Episode 64 Tuning Traditional Bows and Arrows


This episode is all about tuning. Bow set up and getting the best flight out of your arrows. How to, why, and the understanding of tuning. A bow has to be set up right for best performance and quiteness. Arrows need to fly perfect to performe perfect. This episode will show you how to do it all.


  1. Just found your podcasts today. I live in SC and drive a flatbed big rig on a dedicated account from there to MI. You have made my ride so much more tolerable. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks Allan!
      That’s what got me into podcasting…all the time I spent driving and tired of listening to the radio. Glad you are enjoying the episodes.

  2. I’m just starting getting into archery and I’m a bit confused. Why bareshaft tune when the fletching and broadhead completely change the flight characteristics of an arrow? Wouldn’t you want to just shoot arrows with fletching and broadheads but with varying spine in order to see which spine works best for you?

    • Greg, Great Question! You want to get your shafts flying as true as possible and with the correct spine. The feathers and broadhead should not affect or change arrow flight very much. some people bare shaft tune and stop with the shaft a little stiff knowing the broadhead and fletching will change it slightly but its a small amount. Bare shaft tuning is on step in tuning an arrow and gets you in the right direction. then once you have are good bare shaft tuning you can fletch your arrows and paper tune to get perfect holes and verify you have perfect arrow flight. With a traditional bow not a lot of people paper tune but i think at the minimum we should all bare shaft tune to make sure are shafts are flying close to perfect.

        • Have fun with that new bow! how I test new arrows is start with the head weight you want to use and mount it on the shaft. then start bare shaft shooting. adjustments to spine by cutting the back end of the shaft (since the head is glued in the front). once I have the bare shaft flying like I want I fletch them up and shoot thru paper. then when im getting good paper results I mount broad heads and shot the broadheads along with the field tips to make sure they are all hitting in the same place. Then sharpen them up and hit the woods! And most important remember to have fun!

          • Thanks again Jason,

            So how do you know what head weight you want? I was looking over at 3 rivers and all their test kits come with prefletched arrows. So its it a fairly easy process to remove the fletching and then add it back on afterwards? I’ve been looking online and there are very few YouTube videos that actually show how to fletch arrows and defletch them. I know I want to use wood arrows, I was pointed in the direction of 55-60 spine and I’m going to go with a heavy arrow like you suggest. My draw length is 29″ so I was thinking of a 30″ arrow. But I don’t understand how you would already know what weight of a broadhead you’d want without shooting different ones with differing weight. I know these sorry of questions are better on a forum but it’s hard to find anything related to traditional archery without sifting through piles of compound, crossbow, crap. Would you be able to point me in the right direction to get my questions answered? Thanks again!

          • I have done a few podcasts on arrows, tuning arrows, and making arrows (this one will tell you how to fletch them and what you need).
            There is also a great book by TJ Conrads called the traditional bowhunters hand book. This book is the best I have ever seen on everything you need to know to get started in Traditional archery.

            To try and simplify some of this stuff.
            arrow spine is how much the arrow flexes as it leaves the bow. if it flexes too much it will flies sideways and also not hit where you are looking. if its flexes too little it will fly sideways and not hit where you are looking. Arrow spine is basically (for simple purposes) controlled by the weight on the front of the arrow and also on the length of the shaft and the spine (or stiffness) of the shaft. So on any given shaft if you add more weight up front you will weaken the spine. if you reduce point weight you increase spine. if you shorten the shaft length you increase the spine.
            so you can tune your arrows one of 2 ways. shortening the shaft of an already weak spine arrow or adding point weight to an already stiff arrow.
            with wood arrows you will need some tools if you plan to do any tuning. if you are not ready to fletch arrows than skip the bare shaft tuning and just use paper tuning to get you close to perfect as you can. fletching will require a fletching jig, feathers that match the wing of your jig, glue, etc. if you are just paper tuning and don’t want to fletch you will need a tapper tool to be able to taper the point end after cutting as you make the weak long shaft shorter to get the correct flight.

            I hope im not confusing you with all this. This is not really hard and is actually a lot of fun to do. But with a traditional bow you really cant just buy a bow and then call and get the perfect arrow right out of the store shelf. for perfect arrow flight you need to tune the arrows.
            But you just bought the bow and are in the beginning stages. nothing wrong with taking it slow. get the bow, get your test kit, mount a head on it and see how well it looks like its flying by eye. and then have fun for a bit and develop form. Then when you are ready to get into fine tuning the arrows you can start getting into it. But in the meantime don’t buy a bunch of arrows as you will most likely end up needing different ones when you start tuning.

            There is a ton of great info on Tradgang.com and great people that can answer any question you have. Its a great place to learn a lot. And definitely get TJ’s book Traditional Bowhunters handbook!

          • This is great, you’ve helped me understand a lot more! I think I’ll start with paper running then until I can afford to get some tools to help me with the fletching then I’ll tune the arrow from there. I will definitely check out tradgang.com. Thank you for taking the time to reply to me and give me so much information. This is incredibly helpful!

          • Glad it helped! I would for sure by the book by TJ. It will really help a lot about many aspects of traditional bowhunting. Best 20 bucks you will spend!

  3. Great podcast Jason! I have been working my way through this episode and performing each part of tuning on my new recurve. I’m somewhat limited bc I can’t cut my arrows down myself so I’m trying to mimic your process by changing tip weights to bareshaft tune. I do have a general question for you; I’ve done a lot of reading on trad archery forums and I am starting to think that is a mistake.

    I’m a hunter, I’m seeking to be able to hunt with confidence and practice to that end. I’m not trying to score, I’m trying to get lethal shot placement every time. That being said, I’m getting lots of feedback that I am over-bowed at 50lbs. I don’t think those folks are wrong, I can tell I am struggling to reach a solid anchor and hold it long enough to get a clean, consistent release. But, I can do so for 15-20 shots if I focus. Everyone is saying I need to buy a set of lower weight limbs, some have suggested as low as 25lbs even. I’m a little leery to do so bc it doesn’t make sense to me to spend a year shooting at that weight instinctively and then swap out higher limbs to hunt. In my mind, that would change everything not to mention necessitate tuning up 2 sets of arrows.

    Just looking for some guidance on the bow-weight debate.

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