Traditional Arrows

Introduction: Traditional Arrows

Arrows!! Carbon versus Wood..... Carbon are easier to get, faster and good for target and Olympic and can come in tiny diameters r super fat for splitting a line and getting points.

Wood arrows are for traditional (never compound) Shooters. I’d done right they are still pretty fast, hard hitting, and are very rewarding to build. Once set up, one can make them in droves and cheap as well.

To date I have built over 280 + wood arrows. I used to shot carbons, but my luck had it that I would, lose, break, fracture, and ruin my expensive carbon arrows. Love traditional things, I love design and from scratch building and DIY projects.

So here is a break down on wood arrow building.


- They come in various diameters, 5/16, 11/32, 23, 64

-11/32 is common and a good diameter for most applications.

- Common woods and most sought after (DO NOT USE HARDWARE STORE DOWELS) * unless you don’t care about consistency, quality and safety.

- Port Orford Cedar* Rules! - Douglas fir is great too. - Bamboo * heard good things - pine is ok, but doesn’t respond to straightening

Things to consider when selecting and preparing batch of arrows.

-make it worth your while, make 6 or more, I usually make 13 (I put one aside for future reference always out of each batch)

- Consistent grain direction (not wavy, straight up and down the shaft)

-consistent spine (flexibility measurement)

- matched spine to your draw weight if your bow is #45 pounds make sure your shafts are spine for #40-45 or #45-#50.

*note spine cannot be adjusted it’s just how it turns out the shafts flexibility is/was when they were made.

-Most suppliers will sell you spine matched sets with close weight match spine within 5 pounds and weight within 20 grains

*I will list good suppliers of shafts in a supply rundown

- Basic tool list

- exact/OLFAknife and pack of blades ( always use new and sharp blades) $15 - hardware store

-get a quality jig, there are a few that are good lots of opinions but blitzenburg jig is best (a little pricey but it will last forever)

- design cutting matt ( the green ones at crafts stores) great for quick measurements and design and wont destroy your table top and work bench

- cheap glue gun and glue sticks ( for knocks and points ) * i have used expensive glues and archery glues/products and i have found dollar store hot glue gun glue is the best , fasted drying , cleanest and easy to repair in the field glue to use for knocks and points.

- small hand held blowtorch (butane) about $20 ( handy for everything) * i use mine daily

-small digital scale $20

-make a spine tester ( not integral and not super needed but once in depth into arrow making its handy to be mega consistent and to tell if your arrows from the supplier are what they say they are by spine.

-pencil , pliers, plastic container, measuring tape, wood block , rubber mallet

- !! taper tool, ( nearly forgot) you need a taper tool , like pencil sharper almost that will put 5 degree and 9 degree tapers on your shaft ends for knocks and points.


- Full length or pre cut feather fletches , purchase by the dozen and make a count of what you will need, when online ordering make bulk orders to bring your price per arrow down.

- I suggest bright colors to locate arrows in th forest I stick to green , white, red , black , striped, grey , yellow brown and orange ( youll always find your arrows if you look hard enough)

- Knocks buy by the dozen and ensure they are 11/32 if you are using 11/32 shafts

- Points also watch the diameter, field points for target and 3d , broadheads for hunting I buy field points by the hundred ( only bought 2 packs of a hundred and a bunch of various weights)

- * heavy weight is ok, 100grn to 125grn is normal by a few packs and asee what flys best with your bow and arrow.

- Fletch tape……. I was skeptical… its awesome, I used a lot of glues for my fletching and was sick of the mess , the waiting and when I had to repair an arrow I had to sand and muck around with the left over glue…..

- Fletch tape, is two sided very thin trans[aren’t tape that is kind of stretchy adheres instantly and is fantastic!!!! If you need to repair or re set the angle of your feather/fletch or vane its easy and can be reused. Its about $6-10 a roll and a roll last about 3-6 dozen depening on your fletch length and your cutting accuracy

- Get a few colors of jiffy marker, silver, black , gold, bronze ( makes easy cresting stripes and finished hand painted sections nicely

- Model paints, ask around to make sure they can be used over top of varathane or polyeurthane or wood finishes and stains.

- Paint brushes tiny and a little big, (cheap or not who cares)

- Tung oil, Danish oil, walnut stain, varathane etc… ( experiment with finishes ) see what you like

Suppliers - knocks, points, fletches, fletch tape, full length (true flight) decent shipping times and cost great customer service and contact communication - Ted is awesome, located in Hood river Oregon, expert arrow builder, Bowyer great guy. If your ever nearby , go to this shop is a wonderful history lesson in archery. He has all the above items and has used broadheads, books, bows, quivers and wood POC (port orford cedar ) shafts properly matched and spined. these guys are a small out fit and know their shafts , they specialise in premium doug fir shafts, I have their premiums and their utility shafts ( great value)

Ask around this sub as well as there I a lot of great companies and resources possibly nerby your location.

The process ( my process ) not perfect but getting pretty good. I am not a perfectionist for esthetics, don’t use a cresting jig and I go with what works.

- Once all supplies are gotten you can being

1. Get your arrows ready, mark off grain direction and choose what ends are going to be knocks and points. Make small pencil marks , when I get a batch I weigh them all and record the eights in light pencil and pick 6 to start or a dozen if your ambitious….

2. Your edge grain ( straight grain lines) should always end up against the side of the riser , this is the stiffer side of the arrows sides.

3. Cut your arrows to length , measure your draw length, mark all your arrow to be a few inches longer than your shelf at full draw.

4. Taper your arrows, again keeping the grain direction , and ends marked and consistent.

*8 in the end you want all your arrows to look , weight and fly the same

5. apply stain if wanted tape off any ends you don’t want stained

6. let dry always don’t rush this part

7.dip, brush or spray on your finish if your using polyerathene or varathane, do this outside and hang on a close line or string, allow to fully dry and use fine and sand paper or steel wool to smooth out bumps

8, repeat and allow to dry and harden

9. in the meantime prepare your feather, usually cut them to 4” or 5” figure out your cock feather and where you will place it ( up or out from the shelf)( that’s up to you and various opnions ) * I always put my cock feather up for my bows and my arrows fly straight

10. once the arrow are dry, time to install the knocks

11. Make sure the knock and points fit, dry test them a bit and sand/shave accordingly

12. Lightly torch the point and knock ends, get your glue gun hot, have your container of cold water ready and pliers.

13. mark your grain again so when you install the knocks they end up proper and straight you will want your edge grain on the side of the knock when the knock is on a string.

14. Apply some hot glue, install knock, twist back and forth and apply firm pressure when you are sure its straight and sitting proper stop twisting and hold tight allowing to cool, peel off extra glue.

15. POINTS, heat up your field point holding with your pliers, torch until pretty hot apply glue and put shaft end into point while you’re still holding with pliers lift up everything and dip the point in cold water, makes a satisfying “HISSSSS” and tightens the point and round the shaft, believe me it works great, I never lose points and beat the hell out of my arrow (shoot through plywood and not lose points. (If a point ever comes off in the field, can happen, just heat the glue with a lighter, put point on and your set.

16. Now all your arrows have stain, finish, points, knocks ... weigh them again, find a balance point and see if they all balance , equal out the weights with more finish if you want to increase all the weights to equal ( within 5 grains is good) * this should be done before you knock and point

17. Add cresting stripes, use a machine OR just measure and make your marks using a straight end with your arrows up against it. Gain a steady hand twist and pin your hand down and apply several coats, do your best to keep the end lines straight, after you will clean up these lines with those jiffy markers.

18. Once cresting and paint is dry and our happy, brush on a few last coats of Varathane (not polyurethane at this point it will ruin the paint job.

19. Once dry its time to fletch. , put on a movie or some tunes get organized and have a clean space, get your jig, fletch tape and sharp razor knife.

20. Make sure your cock feather and knock points are marked somehow or just make reference, cut you’re fletch tape to size put fletch in jig clamp….. apply tape peel backing , set on shaft ( while it’s in jig)… wait 2 seconds make sure it sits flat, remove clamp and run your finger nail down the vane of fletch and tighten the seal.

21. repeat to all arrows and fletches **** NOTE everything you do in order of the first arrow do with all the others ,, repeat all steps exactly the same and you will find perfect practice and much faster achieved consistency

22. once all arrows are fletched, grab a wood block set your fletch on the block, draw out your fletch shape and make quick accurate cuts ( PRACTIC THIS BEFORE HAND OR USE PRE CUT OR GET A FLETCH CUTTER/BURNER) * I LIKE DOING IT BY HAND AND IM GETTING PRETTY GOOD

23. Once all cut, make tiny cuts at the point end of the fletches to remove the straight thick end of the fletches and taper that little bit, apply a bit of house hold super glue (DUCO CEMENT RULES)

24. I wax nylon or artificial sinew and wrap my fletch ends (not everyone does this and not super needed but it’s what I do for longevity.

Weigh your arrow and see how close you got to each other then go shoot them.

**there are many ways to skin a cat and this is how I skin mine….. I may have some spelling and grammar errors…am tired… I really hope this helps, feel free to pass along to anyone curious and as always am happy to help.

Post your arrow pics or message me, I’d love to see them!!!!!! Have fun.


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    5 years ago

    very complicated, no pictures


    5 years ago

    very complicated, no pictures


    5 years ago

    very complicated, no pictures


    5 years ago

    very complicated, no pictures


    5 years ago

    Nice post. I posted a two fletch instructable you might like. Good info here. We'll need to stay in touch.


    5 years ago

    Probably a dumb question, but why can't i use wooden arrows with a compound bow?

    nat ml
    nat ml

    Reply 5 years ago

    they will most likely break


    6 years ago

    nice, so these wouldn't work with a compound bow though?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This looks really interesting!

    Do you have any photos showing the steps of how you make arrows? That would be great to see the full process documented step by step with photos. I'd love to see all the details of how this is done!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks!inactually made this for an archery forum that could not handle the length of text.
    Im out of ton for a while. But next archery build i will document and edit so all the steps are present. Its been fascinating learning arrow flight..there is so much to it further than what i include im at about 280+ arrows to date. They seem to fly well..its just the archer that needs work;) (me).
    Ill update this next build.