TreeBlaskted Oak

Arrow Making Tutorial

  1. Shafts
  2. Feathers
  3. Nocks & Points
  4. Tools
  5. Shaft Preperation
  6. Lacquering
  7. Nocking
  8. Fletching
  9. Tipping

Medieval Arrows


Port Oxford Cedar Ash Douglas Fir Hickory
weight light to moderate heavy heavy heavy
durability low high moderate high
straight grain fairly not very somewhat not very
stainable easy difficult easy difficult
straightened easy difficult difficult difficult
price/doz $30* $24** $22** $22**

Pros and Cons: Each type of wood has its advantages and disadvantages, so what type is best comes down to your own preferences. A heavier arrow will not fly as far as a light arrow so for a low poundage bow this can be a serious consideration. For arrows to fly predictably they need to be very straight, a wood like Port Oxford Cedar starts off relatively straight and does not tend to lose this straightness. Ash, on the other hand, often starts bent and will need to be straightened before the arrows are made, as well as again during the arrow’s lifetime.

Spine weight: Spine weight is a measure of how flexible the shaft is. As the arrow leaves the bow it needs to first flex and then straighten out. If the spine weight is too low for the bow it will flex too much upon leaving the bow, this can lead to the arrow shattering which is a very dangerous situation. If the spine weight is too high for the bow, the arrow leaves the bow too straight and will not fly consistently. When in doubt, it is better to use a slightly higher spine weight than one that is too low. Typically, arrow shafts are sold in sets of 12 shafts matched within 5lbs of spine weight of each other.

Diameter: Shafts come in three diameters, 5/16, 11/32, and 23/64. The larger the diameter the heavier the arrow will be, but the better able to stand up to abuse. Heavier spine weights are often not available in the smaller diameter shafts.


Copyright © 2008-2010 Naomi Hampson.