Paul A. Romsky Jr. - Archery

Gluing Inserts into Carbon Arrows

The procedure to "glue" inserts into carbon arrows is not to be taken lightly. Safety and performance dictate a rigid attention to detail. What seems to be simple to the casual observer actually requires many specific important steps to insure the arrow will not prematurely fracture or have the insert pull out of the arrow when removing from the target (whether that target be animal, vegetable, or mineral).

This procedure does not cover the proper cutting of a carbon arrow. Cutting a carbon arrow shaft is in itself an involved process, but is not described here.

Cutting carbon arrow shafts, gluing inserts, and attaching tips (heads) should be performed only by a seasoned professional.

After properly cutting a virgin carbon arrow to the proper length for a safe draw and safe shooting:

1. Lightly scuff the inside of the carbon arrow shaft. I use virgin 200 grit sandpaper rolled to fit inside the shaft.
2. Scuff inside the shaft all the way down to the same length of the insert (no deeper). 3 turns typical. Do not scuff lengthwise.
3. Do not scrape or over scuff as this will break the carbon fibers and may cause the arrow to fracture when shooting or landing.
4. Clean all sanding dust from the inside of the shaft as follows:
5. Hold the arrow (insert side down) and squirt 93% isopropyl alcohol inside the shaft to rinse out most of the sanding dust.
6. Take a virgin lint free (linen) cloth dampened with 93% isopropyl alcohol and twist the cloth inside the shaft.
7. Repeat step 6 (with virgin sections of cloth) until the cloth comes out clean.
8. Allow the shaft to dry 5 minutes.
9. Screw a dull practice head (tip) into the insert (finger tight).
10. Handle by the dull tip only; do not touch any part of the insert as oil from your fingers will reduce bonding strength.
11. Very lightly scuff the insert's barbs and smooth surfaces (in a cross hatch pattern - not lengthwise) with virgin 200 grit sandpaper.
12. Take a virgin lint free cloth dampened with 93% isopropyl alcohol and clean the insert.
13. Repeat step 12 (with virgin sections of cloth) until completely clean and no particles remain.
14. Allow insert to dry 5 minutes.
15. Do not use two-part epoxies, hot glue, or anything that is not specifically made for archery inserts.
16. Such adhesives may be too brittle and/or fail to bond to carbon properly. I use "Bohning Insert Iron" for adhesive (made in the USA).
17. Read, understand, and follow all precautions and instructions for the adhesive.
18. Apply 3 very thin beads of the adhesive along the entire length of the insert (barbs and flat spots).
19. The beads are laid on the shaft in a tri-pattern similar to fletching an arrow.
20. Install the insert fully into the shaft rotating about one turn (same direction as the tip is screwed in so it does not come loose).
21. Fully remove the insert rotating about one turn in the same direction.
22. With a virgin tooth pick, spread the adhesive collected near the flange back down around the barbs.
23. Re-install the insert fully into the shaft by rotating one quarter turn while inserting.
24. Wipe excess adhesive off of the insert flange, tip, and exterior shaft with a lint free cloth dampened with 93% isopropyl alcohol.
25. Do not let alcohol seep into the gap between the flange and shaft - this will weaken the bond.
26. Allow the adhesive to cure for 72 hours (72 degrees F at 50% humidity is best).
27. After curing, unscrew the tip from the insert. Apply "Blue Loctite 242" removable thread lock compound to the threads of a tip of your choice.
28. Screw the tip into the insert finger tight.
29. Wipe away all excess thread lock compound that may have seeped out.
30. Allow the thread lock compound to cure for 24 hours (72 degrees F at 50% humidity is best).
31. After the thread lock compound has cured, the arrow is ready for shooting.