How To Set A Nocking Point With A Bow Square

Setting a nocking point on your bow is one of the most important parts of the bow setup, this is because your nocking point will keep your arrow in place allowing you to fire the bow accurately and precisely.

However, if you are new to archery, you might have never even heard of nocking points, never mind a bow square. So you may be wondering where to begin.

In this article, we will be giving you detailed instructions on how to set your nocking point with a bow square as well as introducing you to everything you need to know about this aspect of archery.

Read more:

What Is A Nocking Point

When you buy a compound bow, your nocking point will typically already be in place. However, on a recurve bow, it is very likely that you will need to install this yourself. But, regardless of the type of bow that you are using, the nocking point is a small component on the bowstring that helps to keep the arrow in place.

An arrow has a nock on its base; this is a small cut out that allows the archer to place the arrow onto the bowstring. However, alone, this still leaves a lot of room for instability and therefore, an inaccurate shot.

A nocking point not only keeps your arrow in place while you line up your shot but it also ensures that your arrow is always fired from a consistent position.

One of the most critical parts of becoming a good archer is maintaining consistency in everything you do. From how you stand right through to where you nock your arrow.

In the most simple form, the nocking point is merely a knot in the bowstring which many archers use successfully. However, you can also purchase a metal or plastic nocking point which is attached to the bowstring.

Whichever method you use, you will likely notice a much greater degree of consistency and accuracy in your firing.

Types Of Nocking Point

As we have mentioned, nocking points can come in all shapes and sizes and much like anything else, there are pros and cons to each one. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of figuring out how to use a bow square to set your nocking point, we must understand the different types of nocking points.

Most often, you will see brass nocking points, they are clipped onto the bow and attached using a pair of specially designed pliers. One of the main advantages of this type of nocking point is that they fit very securely onto the bowstring and it is rare that they will ever loosen before you take them off.

Furthermore, many people who have not been practicing for very long find that a brass nocking point makes life much easier. This is because they do not require the arrow to be loaded quickly so you can take your time getting things right.

Conversely, since brass is a rather heavy metal, this can slow the arrow down significantly so if the type of archery you do relies on speed, it might be a wise idea to steer clear of a brass nocking point.

You should also be careful when using a brass nocking point as some archers find that they cause friction on the fingers.

Another common type of nocking point is the tie and these are often used by Olympic archers thanks to their simple design and easy to install nature. What’s more, they are much lighter and will not adversely affect the speed of the arrow.

A tied nocking point is great for those who need to load their arrows quickly and they are also great because they do not rub the fingers. Furthermore, a tied nocking point is even more secure because, short of untying it, they will almost always stay put.

What Is A Bow Square?

If you have never practiced archery in your life, you might be surprised at the sheer volume of equipment and gadgets that are needed to make the sport a success. Many laypeople are under the false impression that all an archer needs are a bow and a quiver of arrows. But this could not be further from the truth.

In reality, if you are going to take up archery as a hobby, or even a profession, you need to be prepared to invest in a wide range of equipment.

One of these pieces of equipment is a bow square. Of course, this isn’t a necessary bit of kit because it is entirely possible to install your nocking point without one. That being said, having one will make the process a lot easier and more straightforward.

A bow square, which is sometimes called a T square is a small accessory that is used for measuring the bowstring. It can be clipped onto the string and is sometimes used for tuning the bow.

Where Should The Nocking Point Be?

It’s all well and good us telling you that you need to install a nocking point on your bowstring but where on earth are you meant to put it? The string of your bow is relatively long and you could be forgiven for thinking that the nocking point can be placed anywhere.

But this is not a correct assumption. The good news is that there is a pretty simple way to locate the nocking point on your bowstring.

You should always use an arrow with a bare shaft; this essentially means that the arrow has not been fletched. You may think that this is counterproductive as many people believe that a fletched arrow will fly better and while this is true, to a degree, a bare arrow will fly just as well.

The reason that it is better not to use a fletched arrow is that there is far more room for error. Unfletched arrows allow for a more precise locating of the nocking point. But even more importantly, if you use a fletched arrow to find your nocking point, you will likely find that any mistakes you make are amplified significantly.

Furthermore, using an unfletched arrow means that the arrow will have no help in flying during the release and this means you will get a much more precise location. Here are some handy tips for finding the nocking point.

  • If you draw with your thumb, you should set the nocking point above the arrow, whereas archers who draw with the fingers will need to place the nocking point below the arrow.
  • If you use an arrow rest, it will be much easier to find a starting point. However, for archers who do not use a rest, you will need to use your eyes to locate the point on the bowstring where the shaft lies horizontally and rests on your hand.
  • It is always a wise idea to start off with the nocking point too high. This is because as you fire the arrow if it is too low, it will bounce off the arrow rest or your hand and fool you into thinking that it is too high, when in reality, it is not.

How To Set A Nocking Point With A Bow Square

We are now familiar with the importance of a nocking point and have gained an understanding of what a bow square is used for. Now we are ready to start looking at how you can use this handy piece of equipment to set a nocking point.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to be using the tie nocking point method.

Step One

Choose the thread that you want to use for your nocking point; some people use dental floss or you can buy purpose-made string for nocking points. Much like other aspects of archery, this is down to personal preference.

Take your chosen thread and run it through a hot glue gun. It is important to note that this is not necessary but it will make things easier later in the process. This is because it will be more straightforward to bind the thread to your bowstring.

Step Two

Now take your bow square; (in some cases, as we mentioned, this might be referred to as a T square or even a bracing height gauge) and place this onto the bowstring at a point just next to your arrow rest. It should rest lightly on the arrow rest without putting pressure on it.

Step Three

You will now need to choose a location that is above the bottom line of the bow square. It might be a wise idea to start at a location that is around 5mm up from the bottom line.

This location is where your arrow will connect to the bowstring but you may not instantly find the right place. You will need to be patient and experiment to find the perfect position.

Once you have chosen where your arrow will sit, you will need to loop your thread around the bowstring and secure it with a knot.

Step Four

Next, you will need to tie another knot underneath the original one, keeping most of the knot on the opposite side of the bowstring. Once you have done this, start tying the third knot over the first knot and keep this facing the same way.

Step Five

You should now continue tying knots, one above, one below and so on until your nocking point is the size and shape that you would like it to be.

Of course, you are going to have some loose thread so you will need to cut this with a sharp knife or pair of scissors. You will want to leave around 5mm.

Step Six

Now take a lighter and burn the 5mm you left over, this will take flame and melt, allowing you to mold it down. For this step, you must be very careful not to damage the bowstring with the flame.

Step Seven

Now you will need to nock an arrow into the bowstring and tie another nocking point on the other side of the arrow.

It is crucial that you leave a small gap so that the arrow does not catch on the two nocking points during a shot.


A nocking point is a small component that is added to a bowstring. This helps to keep an arrow in place giving you a much more consistent and precise shot.

There are various types of nocking points but most commonly, a tied nocking point is used. This is easy to install using a bow square to help you measure and several other pieces of equipment that you will likely already have at home.

About Brad Harris