How To Tune A Bow: Nocks and Rests


In the first installment of our How To Tune A Bow series, we look at installing rests and nock points.


It's that time of year again: Tuning time. Whether you're setting up and tuning a new bow or shaping up a bow you already owned (which is probably more likely in today's economic climate), you can do it yourself.

Many regulate these tasks to the professionals, which costs money and requires driving to a bow shop. You really should learn to service your own equipment. It saves time and money and can avert disaster should your bow fail during a big hunt. It's easier than you think.

Step One: Installing Rest

   1. Read manufacturer's instructions and attach rest according to recommendations.

   2. Roughly find the bow's center shot by holding bow vertically at arm's length- with an arrow nocked.Sight along flats of both cams and through bowstring. Adjust rest arm(s) left or right until string completely eclipses arrow's entire length when viewed from this perspective.

   3. Fine-tune adjustments by attaching a laser center-shot guide according to instructions (I use Easy Eye's EZE-Center Laser Tuning Aid). The piviting laser should run down the center of the arrow from nocking point/string to tip when perfect center's established.

   4. Adjust rest arm(s) up or down until nocked arrow runs essentially level through middle of riser rest-mounting holes (viewed from side), pushing drop-away cradle into upright position if needed.

   5. Snug all adjustment bolts.

Step Two: Attaching Activation Cord (Drop-Away Rest only)

   1. Read manufacturer's instruction, gleaning helpful hints for set-up.

   2. Wedge rest arms into full, upright position (a small block of closed-cell foam works well) and reach activation cord to down-moving buss-cable (during draw cycle), getting feel for length needed for rest to operate correctly. Mark cord with silver ink pen; release rest arms and tie cord with loose overhand knot at mark.

   3. Draw bow fully, confirming cord length, allowing loose knot to slip if necessary. Cord should fully activate rest arm(s), without tensioning buss cables forward. Hint: Have friend visually-check for full engagement and/or excessive buss-cable tensioning.

   4. Once proper cord length's established, cut cord 1/4- to -1/2-inch past ink mark. Create small ball on end, melting with flame. After cooling, hand-serve to down buss cable with thin serving material or heavy floss, wrapping upward tightly over cable and activation cord to ink mark, then wrapping only buss cable 1/2-inch upward to prevent slippage. Tie off and draw to check results. Add drop of super glue to secure knot. Your rest is ready for final tuning.

Step Three: Establishing Nocking Point:

1. Place lower limb in bow vice. If you don't have a bow vice, a heavily-padded shop vice or sandbag  can also be used. Put the bow into standing position. Add string level to bowstring and adjust bow until plumb according to bubble level.

2. Nock arrow and add arrow level. With rest arm in activated position, level arrow from nock end and mark serving on each side of nock. This is your nocking point. (Note: Level to 1/6-inch high is perfect for release shooting; 1/8- to 3/8-inch high for fingers is generally best).

3. Add string loop or nocking point(s) and elimiminator button.

Add remaining accessories and you're ready to begin sight-in/fine tuning.