How to Install Arrow Rest on a Recurve Bow – the Glue-On Type!
Also called a stick-on rest, an arrow plate is essentially a leather (it's also available in different fabrics or materials) strip that's positioned on the bow's riser. This one is a great example, however there are a lot of variants - it's a great idea to check out a few. Most traditional bows are compatible with this device only (mainly because of the lack of riser inserts or holes). Some arrow plates also come with an arm to secure an arrow. If you're going for this option, check if there are any visible defects on the material of the plate. Aside from preventing any possible snags when actually arming your recurve bow with an arrow, you'd also want to see if the plate's material isn't damaged - you'll be glueing this to the bow (or using a double-sided tape), so you better be sure that it's worthy for your gear!
- Make sure you start off with a clean workspace – remove any dust, grime and unnecessary tools from your table.
- Clean the surface of the riser thoroughly, remove any grease that may have accumulated there. Using dishwasher liquid is a great idea, as it's gentle enough while it still removes any grease.
- Some of these devices come oversized - you'll need to cut it! The easiest is to place it on the riser as if you'd glue it in place and draw the riser around, then cut it.
- Peel off the adhesive end of the strip. If you’re glueing an arrow plate, have some glue spread out on both the bottom of the plate and the riser.
- Line up the arrow plate vertically with the bow's handle (this is right above the space of your hand that grasps the bow's handle).
- Leave approximately 5/8" space between the bottom of the bow's sight window and the arrow.
- Attach the arrow rest by firmly pressing it onto the bow.
How to Install Arrow Rest on Recurve Bow – the Screw-In Type
Just like what its name implies, what makes this different from the arrow plate is that you attach this part to your recurve bow's riser by means of a screw. As such, it'll be great to check both the bolts and your bow's riser for any defects. This one has a lot of variants too, for example Southland Archery Supply's version.
- Make sure your workplace is clean, remove any dust and unnecessary tools.
- The first hole as seen from the front of the bow is for the arrow rest, the second one is for the plunger (if you have one).
- Have the screws bolted towards your recurve bow's riser holes.
- Leave approximately 5/8" space between the bottom of the bow's sight window and the arrow – the same you’d use for a stick-on rest.
- Make the necessary adjustments to the riser bolt and tighten (or loosen) as needed.
Making Bow String Adjustments
Aside from setting up the alignment of your arrow rest on your recurve bow's riser, you'd need to make sure that the bow string is lined up as well. Here's how you can locate and install a preferred nocking point on your bow string.
- Line up your bow string by placing a bow square on the arrow rest you've just installed.
- Mark approximately 5mm above the given square.
- The marked spot should be where your nocking point will be located.
- You will know that you've done this right if the arrow will rest comfortably at this point.
Shoot to Test!
Almost there - some arrow rest fine-tuning can be done by shooting some arrows. Here's what you can do if you notice these movements:
- Arrow fire is high – your nocking point is too low on the bow string. Consider adjusting it upward.
- Arrow fire is low – your nocking point is too high on the bow string. Consider adjusting it downward.
Never adjust the arrow rest! Every adjustment is done on the nocking point instead.
How to Choose Between the Arrow Plate Type and the Screw-In Type Arrow Rest?
It's a subjective question, but the bottomline is, it all boils down on your choice of recurve bow gear.
Traditional recurve bows (particularly those with no fittings or holes located in the riser) shoot off the shelf. As such, arrow plates are the recommended type for these bows (which turns the idea of shooting off the shelf to shooting off a rest instead). We'll be discussing these concepts more below!
Modern recurve bows often come with fittings meant for screw-in type arrow rests. As such, you just need to find a preferred screw-in type for your gear.
In most cases, screw-in types are favored mainly because they can be adjusted. Again, it all boils down to personal shooting style.
Should You Install an Arrow Rest on Your Recurve Bow?
In order to answer that question, let's discuss what an arrow rest is. As simple as it looks, this really small archery equipment may mean a lot when it comes to arrow flight.
Arrow rests are installed to help stabilize an arrow. Considering that consistency is key when shooting, you would want to keep it steady as early as arming your arrow on your bow. An arrow rest helps keep your arrows in place, without so much affecting flight trajectory. Arrow contact, otherwise known as Archer's Paradox, is an interesting takeaway you can get from installing an arrow rest (we'll briefly tackle this concept also below).
So, to answer the question, it's a YES! Arrow rests are crucial if you want to maximize your recurve bow's shooting potential.
How to Install an Arrow Rest on a Recurve Bow: Know Your Lingo!
Let us know quickly discuss concepts tackled by arrow rest installation.
Off the Shelf
Shooting off the shelf mainly means shooting without a rest. Traditional recurve bows come with a shelf (basically, a platform located in the riser) where you can place an arrow on. Shooting off the shelf are mainly favored by archery purists or those who would want to hone their instinctive shooting method.
Off a Rest
Shooting off a rest mainly pertains to using an arrow rest. Regardless of which type, having an arrow rest will help you keep accurate and consistent shots.
Arrow plates make the shelf portion of a traditional bow smoother. And this simple stick-on application (either with leather, felt, and other similar materials) results to fine and amazing accuracy results. Depending on the variant, some arrow plates also come with an arm. Also called as a side plate, this fixture helps in securing the bow whenever it's being armed, by keeping an arrow from hitting the actual riser itself. Glue is used to stick traditional arrow plates; modern ones have a double-adhesive tape side.
As mentioned above, screw-in rests' advantage relies on its opportunity to be quickly readjusted. However, the main issue with this type is that it's limited to recurve bows that comes with riser holes for its attachment. Still, these are more secure than arrow plates or stick-on variants.
This device can be screwed in the hole behind the hole for the arrow rest on modern recurve bows. The plunger touches your arrow as it files off, and stabilizes the sideways movements for better flight, and also keeps the arrow from touching the riser. For this it has an adjustable spring inside.
And just this little difference means a lot in the long run, since it addresses the Archer's Paradox phenomenon, which we are discussing below!
The word phenomenon is used because there seems to be a disconnect when aiming your bow towards your target. Conventionally, you're using your bow by aligning its center towards the target. Then, you'd either nudge up or down to get a good grasp on the distance.
The thing is, an arrow moves forward (well, it should!) towards the point you're aiming at. But, there are some circumstances that instead of forward, your arrow either sways towards the left (or right) once in flight.
The main explanation for this is that you are basically aiming and shooting with two solid components: your recurve bow AND your arrow. If your arrow touches or rubs against your bow's riser, chances are, it'll sway (even when you're aimed dead straight at your target).
The paradox concept comes into place since arrows tend to move like a snake. Once released from the bow string, an arrow will bend. And there may be a slight chance that this motion will make it hit the riser. Even the slightest touch will affect the flight.
And that's why arrow rests are amazing. It's that slight adjustment of considering an arrow's movement that makes it a worthwhile equipment to have! More so with plungers, that efficiently focuses and addresses the paradoxical shooting phenomenon!
Shooting Insight: Are Magnetic Arrow Rests Good to Go?
One of the selling points of this advanced arrow rest type is its durability. Compared to other conventional arrow rests (the arrow plates that come in leather strips or the hard plastic screw-in types) magnetic arrow rest are made out of metal.
However, with durability comes an issue on actual functionality as well. These arrow rests tend to only work if it is installed in specific areas of your recurve bow. Considering as well the installation problems, some magnetic rests tend to be flimsy (and doesn't have that "smooth" effect like other arrow rests).
Still, it's a subjective take, but the majority of archers tend to stay away from this arrow rest type!
Summary and Conclusions
Arrow rests for recurve bows come in two basic types: the glue-on arrow-plate and the screw-in rest. Installing them is not hard, but the devil is in the details!
Remember, you’ll need to retune your bow for accuracy once you’ve installed your arrow rest. You’ll have to move the nocking point on your bow string up if your arrow hits upwards, and down if you arrow hits under the target.
Once set up properly the arrow rest will greatly increase your accuracy so go for it!
- Traditional recurve bows (those that have a platform located in the riser) mainly use stick-on or arrow plate types.
- Depending if it's using glue or a double-adhesive tape type, these arrow rests need to be firmly secured to bring out its potential.
- Screw-in arrow-rests are held in place more securely and are meant for modern recurve bows.
- You can adjust on the fly with this type!
- The plunger variant comes with a hole to address the Archer's Paradox.
Check out these links to learn more about arrow rests.
- Merlin Archery demonstrates how you can mount a traditional arrow rest (arrow plate!).
- Archers share some of the best arrow rest recommendations for recurve bows in this reddit thread!
- Here's a great example on how customizable screw-ins are. Straight from an arrow rest manufacturer, check out these features that may delight you!