Removing glued in points from carbon arrows

I recently had to swap out glued in points from a set of carbon arrows. I was going from lighter points to heavier points to weaken the arrow spine. The arrows points were set in with hot melt glue, so I knew I would have to apply a heat source to the points in order to soften the glue enough to remove them. I checked the internet for options.

I found many suggestions on the web, torch, lighters, and others, but the two methods that caught my eye were offered by Dennis Lieu, archery coach at UC Berkeley, in this article. He suggests using hot water and or a hair dryer as the heat source. This appealed to me as these heat sources seemed more benign than a fire source and I didn’t want to over do it on my first time and risk ruining perfectly good arrows.

I don’t have a hair dryer so the water method came first while I put the word out to borrow a hair dryer. Dennis Lieu’s water method is to place a cup of water in the microwave, bring it to a boil, then dip the arrows in and pull the points, re-heating the water as necessary as it cooled down.

Water boils at 212 degrees and I wondered if I could do it with less temperature. I boiled water in a kettle, and in a sturdy glass put in 1/4 of room temperature water to 3/4 boiling water, then placed my wife’s candy thermometer to see what I had.

thermometer

About 154, 155 degrees

The thermometer was reading in the mid 150’s, I placed two arrows in the water, gave them what I felt was enough time (20 – 30 seconds) and tried pulling the points with a pair of linesman pliers.

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Linesman pliers w

I used an old pair of linesman pliers with adhesive cloth tape wrapped around jaws, so as to not mar arrow points.

The points pulled out fine, I flexed the arrows afterwards and visually inspected them, all seemed well.

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Meanwhile, a hair dryer had come through via a friend in town. The hair dryer was 1875 watts, which translates to plenty of heat. After getting the water temperature I was curious what temperature the hair dryer generated. I used the same thermometer and had it consistently top out at 165 to 170 degrees.

I set up out on deck for good light, and heated both the point and the first few inches of the arrow. I rotated the arrow while doing it and kept the dryer in motion to keep the heat even. I had the dryer about an inch from the shaft moving it quickly around the shaft.

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I had no issues pulling the points, as with the water method I flexed and inspected the shafts afterwards and could not detect any problems. Since then I’ve also shot these arrows and I can’t find any damage to the arrows using these methods.

The hot melt glue used in these shafts is Flitemate hot melt glue which is a low temp glue designed for carbon arrows, you may (or may not) need higher temps if you are using a regular temperature hot melt glue.

Dennis Lieu’s methods worked really well for me, it allowed me a lot of control and a mild approach to removing glued in points. In the same article he also describes his method for gluing points in with hot melt, worth a read. Find it here.

 

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