Wood Grain Direction

Many archers don’t know that there is a top and bottom of a wood arrow shaft, and care must be taken when building arrows to take this fact into account. If you look at the shaft you will notice a slight feathering on opposite sides. This is called the rift of the grain and is the weakest part of the shaft. It also designates the top and bottom of the arrow shaft. You will notice that the rift runs one way on one side of the shaft and in the opposite direction on the other side.

You will want to place the rift that is pointing toward the broadhead end of the arrow on top, or at the 12 o’clock position when nocked, and the rift that points toward the nock end on the bottom, or six o’clock position when nocked. The reason for this is that if the arrow does come apart when shot, the broken rear section will break up and away from your bow arm, thereby preventing the shaft from becoming imbedded into your arm or hand.


About the Author:

T. J. Conrads is the Editor, Publisher and Founder of Traditional Bowhunter Magazine. He has written many articles over the years, and has also written two excellent books: The Traditional Bowhunter's Handbook and Campfire Reflections.


  1. Steven Palubinski August 15, 2018 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Brilliant article. One of those uncommon sense things, especially about fletching so an arrow fails in a safe direction. I would think grain orientation affects stiffness and so archers paradox.

    Thank You.

  2. Eddie August 15, 2018 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Thank you always wondered if I was doing it right.

  3. Chuck cote August 15, 2018 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Remember….arrows are “handed”. If a right hand shooter gives his arrows to a left hand shooter the rift is wrong.

  4. John Rufnr August 15, 2018 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    Great TOW. After 55 years you can still learn something new. I knew all the as presented EXCEPT the desired direction of the rift! Makes sense but I had never thought of it before. Going to have to check all my arrows to see how many I have built wrong. Thanks TJ!

    John Rufner

Leave A Comment