by Pól Ó Briain

There are three main systems for making nock point (also called nocking points) used within the SCA but they only differ in the fact that that are made from different materials. The principles of how they work are the same. The purpose of a nock point is to give a constant place on your bow string onto nock your arrow.

Why is it important to nock your arrow at the same position on the bow string every time? There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is so you can have a consistency of shooting. If you nock too high your arrows will shoot low and if you nock too low you will shoot too high. It can also affect the angle at which the arrow impacts the target. The second reason is if you nock your arrow too low you will cut your bow hand with the arrow’s fletchings. This happens so very often in the SCA and can be very easily avoided by having your nocking point set correctly.

Weather you choose to make your nock point from brass points, serving string, or tape the placement remains the same. To work out the placement of the nock point place an arrow on the bow, having the arrow rest on your bow hand or arrow rest if your bow has one. The arrow should be at 90 degrees to the string (see arrow 1 in diagram below). Now nock a second arrow above the first making sure that the arrows’ nocks are tight together (see arrow 2 in diagram below). Now remove the first arrow. The base of your arrow should now be one arrow’s width above the arrow rest. Now attach you nock points above and below the remaining arrow, making sure to allow a little room between the nock and the start of the nock point.

Diagram: Placement of a nock point

Surgical Tape Nock Points can be done quickly and are great for new strings as some times nock points may need moved. Simply wrap the surgical tape several times around the string above and below the arrow. If you want it to last more than one day’s shooting cover the tape with nail varnish.

String Serving Nock Points can be done with normal serving string or dental floss. There are a number of ways to add the nock point with serving string. The easiest but not the most pretty, is to tie a simple overhand knot around the string and repeat the process up and down the bow string working away from the arrow.

Brass Nock Points can simply be added using a set of pliers. There are pliers that are designed for doing this which can also remove them. Most good archery stores sell both the pliers and the brass nock points.

Diagram: Brass nock point

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