw past the bow's peak weight.

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Select your own Arrows

To get the correct arrow length, use a long arrow and draw the bow to full draw.
Have someone mark the arrow where it contacts the arrow rest. Draw the bow
a few more times to make sure the marked position is correct.
Your correct arrow length is measured from the inside of the nock groove to the marked position, then add one inch ( 25mm ) for safety.
If measuring for a beginners first set of arrows, then add another 1/2 to 1 inch to allow for changes in draw length and to make sure that the arrows don't become too short to use safely. ( It's not recommended to add length to an arrow once it has been cut, although it is possible to add approx. 1 inch if necessary. )
To select the correct size of arrow to suit you, refer to the "Easton Arrow Selection Chart" and follow the instructions carefully. Take note of the variables to determine the calculated bow weight.

'Easton' has produced two computer software programs to help match arrow size to bow setup. "Easton Arrow Flight Simulator" and "Easton Shaft Selector Plus". I prefer to use the first program as it allows the input of more variables to the bow and arrow setup eg. I can input the number of strands in the bowstring or change the fletch size to see what effect that will have on the size of arrow.

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Make up a set of Arrows

Aluminium Arrows
If you have not already had the arrow shafts cut to the correct length at the archery shop then you will need to use an arrow saw such as the 'Apple Archery Arrow Saw' that has a high speed electric motor and carbide cutting disc.
This type of arrow saw has a calibrated rail to set the cutting length and a guide to align the arrow shaft against the cutting blade. Always check the arrow length before cutting. Its difficult to add length if you have cut them too short !
Once the shafts are cut, carefully remove any burr from the inside of the shaft. Don't remove any of the shafts wall thickness though.
Clean the rear end of the shafts where the fletches will be glued with 'Acetone' and at the same time, the shafts of the points can be cleaned to remove any loose oxide, oils or dirt.
A spare set of nocks can then be twisted onto the rear end of the shafts. Nocks, such as the Bjorn nock, will 'stick' to the shafts rear end by means of the roughened surface.
I use a spare set of nocks, so that when they are placed into the fletching jig, I don't have to worry about the nocks opening up due to the jig's guides. The proper set of nocks can be glued on after the fletches are done.

Before glueing the fletches, use 'Acetone' to clean the base of the fletches.
Take care to align each fletch in the same place on the shaft. A guide mark can be placed on the fletching jig clamp for reference. Use 'Fletch-Tite' glue on the fletches. Make sure the fletch rests evenly along its length onto the shaft when glued. This glue will set enough for the clamp to be removed after 3 minutes. If using a different coloured fletch for the 'Index Fletch', then its a good idea to glue these on first when using a multiple fletching jig, then glue the others on later. After the glue has set on the first fletch, rotate the nock holder to its next position, usually 120 degrees for a 3 fletch setup. Repeat until all fletches are on. You can apply extra glue to the front and rear of each fletch and this helps prevent  the fletch tearing off when the arrow lands in the ground or passes through a soft target.
After removing the temporary nocks, the 'proper' nocks can be glued onto the rear of the arrow shafts. Apply a small amount of 'Fletch-Tite' to the rear of the shaft, place the nock onto the shaft and then twist to evenly spread the glue. Take care to align the nock with the index fletch, then wipe off any excess glue. Allow the glue to set.

To glue the points into the arrow shafts, use a hot melt glue such as 'Ferr-L-Tite' made by Bohning. Melt some glue onto the point shaft, then apply heat to the point shaft until the glue starts to run. Slide the point into the arrow shaft using pliers to hold the point as it will be too hot to hold, twisting it to evenly spread the glue. Make sure the point is in all the way before the glue cools and starts to set. Hold the point in place until the glue sets.
Don't apply too much heat to the arrow shaft, as excessive heat can make the aluminium brittle. To remove points, carefully apply heat to the point and arrow shaft, just enough to melt the glue, then use pliers to pull the point out.

If using Easton 'Diamond Vane' fletches with the fastset gel glue, don't clean the arrow shaft and fletch with acetone. Instead, use an abrasive cleaner on the arrow shafts only, rinse off and let dry. Follow the directions on the back of the packet !

Carbon Arrows
The process to make up a set of carbon arrows is much the same as for aluminium arrows except that the arrow shafts should only be cleaned with an abrasive cleaner, rinsed and let dry.
Never apply heat to a carbon arrow shaft to remove the points, apply heat to the point only until the glue melts.

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Make a Bowstring

The length of the new string may be determined by placing the old string on the jig. Un-twist the old string before placing it on the jig, then adjust sliding arm until the string is held in tension.
(Note: old bowstrings, especially dacron, would have stretched over time, so the jig will have to be set slightly shorter to allow for stretching of the new string.)
Start the thread by tying it to the bottom of the start post, then wind up the post to the top, then wind past the finish post and around the jig as shown above. Every complete turn makes two strands in the finished string eg. 8 turns makes 16 strand string.
When the required number of strands are wound on, finish the thread by winding it around and down the finish post. This creates an overlap of the start and finish of the thread.
Adjust the sliding arm to place slightly more tension on the strands to even out the tension on all of the strands. All of the strands must have an equal amount of tension on them before starting to serve.

Use the length of the served loop on the old string as a guide for the length of the new loop.
Check the direction of twist in the strands and wind on the serving in the same direction.
Make sure to adjust the tension on the serving jig so that the serving is wound on with even tension. Wind on enough serving to make the first loop, plus an overlap.

Un-tie the start and finish ends of the thread and wrap around the string as shown above.
Continue serving around the string until the the required length is achieved. The ends of the thread is now securely bound into the string and they can now be trimmed off.
To tie off the serving, follow the steps shown below.

Make sure to wind the loop, as shown in step 2, over the end of the serving and with the same tension as the rest of the serving. Pull the loop under the serving to complete and trim off. A small dab of 'Fletch-Tite' glue can be used to seal the end of the cut thread.
Now that the first loop serving is complete, adjust the serving jig arms to align with the string and maintain tension. Mark the string at the exact opposite end to the finish post.
This position will be the mid-point of the next loop serving. Mark off half the loop distance each side of this mark and start serving as for the first loop.
When both loop servings are complete, remove the string from the serving jig and twist the string in the same direction as the twists in the strands. When the string has the same number of twists as the old string, then place the new string onto the bow.
This will help stretch the new bowstring. The bowstring should be waxed and rubbed to make the string round, ready for serving the 'centre serving'.
Use the old string as a guide for the start and finish points of the centre serving.
This serving must be wound on in the same direction as the twists in the string. To start the serving, lay a length of the serving (about 50mm) along the string and then wind on the serving over the top to bind the end in without using a knot. Continue winding on the serving maintaining an even tension. More tension is used for the centre serving to make sure that the threads do not slide up or down the string when in use. Remember that the nocking point locators are clamped over this serving, so it helps if the serving does not move.
Finish off the serving as shown in the diagram above.
Set-up the nocking point locators in the correct location and you are ready to try out your new bowstring.
It may take 50 to 100 shots for the bowstring to 'settle in', so take note of any changes in the brace height distance.

As a new bowstring will stretch, it can sometimes require that you make several bowstrings before getting just the right length to match the old set-up. Once you have it figured out, remember to note the length settings for the next bowstring.

There are many different thickness's of serving thread as well as different materials, such as monofilament and nylon. These materials are used for dacron strings.
When making a 'Fastflite' bowstring, only use the 'Fastflite serving' material, especially for the centre serving, as the 'Fastflite' string material is very slippery.

Note: if you change your bowstring or type of serving material, it will effect the bow and arrow set-up, so you will have to re-tune the bow.

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Setup a PeepSight

To fit a peepsight to a compound bowstring, first tie a few turns of bright coloured thread around the bowstring. The thread should not be tied too tight, as it should still be able to slide up and down the bowstring. Have the archer come to full draw and then slide the thread until it is directly infront of the aiming eye. Come to full draw several more times, so the archer can check that the thread position is correct.
When correct, this location will be the centre of the peepsight. To insert the peepsight, the bowstring has to be split evenly with an equal number of strands each side.
The easiest way to do this is to put the bow into a 'Bow Press' to take tension off the bowstring. Split the bowstring strands at the marked location in line with the bow. (In parallel with the arrow direction.)
As the bowstring is twisted and depending on type of compound cable set-up, the bowstring will usually twist approximately half a turn from rest position to full draw position.
The archer will have to draw the bow several times to check the location of the peepsight and to check that the peepsight 'rotates' to align at a right angle to the aiming eye.
When looking through the hole in the peepsight, it should appear round, not oval shaped.
Several adjustments may be required to get the alignment correct.
Before shooting the bow, temporarily tie the peepsight in the bowstring so it will not come out when the bow is shot. Shoot several ends of arrows to make sure the peepsight is correctly aligned. When satisfied that it is, then secure the peepsight by tying several turns of serving thread around the bowstring above and below the peepsight, so it cannot slide up or down.

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Tune your Bow

See 'Basic Bow Tuning.'

Calibrate your Sight

A sight calibration chart can be used to make setting your sight distances much quicker.
Only two known distance settings are required, usually 20 and 60 metres. These two settings can be used to obtain all the other distance settings by using the calibration chart shown below.

Sight Calibration Chart

Click on the link to download the PDF file.

The chart can then be saved and printed out from your own computer.

( Default A4 size - landscape, 300 dpi )

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Author : Graeme Jeffrey
Copyright  Centenary Archers Club Inc. 1999-2008

This page last revised: 22 June 2008