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ArcticDave

Making arrows

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With a new bow on order and gagging on the price of "progress" for store bought ammunition...I decided to learn the ancient art of making arrows. 

I have an electrical advantage over my neolithic ancestors. I adapted the router doweling jig I found online into a table saw version. It is stupid simple, but after a bit of learning, turns out good dowel stock. It's a block of wood...thats it. I drilled an 11/32" hole through the block, that's my final arrow shaft size, and then redrilled with a 1/2" bit about a third of the way through. Clamp it against the rip fence and go to town. 

I ripped some 3/8" square stock in the table saw. I then used a small drill with a 3/8 square socket to drive it. 

The rig will fashion an arrow shaft from a strip in three seconds. :laught16: 

My first attempts are a little rough, but 3 of the first 5 are good enough to shoot at a straw bale. 

 

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Ingenious mister, you ought to get with Tom he's a master with making jury rigs to make things.  He might be able to give a hint or two on the shaft making.  I might have a couple of broadheads laying about around here that you can have.  

       Old Tom

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might want to weight them to make sure they a consistant , if not they will not group well..

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1 hour ago, azdigger said:

might want to weight them to make sure they a consistant , if not they will not group well..

I will for the good ones. This was just a pine board I ran through to see how it would work. These spine on the low side, so they will be fine for the 20lb bow the GF is shooting. 

I sharpened the end with the taper tool and hot glued the field points on. After the glue cooled, I was able to chuck the field point into my drill for sanding and finish application. I will fletch them when she returns them after cresting. 

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If you are shooting these from a compound bow be extremely careful wooden arrows are known to come apart when being shot from a compound bow. I know this from over 40 years of experience hunting with bows and I would hate to have you shoot your eye out.

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Oh gad, I can see bill's chickens all running around bare ass.  :nono:   :arrowheadsmiley:

   Old   Tom

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9 hours ago, WASP said:

If you are shooting these from a compound bow be extremely careful wooden arrows are known to come apart when being shot from a compound bow. I know this from over 40 years of experience hunting with bows and I would hate to have you shoot your eye out.

Stick bows only in this household. Compound is a dirty word here :)

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That spindle jig on the table saw is exactly how I turn the ends of natural sticks to fit in round holes. I use it to shape the ends of table legs, spindles and latillas so they fit nicely in drilled sockets.

I am working with PEG and Pentacryl to treat wood that I cant get into my stabilization chamber. I bet you could soak those shafts in Pentacryl, straighten them with a little heat and have them mighty stable.

A piece of PVC pipe long enough to hold a bunch of arrows and a HVAC vacuum pump would be all you need to resin stabilize shafts like that. It would really improve strength and consistency. You could even dye them colors. If'n I was going to go through the trouble of making my own shafts I think I would stabilize them with Cactus Juice and vacuum. 

It would sure eliminate a lot of splits and make the shafts much more durable. Any imperfectons or bad grain in the wood is bonded together with resin. It fills all the open areas of the cellular structure of the wood and creates a stable, uniform piece of material. They would all weigh exactly the same too. It would really be a step forward from a turned wood shaft.

The wood in the bow is stabilized exactly like that. All laminated wood bows, rifle stocks and such nowdays use vacuum/resin stabilized wood. Arrows would be a cinch to do. You would be the only kid on the block doing it too. 

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That's an interesting idea that may be worth experimenting with. My initial concern is the weight after treatment. That extra weight could be compensated for however, by reducing the diameter of the shaft. Something to ponder for sure. I have a commercial grade vac pump for the ac work I used to do. That cactus juice isn't cheap, but probably is the best option. 

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You could use good old fashioned polyurethane under vacuum too. Or that Minwax styrene stuff. It would be lighter and would really help stabilize. The Cactus Juice is heat cured so it is quick. The other methods might take days or even weeks to fully dry and cure. They might work just as well for your purposes.

The big thing is to pull all the air out and let atmospheric pressure drive it in there for a few hours after the vacuum is released. You could use enchilada sauce and it would vastly improve the strength and stability of the wood. Most solvent based finishes would dry on a thin arrow after a few days. So the field is open for a creative guy with a vacuum tube. 

Cactus Juice might be a bit heavy. You might be able to draw a lighter vacuum and not penetrate the wood as much. It would still seal any faults, cracks or open grains but may not go right down to the cells of the wood. For an arrow it really does not matter. And you only use the amount that soaks into the wood. The rest you pour back into the jug and use again. So it is pretty economical stuff if you use it wisely. A little goes a long way unless you are stabilizing rolls of toilet paper.

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2 hours ago, Bedrock Bob said:

A little goes a long way unless you are stabilizing rolls of toilet paper.

I bet someone, somewhere has done that. :laught16:

There are some really cool pics of people soaking all kinds of materials. Pine cones, corn cobs, balls of grass or drill shavings. Neat stuff!

I may experiment with some of those after I get my manufacturing technique down. 

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20 minutes ago, ArcticDave said:

I bet someone, somewhere has done that. :laught16:

There are some really cool pics of people soaking all kinds of materials. Pine cones, corn cobs, balls of grass or drill shavings. Neat stuff!

I may experiment with some of those after I get my manufacturing technique down. 

I bet you could stabilize and cast the shavings from that spindle jig. Those chips are almost like excelsior. They would make a neat pattern for a set of pistol stock blanks or knife scales.

I saw a pine cone that was stabilized and cast in bone colored resin. They stuck it in a plastic cup and poured the resin in over the pine cone. Then when it cured they split it right down the middle. It was the coolest pattern ever. They made knife scales with the center of the pine cone facing out. They carved contours on it then dipped the whole thing in a coat of clear resin.  It was the sweetest knife handle I have ever seen. You could never imagine that it was a pine cone turned inside out.

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Making arrows, would make me Quiver. Grubstake

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I was at the home despot the other day and I wondered through the hardwood section. I found a beautifully straight 1x12 of yellow poplar. The price was about $20 for the 3' piece I had. I managed to get it for free :brows: by sweet talking the cashier girl...who really didn't want to look up something with no bar code. 

I reduced it all down to 3/8" square stock and after tuning my doweling rig, ran them all through. They came out great. The improvements I made to the jig  increased diameter consistency 1000%. Initial spine test of my blanks indicate they are all in the ball park of the needed deflection and I think I can use all of them with a little tuning and weight matching. Final cost for all components of these arrows come in at $2.30/ea with real feathers and target points :D 

Yeah...I'm a cheap bastard. :yesss:

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Not CHEAP Dave just frugal ... your money better served in your pocket! Home Depot has plenty in their pockets! :inocent:

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On 12/23/2018 at 5:01 AM, ArcticDave said:

Stick bows only in this household. Compound is a dirty word here :)

Hey Dave, I have an antique stick long bow that I've had for nearly 65 years and it was probably purchased about 1930 or so, good shape, but I have no idea of it's value...Any ideas? Cheers, Unc

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5 hours ago, Uncle Ron said:

Hey Dave, I have an antique stick long bow that I've had for nearly 65 years and it was probably purchased about 1930 or so, good shape, but I have no idea of it's value...Any ideas? Cheers, Unc

It depends on who made it Unc. If it's a Howard Hill or a Fred Bear, it's going to command a premium over a Joe Blow made bow. Well known bow makers can fetch several hundred easily. 

A lot of those old bows are still usable. If it's still in good enough shape to fire, try posting it on a couple of the traditional archery forums. 

Primitive archer and traditional talk are two I've gotten a lot of info from. 

What is it, recurve or longbow?

 

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10 minutes ago, ArcticDave said:

It depends on who made it Unc. If it's a Howard Hill or a Fred Bear, it's going to command a premium over a Joe Blow made bow. Well known bow makers can fetch several hundred easily. 

A lot of those old bows are still usable. If it's still in good enough shape to fire, try posting it on a couple of the traditional archery forums. 

Primitive archer and traditional talk are two I've gotten a lot of info from. 

What is it, recurve or longbow?

 

Hey Dave, it's very good shape and has an excellent string on it...It is a longbow, about 5'+ as I recall...I've had it in well protected storage for the past 20+ years...It is a right hand bow and I shoot lefty so I haven't used it much over the years although when I was a kid I was able to take down several Jurassic critters back then...I'll get it out of storage for some pix ... Thanks for the info, Dave...Cheers, Unc

 

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Hey Unc, being of that age it is probably not a glass laminated bow and is straight lemon wood or something.  More likely a Howard Hill bow if store bought.  Don't draw that thing all the way back because I have seen them shatter and it's not nice.  The bow string if not waxed through the years will get dry rot and 'boom'.  Be very careful, I have a Bear glass lam recurve that I bought back in 1951 and wouldn't think of stringing it up.  

   Old Tom

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Tom you have a good point. If it's dried out, then it could be an explosion waiting to happen. Those old bows are pretty tough though.

Uncle Ron, when you dig it out of storage, just check it over thoroughly. Bend one limb at a time over your knee gently, while listening and feeling with your fingertips along the curve. Obviously anything crunchy sounding would be a warning sign. If it passes that test and you're confident in your string...string it up and give it a gentle tug. If it still feels good after that, pull it to full draw while listening carefully. 

Something a lots folks don't know about shooting stick bows,  is that you DO NOT hold at full draw more than a second or two. You will lose all the punch from the limb the longer you hold it at full draw. Oh...and use a B-50 dacron string ONLY! A Fastflight or newer high performance string can damage the limbs of old bows.

Unc, if the bow passes muster and you want to shoot it, you're welcome to bring it over. I have 4 straw bales set up at the back of the Nuggetshooter compound in a nice range area. :)

Old Tom...that old laminated Bear may be tougher than you think! I have my late brothers 50's era Pearson Super Jet that we have been shooting and it is all fiberglass. Dang thing is as ugly as a pan of hot guts. It looks like it was carved out of a bar of brown Irish Spring soap:25r30wi:

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Making arrows is relaxing. Took a bit to figure out how to use the fletching jig, but the results are good now. I even tried some arrow cresting. :)

 

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Looks like a nice helical fletching on the vanes. And I like the traditional nock notched into the arrow shaft rather than the more modern plastic. Well done!

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Thanks Mike :D

I have plastic nocks, but I wanted to make a few with self nocks and see how I like them. So far so good. A bit more time to make, but they are holding up okay. 

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5 hours ago, ArcticDave said:

Old Tom...that old laminated Bear may be tougher than you think! I have my late brothers 50's era Pearson Super Jet that we have been shooting and it is all fiberglass. Dang thing is as ugly as a pan of hot guts. It looks like it was carved out of a bar of brown Irish Spring soap:25r30wi:

Yeah Dave, that was the first bow that I owned myself.  It was ugly and shook you when you shot it, no smooth release.  Got my first kill (six pointer) with it at age 17.  There were really no one in the woods back then to contend with.  Archery hunting was in it infancy in the 40ty's and 50ty's.  We would hide in the tall grass along side of the wood line and wait for a white tail to come out to eat breakfast.  They were a creature of habit unlike the muley out here.  

   Old Tom

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