Home Forums Bows and Equipment Beginning Arrow Construction

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    • bmantzey
      Post count: 5

      I’m just getting started with traditional archery and intend to bow hunt for anything and everything possible (and legal 😉 ).

      So what I need/want is wooden arrows with broad heads for hunting and field tips for practice.

      It seems like a pretty basic task to construct/maintain an arrow. Somebody please let me know if I’m missing anything here…


        ‘, ”, ‘

        [*] The right shafts

        [*] Broad heads (glue-in)

        [*] For practice, I’d like to have a screw-in attachment so that I can switch between different field tips.

        [*] Fletchings (plastic ‘feathers’ to start with and then eventually I can collect some real turkey feathers.

        [*] Knocks – how do I attach the knocks?

        [*] A fletching jig. Any recommendations as to which jig I should go with? I notice the price ranges from $25 to $100, and I’m sure there are more expensive operations – there always are.

        [*] DUCO glue

        [*] Fine and ultra-fine sandpaper

        [*] Stain (rit clothing dye + 98% denatured alcohol)

        [*] Clear coat (Big Dipper with a gasket and Waterloo gasget Lacquer). Is there any required special tools I’d need or could help to apply the clear coat properly?

        [*] Am I missing anything?



      Many thanks in advance!

    • Doc Nock
      Post count: 1150

      We’ve got some real “Woodies” hereabouts… so you should hear from them!

      One thing I didn’t see and the reason I permanently walked away from wood, was a spine tester.

      Unless you buy top drawer, hand-spined and weighed shafts, from all reports guys would say 20 yrs ago they’d buy 100 shafts to get 2 dozen matched ones!

      One wood arrow maker I know who does a thriving business, cryptically said that today, it’s more like 1000 shafts to get a few dozen matched!


      I was naive and thought that all carbons in a given dozen of say 5575 would be alike. Troy Breeding straightened me up on that one…and he was right…out of a dozen I did last year, 3 of them needed special fine tuning and came out shorter than the others to get them to fly the same…

      I don’t have and will NOT buy a spine tester to do what is supposedly done, so I just individually tune my carbons, but I’m curious if a wood shooter wouldn’t NEED a spine tester???

      See what your Woodie Love guys say!:roll:

    • bmantzey
      Post count: 5

      At any rate, it doesn’t seem like a major undertaking to get set up to fletch my own arrows.

    • jason samkowiak
      Post count: 141

      broken fingers so sorry this will be a short version.

      buy 3 different spine arrow shafts. the spine the charts say is right and one spine weaker and one spine stiffer.

      you need a taper tool to taper the shafts. pencil sharpener style or wood chuck taper tool.

      before you fletch shoot bare shafts with kocks and field tip only. adjust for spine by cutting shafts. again with my fingers instead of typing all this part do a search on “bare shaft tuning”. this will get you the correct arrow set up.

      once bare shaft testing done fletch them up.

      buy TJ Conrads book “traditional bowhunters hand book” will teach you tons.

      important: when you glue you knocks on your arrow make sure to pay attention to the “rift” and mount knock cross grain to the bowstring. again with broke fingers cant type full detail but look up rift any why its important.

      jig wise I like my jojan best. all are good. jojan and bitzenburger are most common used. you need to figure if you are gonna shoot left or right wing and use same feathers.

    • bmantzey
      Post count: 5

      I’m not sure if there’s any real significant difference to consider (other than the way they spin) when choosing left or right.

      I’m left-eye dominant and right handed if that’s any significant variable…

      Otherwise, I guess I just have to be consistent in my choices. (Such as http://www.vintagearcheryco.com/shop/) and the correct fletchings to match my jig…

      I didn’t get much work done today but I did learn a lot about making arrows!! 😆

    • James HarveyJames Harvey
      Post count: 1130

      I second getting a copy of Conrad’s book. It’s a very handy reference. Mine doesn’t even live on my bookshelf, it lives on my workbench! It’s covered in stains from when I made my first dozen woodies as I was constantly forgetting things and double checking stuff.

      I have one of the cheap Bohner fletching jigs which is fine. The one charm of the single is that all my fletching gear lives in one neat little tool box that I keep packed away as bench space is at a premium for me. But if I had more work space, I’d love a jojan that does 6 at once.

      Regarding taper tools, my first was a cheap ‘trad only’ from 3 rivers and it was just terrible. I went to my local archery shop and he had some pencil sharpener ones from Martin that were leagues better. I had a look online and couldn’t actually find the Martin one, but KustomKing has one from bearpaw that looks exactly the same.

      Hopefully R2 and some others will chip in, guys that have built a lot of woodies and have a lot of insights.


    • Mohawk13
      Post count: 24

      Spine tester is expensive, and in My opinion a waste of money. 2 nails, 2 lbs of bananas and a sharpie are all that is needed. Along with a decent flying arrow from your bow. I use these simple items and have for years.

    • Wolfshead
      Post count: 82
    • RalphRalph
      Post count: 2544

      I’ve been building wood arrows for a long time, not the beautiful show kind that some build, but the kind for use but still nice. When I started I had an old archery book written by Cheri Elliot, I had no idea who she was but it was like today’s Archer’s Bible to me.

      Over the years I’ve bought a lot of gadgets for building arrows, some worked out great some not so great. I’ve never had use for a cut off saw, a miter box and a hacksaw with a fairly fine blade works great. Doesn’t take long to cut a dozen woodies. I have 2-3 kinds of taper tools including an electric one (kind?, not a woodchuck)that I never use anymore. I might though if I were doing more than a dz. arrows at a time. I have no idea the brand name of my favorite hand held type but it’s two ended, one for points and the other for nocks and it has adapters for 5/16″, 11/32″ and 23/64″ shafts.

      I’ve had good luck with Braveheart Archery and his Surewood shafts with those shafts being relatively matched. Without the use of a spine tester and just learning, I’d give them a try. I enjoy having and using my spine tester. I make arrows for friends sometimes and they have different spine requirements as I do as I shoot all kinds of different weights and different bows. Like I said earlier, long time. I have 20 bows and there’s no sense in any of them getting rusty :D.

      I have an electric cresting tool I use at times. I’ve been mostly burning cresting with my torch here lately but I do get a wild hair and paint them at times.

      Anyway to make my long story shorter. You can start with basics, build a set that are, not knowing your draw length, 28″, and 5#’s higher than your bow. The more you’re around archery you’ll see that a true 28″ draw is not common at all. It’s just the standard figure in the formula. Most people draw shorter.

      The old standard for wood arrows and longbows with some cutout on the shelf is +5#s for bow weight. For selfbows, -5#s. You can get by with stiffer with a recurve normally.

      Check out straightening methods. I use heat, a shaft tamer and the shank of a round bladed screwdriver. Whatever is needed or handy.

      Take your time, enjoy the plethora of info available and enjoy. Ralph

    • RalphRalph
      Post count: 2544

      A postscript to the above, remember no two pieces of wood ever bend the same during archers paradox and no matter what inventions or methods used to match wood arrows, man learned a long, long time ago that there is a sound reasoning for feathers on an arrow.

      Like the tail on an airplane and a rotor on a chopper, the fins on a rocket there be a reason, stability.

    • raribnyar
      Post count: 2

      I’ve been fletching my own arrows for a little over a year now and there is so much to learn! My set up is pretty simple: an arrow saw, burner for glue, and a Bitzenburger jig – which I really like.

      I’m not a hunter…yet, but I’m wondering since I can customize my arrows in so many ways, what’s the best color scheme for nocks, feathers, and cap to find my arrows if…when I miss?

      ’cause I’m sure that it’s gonna happen….a lot.


    • Arid zone A
      Post count: 39

      Hey man,,jst keep building and shootin em. In your first post you asked about changing heads, there is only one thing you can use, is is an oversert made out of alum. to glue on to a wood shaft. Adds weight for good FOC. you can use screw-in points & heads and but If you pick a spine weight after all those attempts, it might change with different styles of broadheads. Bear with me. Say you pick a 100gr two blade, and tune up the bow, shooting good. Then you change out the head to a 145 grain 3 blade, on the same shaft, you will in effect weaken the spline weight. Viesa/versa if you start with a heavy head then go lighter,(works for all shaft materials i belive). So picking a shaft spine just for the weight of the bow, might not be the greatest way to go.

      For hunting, figure out what kind of game you are going to hunt, pick a head, get a sampler pack of shafts, build the arrows, and then pick which spine weight shoots best. Then you can build some that are pretty. When I buy a doz. Shafts I build a set of arrows, six with broadheads, three with field points, and three with rubber blunts,they all weight the same. I then have a set I can shoot any target i want. I tend to like white,,but also use red and yellow feathers and flourence nocks.

      Good luck.

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