Primitive Archer

Main Discussion Area => Arrows => Topic started by: Dingleberry on April 16, 2007, 09:13:43 am

Title: Cane question
Post by: Dingleberry on April 16, 2007, 09:13:43 am
I recently harvested a bunch of cane and was wondering what everybody thought about drying/seasoning times?  The chapter, "Self Arrows", in the Bowyers Bible, Volume I says: river cane should be cut and bundled to season for at least six months before using.  I thought I read in other topics that you only need a couple weeks. what yall think?  thanks :)
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: MattE on April 16, 2007, 09:41:35 am
I have left it in the back of my truck for a month and it was cured perfectly. The time will vary depending on several factors. You don't have to bind it up. I also like how the color lightens up when cured outside. You can't hurt it. It is tough shaft material!
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: Pat B on April 16, 2007, 03:09:45 pm
After harvest I usually clean up the canes and bundle them to store. I don't make many cane arrows so mine are stored for years sometimes but you should be able to work them in a few weeks to month. If dried in a shady area they will stay green but lighten up in color as they cure. Exposure to sunlight will change the color to a golden tan.
You can probably work them green. Try this with a few and see how it works out.   Pat
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: Hillbilly on April 16, 2007, 03:36:52 pm
A month or two is usually enough if it's kept somewhere warm and dry. You can tell when it changes color and doesn't stay bent when you bend it.
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: billy on April 19, 2007, 06:30:54 pm
Hey Dingleberry (i love that name)

I use cane all the time and I absolutely love it.  I've been making cane arrows for 10 years and it's my favorite shaft material; all my serious hunting arrows are river cane.

Cane will season slowly, but is usually dry enough to use after 6-8 weeks.  That's what I usually allow for my cane.  Here's a tip:  Don't bundle the cane.  Instead, leave it loose and a week after cutting them start straighteneing them.  Don't use heat, just bend them straight while they're green.  They'll go back to their previous shape, but every 2 or 3 days go back and straighten them.  Once they start to dry out, they'll begin holding that straightness.  Once they're dry, they will be very straight.  What's better is that because they were straightened as they dried, they will always behave as though they were straight to begin with.  If you let them dry crooked and then use heat to straighten them, they will always have a memory of the shape that they initially dried in and will want to revert back to that shape with changes in humidity.  I leave my shafts on my bedroom floor and every 2 or 3 nights I'll bend them straight before I go to bed.  It's quick, easy, and superior in my opinion to straightening them once they're dry and crooked.

I've got a cane arrow that I made with the above technique that I've straightend only twice in 7 years.  I've taken it to New Mexico, Iowa, humid VA in the summer, Oregon, and it now resides in GA with me. I killed 2 rabbits with it in Oregon (a jackrabbit and cottontail).  I skimmed a deer's belly with it 3 years ago.  It's the best arrow I've got and it's the one I pattern all my other cane arrows after.  Cane is the best material for making arrows in my opinion.  I LOVE IT! 
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: Dingleberry on April 19, 2007, 08:38:53 pm
That name hales from my old AT trail name....I still like to use it for laughs.  ;D Thanks for the info on drying.  Sounds great.  I was wondering if it is necessary to spine cane arrows like others? if so, do you use the same technique?  approximately what diameter cane would spine for a 40-50# bow?
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: Hillbilly on April 19, 2007, 10:53:59 pm
The stiffness depends on the thickness of the walls, which can vary a good bit. If you cut mature stems that don't still have sheaths at the nodes, usually about 3/8" or so at the big end green works for average-weight bows. It will shrink a good bit as it dries, sometimes, so cut it with that in mind. I like cane a lot too, stays straight better than anything else I've used here in our grow-moss-on-your-car humidity, and it's damn near impossible to break a cane arrow.
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: Dingleberry on April 19, 2007, 11:05:50 pm
The stand I cut from had a myriad of different sized cane but they all seemed to have sheaths at the nodes.  Some were green and some were brown.  I'm assuming the older brown ones are the best for arras. ???
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: billy on April 20, 2007, 01:07:33 am
HEy Dingle berry

I make my cane arrows 32" long without the foreshaft, and they're usually 1/4" diameter at the nock, with 3/8" to 1/2" diameter at the front.  They fly perfectly off my 51# osage bow.  They're long, but I like long arrows.  They work great with my long draw and hit hard.  Mine weight around 500 grains, but they can vary from 475-630 grains.  I posted a pic of a few of my cane hunting arrows below. 

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Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: Pat B on April 20, 2007, 12:35:59 pm
Dingle, If the canes are already tan in color I would be careful of them . Make sure they can take a good bend before you try to make arrows with them. Cane is a grass and it doesn't take long for fungi to start in on them.
  Check out the sheath on the green canes. If it is brittle and comes off easily then that are good to go. Usually the color has started to change from bright green to an olive green color on the good ones but that is not always the case. You may need to collect differant ones and watch them as they dry. If they are not mature enough, they will begin to wrinkle, lengthwise and the walls will be thin, compared to the mature ones. These will work OK for light arrows probably but I wouldn't use them on a heavier(40#+) bow.    Pat
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: Dingleberry on April 20, 2007, 05:52:38 pm
Oh, I meant the sheaths were brown on some and green on others. I think I'm beginning to get it.  The green sheathed ones also seemed to have greener and thinner stems. Thanks for all the help everyone. :)
Title: Re: Cane question
Post by: Pat B on April 20, 2007, 07:04:58 pm
Think of it this way...each cane you see grows to its ultimate height the first year it is up. The next year the cane matures(walls thicken) and after the third year that cane begins to dies. Each cane has a 3 year life cycle. I collect second year canes after their second growing season(Winter of the second year) and into the third before the cane turns tan color.   Pat