Archery isn’t just about shooting targets and game. It’s just as fun to tune your bows and design arrows that get you the highest speed, most power and greatest accuracy. To do that, you need a fully stocked home archery shop that has all the bow tuning tools you need to address every detail of archery maintenance.
19 Must Have Bow Tuning Tools
1. Bow Press
If you’re going to work on compound bows at home or while you’re in the field, you need a bow press. A bow press flexes the limbs of your bow so that they aren’t holding the string tight anymore. This way you can perform maintenance on the bowstring and servings, cables, cams, timing wheels, etc. The primary types of maintenance you’ll need a bow press for are fixing cam lean, synchronizing your cams, and greasing the cam axles, or any damage that occurs from dry firing your bow..
There are two main types of bow presses: bench presses and cable presses. Bench presses are a lot easier to use and more stable. However, cable presses are portable so you can actually take them hunting with you and fix any cam problems you develop in the field.
Our recommendation, especially if you’re a bow hunter, is the Bowmaster Press G2. That’s because it’s one of the most versatile models out there. Not only can you use it in your at-home archery shop, but it’s small enough to slip in your pocket. It won’t take up extra room in your hunting gear, so you can be prepared for cam problems while you’re hunting. Plus, the notched design of the cable lets you use it on a wide range of bows with varying ATA lengths and draw lengths. It also works on right and left handed bows.
2. Bow Vise
A bow vise is another essential piece of equipment if you want to set up an archery shop at home and work on all types of bows. A bow vise basically holds your bow steady so that you can work on it, perform maintenance and install accessories like a bow sight, drop away arrow rest or a quiver. It does this by clamping onto one of the limbs.
An important aspect of a bow vise is its pivot. If you’re installing accessories like sights, you need the bow to be perfectly level. To do this, you need to be able to rotate the bow into position while it’s in the vise.
RAM Pro Bow Vise
We like the RAM Pro Bow Vise for exactly what its name implies. Not only does it have full 360-degree rotation, but that rotation is very fine tuned so that you can get the bow in the perfect position for that much more accuracy. It’s also very easy to attach to your workbench, providing more stability.
3. Bow Square
Whether you want to work on compound bows, recurve bows or longbows, a bow square is one of the most basic tools you need. It’s necessary for installing nocking points and setting brace height.
It attaches to your bowstring with two clips and sits on your arrow rest, then has what’s basically a ruler that extends out. It then includes horizontal measurements that show you the brace height (the distance from the riser) as well as vertical measurements along the bowstring that you can use to place a nocking point.
T Bow Square
This bow square is super simple and easy to use. It has both horizontal and vertical measurements as well as waved clips that snap onto your bowstring easily but stay in place. And it’s a great value, too.
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4. Nock Pliers
The best way to install nocking points or D-loops is with a pair of nock pliers. These let you firmly crimp the nocking points in place. If you use your fingers, you’re likely to clamp it at a slanted angle or too lightly so that it ends up sliding out of place. Either way, this will affect your accuracy while shooting.
Plus, when it comes to removing nocking points, nock pliers make things much easier unless you really feel like breaking your finger nails.
We prefer D-loops when using a bow release and these pliers are perfect for installing D-loops.
Thanks to the rubber grip and dual jaws, these pliers are easy and straightforward to use, even for a new bowyer. More importantly, they have four different crimping grooves in addition to removal and adjusting loops. This lets you get specific with the sizes of your nocking point and bowstring so you can be as precise as possible.
RELATED: AF Archery Longbow Review
5. Serving Tool
A serving tool is necessary if you want to correctly wrap servings around your bowstring, whether at the ends where they attach to the limbs or in the center to prevent wear and tear from the arrow nocks. These tools allow you to adjust the tightness of the serving so that you’re attaching it firmly to the bowstring without twisting it.
Our favorite serving tool is the BCY Bearpaw mostly due to the steel guide rollers that allow you to feed the serving easily through the device and wrap it around the bowstring without any hangups. This lets you get a consistent serving that will stay on your bowstring and protect it for a long time.
6. Allen Wrenches
Allen wrenches are a fundamental part of any tool kit, doubly so if you want to tune, maintain or even just take down your bows at home. That’s because most compound bows as well as takedown recurve bows use Allen nuts to attach limbs and accessories.
RELATED: SAS Spirit Recurve Bow Review
Pine Ridge Archery Allen Wrench Set
We suggest this Allen wrench set because it’s made specifically for archery work. It has nine sizes covering a wide range of Allen nuts and most of those you’re likely to find on manufactured bows. On top of that, we also like that it’s yellow. It might seem like a small thing, but it’s much easier to find this Allen wrench set when it’s in a dark drawer filled with other tools.
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7. String Care Kit
One of the most regular maintenance tasks you’ll have to perform with your bow is waxing the string. You should do this at least every couple of weeks, and some archers go so far as to wax their bowstrings after every use. This keeps the bowstring from absorbing water, and it also protects it from wear. This increases its life and improves its performance, especially if you carry your bow by the string.
This is one of the most important bow and crossbow maintenance steps that you should be performing on a regular basis.
Despite the scary name, Scorpion Venom is actually made from kokum, shea and mango oil. This complex formula makes it both protective and long lasting. It also resists chemical changes due to rising or dropping temperatures, so it’s great for hunters who are going to be using their bows outdoors.
8. Paper Tuning System
Paper tuning is an easy way to make sure that the arrow is leaving the bow straight, something especially important after you’ve finished adjusting it. Basically, the paper tuning system holds a piece of paper taught vertically. You shoot the arrow through it and analyze the hole it makes to determine which way, if any, the arrow is turning. Then you can adjust the bow as necessary. After you have the bow paper tuned, it is a good idea to use the walk back tuning method to make sure the arrows are flying correctly down range.
This paper tuning system has several advantages over the rest of the market. For starters, it’s lightweight, so you can keep it in your at-home archery shop but easily take it to a safer place for test shots.
More importantly, this system has clear diagrams showing you how to analyze each arrow hole as well as instructions on how to tune your bow based on the arrow’s flight path. You can get perfectly straight arrows even if you’re not an expert.
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9. Bow Scale
You need a bow scale to measure your bow draw weight as well as the tension in the limbs. Basically, a bow scale is similar to a luggage scale that you can hook onto the bowstring and then simply draw it. This will tell you the draw weight. You may need to know the draw weight if you have a bow with adjustable draw weight, or if you’re trying to calibrate a sight for accuracy. It is also great for determining the draw weight of a wooden bow that you have made yourself.
Hanging Bow Scale
This scale is a great option because it has an easy-to-read digital display and the durable metal hooks that can handle weights up to 660 pounds. In fact, it even has a lifetime guarantee.
10. Arrow Saw
Many archery enthusiasts and serious bowhunters like to cut down the lengths of their arrows. By making your arrows as short as possible, you can decrease their weight and therefore increase their speed. This gives you more accuracy and more penetration if you’re hunting.
Arrow saws have measurements that let you cut exactly where you want to. Plus, they usually have grips or feet that hold the arrow steady while you apply the saw.
Weston Arrow Saw
This saw makes your cutting even more precise thanks to the powerful 8,000-rpm blade that’s capable of slicing through just about any arrow shaft. We also like the rubber feet that grip the arrow for a straighter cut.
The Weston Arrow Saw has a lot of extras, too. For example, it has a second back-up blade and two arrow spin testers to make sure you’ve cut accurately. There’s also a blade shield so you can cut your arrows with confidence even if you’re new to archery.
11. Arrow Square
Whether you’re cutting arrows you bought at the store or making your own, you need an arrow square to make sure that both ends of the arrow are perfectly square so that the arrowheads and nocks can attach straight. Basically, an arrow square has two grooved mounts that hold the arrow perfectly level. At one end, there’s one sanding disk, and you rotate the end of the arrow against it, shaving off any irregularities.
Also known as the FAST, the Lumenok Fletched Arrow Squaring Tool is a simple device that’s easy to use but helps you get squared arrows in moments. One thing we really like are the mounting screws. This way you can screw it into your work bench, which gives you easy access and stability. It’s also pretty cool that Lumenok includes replacement sanding disks.
12. Fletching Jig
If you’re planning to work with arrows in your at-home archery shop, a fletching jig is a must. While you may think you can just glue your fletching vanes into the specified places on the arrow wrap, a fletching jig is actually necessary to get straight and accurate fletching that will make your arrow spiral and therefore fly straight.
The jig holds your arrow steady while you hold the vane in the provided clamp. You apply the glue along the base of the vane and then attach it to the appropriate spot on the arrow. Once you’ve glued the vane on, the jig lets you rotate the arrow into the next position for the next vane.
Bitzenburger Fletching Jig
If you’re concerned about precision, the Bitzenburger Fletching Jig is the way to go. That’s because it has a permanent magnet that helps you hold the clamp and vane steady as you apply it to the arrow. Then, the large but exact dials help you turn the arrow into position.
13. Archery Scale
The main reason archers work on their arrows is to manage their weight. Of course, if you’re going to do this accurately, you need to be able to weigh the arrows throughout the process. Moreover, if you need to know your exact arrow’s speed or kinetic energy, you’ll have to know the arrow’s weight to make the calculations. An archery scale is designed to do this, usually with a simple mount that holds the arrow in place.
October Mountain Products Accu-Arrow Digital Archery Scale
The October Mountain Products Accu-Arrow Digital Archery Scale is our favorite way to weigh arrows because it displays its measurement digitally in grains. Grains is a unit of weight almost exclusive to archery, so this is ideal since you don’t have to do any complicated conversions. It handles up to 3,086 grains, which is more than enough, and it’s small and compact with the arrow retainer included.
14. Arrow Spinner
You need an arrow spinner to be able to test the trueness of your arrow when using broadheads. They’re simple devices, basically grooved mounts where you place the arrow and spin it. Then you look for wobbles to see if you need to adjust the broadhead or fletchings or square the arrow.
This is an ideal arrow spinner for your archery shop because it has aluminum spinning wheels that most other spinners lack. This ensures that the arrow is oriented as straight as possible so you don’t have any false negatives and get your arrow as true as possible.
15. Arrow Glue
To make arrows, you have to add fletching. To add fletching, you need arrow glue. This is what you apply to the bases of the vanes to secure them to the arrow shaft.
Arizona Archery Enterprises MAX Adhesion Glue
Not only is this glue secure and long lasting, meaning you won’t have a surprise vane break while you’re in your tree stand, but it comes with a primer pen and arrow wipes. The primer pen helps you apply the vanes accurately while the wipes are for cleaning off excess glue so it doesn’t affect the arrow’s trueness.
16. Broadhead Wrench
RELATED: Best Crossbow Broadheads
A broadhead wrench is a very specific tool that lets you insert and extract broadheads from your arrow. Broadheads are incredibly sharp, so you don’t want to be holding them with your fingers and applying pressure as you insert them. Basically, these devices are for safety.
K'Netix Universal Archery Broadhead Wrench
With multiple grooves, this broadhead wrench works for two-, three- and four-blade fixed broadheads of just about any orientation. It’s small and compact as well, so it doesn’t take up too much space in your shop.
Click here for a complete guide to the best broadheads.
17. Laser Alignment Bow Tuning Tool
A laser alignment tool is a device used to simplify the process of sighting in your bow. It attaches into your arrow like a broadhead, and then you can draw the bow with the arrow nocked and see where the laser lands on the target. Adjust the sight until the crosshairs are over the laser. You’ll likely still have to adjust it a little more due to arrow drop, but it will save you several trial shots.
GRG Archery Laser Sight Tool for Bow and Crossbow
The GRG Archery Laser Sight Tool easily fits into any .223 arrow. Made of brass, it’s durable and can serve your at-home archery shop year after year. Best of all, it uses very little energy, so you rarely have to replace the batteries.
An archery chronograph tells you the speed of your arrows. Arrow speed is important for both accuracy and power, so if you’re designing or cutting your own arrows, this is a good way to see how your work is turning out. Plus, it helps you see if you’re getting the most out of your crossbow or compound bow.
Finding your exact bolt speed with a crossbow makes it easy to sight it in with a variable speed scope.
Competition Electronics ProChrono DLX Chronograph
With the ProChrono DLX Chronograph, you can take numerous measurements, and the device will remember them. This way you can compare different setups and see what gets you the best results. In fact, you can even connect it to your phone via Bluetooth to keep track of all the statistics.
Last but not least, every home archery shop needs a target. How else will you test your bows and arrows and make sure they’re tuned correctly?
Block 6-Sided Arrow Archery Target
While there are a lot of good targets out there, this Block model is our favorite for those who need to test bows and arrows they’ve made or maintained at home. That’s because it has a polyfusion layered core that can withstand a lot of shots without the integrity of the target breaking down. It’s also portable thanks to its two handles, so you can take it in and out of the shop and reposition it for speed testing and other specific maintenance tasks.
Click here for a complete guide to the best archery targets.
Bow Tuning Tools Final Thoughts
It doesn't matter if you are shooting a compound bow or recurve, there are certain bow tuning tools that every archer should have to help them sight in and maintain their bows.
Many of the best bow cases will come with pockets and storage so that you can take your tools to the range.
You don’t want to start working on your bow only to find that you need to make an adjustment you don’t have the tool for. Before you start, make sure you’re fully stocked with all the tools and devices you need.