Introduction: Archery Back Quiver

Here is an archery quiver that I constructed.  I used cow hide that I picked up cheaply at  a craft market.  The hide is about 3mm thick and I used a section about 600mm x 400mm, not including the straps.  The straps were made from the same hide.  All of the fittings (buckles and rivets) came from a local antique/bric-a-brac store and a local saddlery supply shop.  In total there is about $35 worth of materials here and it took me 4 - 5 hours.  I should note that I am not a leather work expert so if you are then please forgive any mistakes.

There were some limitations to this project such as the fact that I could not machine sew this material and the thought of hand sewing it with thread made me cringe, also I have not skill at leather carving or embossing so it is a bit plain.  Cost was also a limiting factor as the whole point of making this quiver was because I had no desire to pay over $100 for a quiver from an archery supplier.

I researched quivers on the internet, at my local archery club (looking at commercially available quivers - mostly side quivers) and by browsing archery supply stores (which are few and far between).

Step 1: Design

The process was started by doing some concept sketches to get an idea of what the quiver would look like before a pattern could be made.  As you can see from the picture the original idea was to have the quiver and the straps separate but linked by D-links or buckles.  The drawing shows the rough shape and dimensions.  The dimensions were attained by laying 6 arrows on a table and measuring the size that they occupied and adding a bit extra and then rounding that number for simplicity.

the drawing on the right is the layout for a pattern and the center line also represents the line where the leather will be folded so that the two outside edges come together.

Step 2: The Template

A template was produced by copying the dimensions from the sketch onto a piece of construction cardboard and then free-handing the outline in.  At his point the design was changed to make the straps come from both sides.  This design was chosen because the pattern was symmetrical around the center line and it would give the straps more durability.  It was also because the finished quiver was to have two straps by this point.  The main strap over the shoulder and across the chest and another strap to go under the right armpit and attach to the main strap on the chest.  the second strap would provide the quiver with more stability and make it sit in position without too much movement.

Also I only made one half of the complete template so that both sides would be mirror images (no drawing variations from one side to the other), and this would make folding the quiver and matching the sides and straps together easier.

Step 3: Cutting Out

The template was laid on the leather (rough side up) and then the outline was traced with a soft pencil.  The template was held in place and flipped over to pencil in the opposite side.

The outline was then cut out using strong scissors.  Scissors were used rather than a knife because at this stage the project was being done using the dining room table, and it was a long irregular outline and scissors provided more control.  Good strong scissors (such as your wife might use to do her scrap booking and fabric crafts) need to be used because leather is difficult to cut.

Once the pattern had been cut out the edges were trimmed with scissors and a knife to provide a cleaner finish.

Step 4: Cut Out

The picture shows the cut out hide.  I looks a bit like an animal skin.  You can see the symmetry and also the taper from top to bottom.  the bottom of the quiver is also at and angle and this allows the arrows to protrude from the top in a staggered fashion making it easier to reach over your shoulder and grasp an individual arrow.

Step 5: Punching and Lacing

At his point there was a break in the work for about a week and I forgot to take pictures of the whole process when work was resumed.

However, a hole punch and a hammer were used on a wooden block to punch out the lacing holes.  The quiver was folded in half and held in place by three small spring clamps (hardware store), and holes were punched every 15mm (the distances were not measured just estimated).  I was important to keep the holes as even a possible and also an equal distance from the edge (about 10mm).  Go slowly as once a hole is punched it cannot be changed.

I then laced the edges together using kangaroo hide lacing (saddlery supplies, some craft stores).  

To lace the edges feed the lacing through the first two holes until the lace on both sides is of an even length.  Then starting with one side thread the lace through each of the sets of holes all the way to the end.  Then repeat the process with the other lace so that it is crossing the first lace on the outside edge of the quiver (see photo).  When you get both ends through the last hole tie them off using whatever knot you are comfortable with and add a few drops of glue (I used superglue, but craft glue -PVA would also work).  Then ends of the laces were not trimmed but were split using scissors and allowed the hang down.

Once the edges were laced the strap ends were shaped to soften the square edges.  To do this the center of the straps were marked and curves were drawn on using a sift pencil and then cut and trimmed with scissors.

Step 6: Straps

The straps were made by marking out long rectangles on the rough side of the hide using a soft pencil.  The lengths of each strap was determined by wrapping a tape measure around my body were I wanted the straps to go and measuring and then adding a bit more for good measure.  How much more?  Its up to you, I added another 100mm to each strap because I wanted to ensure I had enough length and I did not mind cutting off the extra length if it was not required.

The straps were then cut out using scissors and, as the work had now moved to the workshop, a ruler and knife.

There were three straps in total.  The main strap over the chest is in two parts to be joined with a buckle, and the underarm stap in one piece.

Step 7: Attaching the Straps

When the time came to joint the straps rivets were used because I could not sew the pieces together using thread.  A piece of ironwood was used as a hammering block to avoid damaging my workbench.

A hole punch was used to punch a hole through the two ends of the strap on the quiver with the separate strap sandwiched between.

A leather rivet (2 part) was placed through the hole and hammered home.  The rest of the rivets were attached in a diamond shape to make the join more secure in case one rivet came apart and to spread the load on the leather.

It would have been preferable to use bronze or copper rivet but all that was available were nickle plated ones.

Step 8: Attaching the Straps 2

The two strap stubs at the bottom of the quiver were split so that one could be used to attach the main chest strap and the other would attach the underarm strap.

The top strap stub (see first picture this step) was used for the main strap and the bottom one for the underarm strap.  this meant that  all of the rough sides are not visible when the quiver is worn.  

the same process was used as in the previous step except that this time the rivets only had to go through two layers of leather instead of three.

Step 9: Buckles

A stainless steel buckle (does not have to be stainless steel you could use nickle plated, brass or bronze) was attached to the bottom half of the main strap.  It is attached to the bottom half so that when the two halves are buckled up the tail of the strap (like the end of your belt) will hang down towards the ground rather than up towards your head which would be irritating.

A rectangular hole was cut using a 12mm carpenters chisel.  this tool was used because it allows a small, accurate hole to be cut by just pressing the chisel straight down where you want the leather cut making a neat straight cut that does not need to be trimmed.  To cut with a chisel in this manner the chisel must be kept very sharp to make the cut cleanly.

The buckle was threaded on to the strap and the end folded over and secured with two rivets.

Step 10: Last Strap

Next was the underarm strap and this posed two problems.  The first problem was that I wanted to use a smaller buckle to attach this strap to the main strap and the second was how to make the underarm strap attach to the main strap.

Because the straps had already been cut to the same width and attached to the quiver the underarm strap needed to be narrowed.  The center of the strap was marked for the length it needed to be narrow (about 350mm).  Then parallel lines were marked 9mm to each side of the center line (to suit the size of the buckle to be used).  Curves were then drawn in to avoid making square corners (picture 2 this step).  The strap was then cut out with scissors.  The end of the strap was pointed and holes were punched at 10mm intervals to allow the buckle prong to go through.

To enable the underarm strap to be connected to the main strap a sort of mini strap was made and attached to the main strap perpendicular to the main strap.  this little strap was 90mm long before the buckle was attached.  Picture 5 (this step) shows the use of a 12mm carpenters chisel to cut out the hole for the buckle prong.  The mini strap was attached to the underside of the main strap using three rivets.

The location of the mini strap was determined by wearing the quiver with the main strap tightened to a comfortable length and then locating the underarm strap in the most comfortable and effective place on the main strap and then marking the main strap with a soft pencil.

Step 11: Almost Finished

As you can see from the pictures the quiver fits snuggly against the body.  This is good because it prevents the quiver from moving too much.  You can also see how the underarm strap attaches to the main strap at the front and how the main strap joins with the tail of the of the strap hanging down towards my left arm and out of the way.

Step 12: Final Step - Staining

The final step is staining the quiver.  I used some boot polish dissolved in acetone (hardware store) to create a stain.  I could have used commercial leather stain but the saddlery tore did not have nay in stock and it was quite expensive.  

I applied the stain using a cloth and only stained the smooth side of the leather as this side does not soak up as much stain as the rough side.  I also did not stain the fold over at the top (mouth) of the quiver to add contrast.  I thick the stain improves the look quite a bit.

I have now used the quiver for field archery and while for the first half hour it was a bit awkward reaching back for the arrows and then putting them back in successively each time, it did not take long to become accustomed and now I can do this every time with no mistakes.

There will be a further addition to this quiver as I plan to put a two small pouches on the main strap at the front to hold spare strings etc.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable, and I hope to do more in the future.