Author Topic: River cane  (Read 482 times)

Online Possum Head

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River cane
« on: October 05, 2019, 01:06:20 PM »
Just came across an abundant supply just the right size. When is the best time to harvest and when it dries is it bad to split?

Online KenH

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Re: River cane
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2019, 01:53:46 PM »
Right size for what? Multi-piece arrows?   Rivercane is too small of diameter to be useful for bow-building; it does not grow more than 1" in diameter. 

That being said, the right time to harvest in now... six months or so after the new culms have sprouted and grown.  You don't want old dead cane, and you don't want this year's new cane.  You want cane that has grown and thrived for at least one season.
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Online Eric Krewson

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Re: River cane
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2019, 10:27:09 AM »
Take a box end wrench and cut cane that is a tight fit in into a 3/8" open end. Leave it long and bundle it up to dry. I use a spine tester to pick out a 28" section in my spine range after it dries.

Although spine in a cane arrow is not near as critical as a wood arrow, they all shoot pretty good once straightened unless they are vastly over or underspined.

Online Pat B

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Re: River cane
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2019, 03:13:47 PM »
If the cane isn't over 1/2" in diameter it is probably switch cane(Arundaneria tecta) that you found. It is one of the 3 native canes. River cane grows to 3/4" to 1" in diameter and to 15' tall.
Many folks use "river cane" as a generic term for wild cane but it is only one of the 3 native canes here in the US. There are many exotic canes(bamboos) growing in the US also.
I usually harvest cane in the winter so I don't have to worry about bugs and snakes but any time after the growing season is OK to harvest. Be sure you only cut mature culms(canes). All 3 natives canes have a 3 year life cycle. They grow to their ultimate height the first year, mature the second year and die after the 3rd growing season. After the second growing season is the time to cut it. With hill cane and switch cane the papery sheaths at the nodes will be deteriorated or have fallen off when the culm is mature enough.   
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Online Bob D

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Re: River cane
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2019, 11:03:17 AM »
Thanks Eric and Pat for that bit of info. It prompted me to Google “river cane” and get a bit more educated. I often wondered how the Thompson
brothers could be so successful with cane arrows on their Fl hunts. Cane here in the north has the hight and diameter but is very wimpy. It grows to mature in one short summer and then gets smashed by feet of snow. It starts over again in May. It more resembles giant 10 foot hay grass.
Anybody have a picture of some of their cane arrows?

Online Pat B

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Re: River cane
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2019, 11:21:34 AM »
Bob, what you have could be phragmites and not a true cane like the Arundaneria genera, the 3 native canes of the US, A. gigantia(river cane), A. tecta(switch cane) and A. appalachiana(hill cane). These native canes grow in the south and southeastern US with A. appalachiana(hill cane) only in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
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Online Bob D

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Re: River cane
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2019, 12:07:24 PM »
Thats it Pat.
Thanks for putting a name on it. Locals call it cane but as you point out, it is not.
It’s kind of an interesting plant, but has no archery use. Maybe if you want to thatch a roof... :dunno:

Online Pat B

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Re: River cane
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2019, 12:29:33 PM »
Native Americans from the Southwest did use phragmites for arrows. Not very durable but it only takes one shot to do the trick. There are a few guys on Primitive Archer that have made arrows from it.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
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Online wood carver 2

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Re: River cane
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2019, 04:18:57 PM »
I always thought that phragmites is an invasive grass. It’s everywhere up here. I’ve seen it 15 feet tall.
Dave.
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Online Pat B

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Re: River cane
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2019, 05:12:43 PM »
Phragmites australis is native and endemic to North America and South America.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
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Online wood carver 2

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Re: River cane
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2019, 06:47:34 PM »
Thanks Pat. We’re being told here that they’re invasive.
They might not make the best arrows, but they do make a great highway safety barrier. I once saw a lady spin out at 70 mph and go right into a big patch. It stopped her car in less than 30 feet. When I helped her out of the car, she wasn’t injured and neither was the car.
Dave.
" Vegetarian" another word for bad hunter.

Online Pat B

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Re: River cane
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2019, 07:19:33 PM »
Phragmites australis is considered invasive or noxious in some states and can be very invasive in wetlands.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
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