Why is the Balance Point important and how to find it2019-12-12T13:09:05+00:00

This is the second step in what I call “the arrow maker’s conundrum,.

You may recall that I believe there are for (sometimes competing factors within a set of 12 arrows which must be found to harmonize with each other and fall within a certain range to find the “sweet spot”.  Now that we have briefly discussed arrow length, it is time to see how this naturally leads us to finding the balance point of an arrow and learning why this is important for a traditional archer.

Arrow Length

Arrow Weight

Static Spine

Arrow Balance

WHEN WE KNOW THE TRUE LENGTH OF AN ARROW, WE CAN FIND THE BALANCE POINT.

The balance point of an arrow, sometimes simply referred to as F.O.C. (forward of center) is another of the four important factors we need to match to find out “sweet spot” come from this.  That is why it is an important step.

When we know the length, we can find the center of the arrow’s length.  In this case, we have an arrow exactly 32 inches long.  This means our “arrow center” is 16 inches from the crotch of the nock.

Now we can place this arrow on a straight edge and mark the balance point of the arrow.  I use a sharpie because the mark is easily removed with finger nail polish remover.  As you can see in the top photo to the right, the balance point of this arrow occurs at 19.875 inches from the crotch of the nock.

Once we know both of these points, we can calculate the F O C (forward of center) of the arrow.  These F.O.C. balance points don’t have to match each other exactly for bamboo arrows. but they do need to fall within a certain range.  For my quiver, if the arrow is heavier a bit heavier, the balance point should be about 14% – 17% forward of the center of the arrow (F.O.C.)  If the arrow is a bit lighter, it can be a lower balance point to be 14% – 15% F.O.C.

There is a simple calculation for finding the F.O.C. of the arrow when we know both the balance point of the arrow, and the center of the arrow’s length.  In this example, it will look something like this:

  • The balance point of this arrow (19.875 inches) minus the center of the arrow (16 inches) = 3.875 inches.
  • If we take this difference (3.875 inches) and divide it by the arrow length (32 inches) this number is .12109.
  • If we multiply this number by 100 (.12109 X 100) we then have our F.O.C. for THIS arrow.
  • It is slightly over 12%.

Hmmmmm  that is a bit lighter than I would like.  I already suspect that this is an arrow which will need a slightly heavier head.  Since most bamboo arrows usually shoot well with a 125 grain head or a 145 grain head.  I already know that I will put a 145 grain head on this arrow…..MAYBE.  Remember, there are 4 competing factors in that sweet spot!  We have other information to gather first.

WHEN WE KNOW THE TRUE LENGTH OF AN ARROW, WE CAN FIND THE BALANCE POINT.

The balance point is one of the 4 important steps to having highly dependable arrows which group into that teacup if our form is good.  These 4 steps (which might possibly conflict with each other) do require some judgement.  After all, anyone can make an arrow which will hit the bull’s eye.  But it takes skill to make a matching set of 12 wooden arrow which will fit into a teacup at 20 yards.