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Basic Archer's Maintenance and Tuning Kit

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Very few of us run into the "Pro-Shop" for minor tweaks, adjustments, and tune ups. It is so easy to do that sort of thing at home - and you do not need a whole lot of specialized tools to keep your bow (and arrows) in tip top shape.

Here's a few tools that almost every archer should have and should know how to use. In no particular order of importance - it's just how the pics loaded...

Broadhead wrench - for adding and/or removing sharp broadheads... avoid a nasty cut.

Broadhead Wrench.jpg


Bow String Wax - crucial to string life and health.

Silicon String Wax.jpg

String separator - really helps when inserting and/or aligning peep sights, vibration dampeners and the like.

String Separator.jpg


A set of good Allen Keys. You'll be using these quite a bit - get some good ones.

Allen Wrench Set.jpg


A bow vise - this one happens to be from a company called RS. VERY useful for installing peeps, nocking points, speed buttons, arrow rests, bow sights, and the list goes on and on...

R S Archery Bow Vise.jpg


Brass Nocking clips. These have the protective rubber on the inside. Do not get large ones. All you need is ones that will fit around your string snugly.

Nocking Points.jpg


Nocking Pliers. Essential for installing and removing nocking points.

Nocking Pliers.jpg


This is an Arrow Spinner/Checking Tool. Critical for getting those broadhead tipped hunting arrows to spin true. If there is a wobble in either end of the arrow your accuracy suffers big time. Also great when installing field tips.

Pine Ridge Arrow Spinner.jpg



These tow little beauties are a huge help when installing arrow rests, nocking points, and adjustments to wither. The one on the left goes on the arrow that sticks out from the rest, and the other goes on the bow string to make sure your bow is level when installing rests or sights. They are also made by RS.

RSA016.jpg


This last one is obvious. It's a scale that measures in grains. Essential to anyone who is careful about the weight of their arrows, their arrow components, and the overall weight of any component.

Digital Scale.jpg
 
Thread starter #2
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Maintaining a bow involves a few basic skills. Things like being able to install and adjust your own D-loops. D-loop material is usually sold by-the-foot, or by-the-piece. I prefer to buy mine by-the-foot because I can never tie the knots with those little 4" pieces that you get. My lunch hooks are too big for fiddling around with tiny little knots.

When tied properly, the D-loop does not slip and will not slide together as you draw those heavier weighted bows. A brass nocking point is used as a help to stop string-pinch on you arrow nock when at full draw. String-pinch can have a bad effect on accuracy.

D-Loop on String.jpg



D-Loop material by-the-roll.

D-Loop Material.jpg
 
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Once you are comfortable with maintaining your bow and you arrows (hunting or field tipped) you can then move on to building your own arrows if you choose - or at least fletching your own.

Fletching your own arrows is easy, cost effective, and satisfying. All you need is a basic fletching jig, vanes (or feathers) of your choice, and some good glue.

These are Bohning Blazer Vanes. They are small in profile, stiff in nature, and don't weigh a heckova lot.

View attachment 8618


There are a lot of glues on the market and it can be a bit daunting picking out just one. These are three examples that I have used and found to be good.... Fletchtite Platinum, AAE Fastset, and Goat Tuff. The one that I prefer is the AAE Fastset gel.

View attachment 8619

View attachment 8622

View attachment 8623



Here's a couple of fletching jigs that do one arrow at a time. The black plastic one is every bit as good as the metal one.

View attachment 8620

View attachment 8621
 
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Arrow building does not mean that you have to invest in an expensive arrow cut-off saw - these days you can order bare arrow shafts cut to any length that you specify. Tell them not to install the inserts or the nocks or the vanes and just ship you the bare shafts.

Then the fun begins.

First, use this little handy, dandy tool to ensure that the cut face of the shaft (aluminum or carbon) is square and true before you install the insert or nock.

View attachment 8624

Most times now I use a brass rifle bore brush to rough up the inside of my carbon shafts, this helps make a secure bond between the aluminum insert and the carbon fibre shaft.

View attachment 8627


Then - screw on the insert to this tool and apply the glue sparingly - to both the insert and the inside of the shaft.

View attachment 8625


Once the aluminum insert is installed I'll quickly give it a couple of taps on the bench, just tpo make sure it is seated square, tight, and solid.





Then - on to the nock end. Do you want plastic nocks? Do you want nock inserts and replaceable pin-nock tips? Both styles are effective - it is just a matter of personal preference.

View attachment 8628


View attachment 8629


View attachment 8630


View attachment 8631
 
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My arrow shaft of choice (for over 20 years now) has been Gold Tip.... https://goldtip.com/

These shafts are tougher than any others that I have used or experimented with - they take a lot of punishment, like hitting trees, glancing off branches, stumps or even rocks without compromising their integrity. It takes a lot to damage these shafts to the point that you cannot use them. They also have the added advantage of being less expensive than almost any other shaft out there.

I use them in my target bow (55 lb pull) and my hunting bow (60 lb pull) and my recurve bow (50 lbs @ 28"). Hunting shafts are the the Hunter series in a 500 spine weight. Since I do have an arrow cut-off saw, I buy the full length shafts in a slightly lighter spine weight than indicated on their charts.

My arrow length is 27 3/8" so what I do is to find the amount I need to cut off the full length shaft and then proceed to cut 40% of that length off the nock end of the shaft and the remaining 60% is cut off the tip end of the shaft. This not only give me my custom shaft, but it also improves the overall straightness from their stated .006" to a much better .001"

Plus, by cutting down the slightly under-spined shaft (for my rig) it gives me a stiffer arrow (decreasing the spine deflection) so that it is optimal for my draw weight. This gives me a truly customized arrow shaft.

Then I do all the above steps to build my arrows...
 
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Sometimes it is a chore. Other times it is a pleasant break from the routine....

I love tweaking my equipment and building/experimenting with arrow structures. I have just touched on the basics. There is a whole dofferent level for the in-depth kind of guys....

What can I say? It is a passion of mine.
 

shuswapbear

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I guess after doing some research/googling a modern crossbow fires/shoots arrows cause they have fletching whereas acient crossbows had no fletchings on their projectiles thus they were bolts

That explains why my hand crossbow I owned when younger the projectiles were refer to as bolts, no fletching.
 
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So Dan what is your preference in arrow or bolt shaft material?
My shaft of choice for arrows, bolt, or quarrels is (and always has been) Gold Tip. https://www.goldtip.com/

For ease of comparison, I will call crossbow projectiles "bolts" and compound bow projectiles "arrows"

The difference(s) between crossbow bolts and compound bow arrows - other than length - are the weight and stiffness of the shaft. It has to be stiffer simply because the driving force of the string is much more than that of a compound bow. A compound bow arrow would snap in two just from the force of the string trying to over come the inertia of the arrow.

Also the crossbow bolts have a different nock (if they even have one) than that of an arrow. The compound bow arrow nock has longer "ears" on it to actually grip the string. That's why there is a noticeable 'snap' when you nock an arrow which is absent when you lay a bolt on the rails of a crossbow.

The nock of a crossbow bolt is just a semi-circular thing that allows the bolt to come in contact with the string evenly. Most crossbow bolts have an aluminum insert in both ends of the shaft. One to screw the desired tip into, and the other to stiffen up the end that the string impacts.

Typical arrow nocks...
Arrow Nock.png


Typical "moon nock" for a cross bow... and flat topped aluminum nock.

Cross Bow Nock.png Aluminum Cross Bow Nock.png Flat Topped Aluminum Cross Bow Nock.png
 
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Bill - you'l have to go and get some "Rail Lube" for your new crossbow. Then you'll want to keep the rails lubed so that the arrow/bolt exits the cross bow without any stickiness from the rails. Sticky rails will rob you of both speed and accuracy.\

It comes in a gel-type liquid or a wax-type stick. The wax stick serves dual purpose as your string wax too. Keeping the string properly waxed enhances the life of the string and keeps moisture out of there on rainy days.

Cross Bow Rail Lube.jpg


String Wax and Rail Lube.jpg Silicone String Wax.jpg
 
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Back to cross bow bolts or arrows. Typically they are either 16" to 18" long or they are 22" to 24" long. They need to be really stiff (as explained earlier) and they need to be as well built as any compound bow arrow. That means that cross bow arrows should spin as true as compound bow arrows - no wobble at all.

I have made cross bow arrows by cutting down compound bow shafts and they have performed very, very well. It's a matter of the proper spine, balance, and components. But it is best to buy the proper bolts from an archery shop until you know what works and what doesn't.
 
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If you're shooting and/or practicing around trees or stumps it will be a good idea to carry a chisel and a hammer with you. They don't have or be big or bulky, they just need to be able to chip away at a tree or a stump to get your arrow(s) out with out breaking them or losing the tips.

This goes for any archer, cross bow, compound, recurve, long bow, or any other kind of bow. Trust me - it will happen at one time or another...
 

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