Author Topic: making arrows from dowels  (Read 8468 times)

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Offline Bohunter0908

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making arrows from dowels
« on: September 09, 2011, 04:03:10 pm »
I'm new to making arrows and won't some pointers on making them from
store bought dowels from homedepot or any other place.
I have bow hunted for about 15 yrs now and have always wanted yo try traditional
or primitive equipment. I am also making my first bow so I want to make arrows to go with ot

   Any input is appreciated Thanks
Take a kid hunting today and you won't
Have to hunt for the kid tomorrow

Online bubby

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2011, 05:32:52 pm »
i mostly use poplar & oak dowels from lowes 5/16" or 3/8", you just have to go thru alot of dowels to get good arrow grain. buy them long and get the straightest ones with the straightest grain, if they are fairly straight to start it's easyer to keep them that way, i havn't hade any problems with them breaking and poplar is pretty tough imho, bub
failure is an option, everyone fail's, it's how you handle it that matters

Offline Bohunter0908

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 10:17:20 pm »
Thanks for the info those are the things I needed to know
Take a kid hunting today and you won't
Have to hunt for the kid tomorrow

Offline scattershot

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2011, 10:52:10 am »
I have made a bunch of those. The 5/16 birch usually spine at 45# or so, and the 3/8 are from 80# on up. Not really a problem, as the spine can be adjusted in numerous ways, just something to think about. American Woodcrafters has birch for around $25.00/100.

Bear in mind, though, that these are dowels, not arrow shafts, and need to be examined carefully before making arrows from them.

Good luck!
"Experience is just a series of non-fatal mistakes"

Offline Matt S.

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2011, 03:40:04 pm »
bubby pretty much summed it up, find the straightest grained and straightest dowels and go from there. I usually use poplar dowels from Lowes. I've had several break on me but these have all broken when abused, and then they've only broken at a spot where the grain runs off. The grain in the oak dowels will be easier to read than poplar, but you basically want the lines to run the length of the dowel, where they form "v's" or "chevrons" is where they'll most likely break. In my experience 5/16" poplar dowels make great arrow shafts for bows up to 50#. Avoid the dowels with the greenish tint or the dark wood, they have always been full of knots and blemishes.
Our Lowes just started carrying 3/8" poplar, so I went through the whole box and picked out 9 potential shafts. I've tapered them to 5/16" at the nock side and I think they'll work really well for 50-70# bows. I'm fletching the first batch right now!

Offline Bohunter0908

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2011, 04:09:30 pm »
Thanks for all the good info y'all have all been lots of help
Take a kid hunting today and you won't
Have to hunt for the kid tomorrow

Offline Prarie Bowyer

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2011, 05:21:56 pm »
I haven't read all posts.

I don't use dowels anymore.  But This is what I did.  i got straight poplar and cut to size to maximize straight grain.  There will still be some crookedness.  I ripped a pine board 1/2 lengthwise.  Then knocked off the corners with a hand plan and reglued along the seam so that I had a "V" track.  Then I used a straight block of wood  maybee 5" long at 1.5X1.5" to rub the shaft for straightening.

I now use those bamboo garden sticks.  Garden shop has them or sometimes Walmart.  I get them for 2.88 for 12 or so.  BIG savings BUT take more time to make an arrow.

I prestraighten them, then file the nodes off.  Cut to rough size plus 2".  Finish straightening.  Sand file marks. Spine them for the section I want.  Trim.  check straight.  Dip in Danish Oil.  Then rub down with amber shelac.  Fletch, tip, then shoot.  Oh.  First I give each one a serious bend.  One or two in the bag will have a weak spot or bug damage and shatter.  Fat end foreword, skinny end is the nock. 

That is just what I do.  I broke a poplar dowel shaft that I thought I had straight grain but it snapped fairly easily into a long deep hypodermic shard.

I use the glue on nocks for some of my bamboo arrows.  Just use a hand plane to trim down a boo BBQ skewer and glue it in the end.  Then it will take the taper tool.

Offline ncpat

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2012, 01:46:06 am »
I have not been able to find arrows light enough for my daughter's bow. Even the arrows that came with it were too stiff. Her bow is about 20 pounds at most and the lightest arrows flop around. I am getting some 1/4 inch poplar dowels and will make her a few arrows from it, using feathers from old ones. I am ordering 1/4 inch points & nocks. I also thought of a way to make 1/4 nocks if I could not buy them. I could cut 1 inch lengths of poly tubing, glue onto shaft half way & let dry. Then cut a slot in the tubing down to end of shaft. Smooth with small needle file and/or sandpaper.

These may not be the greatest arrows but I will be happy if they fly straighter than what we have had. Shooting into cardboard mats they should not break too soon either. That will encourage my daughter more when she can be more accurate and know what to expect. If they work I may order some 1/4 birch dowels from a mail order firm. I saw a site where I can get them for about 1.50 each or less.

She is 12 and the bow is about her right weight for now. I will get her a heavier bow if she keeps up the sport.
Remember the heroes of Flight 93.

Online bubby

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 12:57:53 am »
my little one's get 5/16" poplar dowel shaft arrows and the shoot great from light poundage bows, under a buck each at lowesfor a 48" dowell, two for the price of one, ain't broke one yet, Bub
failure is an option, everyone fail's, it's how you handle it that matters

Offline ncpat

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 03:57:41 pm »
I meant to ask also if I can do good fletching without a jig. Money is hard to come by right now & the ones I see are pretty high. Thanks again.
Remember the heroes of Flight 93.

Offline Adam

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 04:15:25 pm »
Ncpat- You can make them without a jig.  I really clever idea is here: http://www.primitivearcher.com/smf/index.php/topic,24583.0.html
You can make one from a piece of leather or cardboard for free and it makes it a lot easier to get the feathers spaced evenly than free hand.

Offline Christian Soldier

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 04:26:56 pm »
I've tried 3/8 dowels a few times. I haven't been using them for too long but a few things I have learned is don't even bother buying shafts with crooked grain, they will break upon hard contact. Unfortunately, the other thing I've learned is that the quality control for dowels is not very impressive; so you have to dig through a lot of dowels to find a legit shaft.

They tend to be on the heavier side for normal weight bows but they shoot really well out of my 80lb longbow. I plan on purchasing a spokeshave soon, I think I'll try and reduce the diameter to 11/32 or so on some dowels and see how that works one of these times.
2nd Timothy 2:3 "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."

Offline kevinsmith5

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Re: making arrows from dowels
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 08:11:16 pm »
Just a suggestion here, Veritas makes a Dowel cutter that you can pick up for under thirty bucks. With it and an electric drill you can turn straight grained wood into arrow shafts and save a lot of time picking through dowel racks. I bought the 3/8" one but have found I can adjust at least as far down as 15/32" on the tool easily.