The process to bare shaft tune wood arrows is pretty much done in the same way as the process to bare shaft tune carbon or aluminum arrows with one crucial difference.
When you measure the minimum length that the arrow can be cut to, you must exclude the tapered portion from the measurement. If you don’t understand about this right now, don’t worry, everything will be explained below.
The process starts with your bow, two unfletched arrows, and your bag target then you work your way up to tune the arrows, adjusting different factors that could affect the arrow flight.
The tuning process is said to be successful when you have managed to get good arrow flight both in the horizontal and vertical plane.
Bare Shaft Tuning for Wood Arrows Explained
Once you have prepared the necessary items (your bow, one or two unfletched arrows, and your bag target), you’re ready to start the tuning process.
As a side note, you should start with a full-length shaft that has been appropriately selected from an arrow chart, with a nock and field point attached.
The arrow chart will ensure that the arrows that you’re going to bare shaft tune will have an appropriate spine at their finished length.
Check out the arrow spine chart from GoldTip to select the right arrow according to your bow’s draw and point weight and length.
Why Do You Want to Start from a Full-Length Shaft?
The reason is that full-length shaft allows you to cut the shaft little by little until you arrive at the length at which the shaft flies straight.
After you have prepared the correctly spined arrows following the arrow chart, the next step is to place a nocking point on your bowstring.
1.Place a Nocking Point on Your Bowstring.
There are different types of nocking points; the most common forms are one or two brass nocking points and tie-on nocking points (a thread or dental floss).
For a complete list of different nocking point options, you may want to check out the BowHuntingMag website.
At the start, you want to place the nocking point 3/4 inch above the arrow shelf to avoid yourself from getting a false perception. A false perception happens when you set the nocking point too low.
When the nocking point is too low, the nock end of the arrow could bounce off the arrow shelf as it leaves the bow and ends up travel downrange with the nock high making you think that your nocking point is too high.
2. Measure The Minimum Arrow Length That You Can Use.
As you’re preparing to shoot you should remember to mark your shaft with the minimum length that your arrow can be. The mark on your shaft is useful as a precaution from cutting the shaft too short while tuning.
For a field and target archers, the minimum arrow length is around 1,5 inches longer than the draw length.
If you are horseback archers, the minimum arrow length should be longer to avoid overdrawing the arrow during high-speed shooting — 2 or 3 inches longer than your draw length.
As mentioned earlier in the post opening, you must exclude the tapered portion of the shaft from your measurement.
If you include the tapered portion in your measurement, the arrow point will end up on the arrow shelf when you’re drawing the arrow.
Once you are ready, let’s shoot the arrow.
3. Shoot The Arrow
Shoot the arrow from 20 feet away. When you shoot, you need to maintain a position as close to a vertical position as possible. Do not cant or tilt the bow during the shot.
If you cant or tilt the bow while you shoot, the upper limb of the bow will get out of the line of sight and thus making it more difficult to examine the arrow during the flight and after impact.
4. Examine The Result
After the shot, examine the angle at which the arrow hit the target, we are going to use the result to address two possible outcomes: porpoising and fishtailing.
Porpoising is the problem when the nock of the arrow is too high or too low.
And fishtailing is the problem when the nocked end of the arrow moves to the left or right.
5. Fixing Fishtailing First
Fishtailing happens because either the arrow is too stiff or too weak.
What you want to see is the arrow that is too weak. It’s easy to fix the arrow that is too weak; you just need to cut the shaft little by little until the shaft hits straight.
If the arrow is too stiff, then there is nothing that you can do: best to throw it away and try with another arrow.
To determine whether the arrow is too stiff or too weak, we use the angle at which the arrow impacts. The problem is the angle of the arrow’s impact will depend on your handedness and the drawing technique that you use.
Take a look at the following possible scenarios:
1.Right-handed archer with thumb release.
- If you are a right-handed shooter using a thumb draw release and you see the nock is left of the point, that means the arrow is too stiff.
- If you are a right-handed shooter using a thumb draw release and you see the nock is right of the point, that means the arrow is too weak.
2. Left-handed archer with thumb release.
- If you are a left-handed shooter using a thumb release and you see the nock is left of the point, that means the arrow is too weak.
- If you are a left-handed shooter using a thumb release and you see the nock is right of the point, that means the arrow is too stiff.
3. Right-handed archer with fingers release.
- If you are a right-handed archer using fingers release and you see the nock is left of the point, that means the arrow is too weak.
- If you are a right-handed archer using fingers release and you see the nock is right of the point, that means the arrow is too stiff.
4. Left-handed archer with fingers release.
- If you are a left-handed archer using fingers release and you see the nock is left of the point, that means the arrow is too stiff.
- If you are a left-handed archer using fingers release and you see the nock is right of the point, that means the arrow is too weak.
For example, let’s say you’re a right-handed archer using fingers release and upon testing, you find that your arrow is flying and impacting nock left.
To fix this, remove the insert and field point, then cut the shaft 1/4 inch off the end and re-test the shaft again. If the arrow is still flying with nock left, then repeat the process — cut another 1/4 inch and re-test the arrow again.
Continue the process until the arrow hits straight with the point and nock perfectly aligned in a straight line.
6. Fixing Porpoising
Once you’re getting an excellent horizontal flight, the next step is to address the vertical plane or technically referred to as porpoising.
Porpoising is a problem when the arrows move up and down during the flight; it happens when the nock is either too high or too low.
To deal with this problem, gradually move the nocking point down the bowstring until you get an excellent vertical plane.
When you have found the right nocking point location, move back to 20 yards and reshoot the arrows to make sure the arrows have been successfully tuned.
Once confirmed, you can now add fletchings to your shafts.