Archery - making your own arrows

Discussion in 'General Weapons & Armour' started by Mububban, Oct 29, 2003.

  1. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi all, has anyone ever made their own wooden-shafted arrows?

    My group makes them for use in Combat Archery (paintball with bows and rubber-tipped arrows). Being in Australia, we use Tasmanian Oak dowel, in either 8mm or 10mm diameter. I use 8mm.
    Maximum length is 28 inches, we wrap the shafts longways in fibreglass tape to limit splintering and breakages, and we glue on a rubber blunt. Add flights and nock to taste and away you go!

    We use Tasmanian Oak because it's reasonably cheap (80c per shaft), light and strong.
    Does anyone know what woods are good to use for making arrows? Keeping in mind I live in the southern hemisphere! And weight is an issue as the flat-faced rubber blunt tends to limit flight of your arrow.

    Cheers
     
  2. Haldir

    Haldir Archer Extraordinaire

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    A quick look at our usual supplier (we don't use wooden arrows so I didn't know offhand) and they sell "Port Orford Cedar" which they describe as "The traditional material for discerning archers requiring the best wooden shafts." Not sure of it's availability down in your area but I'm sure it could be imported no problem. We order all our gear from them. They're an English company (not naming names-pm if you want) and we're in Ireland. May seem silly but there's little competition in Ireland so the prices and quality of service aren't upto standard really.
     
  3. Lonearcher

    Lonearcher Nocturnal

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    Port Orford cedar is an excellent arrow wood and is probably the most popular here in the states. There are several others available of course including both hardwood and softwood (cedar is a softwood).

    I started making my own arrows because I thought that it would cost less than buying them. It doesn't. But I enjoy it so much that it's worth the extra effort. Besides, when I make them myself a lot of care goes into each one.
     
  4. javelin98

    javelin98 does anyone read these?

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    We made our own arrows when I was in the Boy Scouts (ah, those were the days...), which was a requirement for the archery merit badge. We also went out and collected some shale, flint, slate, and other flattish rocks and tried to make our own broadheads -- didn't turn out too bad, considering it was a bunch of fifteen-year-olds doing it. We couldn't get them to mount onto a shaft decently, though -- too big and bulky, and even if we had, I doubt the arrows would have flown much further than you could have thrown them!
     
  5. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    You could try doing a net search on really early pre-historic arrows or spears to see how they mounted their bone or stone heads? I imagine they would have split the shaft down the middle a short way, wedged the head in, then bound it as tightly as possible with sinew. But that's just a guess.
     
  6. swordsman

    swordsman New Member

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    THat is correct Mububan. I collect and hunt for ancient arrowheads and spearpoints. During the time of the ice age hunters they used very thick spearpoints of course they would chip a groove about 3/4 of the way up the spearpoints to be inserted into a shaft more easily they they would use senue to bind it to the shaft. The distal or end that was inserted into the shaft was smaller in diameter that the middle of the blade so the sinue would not impede penitration.

    Just a not here it is believed that the blade itself that was mounted onto a shaft was seperat and much shorter , about a for or so long and that was placed on another longer shat and used with an atlatel. when the blade penetrated and the larger one would fall away.
     
  7. DohHunter

    DohHunter Community Defender

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    That's correct Swordsman......it is believed the paleo through archaic ages used foreshafts for atlatl darts.....particularly for Clovis/Dalton etc. points.

    I would gather it was hard finding good dart shaft material year after year when the ice was still covering 1/2 to 3/4 of North America.....so it was probably easier to flake a new point than find a sapling in the dead of winter :)
     
  8. swordsman

    swordsman New Member

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    Very true, they carried with them, I assume, a good supply of spearpoints as well but those shafts were more valuable!
     
  9. Haldir

    Haldir Archer Extraordinaire

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    I might try making my own arrows at some stage. I've only ever bought them as I'm mainly into target archery but they'd probably be better for Clout Shooting. Which I might add is tremendous fun.

    Was doing it with the World Champion, I think, who is from Northern Ireland. Mongolian Recurve bow. Very sweet....

    In the end he snapped about 6 wooden arrows cause he said there were cracks inside them! I wouldn't snap my aluminiums if I thought they had bends! He obvisouly took it extremely seriously.
     
  10. Lonearcher

    Lonearcher Nocturnal

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    Haldir wrote:

    "In the end he snapped about 6 wooden arrows cause he said there were cracks inside them! I wouldn't snap my aluminiums if I thought they had bends! He obvisouly took it extremely seriously."



    Very seriously indeed. If he knew there were cracks in them he was doing as he should to protect himself and anyone else from injury. A weakened wood arrow can shatter on the string when shot, sending splinters flying in all directions! That's just one of the drawbacks to shooting wood arrows.

    I would like to shoot one of those Mongolian bows someday, I've seen pictures and they look pretty awesome!
     
  11. Haldir

    Haldir Archer Extraordinaire

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    Wooden arrows do that? Yikes... Though in a way it's good that they are wooden!

    That day a guy over drew and ended up shooting an arrow that was pointing into his hand. Luckily it snapped in half. Had it been Anything other than wood he would have suffered an extremely bad injury. I can't recollect how it happened exactly. Perhaps it wa a very short arrow or something or maybe it nicked him lightly (wasn't pointed directly into his hand).

    He was ok anyhow.

    Thanks for the info Lonearcher. That's something I must definately remember if I ever risk wooden arrows.

    Hmm... Maybe a full set of armor and sealed front face mask might be in order before shooting those from a powerful bow! :p
     
  12. javelin98

    javelin98 does anyone read these?

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    Hmmm... now that you guys have me thinking about fletching again, I'm tempted to start re-exploring the hobby!

    On a tangent, what if you could dispense with the arrowhead altogether by just flattening/sharpening the tip of the shaft? It's something I have never tried or seen done, but I wonder how it would work. If it were an aluminum shaft it might be strong enough. Any rocket scientists want to take a crack at the physics of such a beast?
     
  13. Lonearcher

    Lonearcher Nocturnal

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    Haldir, I think it's a pretty rare occurrance, I've never seen it happen myself and I've been shooting for years. Personally I prefer wood, can't exactly explain why, I just like the 'feel' of wood arrows.

    A guy shot his own hand?! That had to hurt!

    Javelin98, you may have some difficulty in getting the arrows to fly straight without an arrowhead attached. The arrowhead adds weight which affects the balance point of the arrow. The location of the balance point affects arrow flight. I don't know the exact details, but there have been some articles written on this in the past couple of years.
     
  14. Haldir

    Haldir Archer Extraordinaire

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    Yeah you're right there Lonearcher. The points are very very precise weights (for professionally made arrows-carbon/aluminium-I'd guess good wooden ones would get the same treatment). The add quite a lot of weight in some cases. If you hold an arrow without a point and hold the point in the other hand it's quite noticibile how light the arrow is and the weight of the point is also very noticible.

    It relates to the thickness of the arrows and the length too (moreso the thickness if I remember correctly).

    Javelin98: I'm sure you know but perhaps you don't that Aluminium Arrows are hallow. This would make it rather difficult to make a point from them. I guess you could flatten it but, assuming it'd fire at all accurately, you'd have to completely adjust the settings on your bow to accomadate it or adjust your style etc if you're doing barebow. Anyway a flat arrow would be far more likely to bounce off of the target (depending on what you're shooting at).

    Lonearcher: you shoot your arrows from your hand? I'll be getting one of those Kevlar gloves before I start resting any arrows on my hand that's for sure!
     
  15. BowCrafter

    BowCrafter Bowcrafter/Archer

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    Yeah..Im crafting a longbow right now..im about half done..Which type of string or rope should i use? The kind i always use get stretched out and than too lang and i have to re-tighten them. Thanks.
     
  16. BowCrafter

    BowCrafter Bowcrafter/Archer

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    Sorry for posting again, but its a REALLY REALLY Longbow...about 4 feet. heh..thx
     
  17. BowCrafter

    BowCrafter Bowcrafter/Archer

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    (5 ft. long)
     
  18. Lonearcher

    Lonearcher Nocturnal

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    Not A chance! All of my bows have an arrow shelf and I shoot off of that. I've tried a couple of different elevated rests but I prefer shooting off the shelf.

    I hope to get an English Longbow someday. I think that the traditional style doesn't have a shelf so I'll definately have to use a glove!
     
  19. Lonearcher

    Lonearcher Nocturnal

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    Bowcrafter,

    It sounds like your'e going to need to have someone make a custom string for your bow. I don't know what type of string material you have tried but the most popular one for a wood self bow is Dacron. If you check some of the traditional archery suppliers you should be able to find what you need.
     
  20. BowCrafter

    BowCrafter Bowcrafter/Archer

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    Ok, thankyou.
     
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