BOW PRESS Setting up and working on your own bow can be fun and rewarding. As the saying goes, "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." If you set up and tune your bow, you will take the time necessary to do it right the first time. The bow mechanics' most valuable tool is the bow press. Apple Archery makes a variety of bow presses from economical ones that cost a few hundred dollars to fancier models that cost more than $1,000. With a bow press, you can change your own strings and cables, tie on a string loop, put in a peep sight, and change out limbs, cams and many other tasks. Over time, a press will pay for itself over and over again.
BOW VICE A bow vice is a must have. A bow vice makes putting on a rest or sight an easy job. C.W. Erickson makes a great bow vice that clamps onto the limb of the bow and can be adjusted 360 degrees so you can put the bow in the right spot so it’s easy to work on. The vice can be screwed onto a work bench in a minute or less and you’ll be ready to work.
bowmech_cut off saw
ARROW CUT-OFF SAW If you enjoy setting up a bow, you will also enjoy building your own arrows. A must have tool for arrow building is an arrow cut-off saw which allows you to cut your arrows to their proper length. Cabela’s and Apple Archery make great arrow saws. They have a tape measure on the saw so you know exactly how long the shaft is when you cut it. A simple tip: if you are using inexpensive shafts that aren’t as straight as high dollar shafts, cut a little bit off both ends instead of just one end. Shafts are typically less straight at the ends. Cutting both ends will result in a straighter shaft.
SPIN TESTER Once your arrow is ready for flight, spin test it on a Pine Ridge Archery Spin Tester. If the arrow spins perfectly, it is ready for the field. If you notice a wobble as it spins, the insert probably isn’t positioned properly in the shaft or something could be wrong with the broadhead or field tip. I’ve had to pull out and re-glue inserts several times. Making sure the insert is perfectly square in the shaft is crucial to having a perfect arrow. G5 makes an arrow squaring tool for this purpose.
PAPER TUNING When your bow and arrows are ready to shoot, you can test to see if you set everything up correctly by shooting an arrow through a large piece of paper. This is known as paper tuning. If you shoot an arrow through the paper and it goes through precisely – only showing a center hole and 3 precise tears where the fletching went through, your arrow is flying perfectly. If you notice erratic left or right tears, your arrow is probably kicking left or right as it leaves the bow and you will have to adjust your arrow rest left or right based on the tear. When paper tuning, it is best to shoot several arrows before adjusting anything so you know exactly what needs to be adjusted. Most archery shops have a paper tuning device that holds the paper tightly as you shoot through it and a crank to crank the old paper out of the way after you have shot several times. C.W. Erickson makes a great paper tuner.
CHRONOGRAPH A chronograph is a nice toy to have in the shop. It is by no means a necessary tool for setting up a bow but knowing how fast your bow is shooting and figuring out ways to make it faster is fun. I use an Easton Bow Mapper Chronograph that tells speed, kinetic energy and other facts. If the only thing you want to know is how fast your bow shoots arrows, you can pick up a decent chronograph for under $100. Like a car mechanic, it is up to you how many tools of the trade you want to purchase. For a few hundred dollars, you can pretty much be your own bow mechanic. If you want to get fancy, you can spend thousands on tools that make setting up and tuning bows on your own easier.
A quick and easy guide that will teach you how to become your own bow mechanic!