Spine Testing, Arrow Shafts, Arrow Making and Arrow and Shaft Design for Wooden Arrows

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Spine Testing, Arrow Shafts, Arrow Making and Arrow and Shaft Design for wooden arrows

By arrow making, I mean from a piece of wood or board. Buying the shafts certainly simplifies things, but what fun is that. Most information would still be relevant however whether buying or making shafts.

Remember bad arrows break. Keep your grain straight and test them well.

Here is something you’ll probably learn after your first few arrows if you’re anything like me. It good to research ahead of time, but some of this doesn’t seem to be that well documented. So here is what it took me some time to figure out.

The Spine

The Spine – is that amount of flex a shaft has. It is measured in weight, but the number doesn’t correlate to bow weight. 

So a 55# arrow spine doesn’t necessary mean a 55# bow. The weight of the arrow, the length of the arrow, the weight of the tip or broad head, the grain direction, and likely things I haven’t learned yet all factor into how it shoots.

I showed my process making my first arrows here, but I needed to expand on that. 


Find the right Arrow for your bow, or tune your arrows to your bow.

“You can tune a shaft that’s a little stiffer, but it’s very hard to go the other way, unless your arrow is long enough that you can shorten it”. “Usually the weaker the arrow, the less stable it is in flight, and the longer it takes to recover from archer’s paradox after it leaves the bow. With an arrow that’s the correct spine, and with the correct broadhead or point, you’re starting to create a projectile truly matched to the energy that’s coming off that bow.

The challenge of course is making or finding wooden arrows with the same weight, spine and straightness. You may consider a spine variation of 5 lbs way much, but you’ll need to shot “YOUR” bow and figure it out. Spine is first importance, then weight. Try to select my shafts within a 30 grain range.

Straightness is of course important as well. Check your arrows and you decide. I like to shot arrows and use the ones for hunting that shoot well, after they meet the above spec’s.

As to wood choice, if your making your own you can choose. I’ve found references to almost everything. My first ones were poplar, but I tried oak and maple as well.

Total Arrow Weight

If you were hunting, you would want a heavy arrow of let’s say 10 grains per pound of draw weight. (That means if you shoot a 42 pound bow, you shoot 420 grain arrows.) referenced from here

If you have arrows that are close, add some finish and see if it ups the lighter weight.

Bare Shaft tuning

You want to find out what kind of arrow leaves your bow perfectly and the way to do that is by bare shaft tuning. This means shooting an arrow that has a point and nock, but no fletchings to see which situation you have.

Image from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archer%27s_paradox

As told here, take three of these full-length bare shafts and shoot them at a target at around 10 yards. Initially, because of the longer shaft, the arrows should be “spine weak.” A weak-spined arrow will stick in the target with the nock pointing to the left (for a right-handed shooter; pointing right for a lefty). Then, remove the nocks, and begin cutting down the shaft from the rear to stiffen the arrow. I usually start with half-inch increments, then quarter-inch increments when I’m getting close. The goal is to have the unfletched shaft fly perfectly and stick straight out of the target. If you cut too much, the arrow will be too stiff and the nock will begin pointing towards the right (again, left for left-handed shooters). If tuned absolutely perfectly, a bare shaft will shoot true even at very long ranges.

Bare shaft tuning may not be essential and some do not find it necessary. It would depend on how your arrows fly. Obviously if you are lucky enough to find arrows that “just work” then you may not need it. I find if I’m making my own arrows, why not take the extra step.

Nock and grain orientation

Make the Nock and grain orientation correct. An arrow actually has a top and a bottom. To determine the top from the bottom, simply find the sharp grains of the arrow and note where they point (up or down the shaft). If the arrow is nocked, the bottom grain should point towards the string, the top should point towards the bow. Make sure the arrow is aligned correctly by attaching your nock so the opening is perpendicular to the grain of the shaft as seen below.

You can rad further at https://tradbow.com/wood-grain-direction/









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