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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Carbon Express Medallion XR’s

Carbon Express medallion xr

Because of a recent shoulder injury I purchased a set of ultra-light 14 pound “rehab” limbs, which at my draw translates to 16 pounds on the fingers. I tend to be fussy about my arrows being well tuned to the bow, so I went in search of arrows that would work with such a light setup.

There were some challenges, one finding a high enough spine and two finding a long enough arrow, for my 29 1/4 draw. The only arrow I was able to find that would fit both these parameters was the versatile Medallion XR made by Carbon Express. Not only did they have a 2.000″ spine arrow, they had it in a 29 inch length which fit the bill perfectly.

Medallion xr shaft

The Medallion XR is an ideal target arrow for light weight draw bow setups or youth looking for a quality carbon arrow in a spine that fits them.

I’ve posted the arrow specs below:

  • Spine selection tolerance: ± 0.0025″ max.
  • Weight tolerance: ± 1.0 grains
  • Straightness: ± 0.003″
SPECIFICATIONS:

    * Bare shaft weight
Model Size Qty Grains/Inch* Spine Diameter
SHAFT
50413 2000 12 pack 5.1 2.000″ 0.176″
50414 1800 12 pack 5.3 1.800″ 0.177″
51560 1500 12 pack 5.9 1.500″ 0.183″
51561 1300 12 pack 6.4 1.300″ 0.188″
50403 1100 12 pack 4.6 1.100″ 0.224″
50404 1000 12 pack 4.9 1.000″ 0.226″
50405 900 12 pack 5.2 0.900″ 0.228″
50406 800 12 pack 5.6 0.800″ 0.230″
50407 700 12 pack 6.0 0.700″ 0.233″
50408 600 12 pack 6.7 0.600″ 0.239″
50415 500 12 pack 7.6 0.500″ 0.244″

Carbon Express has also updated their arrow charts and added a Light Recurve Target Arrow Chart which is a good starting point in figuring out the right shaft for your setup.

Pin nocks

A few things to keep in mind about these arrows are the accessories. These arrows take glue in points, pin nock adapters and pin nocks. The pin nocks adapters come with the shafts. Depending on the size shafts you purchase there are different points. All of them allow you to adjust the weight of the tip. See Carbon Express’ Component chart below:

Name Model# Arrow Size Weight Qty
ADAPTERS
Medallion™-XR Pin Nock Adapter 50410 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 8 12 pack
Nano-Pro™ Pin Nock Adapter #2 50123 1300, 1500, 1800, 2000 6.9 12 pack
NOCKS
Soma Nock #1 (14-18 Strand Strings) Small Green 50136 Fits all standard pin nock adapters 3.4 12 pack
Soma Nock #2 (20-24 Strand Strings) Large Green 50137 Fits all standard pin nock adapters 3.4 12 pack
Soma Nock #1 (14-18 Strand Strings) Small Yellow 50138 Fits all standard pin nock adapters 3.4 12 pack
Soma Nock #2 (20-24 Strand Strings) Large Yellow 50139 Fits all standard pin nock adapters 3.4 12 pack
Soma Nock #2 (20-24 Stand Strings) Large Lime Green 50231 Fits all standard pin nock adapters 3.4 12 pack
Soma Nock #2 (20-24 Strand Strings) Large Pink 50232 Fits all standard pin nock adapters 3.4 12 pack
POINTS
Medallion™ XR Target Point 50411 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 110-60 adjustable 12 pack
Medallion™-XR Stainless Steel Target Point 50412 1300, 1500, 1800, 2000 60-40 adjustable 12 pack

On the money end I paid about $12.25 for a complete arrow to include vanes. 

In summary, I would say that these are sweet, well made, shafts, they come in a great range of spine offerings and  in long enough lengths to accommodate not only youth archers but also older blokes like me who for one reason or another are shooting lightweight bows.

C.

 

Screw on field tips keep coming loose?

Field tips

For a long time, my routine, after shooting at a target butt would be to pull my arrows, then check and tighten the tips so I’d be ready for the next end, it had become an intrinsic part of my process… and it was a pain.

Even though I’d check I would get loose tips. I could hear them rattling all the way to the target. Looking for a solution I thought I’d apply a little blue Loctite to the threads but a fellow archer offered a simpler solution and most of you already have what you need to solve this little problem forever.

His advice was to use string wax, the stuff that’s in your quiver pocket.

String Wax

Apply the string wax to the threads of your field tip.

waxing threads on field tips

Screw the tip back on to the arrow insert.

Waxed field tip series

You’re ready to go.

Field tip

One caveat:

I live in Maine where we don’t have 100 degree days so I have not tested this method in extraordinary heat. If you use this method and you’ve tried it on some scorcher days, please leave me a comment with your results.

Thanks, C.

Archery storage for small spaces

I have a 3 bedroom house, two sons and a mess of archery tackle.

Up to now my sons have shared a bedroom, leaving a bedroom to be used as combo archeryhaven, office and guestroom.

With the lads springing into teenagehood, they wanted to get out of their shared room and into their own. I’d want the same so I’m cool with that. It just meant that the archery empire would have to move.

I don’t have a basement or garage and so I looked around at the options. My dad’s archery cabinet and his bows could go out into the family room area and just be a part of the rest of the house. I thought of my bedroom but my wife gave me the evil eye when I mentioned it so I quickly dropped that plan, which didn’t leave me too many options. Really the only space left was our shed outside or a closet.

The shed just had a skunk move in, which may end up involving archery gear, but trudging out there really wasn’t practical, which made the decision easy (by the way if you know how to get rid of a skunk without them invoking “the potion”, let me know).

The closet is already home to tools, glue, nails and general hardware, fixit stuff but it was jammed packed, so I spent a couple of weekends judiciously utilizing the adage, “When in doubt, throw it out”, (or recycle) until I could see some promise in there.

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Tool, hardware and now also archery closet.

I already had a lot of archery hardware in organizer cases and I figured I could store bows vertically on a pegboard. Arrows in tubes, my compound bow hung, my fletching stuff in a box and it all came together. Frankly, I’ve been very pleased with everything having a home. I’m sure there will be changes but I think I’m off to a good start.

Bows hung vertically

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Archery storage shelf

Organizer box

Hanging hook

Hook is made from clothes hanger wire, some tape and some small hose to protect the bow.

For a workspace, a place to fletch arrows, tune, and do archery stuff I moved a small desk into a corner of the house.

In the end I’ve been downsized but that’s small potatoes and a very small sacrifice in comparison to seeing the excitement in my sons eyes at setting up their bedrooms and having them be their own.

How to fletch arrows

Fletching arrows like many things is a matter of following steps and paying attention.

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Not every step is crucial but if you want your feathers/vanes to hang on when you accidentally shoot through a bale or clicker and or when you’re shooting tight groups it pays to have paid attention to the details.

Big hint number one for success is to work clean. Start by washing your hands to keep your natural skin oils away from the surfaces you’ll be applying glue to, keep your work area clean, and if you just ate mama’s fried chicken, scrub up well!

Next on the cleaning list are your shafts, when I first started fletching my own arrows my local shop sold me  a shaft cleaner made by AAE, but any powder cleaner like Ajax or Comet will do the job.

Put it on and scrub it in with a clean abrasive pad. See pic below.

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Once you’ve cleaned your shafts well, rinse them with warm water, I like to use hot water so they air dry faster.

shafts being rinsed

This next step is crucial, whether you’re fletching carbon or aluminum arrows is to abrade/scuff the surface you’re going to glue to, so the glue has something to hold on to, specially with aluminum arrows which are slick indeed.

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I use 3M’s 7447 Scotch Brite Pad, some folks use steel wool or very, very fine (600 grit) sandpaper.

When I abrade the surface I do it in a left to right motion or at right angles to the shaft. Depending on the arrow, this usually means that I’m going across the grain, increasing my chances for good adhesion.

If you’re fletching carbon shafts there will be some carbon dust residue on your shafts, I usually wipe them with a clean rag.

Now that you’ve prepped your shafts you’re ready to glue your fletchings on. The majority of fletchings are glued on by using a fletching jig to guide the placement of your feathers or vanes onto the arrow and hold them there while the glue sets.

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Fletching clamp

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Fletching jig

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Here is the clamp holding the feather against the shaft while the glue sets, the clamp is held to the jig by a magnet.

Once I have the feather or vane in the clamp I apply a consistent bead of glue. I always have a rag nearby to deal with excess glue from the tube, which often continues to ooze wanting to make a mess.

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If I am gluing vanes I leave the vanes in the jig just a short time, 30 seconds to a minute. If I am gluing feathers and this depends on what you’re using for glue. I leave them in a lot longer. Feathers have some natural curvature to them, when you put them in a clamp you are changing that shape. The feather wants to spring back to it’s natural shape. If you pull the clamp early, before the glue has dried enough you risk the feather springing off the glue line.

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Once I’ve glued the vanes or feathers on, I will dab spots of glue on the leading and trailing edge of the fletching. This is cheap insurance and makes a difference in longevity.

Lastly I let them dry, preferably overnight. Depending on the glue you may be able to shoot them much quicker than that, I figure if I have the time it doesn’t hurt to let the glue fully cure.

There are clamps for  jigs that will angle your vanes or feathers differently on the arrow, how they are set on the arrow affects arrow flight. Find info on these clamps below.

Straight: There is no angle on the feather or vane, often commercially purchased arrows which come pre-fletched are straight fletched. With certain types of arrow rests it is preferred as the arrow can’t catch, think whisker biscuit arrow rests.

Offset: The fletching is angled on the shaft 1 or more degrees, this induces rotation  which has a gyroscopic effect on the arrow for a more stable flight.

Helical: Is angled on the shaft and also has corkscrew like bend (helix) to the fletching. Helical can provide the maximum amount of rotation, which means more stability in flight. It also means more drag than straight or offset making for a bit slower arrow than straight or offset.

Left or Right: Choose to have your feathers/vanes angle right or left, it doesn’t matter which.  When purchasing a fletching jig you will have to decide whether you want left or right clamps, also when buying feathers you have to indicate whether you want left or right feathers. Vanes are straight and can be used in either direction.

Personally I like an offset or helical, getting the arrow to spin and be a bit more forgiving.

Lastly, I’d like to mention the distance from the end of the arrow to the fletching, this

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changes depending on whether you are shooting with fingers or a release. The above arrow has 1 1/2 inches of clearance because it will be used with a finger release. When using a mechanical release you can have them further aft. The further back the better.

I have really enjoyed fletching my own, it gives me more control of the whole process, gets me involved in the craftsmanship of archery and opens a window into how things in archery work and why. You may want to give it a go yourself.

Clickers – My progress with the Olympic bow

I recently decided to try out Olympic style archery, having come from the barebow world.

I had been using a heavy barebow riser so I purchased an appropriate riser and the gear involved.

One of the items I purchased is a clicker. For those that don’t know, it is a metal strip that rides against the outside edge of your arrow as it is drawn, when the arrow is pulled beyond the clicker, the clicker springs to the riser, striking it and making a sound, which indicates to the archer that they’ve reached their pre-determined draw and can release the arrow.

Clicker - front view

Sounds simple but for it to work well means that your draw and form have to be consistent.

What I’ve found is that this little strip of metal is quite the taskmaster and if you’re paying attention it will point out your form errors.

Getting your errors pointed out to you is often two sided. When I’m struggling to pull through the clicker and I’m feeling frustrated it can very much be a pain in the patookie.

When I take the time to analyze why I’m struggling, allow it to sink through, figure out what the issues are and then see arrows striking gold, I feel uplifted and happy about the challenge.  What have the issues been, you ask?

The easy one to catch for me was not locking my bow shoulder down and letting it ride up which makes going through the clicker near impossible.

Clicker - side view

I also caught inconsistent finger grip on the string. This one has absolutely forced me to pay close attention at how I hook the string and what happens to this hook once under tension at full draw.

More insidious though are things like stance and I am now suspecting head position.

I realize now that all these little problems have existed all along but I was mostly unaware of them. I’ve had my suspicions but nothing like the clicker to make you stop and figure it out.

One of the things that I’ve come to appreciate about this little strip of metal is that aside from it’s intended function it is a good training aid, a bit of the yellow canary of archery, it gives a warning that something is not as it should.

I’m excited about learning the ways of Olympic archery and although frustrating at times the knowledge that I’m improving pushes me along. More to come..

Counting arrows

Here’s a little tool that you can use to help you achieve training goals. It is inexpensive, small, easy to carry around and simple to use. What is it you ask?

It is the venerable sports counter.

Arrow counter

Many archers have daily and or weekly arrow goals. Whether that is 300 a week or 300 a day, a sports counter is an easy way to keep track of arrows shot, that and a log and you have a nice system to gauge the pace of your training.

I got curious about one when I heard another archer mention the benefits, so up to Amazon I went and found a slew of them for little money. A couple of dollars for a simple and seemingly foolproof training aid is rare in the archery world, so I jumped in feet first and am glad I did.

When I first tried it I would click the counter after every arrow, but I quickly realized that wasn’t going to work for me, it was too much of a disruption to my sequence because I’d forget then think about it midway through my next shot.

I now click them in after each end when I go to retrieve them. Archery is a chain of small events and I needed it to find a place for it in the procession.

Sports counter on quiver

I hang it off my quiver with a small carabiner where it is at easy reach. I would emphasize easy, because if it’s not easy you’re just not going to do it, so don’t bury it.

I paid $1.51 for the one I bought. Here’s the GINORMOUS Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG2846O/ref=pe_309540_26725410_item

By the way, this would make a thoughtful gift for another archer, think mother’s day for your archery mom.

Best, C