There’s many theories and methods to choosing your arrows, and when you ask a question about this, you’ll likely get all those answers thrown at you at once. This can be frustrating because of the mass amount of ways, but I want to give you one way of narrowing down what to choose.For me, I have one method that I like to use involving computer software and numbers. This will give me a starting point and then I will improve from there. I have had very good success going about things this way and I wanted to share my method for anyone that might like to start building their own arrows.
The first thing I recommend for anyone as they start out building their own arrows, is to download a good arrow software program. I personally use OnTarget2 software. I like visually how this software works because it is easy to navigate. I can also contact the owner of this software easily by e-mail or on ArcheryTalk (user name: PSI@Work). Once you purchase the program, the software updates are free, and you can perform these updates easily through the software itself.
The benefits to using an arrow software program is the ability to input the measurements and specifications of your bow and then use that information to produce arrows that have an optimal spine for your actual set up. This takes the shoot groups and cut, then shoot groups and see if you need to cut again method out. Here is a screen shot of my Podium X Elite 37 I just set up. Note the bow settings and measurements. Then just to the right of that, is the arrow specifications. I tried multiple point weights, arrow lengths, component weights, and each time I changed something could see the results of weight and FOC for that arrow. The only downfall I have with this program, is that the speed it shows the arrow isn’t accurate. However, that speed portion isn’t as important to me for the arrow set up I am using at this time so I ignore that portion.
After establishing the arrow specifications I will be using, I contact Jerry at Southshore Archery. The techniques that Jerry uses to build his arrows are second to none. He has a special way of finding the stiff side of the arrow and he will mark that side for you on each arrow so that you can have a head start on indexing your nocks and keeping each arrow aligned the same. Jerry can completely build you an arrow, or you can do as I have started doing and have him send out bareshaft arrows with no components. Either way, he will still mark the stiff side of the spine and he will cut and square the shafts.
Once I receive the arrow shafts I will lay each arrow out and start weighing them individually. Each time, I will note what the shaft weighed and start aligning the arrows in order from lightest to heaviest. This will give me an overall spread for the weight differences, and get me ready for my next step. Now, I will pick up each arrow point I am going to use and weigh them as well. This time though, I’ll arrange them in heaviest to lightest formation. I do this because I can put the heaviest point weight into the lightest shafts and help balance out the total spread. After I have established this I will then glue in my arrow points and apply an arrow wrap to three of my shafts as well as a nock to those three as well.
The next step I take is shooting the bareshaft arrows through paper and rotate the nock in 1/4 turns to find the smallest tear. Then I will adjust the nock in 1/8 movements to keep looking for the smallest tear until I am happy with what I see. A lot of the time, I will find that with the stiff side of the arrow shaft aligned at the 12 o’clock position, this will give me the best results. Every now and again though, I have a stubborn bow, like my Pro Comp Elite that I will find a different position results the best results.
Once the nock indexing is done, I will apply my arrow wraps, nocks, and fletches to each arrow shaft aligning the cock vane to be shot at the 12 o’clock position based on how my nocks are indexed. At this point my arrow building is done and all that is left is to start my tuning procedures.
I’ll begin with my bareshaft tuning, then work on to group tuning. Once this is completed I am ready to go with my new arrow combinations and will take notes on how the set up works together for the next time I build my arrows.
I hope this article has helped if you’re looking to start building arrows yourself. It’s not as hard as some may think, providing you have the right tools to complete the job.