WARNING!: These guides are intended as references for people who have already been taught how to perform these tasks. Do not attempt to do these things without having first been taught and supervised by somebody (just ask a senior to show you how). We cannot be held responsible for any injury or loss as a result of attempting to use these guides.
Powerpoint Link: String Making, Serving and Nocking Points
- First loop
- Second loop
- Centre serving
Nocking points should be as small as possible while still being effective (i.e. it cant slip over the nocking point, and end up underneath the nock). Making the nocking point excessively big will have a large impact on the speed of your string.
While the top nocking point is always needed, a bottom nocking point is not completely necessary if your nocks are tight enough to not slip on the string. Over time, however, the serving may wear down and your nocks become loose, so it’s safer to use a bottom point as well. The two points should be close enough to prevent the arrow from moving between them.
1. Find the correct nocking position.
If you already have one nocking point installed, place an arrow on to the string to find the position of the second. Otherwise, use a bracing height gauge.
Nocking position should be measured from the centre of the button to the bottom of the top nocking point. The arrow should always be slightly above or exactly perpendicular to the string. A good starting point is 1/8th of an inch above perpendicular. Perfect nocking position may be found through tuning.
2. Cut a length of serving material.
This will probably be the same material used for your serving, although it may help you to use a different colour. You need enough string to be able to wrap around your fingers and pull tightly from both sides, so about 30cm.
Take the string and tie a knot (half hitch) at the intended position. Try to leave equal amounts of string on both sides. Pull it as tight as you can.
Loop the string round and tie an identical knot on the opposite side on the string, as close to the first as possible.
Repeat this as necessary, I have found that 5 knots are required when using BCY-3D. Whenever possible, place knots on top of or in-between previous knots, making sure they are all pulled as tightly as possible.
Cut the excess string with scissors (or burn it in half), leaving about 1cm on both sides. Be careful not to let the last knot loosen.
Using a lighter, carefully burn each end of the excess string, ensuring not to burn the bowstring itself. Each end should catch fire and burn down towards the knot. As it reaches the knot, quickly put it out with a wet finger and push it down. The melted end of the serving should melt on to the rest of the knot.
Common string problems
Problem: String twists and bunches up when you put it away
Solution: It has too many twists in it. You could try re-waxing and shooting for a bit more to see if it improves, otherwise you will need to remove twists. If removing twists puts the bracing height out of range, you need a shorter string.
Problem: String separates; individual strands come apart from the rest of the string
Solution: It does not have enough twists and/or has not been waxed.
Problem: Fraying; String looks dry / furry / tiny strands poking out
Solution: Needs re-waxing
Problem: String is not round / is flat. Can see variations in thickness along it.
Solution: Too much wax. Re-melt the wax with a piece of leather and strip it off properly using a piece of thread.
Problem: Centre-serving becomes separated or moves around
Solution: Was not served tightly enough. Remove and re-do the centre-serving.
Problem: Top or bottom serving becomes badly separated or moves around
Solution: If it is the loop that contains the ends of the string material, you need a new string. If it is the loop with no loose ends, it may be possible to re-serve the loop.
Problem: Nocking point moves/screws up and down the serving, or becomes frayed
Solution: Carefully unpick the nocking point with the tip of a knife and re-do it.
If any of these problems appear on your string, you should immediately fix them to prevent it from having an effect on your shooting.
Through continued use, a string will eventually wear out and no longer be safe to use.
See Common string problems. Please do not make your own cables, take your compound to a shop for cable replacement.
Please wax your cables similarly to waxing your string.
Whisker biscuits may bend and damage strands over time from use. This is fine, but if it is impacting performance considerably then a replacement whisker biscuit might be needed.
The blade will wear out with time. These should only need to be replaced around once per year depending on the shooting amount, but it’s good to just inspect it. Discard any blades that show signs of damage.
- Hold the point with a pair of pliers
- Heat up the point. A gas hob works great. Jet-flame lighters or mini blowtorches are perfect. Normal gas lighters may take a while.
- Rub the stick of hot-melt glue onto the correct part of the point, so that some melts on to it.
- Heat up the point a little more to make sure the glue on it is still melted
- Carefully insert the point into the end of the shaft, turning it as you do so. Turning it helps to spread the glue evenly. If it gets stuck halfway you may need to re-heat the point a little.
- Leave the arrow to cool, point down. This is to minimise glue dripping down and sticking to the shaft itself.
- When the point is cool, roll any excess glue off the point, in the direction of the point. Pulling the glue off towards a carbon shaft may cause it to pull carbon splinters out of the end.
Don’t touch the point until it is cool.
Don’t directly heat the glue, it will become drippy.
Never heat up the shaft directly. Heating aluminium or carbon shafts can alter the properties of the material, changing how brittle, bendy etc. they are.
For the same reason, don’t overheat the point.
Correct fletch positioning
All fletches must be 120 degrees from each-other. This can be checked visually by using a fletching jig, a fletch-checking 120-degree cutout, or simply by looking at the shaft nock-on.
All fletches in a set of arrows must be the same distance from the bottom of the arrow. Fletches will stabilise the arrow more the further back they are, but shouldn’t be so far back that they get in the way of your fingers. One inch from the inside of the nock groove is the standard position. Some fletch manufacturers may supply a different recommended distance.
1. Clean the shaft
Use the back of a knife (not the blade) to scrape off any leftover glue. If necessary, acetone may be used to remove any remnants, however keep in mind that acetone can adversely affect the plastics used to make nocks and fletches.
2. Prepare the fletching jig
Make sure the jig is set up correctly. Ensure it turns the arrows at 120 degree increments, and is not on a 90 degree setting. Make sure the shaft thickness setting is such that fletches will be placed centrally.
3. Insert the shaft
If one or two fletches are already on the shaft, ensure that the fletch that is already on it lines up with the fletching jig.
4. Clamp fletch
Place the fletch into the removable clamp. Make sure it will be at the same height as the rest of your fletches, both on the same arrow and on the rest of your arrows.
5. Apply glue
Apply a small amount of glue evenly along the edge of the fletch
6. Glue fletch to shaft
Carefully insert the clamp into the fletching jig, pressing the fletch against the shaft. Leave it like this for a few minutes, until the glue is set enough.
Remove the clamp and take the arrow from the jig. Apply a small blob of glue to either end of the shaft, and leave the arrow to dry for 24 hours before shooting.
Fletching spin vanes
1. Clean the shaft (as for normal vanes)
2. Mark out the shaft using a fletching jig and pencil. Different brands may have different exact instructions, but generally you are drawing straight lines 120 degrees from each-other.
3. Place the required length of double-sided tape along each line.
4. Stick each fletch onto each piece of tape
5. Secure the ends of the fletches by wrapping a small amount of fletching tape around the shaft.
Some tips to protect your equipment from wear
Don’t jam loads of arrows into one tube in your quiver.
Don’t jam too many arrows into an arrow tube. Make an arrow separator for your tube to stop your feathers or spin vanes mashing against each-other.
Keep the rubber rings that protect the limb nipples, so that your limbs dont scratch each-other in storage. Or make limb covers yourself out of whatever.