The Basics of Arrow Building
Building your own arrows is one of the most common “do it yourself” activities enjoyed by countless archers, both novice and veteran. While the arrow building process may seem daunting at first, after you have a firm grasp on the basics you’ll soon find it can be a rather painless, and even enjoyable, task. The primary advantage to constructing your own arrows is that it allows you to tailor your arrow to fit your specific needs. This will help increase your accuracy and boost your bowhunting confidence.
Selecting the Right Arrow Components
Before you can begin building your own arrows you must first select the components you’re going to use. This includes the arrow shaft, nock, fletching type, insert, point and adhesive. You will need all of these pieces in order to build an arrow that you can soon enjoy shooting.
Of these components the arrow shaft is the most important. There are a variety of shafts on the market to choose from, each with its own unique set of pros and cons. Most modern archers choose to use carbon arrows, which are more durable than the traditional aluminum arrows. Regardless of which arrow shaft you decide to shoot, make sure you purchase the proper size for your set up. Check out CarbonArrows.com and ArrowChart.com for help determining which shafts to use.
When it comes to fletching, just like arrow shafts, there are a variety of choices. The most popular fletching with today’s bowhunters is a short, high-profile plastic vane such as the QuikSpin Speed Hunter from New Archery Products. These short vanes are typically only around 2 inches long, but thanks to their higher profile, are able to stabilize arrows just as well as the 4 and 5 inch vanes and feathers of yesteryear.
Arrow points are typically available in two weights; either 100 or 125 grains. While you may see other choices available these two are by far the most popular. With those two weights most archers will be able to achieve proper arrow weight and FOC (front of center) balance with most hunting setups.
Basic Arrow Building Equipment
There are several tools and pieces of equipment needed to build your own arrows. Your first tool of need is an arrow saw to cut your arrow shafts. These range in price from as little as $100 to as much as $300. Apple Archery Products offers the several popular models to choose from and deliver excellent performance and are available for purchase at Bowhunting.com. Before cutting your arrows, make sure you measure your proper draw length! Just like cutting a piece of wood, it’s always better to measure twice and cut once. Also, remember to wear safety glasses at all times while operating a high speed arrow saw.
For fletching your arrows you will need a fletching jig. This tool will allow you to fletch your arrows consistently and accurately every time. There are a variety of models on the market, however the Dial-O-Fletch from Bitzenberger has been the industry standard for several decades now. In order to adhere your fletching to your shafts, make sure to use a high quality adhesive such as this Instant Arrow Glue from Pine Ridge Archery.
For those of you who prefer to skip the traditional jig & glue route, New Archery Products has developed the QuikFletch. This unique line of products eliminates the need for a fletching jig and messy glue. Simply slide the tube over your arrow shaft, then dip in boiling water and you’re done. Unlike traditional methods which can be very time consuming, you can have an entire dozen Quikfletch installed on your arrows in as little as 10 minutes.
An arrow squaring device is also necessary for maximum accuracy and dependability when building your own arrows. This handy tool allows you to square off both ends of your arrow before installing the nock and insert, which will improve your broadhead alignment and greatly shorten the amount of time you spend on broadhead tuning your setup.
Advanced Arrow Building Tools
For those of you who are serious about your arrow setup, having a spine tester on hand can prove to be quite handy. This device will allow you to accurately measure the spine of your individual arrow shafts to make sure they are within the tolerances you need to be super accurate at longer distances.
You may also want an accurate grain scale for weighing your arrows. An accurate grain scale, such as this one from Easton Archery products not only helps weigh your arrows, but is great for weighing other archery accessories like your broadheads, field points, nocks and other arrow components. Knowing the individual weights of your various components, along with the finished weight of your arrow, can help you make additional adjustments and improvements once you start fine tuning your setup.