How to Rebuild & Transform Your Archery Arrows
Building and Fletching your own arrows can be a very relaxing & rewarding experience.
Regular arrow inspection and maintenance are also fundamentally important if you want to shoot safely and desire better target groups.
If you would like to know more about what’s involved in rebuilding or modifying your arrows, what parts you will need, how long will it take and what it might cost then this article could be for you.
I'm going to show you how I modified and transformed my end of season arrows from these into these.
Striping & Rebuilding Archery Arrows
I recently needed to rebuild my Easton A/C/C’s arrows. They were looking a little tired and I just wasn't getting the grouping I wanted. After researching and discussing my problem with other archers and my coach I decided to experiment with heavier points and smaller fletching vanes and at the same time do a little arrow maintenance.
Since what I wanted to achieve more or less involved a full strip down and rebuild of my ACC arrows I decided that I would document the process so I could share an archery article for the benefit of fellow archers. I hope you find it useful.
Rebuilding A/C/C Arrows – The Plan
There are four areas that I will be addressing, Arrow Points, Nocks, Arrow Wraps and Fletching.
1. Points - Remove & Replace Points. I want to increase the point weight of the arrows which are fitted with Easton 75 grain Parabolic Points 3l/18. I'll be removing these and replacing them with 100 grain Easton Light Speed Points.
2. Nocks - Remove & Replace Nocks. My nocks had begun to splay apart and had also sustained a some minor damage from collisions with other arrows. The net effect was that they have become tired and consequently had become a little loose on the bowstring serving, so from a safety point of alone these have to be changed.
3. Arrow Wraps - Remove & Replace Arrow Wraps. Since I’m planning to change the fletching I may as well change my arrow wraps at the same time. I’m going to remove the old Arrow Wraps Funky Loops Design 0002 and replace them with a new Camouflage (Camo) Arrow Wraps Grey Camouflage Design 0086 . These are a new recently released Arrow Wrap design and are available to order via the Bowrap.com website.
4. Fletching - Remove & Replace Fletchings. I’m going to change the current 2” Parabolic vanes to smaller Bohning 1.5” Shield Cut Vanes. I want less drag and the shield cut are my favourite vane shape.
Arrow Components Required
To strip and rebuild 12 of my Easton 3/18 A/C/C arrows I’m going to need some arrow parts, consumables and tools. I recommend you plan ahead and gather all the bits you need before you start. It will make the job all the more pleasant.
Here is my shopping list for this job and to give you some idea of the costs I've included the prices I paid.
At just £2.73 per arrow I'm happy with the rebuild cost which I think is great value (Prices as of July 2015).
Tools & Consumables
To be able to complete all the planed tasks in this rebuild we're going to need some tools and consumables. Gather up the following list. You will need them.
You Will Need
Stripping the Arrows Down
Start by removing the old fletching vanes and arrow wraps. These can come off all in one go or you can remove the vanes first its down to personal preference. Lift the corner of the arrow wraps and begin by peeling back the free edge.
You Will Need
Note - Should you pull the arrow wraps and fletching too quickly the wraps tent to snap under tension and you will be picking all the little bits off the arrow shaft individually.
Pro Tip - Use a hair-dryer or hot air gun and with a low/warm heat warm the arrow wrap just enough to soften the wraps adhesive. Peel the wrap off slowly and carefully and most of it will come off in one go. This saves loads of time. If you heat the wrap too much it will stretch.
Once you have removed the old fletching and arrow wraps lightly scrape off any remaining adhesive and clean the shafts with 91% IsoPropyl Alcohol.
Selecting New Arrow Points
Take care when selecting the correct point to match your arrow shaft. Arrow points are typically listed as ‘Easton One Piece Parabolic - 18/100g’. The code is the bit that interested us in terms of ensuring the correct fit.
The first two digits shown are the shaft model. In this case ‘18’ would fit a 3-18 shaft, 3-18 shaft, 3x-18 shaft or any other ACC shaft ending in ‘18’. This digit actually represents the inside diameter of the shaft.
The ‘100g’ is the weight in grains and there are a variety of different weights available for each diameter of shaft. Originally I had Easton Parabolic 18/75g points.I wanted heavier points so i'm changing these to 18/100g points. You can see the difference in point size in the picture below.
Removing & Replacing Arrow Points
How do I remove arrow points I hear you say. It’s easy enough providing you used hot melt arrow adhesive when installing the original points.
Note - I've come across customer arrows where the points could not be removed. Why? Because they super glued them in! This is NOT the recommended way to secure arrow points, the bond is too brittle and you can't easily remove and replace points if you need to.
You Will Need
Removing Arrow Points
Arrow points are designed to have a close tolerance fit inside the end of the arrow shaft and are secured with hot melt glue. So to remove them I gently heated the tip of the metallic point for 5 to 6 seconds using a gas (blue) flame and when the hot melt adhesive had softened I used pliers to gently pull the points out with a slow twisting motion.
Warning - Don’t overheat the arrow tip or you risk changing the properties of the aluminium arrow in the shaft which may cause premature failure of the shaft. Excessive heat can cause the arrow to warp. Never heat the arrow shaft directly as you will very likely damage the carbon which wraps around the aluminium core or worse set it on fire.
Note - Avoid using a yellow flame such as a candle to heat the points as the tip of a yellow flame cannot be accurately controlled so you risk damaging the shafts and it will leave black soot deposits all over the arrow.
Installing Arrow Points
With the old points removed we can install the new ones, this is essentially the removal process in reverse.
Start by heating the hot melt glue, and then apply a small amount around the lip at the end of the shaft. Holding the new arrow point with pliers gently heat the point all over for 5 - 6 seconds. At the same time gently heat the hot melt glue and apply a small amount around the circumference of the point spigot.
Insert Picture of finished tips.
Insert Picture of finished tips.
Whilst everything is still warm quickly insert the new point into the end of the arrow shaft, again with a gentle twisting motion. This helps the hot melt adhesive spread improving the reliability of the joint; after all we don't want any of these points coming off in the target boss.
Once the point is full home in the shaft wipe off any excess hot melt glue. Repeat for the remaining arrows.
Removing & Replacing Arrow Nocks
You Will Need
Removing Arrow Nocks
This is straightforward. Simply use a pair of pliers to take a firm grip of the nock and pull out. Pull in the same axis as the arrow shaft. If you don’t you risk snapping the nock spigot in the end of the arrow shaft and that can be a real pain to resolve.
Installing Arrow Nocks
Installing nocks is straightforward. I use a nock installation tool for this task.
Insert Picture of nock tool.
The following is my own personal preference - before installing new nocks I like to apply a light coating of string wax to the nock spigot. I do this because it makes future removal of nocks much easier.
With the new nocks installed it is important to remember that later on we have to align the axis of the nock groove perpendicular to the cock vane. If this is forgotten then the arrows may not clear the arrow rest and plunger correctly and will negatively affect your shot.
Applying Arrow Wraps
Applying arrow wraps is a modern take on the tradition of cresting arrows. This is my favourite part of arrow building because it’s the point at which ordinary looking arrows truly become personalised and become yours. You can tell them apart from any other arrow (luckily for me I’m the owner of Bowrap.com and so I’m spoilt for arrow wrap choice).
You Will Need
I enjoy shooting archery competitions and so I prefer personalised arrow wraps so that my arrows compliant with competition rules.
For this build I've chosen a new recently released arrow wrap design from Bowrap.com. Grey Camouflage Design 0086. I carefully selected the correct width arrow wraps for my shaft diameter.
Note – Arrow shaft diameters are different. Arrow wraps are available in several widths to suit different arrows shaft diameters. Ensure you order the correct width arrow wraps. Measure your arrow shafts diameter and multiply by 3.14 then add 2. This is the minimum wrap width you require in millimetres.
Now my rebuilt arrows finally have an identity. I'm definitely going to stand out on the shooting line with this distinctive design.
Clean the shaft where the wraps will go using the IsoPropyl Alcohol and wipes. Peel the arrow wrap off the backing sheet. Try not to touch the adhesive side of the wraps which is super tacky.
Take note of the wrap orientation. You want the arrow numbers at the nock end of the arrow. Correct orientation means your name/slogan will be readable when the arrow is mounted. Get this bit wrong and your name and arrow numbers will be back to front and upside down! and you will kick yourself for not paying attention.
Lay the wrap down adhesive side up on a spongy soft surface. I use a high density expanded foam sheet. Using a foam sheet with a bit of give ensures that you get a perfectly tight wrap with no air bubbles. Line up your arrow with the edge of the wrap and when level push down firmly.
Assuming the point of the arrow is on your left and the nock end on your right, roll the arrow shaft forward (away from you) whilst applying a moderate amount of down pressure. Continue to roll until the free edge of the wrap is bonded to the shaft. Then roll the arrow back (towards you) again with moderate pressure and continue the roll until the wrap is fully applied and your finished wraps look a bit like this.
Fletching - Applying Arrow Vanes
We've arrived at the final stage of the rebuild. Luckily fletching is a straight straightforward process. Before we start bonding the vanes in place it's best to consider where they should be mounted.
Generally arrow vanes should be mounted as far back as possible on the shaft. The only important consideration here is to ensure that there is enough clearance between the vanes and your fingers. It’s understandably undesirable for your fingers to touch the vanes at the point of full draw release.
I generally position the fletching vanes approximately 25 mm from the end of the nock ferrule and the back edge of the vane.
You Will Need
Load the fletching jig with an arrow shaft. Now if you want your name to be prominently displayed when the arrow is mounted in your bow then you need to consider the radial orientation of the first vane about the arrow shaft.
Place the vane in the vane clamp, there is usually a scale along the edge of the vane clamp. This is used to ensure consist vane positioning. With the vane clamped run a small even bead of Fletching adhesive along the mounting edge of the vane. We want nice clean joins so try not to be excessive with the adhesive.
Place the vane clamp onto the fletching jig, many of these are magnetic and push the clamped vane onto the arrow shaft. Leave in place for 60 seconds. Index the arrow shaft 120° Degrees and repeat the process for the remaining vanes.
Remember the cock vane should be a different colour and I generally put this vane on last.
The Final Stage
The arrow look fantastic and complete, but they are not. You would be surprised but a lot of archers forget this final part. I guess its easy to do when your overawe at just how cool your arrows look.
We have to ensure the nock position is perpendicular to the cock vane. We do this with a nock installation tool. Attach the tool to the nock and gently rotate the nock until the nock groove is perpendicular (90° Degrees) to the cock vane.
The reason this is important is that it ensures proper clearance of the arrow rest and plunger during release. If you fail to remember to do this then your arrows may touch parts of the bow during release which will affect the direction of the shot.
All finished and complete, the rebuild took around an hour and a half and I’m very pleased with the outcome. Please bear in mind that any changes you make to your shooting equipment may require a retune. Now all that remains is for me to test the changes I've made.
I hope you have enjoyed this 'archery how to' article and please feel free to comment and share.
Note: These arrow wraps are Design 0047 and are available in 120 mm and 180 mm lengths. They can be personalised with text and come numbered. Contact me via the website for details.