Episode 1 Shaft Selection

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Episode 1 Shaft Selection

Making wood arrows is never easy, but if you choose the right shaft you can avoid a lot of headaches and frustration.

But where do you start? What type of wood should you buy? I do my best to clear that up for you. 

1. What type of wood?

It used to be that wood arrows were primarily made of POC, these days you have plenty of choices for wood arrows. There are: (not all inclusive)

  1. Doug Fir
  2. Port Orford Cedar (POC)
  3. Sitka Spruce
  4. Ash
  5. Tamarack
  6. Hemlock
  7. Mahogany

The choice really depends on the type of shooting your going to do. All of the above woods can make a really good arrow. Doug Fir, Ash, Mahogany and other hard woods will tend to be heavier in mass weight than the others. Doug Fir averages 75-100 grains heavier than a similarly spine POC. 

Why does this matter? Most bowyers will have a minimum requirement for arrow weight. Usually around 7 grains per pound of bow weight. This insures you have enough arrow there to absorb the energy your longbow or recurve will produce. I personally think an arrow that weighs about 10 to 12 grains per pound of bow weight will make the bow perform quieter. 

If you read the Natal Study done by Dr Ed Ashby, he concludes that an arrow weighing more than 650 grains is optimal for big game hunting. 

2. What makes a shaft premium quality?

As I stated earlier, all the above mentioned woods will make an excellent wood arrow. As long as the shaft manufacture pays attention to detail. The first of which is grain alignment.

A shaft that has its grain running straight through the shaft from one end of the shaft to the other will be strong, straight and perform well. This requires the manufacturer take the time to align the grain when cutting the wood from start to finish. 

A premium shaft will also be round and smooth. This is important when you go to crest the shaft. If the shaft is out of round or had ridges then it will be hard to get fine cresting lines.

Premium shafts are also with in 5 pounds of spine and 10 grains of mass weight. Starting with these tight tolerances will produce a premium arrow suitable for all types of shooting. 

 To see me video on this subject click here.




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