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Author Topic: crafting excellent woodies  (Read 8428 times)

Online Rob DiStefano

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crafting excellent woodies
« on: January 31, 2011, 10:21:00 PM »
crafting excellent woodies - the easy way

this pictorial will show me making up a dozen woodies using basic tools and materials, and including a basic primer on arrow fletching.  

there are lots of good ways to build wood arrows - this is just my most favorite method.

can't skimp on the wood, it pays to buy premium shafting.  surewood douglas fir is my fave - very strong and straight from the get-go.  these 11/32" shafts are a full 32" in length, are 55/60# spined and in a 390 to 400 grain weight range.

unlike carbs, where there is a large dynamic spine range (35-55, 55-75, etc), woodies have narrow spine ranges and they are very sensitive to how you shoot.  there is no substitute for trying a range of spines and making a selection based on personal performance.  

for newbies getting their feet wet in woodie building, my strong advice is to get a test pack of surewood doug fir woods in either 6 spine ranges of 2 shafts each, or 4 spine ranges of 3 shafts each.  make up one bare and one fletched arrow for each spine, test them with yer bows.  also have on hand different point weights, say from 125 to 200 grains (or more), then using hot melt glue you can swap out point weights to weaken or stiffen the arrow spine.  all this testing is gonna make matching woodies to yer bow SO much easier, and get great flying arrows ... promise!

 surewood doug fir test paks from braveheart archery
 
whatever wood you buy, it would make sense to insure they're as straight as can be before working on them.  i roll each shaft on a flat surface (corian kitchen counter top) and if there is a high side, i'll hit it with high heat from a hair dryer or low heat from a paint stripper heat gun and compress that high side using either the rounded shaft of a screwdriver, or a hook (big eye screw screwed in a piece of 1" dowel) or my fave, the groove section of a steel guitar slide ...


             

curt "guru" has an excellent how-to article on  wood shaft straightening.


for each shaft, mark the grain orientation with a pencil - that is, noting one side that has vertical grain when looking at the end of the shaft.  it's the vertical grain that needs to touch the side plate of the arrow shelf because that's where the shaft is spined and strongest.  either end of the vertical grain will do.  no spine meter required.  

either end of the shaft could be for the nock or point.  if the shaft has 'run out', where you can see a grain 'feathering' on one or more sides of the shaft, orient the shaft so that these  'feather(s)' point *toward* the nock end ...

             

get yerself a shaft tapering tool.  a cheap 'pencil sharpener' type will get the job done just fine.  this one i'm using is a more expensive bear paw tapering tool, but it doesn't do any better a job than a cheap plastic one.  i also use a tapering guide for my disc sander - they're easy to make and work well, too.  

             

             

             

get a slat of wood about 32" or so long.  tap in a finishing nail at one end.  about 8" or so down from the nail make a mark on the wood.  if you want to cap the arrow, use this mark as a reference point to lay down a layer of painter's masking tape (1/2" to 1" width) to separate the cap area from the foreshaft.  the arrow nock is NOT glued on - just stuck on so that you can get an accurate cap/crest area mark.  note that this is entirely optional.  here's how that's done ...

             

             

             
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Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2011, 10:21:00 PM »
this next step is also optional - coloring the cap and foreshaft - you could do one, or the other, or as i'll be doing, both.  rather than get into paints and dip tubes and sprays, let's do it the easy and good looking way - wood stains.  use whatever type and color stains you like.  i like using water based aniline dye stains and here i'll do the cap in a light amber and the foreshaft in a darkish walnut.  since this is a wipe on process, you'll need at least one rubber glove, either kitchen or surgical types.  oh, do use 100% white cotton (t shirt) for the wiping 'pad', 2" to 3" square is fine.  and use a separate pad for each color!  the pictures tell the story ...

   

   

   

   

   

   

there are any number of ways to allow the wet stained shafts to dry, here i'm using a block of polyethylene foam to push in the last 1.5" of shaft ...

   

i'll let these dry off for a few hours and then on to the next part of the finishing step!
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Offline Ben Maher

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2011, 10:33:00 PM »
Awesome Rob ... its how I do mine , but I have never thought of the block of wood / nail to hold nocks ... What an ace idea !

Cheers

B
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Offline Stumpkiller

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2011, 10:37:00 PM »
So far so good and looking great.  Absorbing ideas as you go.    :thumbsup:
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Offline bowslinger

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2011, 03:13:00 AM »
Rob,

For once I can't believe my timing.  I just received my first wood shafts, Douglas fir from Surewood Shafts, in the mail today.  Can't wait to follow you progression!
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Offline JEFF B

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2011, 03:55:00 AM »
real nice Rob  :thumbsup:
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other times i let her sleep"

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Online cacciatore

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2011, 04:24:00 AM »
I have already seen some good inputs!!You never finish to learn something.
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Offline Mudd

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2011, 04:41:00 AM »
Nice!

I have a great appreciation for those of you who have the patience to build an arrow.

God bless,Mudd
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Offline Rooselk

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2011, 08:12:00 AM »
This is great! Timing couldn't be better given that I intend to start building my own arrows soon. Thanks for doing this pictorial.
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Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2011, 08:20:00 AM »
please note some additional clarifying text to the first two posts - they're in bold.  part two - clear coats - coming later today.
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Offline 1oldbowguy

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2011, 08:21:00 AM »
;)    Dang, that sure looks good, great info and step by step.   :thumbsup:
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Offline tradtusker

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2011, 08:25:00 AM »
Nice Work Rob looking forward to the rest

i miss making up a nice set of wood arrows!
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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2011, 08:33:00 AM »
Real nice Rob!  
Excellent detail...I will look for this thread in a few months....can't wait!!

Offline penrosefred

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2011, 08:36:00 AM »
Nice job, I just have to try that,
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Online trad_bowhunter1965

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2011, 08:40:00 AM »
Rob you should make a book on all these tip's that you share with the Trad Gang family, you could call it Rob's book of tip's for the working Man.
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Offline Day Dreamer

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2011, 08:44:00 AM »
:thumbsup:

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2011, 08:55:00 AM »
remember, the staining of the shafts is *optional* and not at all needed.  the other 6 shafts of this dozen surewoods are gonna just get clear coated, no staining at all.  fir takes clear well, and will kinda mute down and darken the raw wood color to a nice parchment-like hue after a few wipes of nothing more than clear.

unless you stain the entire shaft, one needs to be a tad careful when clear coating not to bleed the stain from one part of the shaft to the other.  i'll be using three cotton wipe pads again, one for the unstained shafts, one for the amber stain of the cap, and the last for the walnut stained foreshaft - don't mix them up or you'll get color bleeds!  

first step is to *lightly* steel wool buff all the shafts, both the stained and not stained.  i use the ultra fine 0000 steel wool, and cut each pad in half as a full pad is overkill and you get to stretch the wool use.  i use one side of a half pad to buff the amber cap, and the other side of that same half pad to buff the walnut foreshaft - don't mix them up!  after wooling, use a paper towel to lightly rub down either the entire unstained shafts, or use separate towels for each color stained area of the stained shafts (again, so the stains don't bleed).    

 

 

 

 

 

 

next up, the clear coats ...
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Offline Lee Robinson .

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2011, 11:52:00 AM »
If I may offer one suggestion...when orientating the grain and your nock...allign not ONLY so the grain is sideways as Rob suggests, but also notice any run out of grain. The best shafts are going to have straight grain, but almost all wood shafts will have some run out creating "arrow points" in the grain on one side. Allign the shaft so these run outs are on the top and pointing forward. This way should a shaft fail along the grain while shooting it, the bottom will point backwards and be less likely to go into your bowhand.

If that is not clear, let me know and I can illustrate it...or maybe Rob will get to that later.
Until next time...good shooting,
Lee

Online Rob DiStefano

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2011, 12:02:00 PM »
Quote
Originally posted by Protege Longbows:
If I may offer one suggestion...when orientating the grain and your nock...allign not ONLY so the grain is sideways as Rob suggests, but also notice any run out of grain. The best shafts are going to have straight grain, but almost all wood shafts will have some run out creating "arrow points" in the grain on one side. Allign the shaft so these run outs are on the top and pointing forward. This way should a shaft fail along the grain while shooting it, the bottom will point backwards and be less likely to go into your bowhand.

If that is not clear, let me know and I can illustrate it...or maybe Rob will get to that later.
yes, that will be covered during the nock installation.
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Offline Stumpkiller

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Re: crafting excellent woodies
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2011, 12:08:00 PM »
Well I'm now highly motivated.  I just got word my first ever Douglas fir shafts are in transit.  New material to play with.  (Ramin didn't do it for me a few years back).

Plow ahead so I can follow in your wake, Rob.    :thumbsup:
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