Introduction: How to Make Bamboo Arrows

Picture of How to Make Bamboo Arrows

This is a companion to my How to Make a Red Oak Pyramid Bow. After all, you don't want to be shooting carbon fiber or aluminum from a traditional style bow.

Step 1: Shafts

Picture of Shafts

The first thing you'll need are some bamboo shafts.  These are available at Lowe's (or other big box stores) as garden stakes. I prefer Lowe's simply because they sell them individually and I can pick through and get the best.

When selecting them, look for reasonabley straight 4 foot stakes about 3/8ths inches in diameter.  They should still have a shiny yellow appearance, if they are faded and grey, pass them up.

Step 2: Straighten the Shafts

Picture of Straighten the Shafts

The shafts, naturally bend in two different ways. They tend to bend gently in an arc between the nodes and acutely at the nodes. These need to be dealt with in turn.

The bends can be removed by heating the bamboo until pliable and bending in the opposite direction. The shaft can then be locked by blowing on the bamboo to cool it.

The inter-nodes should be straightened first, followed by the nodes.

Step 3: Prep the Shafts

Picture of Prep the Shafts

Cut an inch or so off the fat end of the shaft, then measure your draw length plus 2 inches and cut the shaft to length.

Afterwords, use a belt sander or disk sander to smooth down the nodes.

The open pith of the fat end of the shaft needs to be filled, a bamboo skewer dipped in wood glue can be inserted and left to dry.

Finally, lightly sand the entire shaft.

Now's a good time to straighten the shafts again. Practice makes perfect.

Step 4: Making Nocks

Picture of Making Nocks

The nocks go in the skinny end of the shaft. When it comes to making nocks there are "There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, And ever single one of  them is right!"

So this is the way I came up with.

Take a heavy sharp knife and starting about 3/4th inch from the end act like you're sharpening a pencil. Except we aren't sharpening to a point. We want to apply a twist to the knife so the majority of the cut is parallel to the shaft. We want to go in just far enough to meet the pith cavity.

Make the same cut on the opposite side of the shaft.

Once the cuts are made, clean up the nock with a needle file.

Finally I used the heat gun to harden the nock and burn off any stray fibers.

BE CAREFUL! The exposed core burns very easily.

Step 5: Feathers

Picture of Feathers

Just go buy them!

Seriously, I currently buy mine from "bowhunterssupplystore"

Here's Why

Go to the craft store and buy some dyed turkey feathers.
Use you knife to split them down the rachis.
Pinch the split feather between two paint stirrers and grind flat with a dremel sander.
Trim feather to length.
Suffer terrible allergies from all the feather dust while enduring the smell of burning feathers while sanding.
Cost $0.28 each

Order premade fletching online
Cost $0.32

Just buy pre-cut fletching

Step 6: Fletching

Picture of Fletching

Fletching comes either "right wing" or "left wing", one spins the arrow clockwise, one counterclockwise. If you made your own, you need to sort them, don't mix and match.

Fletching can be applied straight, offset or helical, with increasing flight stability. Because my homemade fletching is so large it will be applied straight.

The fletching is spaced 120 degrees apart and a simple template can be made with a compass and a piece of cardboard.

The fletching should be applied far enough forward to leave plenty of clearance at the nock.  The fletching is tacked in place with superglue.

To secure the fletching a whipping of unwaxed dental floss is used to lash down the leading edge of the feathers, it is imperative that this be done, otherwise you can embed a feather in you hand.The whipping is continued up as a open spiral along the feather, and then another tight whipping is done at the nock. Finish off with a clovehitch and a spot of glue to keep it snug.

Step 7: The Business End

Picture of The Business End

These arrows have broadheads attached. For blunts you can just find a 1/4 inch bolt tht weighs 8 grams, drill a hole and screw it in.

For the broadheads a slit needs to be cut. I made a jig using a scrap of 2x4 with a V cut into it and a scrap plywood to stabilize it. The bamboo shaft sits in the bottom of the V, which, coincidentally is aligned with the table saw blade, a quick pass and the slit is cut.
The bamboo should be backed with a piece of masking tape to prevent tear out.

The shaft is them pointed by twirling it against a belt sander.

The broadhead is superglued into the slit and secured with a whipping of dental floss.

The last picture is a test, I took an old arrow, which had already split, fastened in an unsharpened broadhead, secured it with twine and shot it into 3/4 inch ply.

The point just penetrated the plywood, the shaft split but everything is still soundly attached.

Step 8: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

Homemade Bow
Homemade Arrows.
Can fair chase be any fairer?

BTW, disclaimer time

Bow, arrows, broadheads, these are dangerous, they are intended to kill.  This is for informational purposes only and should not be attempted by anyone.


JasmineM22 (author)2016-03-10

Where do you get the bamboo/sticks/shafts?!

REMV_ (author)JasmineM222016-12-31

Some Christmas tree farms that deliver trees to tree lots put the bamboo you see in the pictures in the trees (still unsure as to why) or you could use green bamboo which is the stuff that is growing at my house (which is Oregon) or you go to home depot and look for it there but your best bet is green bamboo or going to home depot and buying a wooden dowel. hope this helped

Kamikazepigeon01 (author)2015-07-09

What material do you use to fasten/attach the arrow heads and feathers to the shaft?

jonguyg (author)2014-12-13

lol, i made mine and am happy with it ^^.

aerdna12 (author)2014-09-27

what if you don't have any points for it?

stierney2 (author)2014-05-05

Another option are hard wood dowels. I got a lot of 24 - 36" 3/8" dowels, a bit of sanding on both front and back sides and I was able to attach traditional nocks on some as well as cut out my own on others. They shoot very good through my stick bow.

Imcrazydude (author)2013-04-30

How well do these fly and what's the spin

justinusmc (author)2013-01-10

great job but don't you need to heat treat the boo to.make it more durable

tech hamster1101 (author)2012-12-23


TheAmateurArtisan (author)2012-12-13

How long do these hold up? and do they degrade in storage? I'd hate to make such great arrows and then leave them over the winter to die.

iacchus (author)2012-11-09

Good job on both the bow & arrow instructables. If you cut your slot longer & glued 1/8th piece of softer wood, ie; softer than bamboo to act as a shock absorber for the broadhead, I wonder if that would help prevent splitting?

The Pendragon (author)2012-10-07

Thankyou this is very imformative. I have make arrows and the hardest part has always been the head.

SeeJacobInstruct (author)2012-09-04

What can I use if I don't have a red tube heater thing? How hot does the heat need to be?

QSDR (author)2012-07-21

ive had some success with these style arrows, i used store bought knocks though. and depending on the weight/ shape/material of arrowhead, i had to place counter weights (electrical wire wound) along shaft

ethiran (author)2012-02-27

where you get arrowheads,i'm in philippines.

ERP1 (author)2011-11-15

I,m new to this. Do you purchase your broadheads?

hrodriguez7 (author)2011-10-12

how much does it cost to make

anibioman (author)2011-07-05

in order for the arrow to fly in a proper arc around how much should the arrow head weigh? btw great instructable.

fuzvulf (author)2011-05-17

nice one. Thanks. A strong 4 out of 5. Sorry I missed this when it was first posted.

bob_da_builder (author)fuzvulf2011-06-17

how will these possibly fly straight? just asking>_>

meburnfire (author)2011-03-24

Tool, can you send the template to me? Like post it on a link on Mediafire. If you can, thank you.

I don't have a template, you can make one in two seconds with a compass.

Draw circle, pick a point on the circumference, draw another circle, continue around the original circle placing the point of the compass where the lines intersect.

Oh. Thanks, Tool

spenfisher12 (author)2010-08-28

you should wrap just above the knock with string to make it stronger just a thing

That's always good advice, which is covered in the fletching step. ;-)

Tool Using Animal (author)2010-08-12


If a modicum of intelligence is used there is little danger. It certainly wouldn't hurt for people to spine their arrows, but I prefer to just shoot and cull the bad ones.

You do realize that people have been shooting bamboo arrows for thousands of years? And that many people still do.

Since you have such little faith in my instructable, I suggest you spend some time at Paleoplanet, where I originally learned to make them.

BTW, I went out and shot the red white and blue arrow from this instructable into my standard cardboard box full of cardboard boxes I use as a back stop.

On shot fifteen the head worked loose,
On shot twenty the shank for the broadhead bent.
Since my string was fraying and needs replacing I stopped there.
The arrow was fine.

what bow do you use

Oh yes, one more thing. "SHOOT AT YOUR OWN RISK" Always, I'm not responsible for anything you, or anyone else does.

tim_n (author)2010-08-12

You spent three years trying bamboo arrows before coming to the conclusion they were a poor subsitute for modern arrows? Good going, I'd have given up after 10 minutes... Meantime I've used them plenty on low tensioned bows, you get the occasional one split, but they'll only snap if you sit on them.

tigerbomb8 (author)tim_n2010-08-13

i have been doing archery for 3 years my bow is 60 pound they snap very quickly

oldanvilyoungsmith (author)2010-08-11

does that sticker say "Obamo O's?" Any way, nice ible, your bow ible as well as this one has been giving me ideas. (my mom hates it when this happens)

top "Fairchild Tropical Garden middle Obama 08, bottom Instructables.

SinAmos (author)2010-08-11

Let the killing begin. Haha. Love it.

firefletcher (author)2010-08-10

Awesome, I need feathers though.... Maybe i'll go look for some tomorrow!

seolfor (author)2010-08-10

Well done, sir! I have seen your ible on the pyramid bow, too, and these are both fantastic.

(YOUR N (author)2010-08-10


nanosec12 (author)2010-08-10

your 'whipping' looks really good. do you know of an instrucible on how to do it, or could you perhaps 'whip' one up to go along with this 5 of 5 'ible?

red-king (author)2010-08-10

I'll have to go get some bamboo stakes....

Ninzerbean (author)2010-08-10

This is so well documented, your instructions are great.

About This Instructable




Bio: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.
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