LAST UPDATED: May 1st, 2015
I’ll never forget those early days of my bowhunting career when my dad would drive me to the local archery pro shop to gawk at the gear I was saving my hard-earned chore money to acquire. The aroma of fletching glue and insert epoxy was strong. And to this day, that sweet smell of arrow adhesives takes me back to my early days as a beginning archer. A good archery pro shop provides a fun and exciting place to hang out, purchase gear, and swap a few hunting stories. Better yet, the pro shop typically features a bow mechanic that can help solve your archery issues and get your bow prepared for the hunt. But the day will come when running to the local shop is not an option. There will be bow and arrow issues that arise after hours, over the weekend, or when you’re on the road. The only option will be to do it yourself. Will you be prepared for the task?
Working on your own archery equipment may seem like a daunting task but with the right tools and a little work it can be very rewarding, and may even save your season in a pinch.
The following are 10 essential tools for the DIY bow mechanic.
While many bow companies are now building bows that can be adjusted without the use of a bow press, there are still many other tasks in the tuning process that will require a press. This will often be the biggest expense for the DIY bow mechanic as a quality press certainly is not cheap. With that said, having your own press will save you a ton of time and you’ll quickly discover the press to be a priceless tool when you’re in a pinch and need a quick fix.
One of the most expensive tools for working on your own bow, a bow press is also one of the most handy. Whether you need to replace a cam, replace your strings and cables, install a peep sight, install new string dampeners or perform a variety of other tasks a good bow press will certainly come in handy.
Last Chance Archery makes a great option for the DIY bow mechanic with their EZ Green Bow Press. The EZ Green will press almost all compound bows and operation of this press is fast, simple, and safe. The EZ Green is offered at a price that makes it an easy addition to your bow shop in the garage or man cave. MSRP $399 lastchancearchery.com
If you’re looking for a more portable option, the Bowmaster Portable Bow Press is hard to beat for backcountry hunts or roadtrips far from home. The Bowmaster is incredibly compact, yet features all the capabilities of a full-size press and will certainly come in handy if you need to replace a string, cable or peep sight when you’re miles from civilization. prototechind.com
The bow vise is often overlooked when it comes to the necessary tools for a bow mechanic. However the experts will agree, the bow vise is a tool you won’t want to be without. Free up your hands and work more effectively with a vise mounted to your work bench. This tool is great for serving repairs, tying in peeps, mounting sights, tying in drop away rests and nearly every task from axle to axle.
If you’ve been shooting archery gear for a while you’ve probably already got allen tools scattered throughout your garage, truck, or shop. They are a must-have item for the archer. Nearly every screw and bolt on your bow and accessories will require the use of allen wrenches. Allen wrenches are the standard tool for adjusting sights, pins, and arrows rest. This is an inexpensive tool, so buy several and keep them close by! I know people who keep them in their truck, bow case, garage, tool box and even their desk at the office.
Whether you consider yourself a bow mechanic or not, a set of allen wrenches is a must have for any archer.
The D-Loop on your bow obviously gets game time with every shot. It’ll get worn and torn which means it will eventually need replacing. This is a quick fix if you have the ability – and tool – to do it yourself. D-Loop pliers make this task simple and solid. The Stretch D-Loop Pliers from Outer Limit Archery is a really slick concept with a multi feature design that aids in the complete process of installing a D-loop. The Stretch uses just 3 simple steps and requires no additional tools.
Installing a d-loop, sometimes referred to as a string loop, is made much simpler with a quality pair of d-loop pliers.
String Serving Tools
The string serving on your bow is another common area that will take its share of abuse. A few simple and inexpensive tools make serving a string quick and easy. The folks at Bohning offer an all-in-one serving kit that includes everything you need to center serve your bowstring. The kit includes Bohning’s cable spreader, string separator, serving tool with thread, wax, and an instructional DVD that takes you step-by-step through the serving procedure from string care to back-serving.
Replacing your string’s serving is a relatively simple task that is made much simpler with a kit like this one from Bohning archery.
There are plenty of bow tuning methods to aid you in the process of getting things dialed in tight. Paper tuning is one of the standards for achieving a quick and simple reference as to how your arrows are flying out of the bow. While there are plenty of paper tuners you can purchase through archery supply houses, you’ll find plenty of options online for how to build your own paper tuning rack out of PVC, wood, wire, cardboard, and everything in between. This is one tool that you can save yourself a bundle by building your own.
A scale is a great tool that allows you to be meticulous in your quest for building the perfect arrow. Whether measuring your components individually or your finished arrow as a whole, the scale will tell you exactly what your bow is sending down range. A scale allows you to make much better calculations on the performance of your bow and arrows.
Having the ability to build and repair your own arrows is priceless. You’ll save lots of time and plenty of money by having the gear to build arrows. Fletching jigs can be as simple as the Arizona EZ Fletch to the slick new Vane Master Pro from Last Chance Archery. A fletching jig in your garage or shop will no doubt help you keep solid arrows in the quiver. (ezfletch.com)
Of course an even easier method for fletching your own arrows is the Quikfletch from New Archery Products. With this innovative product the need for a fletching jig is replaced by nothing more than a pot of boiling water. If you’re looking for easy, it doesn’t get any easier than this.
While there are several options for fletching your arrows that no longer require a jig, many archers still enjoy the work of fletching their own arrows the old fashioned way.
An arrow saw is another tool that you’ll spend some money on how it should last you a long time and is more than worth the investment. An arrow saw will save you plenty of time and money as you’ll no longer have to make a run to the pro shop for such a quick and simple task. While some people consider the arrow saw a luxury item, I’ve come to know it as a must for anyone wanting to build and repair their own arrows. There are some folks who attempt to build their own, however in my experience, they rarely save money and often end up with an inferior product, My advice is to buy a good arrow saw once and be done with it.
Cutting your own arrows can save you time and money from driving to the local shop and is fairly simple to do with the aid of a professional arrow saw.
Arrow Spin Tester
The arrow spin tester is a great tool that’ll easily shed light on otherwise hidden flaws in arrow performance. I’ve seen guys tear their bow apart and spend hundreds of dollars on new bow accessories to cure arrow flight performance issues when in reality the issue was as simple as an insert that was not square in the arrow shaft. The spin tester will reveal any arrow wobble that comes from a damaged broadhead or field point or an improperly installed insert of nock. A good spin tester, like the Arrow Inpsector from Pine Ridge Archery, is relatively inexpensive and can save you a few headaches when it comes to arrow and broadhead tuning.
Making sure your arrows are spinning true is one key to improved accuracy, especially with broadheads. An arrow spinner is a great way to quickly and easily detect potential problems.
Nothing replaces the wisdom, experience, and atmosphere of the local archery pro shop. No matter if you’re a beginner or veteran archer there’s always something to learn. So please, support those guys! Without them the archery industry as we know it is nothing. Visit the shops often but when you find yourself wanting to dive deeper into the passion of archery and bowhunting, you’ll soon discover the tremendous advantage of having the essential tools to be your own bow mechanic when archery issues arise.
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