LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
There is something to be said about having a quality bow shop that you can trust to set up a bow. But with wait times, tuning prices, driving distance, and not knowing the degree of accuracy they perform, you might want to consider the thought of working on your bow yourself. Working on your own bow will teach you the ins and outs of bow tuning and you will quickly learn what makes your bow and arrow setup perform to the best of their abilities.
Learning to work own your own bow rig not only saves time and money, it also makes your bow more accurate due to the extra attention it is given.
Bow tuning and arrow building may not be for everyone. When tuning, you have to keep in mind that there are basically two components to shooting accurately: you and your equipment. What you put into your bow (time-wise and tuning-wise) will ultimately determine the accuracy potential, just like practicing on the range and simulating real world hunting situations will make you a better shot.
The price of gas and me wanting to take my shooting to the next level is what made me decide that I needed to start acquiring tools to set up my own bow and arrows. Also, it became quite frustrating for me to burn up a lot of precious time driving to a pro shop to have things adjusted on my bow, when I could learn to do it myself in an afternoon and be back to shooting the same day if I had the tools. Having all your own bow tools will become very beneficial when you need to make minor adjustments.
Taking on this task can be an expensive upfront endeavor when you start adding up prices. This is why I would suggest starting slow and adding items as you go. There really is no need to buy everything from an online bow equipment supplier in one large purchase. For starters…your significant other might be a little suspicious when a lot of large boxes start showing up, and secondly, you really only need a few basics to get you up and running.
There are a number of tools to purchase depending on the level of work you want to conduct on your bow. The choice is up to you regarding how advanced you want to be in the bow tuning department.
All someone has to do is turn a few pages in an archery catalog to instantly be overwhelmed with different tuning equipment. Each tool has their place but you can get by with just the basics if you are happy with the outcome. Other tools are highly developed for super tuning a bow, which can be added at a later date when you become comfortable with working around a bow. Starting off with the basics is a great way to begin, which will avoid throwing a lot of money into some tools that you may never use. Another benefit to starting off small is perhaps you will later decide that tuning is not for you. If that is the case, you could easily sell the few products you purchased without sustaining a substantial loss. While you are utilizing these tools you will learn how to properly tune a bow and you will soon find out if you want to expand and pick up a few more items or not.
These tools will allow you do you basic adjustments to your sight, rest, and d loop location. This will help you learn about bow tuning while giving you time to save up for more advanced gear. However, you will still need to rely on a pro shop to build arrows and make adjustments to your string with only these tools.
Arrow and string levels
D loop and nocking pliers
Set of Allen wrenches
Paper tuning device
A bow press will be one of the most expensive pieces of equipment you can buy but it will allow you to do more precise bow tuning.
Other Items to Consider
Other than the basic tuning tools, there are quite a few other items that will make your bow shop more complete. These are tools that you really can’t live without and you will eventually find a use for them.
Small tape measure
Arrow spin tester
Arrow squaring device
D loop material
Brass nock sets
Micro butane torch
Long carpenter’s level
Draw check arrow
Fletching strip tool
Third axis tool
Hot melt glue
Heat shrink tubing
Markers, pens, and pencils
DIY doesn’t apply strictly to your bow. With the right tools, you can make your own arrows too.
Next Step Tuning Tools
After you’ve started to get comfortable working around a bow, you will soon find a need for more tuning tools. A bow press is one of the more expensive tools, but will allow you to start making small adjustments to your setup with ease, once you start fine tuning your bow. With the following tools you can start building your own arrows, change strings, and make string adjustments to name a few.
Fletching jig (with straight and right helical clamps)
100% pure Acetone
Draw weight scale
A draw board (which will draw and shoot your bow for you) is a high level piece of equipment but one that can be made DIY and opens the door for a variety of shooting and tuning processes.
For the bowhunter looking to get the most out of a setup, high-tech tuning tools will need to be acquired. Archers and bowhunters are pretty passionate about their equipment, bow choice, and the way they shoot, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that some go to extreme lengths to get a bow shooting as accurately as humanly possible.
From my standpoint, a draw board is one, if not the most, important tuning tool. A draw board opens the doors for a wide array of tuning. You can check and measure draw length, adjust arrow rest timing, synchronize your cams, adjust cam lean, check draw weight, let off percent, and measure peep height at full draw, etc. A draw board can easily be made at home with simply a 2×6 board cut to 5 feet long, a boat trailer wrench, a peg to hold your bow, and a few heavy duty carabineers. Once you get your bow setup going, a shooting machine is the perfect tool to eliminate human error and test out your equipment.
Computer archery software
Buying all the tools to work on your bow may seem like a daunting task, but the benefits will easily be seen once you start fine tuning your setup, replacing torn fletching, or fixing slight peep rotation, just to name a few. While several of the tools can be expensive, keep in mind that some of the tools can be home built and customized to your liking.
The end result to having your own bow shop is the satisfaction in knowing that your bow is tuned to perfection and is ready to tackle any hunting situation you throw at it.
One thing to watch out for when you start adding tools to your home bow shop is that word will soon get around that you now have a bow press, chronograph, draw board, etc. and soon all your buddies will start calling you to work on their bows. With practice, all the small tuning steps will become second nature and you will have a setup that is accurate and the satisfaction of knowing that you did all the work yourself…..no matter whose bow it is.