Introduction: Primitive Arrow Quiver
In this Instructable I will show how to make a primitive quiver from a self tanned red stag hide. This project makes use of the hide as both a resource and as a trophy gift that will last the primitive archer for many years.
Step 1: Select Your Leather
For this project I was wanting to make my friend a primitive quiver from a red stag hide that he had shot earlier in bow season. I prepared the hide myself, acorn tanned it, stretched and cured it until I needed it. Now was the time to finally put a knife to the red stag hide!
Step 2: Measure Arrows to Determine Quiver Length.
It is very important to measure arrow length prior to cutting the leather. Remember this motto: Measure twice, cut once!! My friend said that he wanted a Plains style quiver that came to halfway of the fletching. The arrows were about 31 inches so I decided to go with a 29" length of the main compartment. I allowed for 3 additional inches to form the rolled back leather "collar" in the front.
Step 3: Layout for Your Cuts
I used a scrap piece of flat stainless steel to use as a straight edge. I used a carpenters pencil to make the lines because it leaves a nice dark line.
I wanted the quiver to hold about 6-8 arrows so I estimated that I would need a tube about 3-4 inches in diameter. At first I thought I wanted the hair on the inside so that it would help silence the arrows as they were being carried. This hair inside was how I originally wound up the hide when I finished tanning it so it naturally held this shape. I was going to put the fur collar to the outside.
After much deliberation I decided that the fur needed to be on the outside to show off the red of the stag hide and to aid in it's camouflaging while in use outdoors. Plus the hair on the outside looked more like what a caveman would do. Face it, we all want to be cavemen. Twenty years of the internet cannot wipe out what developed in ourselves for millenia as we foraged around the forests.
Step 5: Reverse the Tube and Tie to Hold Shape
It took much rolling to get the hide to wrap into a tube shape in the opposite direction that it was tanned in. I had to clip it on each end with some clothespin type hand clamps and tie the tube into shape and let it set overnight to hold the desired shape.
Step 6: Hole Punching and Lacing
I used a triangle scale to layout the hole spacing and a Sharpie pen to mark the hole locations. I wanted to make sure that I got the same number of holes per side and that was as simple as counting dots. I used a leather hole punch to pop out the holes. I originally planned on using a running stitch with leather lace but found on the first stitch that 1/8 inch leather lace tends to pull hair into the hole as it is stitched and the lace becomes locked and will not sew at all.
I thought about what I could do to alleviate the locked lace. I had to go with brown polished hemp cordage to sew with that had a diameter about half of the punched holes. This string twisted into the PermaLock leather sewing needles and I used a whip stitch to sew up the tube. I cut two small sections of the leather and matched the hole spacing and sewed them into the main stitch as I went. These tabs were sewn in at both the top and bottom of the quiver. (Sorry I don't have the photos for that.) These tabs were where I would later attach the strap that you would sling over your back.
Step 7: Strap Attachment
I used the straight edge to cut a long 1.5 inch wide strap for the quiver. I got my buddy to put the quiver on his back and I measured for his size. I then sewed the strap onto the previously attached tabs and the quiver was nearly complete. I punched some holes on the lower end of the tube and sewed the bottom shut. I then cut two pieces of foam plastic (like the kind found in life preservers) and pushed the two chunks into the bottom to cushion the bottom and give a place for broadheads to be inserted so that they would not cut the lacing.
Step 8: Fill With Arrows and Go Shooting.
Now that your quiver is finished it's time to go shooting!
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7 years ago
how do you make the inside of the hide tough so the arrows don't cut the leather
7 years ago
how difficult is it to tan your own leather? I wana use my first deer hide I get with my recurve for my quiver.
Reply 7 years ago
It can be tough to tan your own hides but the rewards are great. I acorn tanned my hide and that takes much preparation. First you have to gather about 3 gallons of acorns in the fall. Then you pulverize them and put them in old cooking pot and simmer them until you get "acorn gravy". This acorn gravy can be stored in a 5 gallon bucket until needed.
Hide preparation can be equally as tough. You have to take your hide as soon as you kill the animal and start scraping off all the flesh that sticks to the flesh side of the hide. I recommend draping the hide across a plastic 55 gallon drum, flesh side up, and scraping with a sharp fillet knife. This is the most labor intensive part of the leather making. You have to get all the fat and meat off the flesh side so that the oak tannins from the acorns can penetrate the dermis. Once the hide is prepped, stretch the hide on a square rack and stretch the hide tight. Then coat the flesh side of the hide with the acorn mush and gravy mix and put the hide under a shed until the acorn mush dries. About one week in wintertime. Afterwards rake off the dried acorn mush. Some of this mush can be re-hydrated and put on another smaller hide. Slightly wet the remaining gravy and wash off the flesh side and allow flesh side to redry. It should now be tanned and brown. While hide is on stretching rack use baby shampoo to wash hair side. Allow to dry and then you can remove the hide from the rack.
A simple method is to purchase a home tanning kit from Leather Unlimited and use the bottled method. it costs about $14 per bottle and I have not used this method.
Otter hides made very nice arrow quivers. Just skin off like a sock and put a drying board inside the hide. Dries to a perfect quiver.
8 years ago
the quiver was an addition for the worst to an archers arsenal.
Reply 7 years ago
8 years ago on Introduction
Thanks! It was so easy, a caveman could do it!
8 years ago on Introduction
I love the finished look of your quiver! Great leatherwork!