Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Tweaking the bow set up.

Having shot the bow a fair bit, I could feel some areas of the grip hard against my fingers. Shaping the grip to fit the hand is a matter of relieving any edges or high spots which you can feel in use, a big old half round file does this nicely. I'm not taking off much wood as if making a pistol grip, it's just carefully removing the high spots until the bow sits nicely in a relaxed hand.

Shooting two batches of arrows I found the lighter 70grain points on a softer spined (more flexible) shaft flew straightest, but with a hint of hand shock and residual string vibration/noise. Going up to the 100grain point and the stiffer shafts, they flew a bit smoother but went slightly left (shooting at about 9 paces in my garage). I took some wood (about 3mm) off the arrow pass to allow the arrows fly without having to flex around the bow quite so much, the grouping seemed more in line with the lighter arrows after that.
A little adjustment of the string grooves at the tips of the bow ensured the string was tracking nice and centrally, one tip had been pulling the string a whisker to the right (away from the arrow pass).
All this shooting left a slight mark where the arrows were rubbing, this allowed me to adjust the nocking point up slightly so that it was correctly positioned just above that arrow pass mark. This means the arrow leaves the bow with the fletchings slightly higher than the point, this prevents the fletching ripping into my knuckle which had the point of the arrow resting on it at the moment of loose.
I usually wear a glove on my left hand but not always. A while back a fletching scratched deeply into the knuckle, I though little of it until a week or so later it was red and itchy, I probed it with a needle and a 1/4" sliver of quill popped out! It healed very quickly after that, just as well it didn't take root and grow giving me feathered hands.

I suppose it's a matter of style and taste, I've had very favourable comments about the tiller of the bow, but I feel the lower limb looks a trifle stiff, I will leave it until it's been thoroughly shot in over several weeks and maybe then make a slight adjustment. The lower limb, being shorter is under greater strain and thus may take more set over time, so I don't want to be hasty.

These minor adjustment allow you to get the best out of a bow, even if the effect is small or even merely psychological, it's nice to feel you have taken the trouble to get to know your bow. Those shooting modern target bows or compounds doubtless like to fiddle with their pressure buttons, cam timings, sights and other gizmos. A bow you've made yourself provides that same satisfaction in a more intimate and less expensive way.

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