To start, this is not my idea. It may have been around forever. Too, there may be a better way to make a laminated arrow self nock; but regardless of how you make it, a laminated arrow nock is substantially stronger than the basic self nock. This tip assumes that you already know how to make self nocks and addresses reinforcing the nock area with a harder wood before cutting the nock.

Choose a laminating material that is stronger than the arrow wood itself. Most bow woods such as bamboo, Osage orange, elm, maple, etc. will fit the bill.

Make the lamination inserts about 3/32″ thick, with the grain running lengthwise. They should be a bit wider than the arrow and longer than the usual 3/4″ depth of typical slots.

Before starting the next step, practice cutting a slot into scrap wood that will just fit your lamination inserts. I use a band saw, but a hacksaw or two fine-tooth blades taped together will work just as well.


Next, cut a slot 3/4″ down the shaft, parallel with the grain of the wood. (The actual nock throat will be cut later at a 90° angle across the grain.) Sand the slot smooth, then glue the lamination insert into the slot using Titebond® or other wood glue. Place a clamp on the nock and wait until the next day to continue.

Once the glue is dry, sand the nock end of the shaft smooth on all sides. You are now ready to cut the throat.


Drill a 3/32″ hole at the base of the throat and across the grain of the shaft. Then, cut a throat down to the hole. The cut should be made a bit narrower than your bowstring to get that “click and stay” when placing the arrow onto the string. Finally, sand the throat smooth and shape the outside of the nock to suit your fancy, which wasn’t much in my case. Add some thread or sinew to strengthen the nock and you are done.

Editor’s Note: Steve Graf knows a lot about woodworking and building “bows, arrows, or any other thing of wood.” His recently published book, The American Longbow: How to Make One, and Its Place in a Good Life can be found at 3Rivers Archery, or Barnes and Noble.