Q&A: What is weight matching?

Expert Adrian Tippins explains what weight matching is when it comes to building arrows

Adrian Tippins explains the process of building arrows to an Olympic standard

Q. What is weight matching?

A. I like to think of weight matching as the process of building arrows to an Olympic standard. In simple terms, it produces a set of arrows that are as close to identical as possible. Manufacturers provide us with components that are made to very tight tolerances. Easton, for example, then weigh shafts and give them a weight coding. This code appears on the shaft as C1, C2, C3, or C4 depending on the weight. The shafts are grouped into dozen batches and sent off for public consumption.

Next up is a refinement of that process. At CMA we weigh each shaft in the dozen on scales that can weigh down to 1/1000 of a gram or 1/100 of a grain in order to find micro differences. We arrange all the shafts in weight order. We do the same again with the points. We then insert the lowest weight point into the heaviest weight shaft and work our way through the set, evening out the weights. We have to pay particular attention to the application of adhesive as each point must have exactly the same amount of glue on it applied to the same place.

Therefore we don’t use hotmelt, but something that we have far more control over that has proven to also be much stronger. The points are also spun as they are inserted in the shaft to ensure even coverage and weight distribution of the adhesive. Plastic nocks and vanes will also be weighed in order to find the ones that are the most consistent. Plastic vanes will then be applied with exactly the same amount of glue. For example, a 1.75 inch vane will have exactly 15 equidistant glue spots.

We use a high viscous cyanoacryalate gel that allows us to work with such precision. At the end of the process we can be confident that we have done all we can to produce a set of identical arrows down to obsessive micro tolerances. This may sound fussy, but it’s completely normal for an Olympic archer and is the standard that they require as non weight-matched arrows could have a two-inch discrepancy at 50 metres. CMA has adopted weight matching as standard practice for all high-end arrows.

This article originally appeared in the issue 122 of Bow International magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store: www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk

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