A First-timer's Bow Setup and Tuning Thread

Thread starter #82
good stuff thanks
I appreciate the feedback, glad to hear it! I've basically only documented what I've learned from others here. Hopefully, it's helpful to anyone else who has been thinking about do this.

Those other threads you referenced sure have some good tips. :D
Darn right. I've used just about every tip you've put out there. That and copied what you did with my Faktor 34. :cheers:
Thread starter #83
I got to thinking that some might want to weigh the cost of getting set up for DIY tuning with just taking it down to the local shop (if you have a local shop).

In my experience, a shop will set up and tune a bow that you buy from them. But what if you bought the bow somewhere else? Or maybe you just want to install a new custom string and cable set, new rest, or different size peep, etc.? Any of that will probably cost something. Some charge an arm and a leg. Others, like Kris, are extremely generous, and, in my opinion, undercut themselves.

If money isn't the issue, then perhaps time is. Like Soybean mentioned in another thread, it stinks driving a long way just to have little/minor things taken care of. I don't have a Hoyt shop anywhere near me. Before finding out about Kris, I'd drive an hour and a half to Social Circle Ace. I found out about Kris last year, and he's a four hour round-trip for me. It's definitely worth the trip, but nonetheless, a lot of time.

I did my best to breakdown the cost of everything I used to take my bow and accessories from off-the-shelf to hunt-ready.

  • Bench (built several years ago, so I estimated materials cost) - $35
  • Draw board (using 'plans' I found here on the forum and elsewhere on the internet) - ~$50
  • Scale - $34 - Amazon (Taylor Dial Style Industrial Hanging Scale - up to 70 lbs)
  • Scissors-style bow stand - $10 - Amazon (cheap substitute for a vise)
  • Bow press - $45 - Bass Pro (Bow Master)
  • Split limb L brackets for press (not necessary for some bows) - $20 - Amazon (Bow Master)
  • Bow square (I guess not necessary if you 'eyeball' it, but can be helpful - actually preferred the levels) - $10 - Amazon (Saunders Forked Horn Square)
  • Bow levels (Also not necessary if you 'eyeball' it, but were helpful to me as a beginner) - $23 - Amazon (R.S. Nok-EZ and Snap-on String Combo)
  • D-loop pliers (again not necessary, but were helpful) - $26 - Amazon (Viper Archery Products Loopset Pliers)
  • Pliers (needle-nose) - $3
  • Hex wrenches - $10
  • Calipers - $30 (ruler shown below could be used instead)
  • Small ruler - $2
  • D-loop material - $8 - Bass Pro (BCY #24 - Black - 39")
  • Nock point & peep tying thread - $9 - Bass Pro (BCY - Black - 75 yards)
  • String wax - $10 - Amazon (Scorpion Venom)
  • Lighter - $2 - Grocery store (never knew that stores check ID for lighters)
  • Knife (razor blade) - $2 - (I just used the Benchmade that's always in my pocket)
  • Level (torpedo) - $10
  • Paper tuner (homemade using Schedule 40 pipe) - $10
  • Bag target - $45
Total - $395
Minus stuff I already had - $160
My total - $235

Maybe you already have some of this stuff like I did, so that'll cut your cost right off the bat. In my case, I already had the bench, bow stand, needle-nose pliers, hex wrenches, calipers, ruler, wax, knife, level, and target, so the total outlay was $235. However, I could have done without the square (and only used the levels) and D-loop pliers (and only used the needle-nose pliers) and reduced the cost down to $200.

Great thing about this one-time investment (aside from expendable items such as D-loop material, nock thread, etc.) is that seasonal tuning, string and cable installations, bow adjustments, etc. can be readily done at home at your convenience. Also, several items (e.g. bench, tools, etc.) can serve 'double-duty' for other non-archery-related tasks. If you're already a lifetime bow hunter (not to mention 3-D or target archer), this is a pretty small price to pay to be self-sufficient (with the help of this DIY forum, of course).
This is one of the best threads on the forum. It compliments all the reasons I post the things I do, which is to help other archers. You will be able to pass your knowledge onto others as well. Good job buddy!
Thread starter #85
Thanks, Kris. Couldn't have done it without your help, and I can't say enough about your willingness to help others. That combined with your knowledge, and it's easy to see why Satchmo said he couldn't think of a better person to moderate this forum. Only thing is, I feel bad if this thread cuts into the beer money you make tuning bows on the side. If you end up planning another pre-season shoot/get-together like last year, I'd like to try and make it, and I'll bring some brewskis.

BTW, got my Ramcats, and squeezed in a few shots last evening.This isn't to say I doubted you when he said they'd fly like darts right along with my FPs. Just confirmation. :D

20 yards FP and BH:

30 yards FP and BH:

40 yards FP and BH. Had not dialed in that pin yet, but got it pretty close before shooting (had to shoot from an angle to back up enough):

To the other guys who chimed in along the way, I'd like to say 'thanks!' Thanks to David Alligood for the vote of confidence right off the bat! Thanks to Soybean, C Cape and Pasinthrough for y'all's input along the way. Also to DABAU for helping me feel like I'm not the only one who was trying to make sense of all of this.

Was kinda sad to see this project come to an end, but very happy with the final result. Brought back to mind the first time I rebuilt the top-end on my YZ. It's something a lot of people can probably do blindfolded. Then again, it's something a lot of people can screw up beyond repair. Definitely something anyone can do with the right tools, resources, time and patience. And what a great feeling after kicking it over the first time, and hearing that sweet two-stroke sing. Not to mentioned the hundreds of dollars still in your pocket.

Obviously, this thread doesn't cover everything there is to know about tuning, but it has successfully helped me as complete novice to bow setup and tuning take a bow from the box to a tuned dart-shooter. Not only that, but also provided me with a better understanding of how everything works and how to troubleshoot and fix different things. And nothing beats the feeling of DIY.

Again, I hope this thread is able to help anyone else who has been thinking about taking this kind of project or just looking for help with a step along the way.

I guess the only question I can think of now is how many days until the season starts?



Senior Member
I am trying this for the first time now. I have checked the sync and bottom cam is actually ahead. Center shot is 3/4". I am getting a high left tear. If I put a twist in the cable, is it the one on the left from the shooter side? Thanks in advance!
Just to clear up the above. I tried it from the shooter side after no response and got it all worked out. Just wanted to be sure that when you said to put a twist in the left cable, it was from behind the bow. I know it was probably a dumb question but I wanted to be sure before I started. Worked out good and thanks for the advise!


Senior Member
If this is a 1st timers thread, I'm in trouble already. I was gaining interest in learning how to use my sons bow but now I'm thinking I may need to stick to my guns so to speak. Either that, or maybe I'll just learn how to shoot it 1st and let the experts do the tuning!


Senior Member
Thread starter #89
If this is a 1st timers thread, I'm in trouble already. I was gaining interest in learning how to use my sons bow but now I'm thinking I may need to stick to my guns so to speak. Either that, or maybe I'll just learn how to shoot it 1st and let the experts do the tuning!
Aw, c'mon man! Only way to learn is to give it a shot (approaching pun overload in this post).

I do know how you feel, but I can confirm that this thread works. A buddy bought a new bow near the end of last season, and I offered to help him set it up and tune it back then. However, a year and a half had passed since I started this thread, and about a year since I had last set up and tuned one of my bows after swapping the cables and string.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't forget most of what I had learned back then. Fortunately, re-reading and following this thread helped me set it up and get it shooting darts. Then again, he bought a Hoyt, and tuning them is pretty straight forward and easy. :D

Here are a few notes on the bow and how it went (Disclaimer: Whereas, the bow is shooting darts and I tried my best to accurately document what I did, I hope my dyslexia didn't result in transposing any steps/figures below. If so, hopefully the resident experts here on the forum will step in to correct me).

  • 2015 Hoyt Charger
    50-60 lb. DW
    27.5" DL (#3 cam)
    31" A2A
    6.75" BH

  • I started by bottoming out the limb bolts, and checking the max DW on a scale. It was coming up short around 58.5 lbs. I checked the cam timing and the bottom was ahead of the top (typical for a Hoyt straight out the box based on what I've read). Based on the lower DW and the cam timing, I went in and out of the press a few times and ultimately ended up with three full twists added to the bottom of the buss cable and 1 full twist added to the top of the control cable. Result was max DW hitting 60 lbs. and the top cam being ahead by about 1/8". (Taking twists out of the control cable advances the top cam, or putting twists into the buss cable or yokes advances the top cam, and increases draw weight and draw length)

  • Moved on to mounting the rest (all the way forward, center of arrow shaft to center of berger hole, eyeballed it level, mark the string with a silver sharpie where the nock was)

  • Tied in soft nocks

  • Set the centershot at 3/4" (interestingly, it ended up tuning slightly closer in towards the riser)

  • Tied rest cord to limb using D-loop knot. Can't say enough about how easy it is to set up limbdriven rests. I liked the QADs I've had in the past, but setup is definitely more complicated tying it into the bow cable and getting it timed perfectly. I'm not even sure how/if I'd be able to repair it in the field if the need arose.

  • Tied D-loop. Forgot to lightly wax the ends of the loop, and I was reminded of this oversight when the loop started to turn on me after a few shots. Easy fix.

  • Checked the bow specs. Axle-to-axle distance, brace height, draw weight, and draw length were all either hitting spec or very close.

  • I shot the bow a few times with a bareshaft through paper. I was getting a pretty dramatic high left tear. I knew the arrow spine was appropriate for the bow setup, so I checked the cam sync again and verified it was still close to where it needed to be. I then remembered the next step.

  • I checked for cam lean at brace by laying an arrow on the left side of the top cam. The arrow didn't even intersect the string. It just ran parallel to it. Reviewing this thread reminded me that a good starting point is for the arrow to intersect the string at the D-loop. I also saw that adding twists to the left yoke will tune out a high left tear. (Right tear put twist in the Right Yoke, Left Tear put twist in the left yoke. If cam timing and DW were good, I thought I recalled needing to make sure when ever you put twists in one side, to take equal twists out of the other side. However, I didn't seem to need to do that in this case).

    Four full twists to the left yoke resulted in the cam prelean being where the arrow laid against the top cam crossed behind the string at the D-loop, and the high left tear was now only slightly high. I got rid of that little bit of nock high by moving the rest up a smidge.

  • Shot the bareshaft several times through paper again, and was getting bullet hole after bullet hole. Sweet.

  • Mounted sight, stabilizer, etc. Added a little nock thread to keep the rest cord from catching on anything at full draw.

  • Determined peep sight location so that I could check arrow flight at distance, but am waiting to serve it in until my buddy can confirm location of it for himself.

  • Went outside and shot some arrows at 10, 20, and 30 yards, and was very pleased with the results.

  • Even though I was getting great arrow flight from bareshafts both inside through paper and outside at about 10 yards, I shot one broadhead (Ramcat) to make sure they were also flying straight. Forgot to take a photo of that one.

So I hope this thread is giving some of y'all the confidence to dip your toe in the water or even dive right in to bow setup and tuning. It's nice being able to work on and maintain your own stuff and comes with the added benefit of being able to help others out.
Glad to see you have retained all of that knowledge. It is much easier when you do a lot of bows, as repetition is the best way to learn. You sure do keep great notes. I'm bad at that. I think I'm better at video now. :D


Senior Member
Thread starter #91
Some more practice would be nice. Doubt my wife would buy that as an excuse for buying a new bow every few months. I was shocked at how quickly she noticed and questioned me about a third bow hanging from the ceiling in the garage. :rofl:

I hear ya about the videos. Keep 'em coming.
The information in this thread helped me when I was diving into a brand new string swap for the first time with my Bowtech Insanity. I'm still running those same strings but the bow is shooting darts! I'm glad the thread is still here though because I use it from time to time to refresh the ye ol' memory when I have to go in to make adjustments.