Arrow building guide

doncarpenter

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
752
Location
Yorkville, IL
I thought I would post my system for building arrows. I have learned a lot in the past from build alongs like this and thought it might be helpful for someone down the road. This is my system and probably overkill for many people, but it's the system that I have come to use by trial and error and it works for me.

I have a lot of tools for arrow building and assembly but most of this can be done with a few simple tools and a fletching jig. Most of the time you can get the shafts pre-cut now so there really isn't a need for an arrow saw unless you build a lot of arrows like I do.

The arrows I am building right now are a fairly inexpensive shaft that I will be using for 3D this year. They are not a hunting arrow but they are built very similarly with regard to components.

The arrows are:
-No Limit Burn Stick 300/.001 shafts 9.1 gpi
-35 grain Ethics Archery stainless steel inserts
-Bohning stainless steel bullet points
-Bohning signature nocks
-Q2i Fusion X-II 2.1 vanes 4 fletch

1. Getting the correct length of the arrow.

-I know from using these shafts before and my current bow that 28" carbon to carbon with the point weight I chose that they will spine out correctly. If you're not sure there are software programs that you can use to get you close enough to start. I cut these shafts on my Weston arrow saw. I don't normally cut from both ends unless I know that the shafts are .006 or greater with their straightness tolerance.

2. Squaring the ends. I use a Firenock APS for squaring the ends. There are many cheaper options for this but I haven't used another one that works this well, plus you can choose the grit and size of the sand paper. I square both ends. https://firenock.com/APS/


3. Prepping the shafts for components. I like to use Bohning cool melt glue for my inserts. It allows me to change things fairly easily if something gets broken or damaged or it's not reacting the way that I want.

-The first thing I do is score the inside of the insert end of the shaft to improve adhesion. I use a firearm bore cleaning brush.
-I clean the inside of both ends of the shaft with a Q-tip and acetone. Some manufacturers suggest not using acetone but I have never had a problem damaging shafts. I do this to remove the carbon dust from cutting and sanding.
-The next thing I do is probably unnecessary but i do it because it only takes a minute. I look inside the shaft to find the seam where the carbon has been overlayed in the manufacturing process. I mark the outside of the shafts with a silver sharpie over the seam on the nock end.

4. Prepping the components. Regardless of the components and how they articulate with the shafts, I clean each part in acetone. I do this to remove any oils from manufacture or from my hands from handling.

5. Weighing in. I weigh each component and shaft separately. I then line up the components and shafts in order from lightest to heaviest. Most quality components will weigh very close to their advertised weights but can vary about a grain sometimes.

6. Dry assembly. I assemble the components in order of weight (light shafts with heavy inserts and nocks).

7. Installing the inserts. I have a small propane torch with a Coleman camping size bottle that sits on my workbench without having to worry about it tipping over. I wear one nitrile glove for the hand that will be handling the inserts so I don't get oils on them from my hands. I start by putting an old field point on the insert so I can hold it while heating.

-I heat the insert for a couple seconds and the melt some glue then touch the insert on the glue. If the insert is too hot to hold with your fingers, it's too hot for the shaft, let it cool down and move to the next shaft. With the glue on the insert, I then heat put it in the flame for about half a second before inserting into the shaft. I twist the insert as I go and press the tip on my workbench to make sure the shaft is firmly seated against the shoulder of the insert. I put the tip into a small jar of water to immediately cool it down. I move to the next shaft and repeat the process. I use three field points and rotate them throughout the process. Once the shafts and inserts are cool I remove the excess glue.

8. Weigh in. Once the inserts are in, I put the nocks in and weigh all the arrows again. These came out to +1/-1 grain tolerance after installing the weight sorted components. I also install my field points and then spin the shafts.

9. I weigh all the vanes. I make sure that the vanes are all the same weight and put them in piles of three or four depending on how I will fletch the arrows.

10. I clean the vane end of the shafts with acetone. For this build I chose to not use arrow wraps, so the preparation stopped after cleaning. Installing wraps is super easy if you choose to use them, simply align the shaft with the wrap placed sticky side up on a mouse pad or similar surface and roll the shaft over the top. Just make sure the your wrap with be under where you want the vanes.

11. Fletching. I use a bitzenburger fletching jig with the Zenith upgrade kit. It holds the nock end of the shaft a lot better then the standard nock receiver.
-I start by removing the nocks and putting the shaft in the fletching jig with the silver sharpie mark facing up aligning with the first vane. This puts the seam in the same orientation with each arrow.
-I clean each vane with a Q-tip and acetone before application.
-I like to use a cyanoacrylate glue and have found the ones with a brush make applying the glue much cleaner and require less clean up. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Krazy-Glue-Brush-On-Craft-Formula-0-18-oz/19705070
-I keep each vane in the jig for about 10-20 seconds. I usually listen to a podcast or watch a video during this time because it can get a little monotonous.
-After all the vanes are glued I put a dab of glue on the front side of the vane and the back side. This is sometimes referred to as tipping and tailing the vane. It helps hold each end in place.

12. Once all the vanes are on the shafts I let them dry for a couple minutes. I then weigh each arrow and spin test. Once I'm satisfied that the arrows are weighing in and spin without wobbling I take a fine point sharpie number them. This isn't necessary, but if I find an arrow that misbehaving it gives me an option to try and diagnose if it's me or the arrow.

The final step is nock tuning. I'm not going to cover this just know that it is an important step.

Let me know if you have anything to add or if your system is different. I always like hearing different ways of doing things.



0ec7eefaa364e6497466dbe0aa500e35.jpg
660142c29c1fd813e825b5ceddfa5393.jpg
9b24c907e937a1418fde39eee70f5902.jpg
b97801f62c42b61387aed70536ea9727.jpg
d4be9a2cf7c6369c55905534d7669b33.jpg
43d7e8c20e52f9049f9162f8e6f2ac04.jpg
05b6a1196d115e08a9c72a5c61bceae3.jpg
c56c9b7cd4058c4625e7761a378c0cbe.jpg
7bd535a87252306ba50cd1d791a9daba.jpg


Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 
Last edited:

nphunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
916
Location
Oregon
Good write up. I normally just use a file on the back of any heavy inserts and make them all weigh the same. I also use fletch tite to tip and tail, it’s more rubbery and works better IMO.

3F27CFE9-B72A-4C7C-9048-7AA71E8D2133.jpeg
 
OP
D

doncarpenter

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
752
Location
Yorkville, IL
Good write up. I normally just use a file on the back of any heavy inserts and make them all weigh the same. I also use fletch tite to tip and tail, it’s more rubbery and works better IMO.

View attachment 273423
I do like Fletch tite Platinum for tipping and tailing too, but I find it really hard to use the tube without getting the glue everywhere. Maybe I'm just using it wrong but it keeps coming out of the tube even if I just set it down.

Good idea with the file.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 

nphunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
916
Location
Oregon
I do like Fletch tite Platinum for tipping and tailing too, but I find it really hard to use the tube without getting the glue everywhere. Maybe I'm just using it wrong but it keeps coming out of the tube even if I just set it down.

Good idea with the file.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
It does the same for me, I just do one arrow, wipe the tip and move to the second, I barely squeeze at all, I mostly let gravity work and let it slowly come out. If you zoom in on my picture you can see the little spider webs from it. I just wait for them to dry and wipe them off.
I’ve been using the same tube for several years. I really like how well my fletchings hold up with it on though.
 

Mighty Mouse

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
1,075
Location
Oklahoma
Great write up. I use an almost identical procedure minus scoring the shaft with a bore brush. I'm about to cut and assemble some Burn Stick 300s to shoot at TAC this year, and I may add a scoring step to my process to help with hot melt adhesion.
 
OP
D

doncarpenter

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
752
Location
Yorkville, IL
Great write up. I use an almost identical procedure minus scoring the shaft with a bore brush. I'm about to cut and assemble some Burn Stick 300s to shoot at TAC this year, and I may add a scoring step to my process to help with hot melt adhesion.
These are for TAC as well.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 
OP
D

doncarpenter

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
752
Location
Yorkville, IL
Which TAC event(s) are you shooting? I'm doing Colorado this year.
This year just one, Boyne Michigan. I was scheduled to do the southeast event in Tennessee last year and was going to try again this year but my schedule didn't work out.

I liked how they did the sign up this year much better.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 

2Stamp

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2014
Messages
134
Location
Buffalo, WY
Nice write up. I'm pretty similar to you, but I don't look for the spine and marking like you mentioned. I'm going to nock tune anyway. I use the same glue for tipping/tailing that I use to attach the vanes (usually wither AAE max of goat tough).
 

ZH1

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Messages
10
Great information! Could have helped me out a few years ago.
 

jhendley2

Junior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2021
Messages
37
Have you had any issues with the insert/point coming out in the target using the Bohning cool melt? Seems like there are mixed reviews on people using it. I would assume scoring the inside of the shaft should help prevent that issue. I like the idea of using the cool melt instead of epoxy for ease of changing components if need be.
 
OP
D

doncarpenter

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
752
Location
Yorkville, IL
Have you had any issues with the insert/point coming out in the target using the Bohning cool melt? Seems like there are mixed reviews on people using it. I would assume scoring the inside of the shaft should help prevent that issue. I like the idea of using the cool melt instead of epoxy for ease of changing components if need be.
I have never had an insert come out after using this method. In the past, I was not as meticulous as I am now and I did have some inserts come out slightly, not all the way. I think if you take the time to clean the components and shafts really well, it will work. The scoring does help.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 
OP
D

doncarpenter

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2012
Messages
752
Location
Yorkville, IL
That’s one intense build regiment you’ve got there.
Yeah, like I said, it might not be for everyone and there are some steps that I leave out, depending on the arrows. This build took just about an hour when all was said and done.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 

N2TRKYS

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2016
Messages
3,020
Location
Alabama
Yeah, like I said, it might not be for everyone and there are some steps that I leave out, depending on the arrows. This build took just about an hour when all was said and done.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk

Always interesting to see how others do things. 👍
 

Billy Goat

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2018
Messages
4,956
Location
Shenandoah Valley
Have you had any issues with the insert/point coming out in the target using the Bohning cool melt? Seems like there are mixed reviews on people using it. I would assume scoring the inside of the shaft should help prevent that issue. I like the idea of using the cool melt instead of epoxy for ease of changing components if need be.


With standard sized inserts I have had inserts pull with the cool melt. Using longer inserts it works well.

The regular hot melt seems to hold better than the cool melt. Also need to be careful with cool melt to not overheat it, if you get the insert too hot it loses strength.
 

shulse88

Newbie
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
1
I thought I would post my system for building arrows. I have learned a lot in the past from build alongs like this and thought it might be helpful for someone down the road. This is my system and probably overkill for many people, but it's the system that I have come to use by trial and error and it works for me.

I have a lot of tools for arrow building and assembly but most of this can be done with a few simple tools and a fletching jig. Most of the time you can get the shafts pre-cut now so there really isn't a need for an arrow saw unless you build a lot of arrows like I do.

The arrows I am building right now are a fairly inexpensive shaft that I will be using for 3D this year. They are not a hunting arrow but they are built very similarly with regard to components.

The arrows are:
-No Limit Burn Stick 300/.001 shafts 9.1 gpi
-35 grain Ethics Archery stainless steel inserts
-Bohning stainless steel bullet points
-Bohning signature nocks
-Q2i Fusion X-II 2.1 vanes 4 fletch

1. Getting the correct length of the arrow.

-I know from using these shafts before and my current bow that 28" carbon to carbon with the point weight I chose that they will spine out correctly. If you're not sure there are software programs that you can use to get you close enough to start. I cut these shafts on my Weston arrow saw. I don't normally cut from both ends unless I know that the shafts are .006 or greater with their straightness tolerance.

2. Squaring the ends. I use a Firenock APS for squaring the ends. There are many cheaper options for this but I haven't used another one that works this well, plus you can choose the grit and size of the sand paper. I square both ends. https://firenock.com/APS/


3. Prepping the shafts for components. I like to use Bohning cool melt glue for my inserts. It allows me to change things fairly easily if something gets broken or damaged or it's not reacting the way that I want.

-The first thing I do is score the inside of the insert end of the shaft to improve adhesion. I use a firearm bore cleaning brush.
-I clean the inside of both ends of the shaft with a Q-tip and acetone. Some manufacturers suggest not using acetone but I have never had a problem damaging shafts. I do this to remove the carbon dust from cutting and sanding.
-The next thing I do is probably unnecessary but i do it because it only takes a minute. I look inside the shaft to find the seam where the carbon has been overlayed in the manufacturing process. I mark the outside of the shafts with a silver sharpie over the seam on the nock end.

4. Prepping the components. Regardless of the components and how they articulate with the shafts, I clean each part in acetone. I do this to remove any oils from manufacture or from my hands from handling.

5. Weighing in. I weigh each component and shaft separately. I then line up the components and shafts in order from lightest to heaviest. Most quality components will weigh very close to their advertised weights but can vary about a grain sometimes.

6. Dry assembly. I assemble the components in order of weight (light shafts with heavy inserts and nocks).

7. Installing the inserts. I have a small propane torch with a Coleman camping size bottle that sits on my workbench without having to worry about it tipping over. I wear one nitrile glove for the hand that will be handling the inserts so I don't get oils on them from my hands. I start by putting an old field point on the insert so I can hold it while heating.

-I heat the insert for a couple seconds and the melt some glue then touch the insert on the glue. If the insert is too hot to hold with your fingers, it's too hot for the shaft, let it cool down and move to the next shaft. With the glue on the insert, I then heat put it in the flame for about half a second before inserting into the shaft. I twist the insert as I go and press the tip on my workbench to make sure the shaft is firmly seated against the shoulder of the insert. I put the tip into a small jar of water to immediately cool it down. I move to the next shaft and repeat the process. I use three field points and rotate them throughout the process. Once the shafts and inserts are cool I remove the excess glue.

8. Weigh in. Once the inserts are in, I put the nocks in and weigh all the arrows again. These came out to +1/-1 grain tolerance after installing the weight sorted components. I also install my field points and then spin the shafts.

9. I weigh all the vanes. I make sure that the vanes are all the same weight and put them in piles of three or four depending on how I will fletch the arrows.

10. I clean the vane end of the shafts with acetone. For this build I chose to not use arrow wraps, so the preparation stopped after cleaning. Installing wraps is super easy if you choose to use them, simply align the shaft with the wrap placed sticky side up on a mouse pad or similar surface and roll the shaft over the top. Just make sure the your wrap with be under where you want the vanes.

11. Fletching. I use a bitzenburger fletching jig with the Zenith upgrade kit. It holds the nock end of the shaft a lot better then the standard nock receiver.
-I start by removing the nocks and putting the shaft in the fletching jig with the silver sharpie mark facing up aligning with the first vane. This puts the seam in the same orientation with each arrow.
-I clean each vane with a Q-tip and acetone before application.
-I like to use a cyanoacrylate glue and have found the ones with a brush make applying the glue much cleaner and require less clean up. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Krazy-Glue-Brush-On-Craft-Formula-0-18-oz/19705070
-I keep each vane in the jig for about 10-20 seconds. I usually listen to a podcast or watch a video during this time because it can get a little monotonous.
-After all the vanes are glued I put a dab of glue on the front side of the vane and the back side. This is sometimes referred to as tipping and tailing the vane. It helps hold each end in place.

12. Once all the vanes are on the shafts I let them dry for a couple minutes. I then weigh each arrow and spin test. Once I'm satisfied that the arrows are weighing in and spin without wobbling I take a fine point sharpie number them. This isn't necessary, but if I find an arrow that misbehaving it gives me an option to try and diagnose if it's me or the arrow.

The final step is nock tuning. I'm not going to cover this just know that it is an important step.

Let me know if you have anything to add or if your system is different. I always like hearing different ways of doing things.



0ec7eefaa364e6497466dbe0aa500e35.jpg
660142c29c1fd813e825b5ceddfa5393.jpg
9b24c907e937a1418fde39eee70f5902.jpg
b97801f62c42b61387aed70536ea9727.jpg
d4be9a2cf7c6369c55905534d7669b33.jpg
43d7e8c20e52f9049f9162f8e6f2ac04.jpg
05b6a1196d115e08a9c72a5c61bceae3.jpg
c56c9b7cd4058c4625e7761a378c0cbe.jpg
7bd535a87252306ba50cd1d791a9daba.jpg


Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
Awesome write up. I’m going to be fletching and doing my setup for arrows instead of buying pre fletched setups!
 

outdoorbum

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
14
Location
NC
Great write up and I use the same process. This has served me well for many years. Now you just need a few more Bitzenburgers!!!
 
Top