Saturday, December 31, 2005

My first arrows

Well here they are, my first real arrows. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.

They are made of walnut and maple spliced together. Pretty neat, huh?


At 12/31/2005 5:38 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

Hey Sam,

Happy New Year! Hope you had a good Christmas. :)

At 12/31/2005 5:58 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Happy new year, Dale.

At 1/01/2006 1:24 AM , Blogger Steve said...

Happy New Year Sam!

At 1/01/2006 8:57 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Happy new year Steve.

At 1/02/2006 7:09 AM , Blogger Kelly said...

Those arrows are so cool. Have you shot them yet? Would you be able to tell, by shooting them, if you've made them correctly or not? I'm just imagining it veering big time off to the right if you don't put one of those feathers in perfectly ...

Anyway, Happy New Year!

At 1/02/2006 7:26 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Kelly, actually, if you get the arrows perfectly spined and matched in weight, the feathers have little influence. Some people tune their arrows by shooting them without feathers. It's called "bare shaft tuning." If the spine is too stiff, they'll shoot to the left, and if it's too weak, they'll shoot to the right. The feathers help stabalize the arrows and account for imperfections in the tuning. I didn't worry about spine and weight with these arrows, so there's no telling. I haven't shot them yet because I got a nasty cut at the tip of my finger, and I shoot with that finger. For target shooting, though, I'm sure they'll be just fine.

At 1/03/2006 1:00 AM , Blogger Vman said...

I actually read this blog just for the posts about bows and arrows.

At 1/03/2006 8:19 AM , Blogger Jeff said...

Sam, they look great! How come you spliced together 2 types of wood? Just artistic flair?

Did you actually craft the shaft too? ie. do you have a lathe?

At 1/03/2006 11:04 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

I spliced together two types of wood for (1) artistic flare, (2) the fun of it, and (3) because my walnut wasn't long enough. Here's how I made the shafts:

First, I used my band saw to cut 3/8" square blanks. Then I made chisel ends on the walnut and cut a kerf in the maple. Then I applied glue, slid the walnut into the kerf, lined them up, and clamped together. After they came out, I planed down the maple that had flared out and planed down the corners some. Then I chucked them in a drill and sent them through my handy dandy Lee Valley dowel maker. Then I chucked them in a drill again and sanded them down to size while spinning them.

At 1/03/2006 12:04 PM , Blogger Jeff said...

Sam, how would quality arrows have been made in the pre-industrial era? For instance, how did Native Americans make them?
I know how they made the arrow heads, but what about knocks? How did they fasten fletching?

And have you ever tried to use more ancient techniques?

At 1/03/2006 6:26 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Well, there isn't any one technique all native Americans used to make arrows. They made them out of wild rose shoots, river cane, and tree wood, and the techniques are different for each.

Let's say they were going to make it out of tree wood. They would split the wood along the grain until they had several splinters. Then they let that dry for a long time, straightening it every week. Once it was dry, they'd finish straightening it by heating it over fire and bending it until it was straight.

To get the right diameter, they'd bore a hold into a piece of bone or something by grinding it out with a knife or something. Then they'd slide the shaft into the hole until it wouldn't go anymore. Then they'd sand that area with a rock or something and slide it in the hole again. They'd keep doing this until the shaft were uniformly round along its whole length. Then they'd check for straightness again.

There are about as many methods of cutting self-nocks as there are Indian tribes. Usually on any self nock, you'd wrap sinew around the shaft to prevent the arrow from splitting. Then you'd cut it out or grinding it out with a knife or something. Another way is to cut four notches. Two of them are at 180 degrees from each other. The other are 90 degrees from the first two, 180 degrees from the first two, and maybe 3/8" down the shaft. From there you can sort of bend the wood until it splits from notch to notch, and break away part of it, and you have nocks. It's easier to show that explain.

The feathers would be split and tied on with sinew, and the sinew covered with hide glue. Then the feathers were trimmed, decorated or whatever.

Points are another thing with a lot of variety. Once Europeans came to America, flint and obsidian arrow heads were phased out in favor of iron broadheads which could easily be made by grinding pieces of pots, pans, or whatever they could get their hands on.

The tip was ground to a semi-point and split with a wrapping of sinew to prevent the split from spreading. The point was slid into the split, tied on with sinew, and covered in hide glue.

The arrows could be finished by rubbing them down with lard, oil, painting them, or whatever.

I've never done it like that before, but there are lots of people who do.

Just about all cultures, including native Americans, make footed shafts. The footings are just not necessarily done like I've done them. But the English have been doing them like I did for at least a couple hundred years. I'm not sure how far back they go.


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